"Mantle’s life story has been told many times, but it’s never received as loving a treatment as this one." Booklist, Starred ReviewMickey Mantle is one of baseball’s all-time greats. Playing for the New York Yankees for his entire professional career, Mantle was named to the All-Star team for 11 consecutive seasons, won three MVP awards, and was a seven-time World Series champion. He quickly became an icon who achieved hero status even while playing through injuries for most of his career.In Mantle: The Best There Ever Was, Tony Castro makes the impassioned argument that Mickey Mantle truly was the greatest ballplayer of all time. Acclaimed by the New York Times as the definitive biographer of baseball’s fabled number 7, Castro shares many of his personal conversations with Mantle, demystifying the legend and revealing intimate, never-before-published details from Mantle’s personal life. In addition, Castro offers illuminating new insights into Mantle’s extraordinary career, including the head-turning conclusion based on the evolution of analytics that the beloved Yankee switch-hitting slugger may ultimately win acclaim as having fulfilled the weighty expectation once placed on him: being even greater than Babe Ruth. Drawing from hundreds of interviews with ex-teammates, friends, and family, Castro masterfully blends Mantle’s public and private selves to present a fully rounded portrait of this complex, misunderstood national hero.
Tony Castro, an American historian and Nieman Fellow at Harvard, is the author of eight books, including a critically acclaimed civil rights history and five baseball biographies. ESPN broadcaster Jeremy Schaap has called Castro “one of the best baseball biographers in America” for his Mickey Mantle trilogy. The New York Times hailed his biography Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son the definitive book about the Yankees Hall of Fame slugger. As a journalist, Castro has reported on politics, race relations, wealth and power, pop culture, Latin America, and sports for numerous news organizations, among them the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Texas Observer, and Sports Illustrated. Castro lives in Los Angeles.
Part One: The Best There Was
Prologue: “I’ve Beaten Gehrig”
Chapter One: The Hero’s Widow
Chapter Two: Myths and Curses
Chapter Three: Of Fathers and Sons
Chapter Four: The Boy Who Would Be Best
Chapter Five: Eyes on The Babe
Chapter Six: The Child of Stengel and Destiny
Chapter Seven: DiMaggio and Mantle
Chapter Eight: Scouts, Taxmen, and Swindlers
Chapter Nine: Life in the Big Apple
Chapter Ten: The Fateful Day
Part Two: The Best There Is
Prologue: Breakfast of Champions
Chapter Eleven: Mickey Mantle in Excelsis
Chapter Twelve: The Prince of America
Chapter Thirteen: Now Teeing Off . . . Mickey Mantle
Chapter Fourteen: Holly Brooke
Chapter Fifteen: Down the Rabbit Hole
Chapter Sixteen: Svengali
Part Three: The Best There Ever Will Be .
Prologue: “I Gave You Such a Good Start . . .”
Chapter Seventeen: Best in the Game
Chapter Eighteen: Angels and Demons
Chapter Nineteen: The Last American Hero
Chapter Twenty: The Triple Crown
Epilogue: The Greatest
About the Author
The secret love life of Mickey Mantle, the New York Yankee’s fabled baseball home-run hitter and 20th century American icon, was a scoop that veteran journalist Tony Castro swore to keep secret—until now. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, Castro’s book will take you into a world of myth, magic, and reckless heroism of a bygone era that comes brilliantly alive in this wild, intimate, and astonishing book. — Rex Weiner, author of Woodstock Census: Nationwide Survey of the Sixties Generation and The (Original) Adventures of Ford FairlaneIf you wish to fully understand the complicated life of Mickey Mantle, Tony Castro has written an extraordinary book. There has been a library of books written on Mantle, but none will explain him the way this book does. For you millions of Mantle lovers, this book is “The Best There Ever Was.” Don't you dare miss it.— Peter Golenbock, author of Dynasty, The Bronx Zoo, and 7: The Mickey Mantle NovelIn this warm, intimate, and often startling book, Tony Castro relies on his own long relationship with Mickey Mantle, a great deal of research, and a remarkable series of interviews with the woman the Yankees star loved before and during his long marriage to give us an unforgettable portrait of a man whose talent and accomplishments were matched only by the demons he couldn’t escape. Mantle: The Best There Ever Was presents an American sports hero in all his glory, and all his torment.— Ron Rapoport, author of Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie BanksHow could such a young man from Commerce, Oklahoma, become such a hero to so many? Tony accurately brings to light in great detail the accolades as well as demons that Mickey endured both on and off the field. — Andrew Vilacky, Safe at Home, Cooperstown, NYBeing a longtime friend of Mickey’s I personally witnessed many of the challenges he encountered in both his personal and professional life. Statistically, Mickey did not have the best numbers of all time, but Mantle: The Best There Ever Was solidifies what a great teammate and friend Mickey was.— Tom Catal, Mickey Mantle Museum, Cooperstown, NY[Mantle] is a good place to start to understand why he became such a legend – oh, and a pretty good ball player as well. [readers who] enjoy reading about this legendary New York Yankee will want to read this one, no matter how much they think they know about him.— The Guy Who Reviews Sports BooksTony Castro scores a perfect 10 for #7 with his new bio of my childhood hero Mickey Mantle, for whom I took subways with my brothers from Brooklyn to the Bronx in those years when the Yankees were the only team in town. I’ve read many other books on The Mick in the years since but Castro has smacked a grand slam here, the best I ever read about The Best There Ever Was.— Denis Hamill, former columnist, New York Daily NewsAuthor Tony Castro returns to the life of Mickey Mantle in the third volume of his trilogy about the New York Yankees baseball star, Mantle: The Best There Ever Was—and the reader is swept along on a journey through Mantle’s life, both the personal and the professional. And what a complicated life Castro portrays, including unbelievable success on the baseball field, a difficult marriage, a longtime affair, injuries, and a decades-long struggle with alcoholism. Castro, who as a child idolized Mantle, incorporates his own recollections of meeting and interviewing the then-retired Mantle, introducing a deeper layer to the story. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book.— Deborah Kalb, writer, editor, and book bloggerIn Mantle: The Best There Ever Was, Tony Castro adds another compelling account to his Mickey Mantle Trilogy. Written with the authority of an insider, Castro adds new detail and dimension to Mantle’s life and career in this well-sourced page-turner. — Dale Tafoya, author, Bash Brothers: A Legacy SubpoenaedA handful of baseball immortals—like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Joe DiMaggio—have achieved levels of greatness such that their names are known to even casual fans. Was Mantle the greatest of them all? Author Tony Castro explores this question and makes a compelling case for "The Mick" in Mantle: The Best There Ever Was. Castro describes some of the monstrous seasons Mantle had, charts Mantle’s athletic career, and takes the reader into The Mick's often turbulent personal life. Reading the book, one can only wonder what Mantle may have achieved if he'd taken care of himself the way modern-day athletes do.— Ruben Castaneda, staff writer, US News and World Report, and author, S Street RisingAn American literary stylistic masterpiece. Tony Castro paints Mickey Mantle through a prism of genius with the pinstripe magic of Gabriel Garcia Marquez phantasmagoria and realism.— Tom Wolfe, author and journalist
Mantle: The Best There Ever Was, presents a portrait of a baseball superstar who was misunderstood by many folks. Drawing from hundreds of interviews with ex-teammates, friends and family, the author blends Mantle's pubic and private lives to come up with a new insight about Mantle's extraordinary career.