Mickey Charles Mantle, probably the most highly-decorated athlete in Oklahoma's modern era, was born in Spavinaw
) in 1931. He moved with his family to Commerce
(near the borders with Kansas and Missouri) at the age of three.
Noted as an exceptional 3-sport athlete, Mantle built up arm strength by working in the area's lead mines as a "screen ape"--a job swinging sledgehammers--while still in grammar school. He played for a semi-professional team when he was only 16 and drew the attention of a New York Yankee scout who wanted to sign him to a contract right then. Unfortunately, the scout had to wait two more years.
A switch-hitter, Mantle is credited with some of the longest home runs in the history of the game, blasting a 656-foot home run during spring training in 1951.
The Hall-of-Famer still holds the record for the most home runs by a switch-hitter (536) and 18 homers, 42 runs scored, 40 RBI and 43 bases on balls in the World Series (career) are still records.