New York Yankees: The 5 Greatest Yankees of All-Time

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2.  Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle claims the #2 spot on this list for being such a clutch, seasoned, devastatingly good hitter, with enough controversy and media hype to keep people talking about him for centuries.

The star once said, “After I hit a home run I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.” Well Mick, you had us at “hello.” Aside from that charm, “The Commerce Comet,” as some hailed him, is heavily regarded as one of the best switch hitters of all time, as well as the best slugger. For the purposes of this list, his hitting and fielding, as well as the controversy that took the media by storm is what earned him a spot.

Mantle was a complete package. The three-time MVP and seven-time World Series Champion, was known for his dual-threat power and batting average. He won the triple-crown in 1956, leading the league in home runs (52), RBI (130), and batting average (.353). In his 18 year career, Mantle hit less than 20 home runs in a season only four times. He also knocked in at least 50 RBI in all but two seasons of his career, and has a career batting average of .298. In short, he was a complete nightmare for pitchers. Mantle also made life difficult for hitters, having obtained three golden glove awards.

Like the others on this list, his clutch factor was through the roof. He holds the records for most World Series home runs (18), RBI (40), extra-base hits (26), runs (42), walks (43), and total bases (123). Mantle is also tied with Jim Thome in walk-off home runs, with a combined 13; 12 in the regular season, and one in the postseason. His numbers alone cement him as one of the most dangerous players to ever have gone up against.  

“His numbers alone cement him as one of the most dangerous players to ever have gone up against.”

Undeniably, much controversy also marks Mickey Mantle’s career. He was a big drinker, known at the time for hitting the town with Whitey Ford and Billy Martin. His alcohol consumption eventually led to him checking into rehab. The slugger’s father and grandfather lived short lives, having died from Hodgkin’s disease, so he lived his life as if it could end at any moment. In his later years, after treatment, Mantle once said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

So with his stardom also came struggles, but such struggles only seem to lend to the historic reading of his career. Given his success, as well as what he overcame, he has rightfully earned himself the number 2 spot on this last. After all, he was part of “Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle), and Duke (Snyder),” sluggers who captivated baseball in the 1950s while playing in New York.

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