Known as "The Commerce Comet," Mickey Mantle (1931-1995) was a famous switch-hitter whose powerful home runs were matched by his impressive speed as a runner and as an outfielder. Synonymous with the New York Yankees for nearly two decades, Mantle was enormously popular with baseball fans, and he is still considered one of the greatest players ever to take the field.
Born in Spavinaw, OK, and raised in Commerce, OK, Mickey Charles Mantle was named for baseball catcher Gordon "Mickey" Cochrane. Mantle overcame a childhood bout with the bone disease osteomyelitis to excel as an athlete, playing with a semiprofessional baseball team by the time he was 16. He signed with the Yankees in 1949 and began playing for the team in 1951.
In 1956 Mantle enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, hitting 52 homers with 130 RBIs and a .353 batting average to win the Triple Crown. That year he also won the first of three Most Valuable Player awards, winning again in 1957 and 1962. During his career with the Yankees, Mantle led the league in home runs during four seasons and in runs during three seasons. The team won 12 pennants and seven World Series titles and Mantle himself established World Series records for runs (42), home runs (18), and RBIs (40). By the time he retired in 1968, he had a .298 batting average, he had hit 536 home runs, and he had been named to 20 American League All-Star teams.
In 1974, the first year of his eligibility, Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He died of cancer in 1995.