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Mickey Mantle

             On October 20, 1931, Mickey Charles Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. He was named after Gordon "Mickey" Cochrane, a hall of fame catcher. He was also the oldest son of Elvin "Mutt" and Lovell Mantle and had three brothers, Ray & Roy which were twins, and Butch, he also had a sister named Barbara. .
             Everyday after school Mutt, and Mickey's grandfather, Charlie would pitch to him. Mutt was right handed and Charlie was left handed so they taught Mickey to switch-hit by taking turns pitching to him. Mickey's father and grandfather passed on their love of baseball to Mickey. .
             Mickey loved baseball and he first began playing at 11 years old. He played catcher on a Pee Wee League team in Douthat, OK. Two years later he played second base on a Gabby Street League in Douthat, Oklahoma. .
             Mickey's father worked at a lead mine. Mickey also worked at the lead mine during the summers where he was a "screen ape". A "screen ape" is a person who smashes large rocks into small stones with a sledgehammer. This job helped him develop lots of strength in his wrists and arms. This gave him the ability to hit some of the longest home runs in baseball history.
             Mickey not only played baseball he also played football and basketball and was a very talented athlete. At a high school football practice one day Mickey got kicked in the shin. The wound turned into osteomyelitis, a bone disease. The doctors wanted to amputate Mickey's leg, but his mother wouldn't let them. Mutt drove him to Oklahoma City, which was 175 miles away, to the Crippled Children's Hospital. Mickey was treated with penicillin every 3 hours and he recovered. After the injury Mickey still played football and one night at a football game he met Merlyn Johnson who would later become his wife. .
             Mickey went on to play short stop for the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids a semi-pro baseball team. In 1948 a scout, Tom Greenwade, from the New York Yankees came to watch Billy Johnson the third baseman for the Whiz Kids.

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