Hey baseball fans!
Mike Trout just celebrated his 28th birthday! I know I'm the one guy who doesn't want to include him in the conversation for "Best Hitter Ever," but it's only because he hasn't played that long. But if he continues at his current pace, he will surely have a better career than the hitter who is always compared to him, Mickey Mantle!
Hall of Fame centerfielder Mickey Charles Mantle played from 1951-1968, all with the Yankees. In fact, he's on the Yankees' Mount Rushmore, along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. Not only is he good enough to be alongside those greats, but his career overlaps DiMaggio's (1951), whose career overlaps Gehrig's (1936-1939), whose career overlaps Ruth's (1923-1934). Mantle and DiMaggio played in the outfield together during the 1951 World Series, when Mantle injured his knee while moving away from a Willie Mays fly ball that DiMaggio was ready to catch. It was the start of a string of injuries that prevented Mantle from becoming one of the all-time greats. He actually played his entire career with a torn ACL! But let's get to the numbers he did put up.
During his prime from 1951-1964, Mantle had a .309 batting average, along with 32 homers, 93 RBIs, and 144 hits per season. His career batting average dipped to .298 by the end of the '60s, but Mantle still finished his career with 536 homers and 1,733 RBIs. He was the sixth member of the 500 Home Runs Club and that home run mark currently sits as the 18th-highest mark for an individual hitter in baseball history. Mantle was also a master of OBP, leading the league in walks five times and on-base percentage three times. His .421 career on-base percentage is good for 18th on the all-time list.
But Mantle was all about the dingers. He hit 30 or more homers in eight straight seasons from 1955-1962, with a couple of milestones along the way. In 1956, Mantle led the league with 52 homers, 130 RBIs, and a .353 batting average, his only career batting title. In other words, Mantle hit for the Triple Crown in '56, winning his first of three AL MVP Awards and his fourth of seven World Series championships with the Bronx Bombers. In 1961, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris took part in a historic race to catch Babe Ruth's record of 60 single-season home runs. Mantle finished with 54 out-of-the-parkers, while Maris topped the record, hitting 61 homers. Mantle still finished second in MVP voting that year, also leading the league in slugging at an astounding .687 mark. In fact, Mantle is 18th (again with the "18!") on the all-time slugging percentage list with a lifetime slugging percentage of .557.
Mantle got his nickname, "The Commerce Comet," from his fiery bat and his hometown of Commerce, Oklahoma. Mike Trout is from Millville, New Jersey, which explains his celestial nickname, "The Millville Meteor." I'm excited to see what Trout can do for the next several years, but for now, let's admire the statistics of the greatest guy to wear the #7 in Yankees history. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."