24 October 2011
71. 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel
Here is a fictional novel about Mickey Mantle doing a tell all about himself from heaven. It is written by a man who actually knew Mickey, and Billy Martin, and Joe Pepitone, and Jim Bouton, and Whitey Ford, and Roger Maris, and so many other real life ball players from the Yankees heyday as well as their families and friends. Golenbock wrote this book as if Mantle say down with a sports reporter from back in the day and was discussing his entire life to "set the record straight" without hiding anything. The truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.
OK. Mantle was great. He was also an alcoholic. He was also famous for his infidelities. We know all that. This book expanded on those stories in ways that could have been left unsaid forever.
I loved loved loved the parts where Mantle was discussing the baseball seasons or interactions with different managers or relationships with other players on and off the field. I especially liked the Casey Stengel stories. The baseball was great. At the same time the story definitely showed how the alcohol and crazy life were affecting Mantle on the field. What could the man have done if he didn't do all the silly junk he was known for. What could he have been if he did not get injured so much?...which alcohol had a lot to do with in some ways.
But, when Mickey was discussing all his affairs and sexual encounters there was much more than was needed. It bordered on stupid. Some of the stories were funny and all, but it was taken too far. We get it. He had a problem. So did Billy Martin. Also, no secret.
Why write this book when you were "friends" with the guys? I think it is totally in response to another book that was written. Jim Bouton wrote Ball Four, in which he revealed some secrets about the late great Yankee players. I think that made Golenbock mad...and since he needed to make a few bucks he could write a book that revealed even more...fictitiously...and bust Bouton's chops a lot while doing it. I think that is what this book is all about.
It was OK, but if you want to learn anything about Mantle this is not the place to look.