Mickey Charles Mantle, named after Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane, was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma on October 20, 1931. A short four years later, his family moved to Commerce, Oklahoma, where he played football, basketball, and of course, baseball. Raised in a baseball family, Mickey would hit right-handed off of his left-handed father, and then bat left-handed off of his right-handed grandfather. After surviving a life-threatening infection from a football injury, Mickey signed to a minor league contract with the Class-D Independence Yankees after graduation in 1948. In 1950 he was promoted to the Class-C Joplin Miners where he won the batting title, with a .383 batting average, 26 home runs, and 136 RBIs. Finally, in 1951 Mantle was assigned to the New York Yankees where he went on to have one of the most prolific baseball careers of all time. Despite a career plagued with injuries, Mantle finished third on the all-time home run list with 536.
Additionally, Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, received three Most Valuable Player Awards, played in 19 All-Star games, and won seven World Series. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1964, the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, and selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Mantle passed away in 1995 at the age of 63, three years before this statue would be placed in his honor at the Oklahoma City Bricktown Ballpark in 1998.
Blair Buswell’s monumental bronze sculpture stands at the third-base entrance at 7’6” tall. Mantle is captured in his powerful swing that led him to be one of the greatest switch-hitters of all time. Buswell was honored in 1990 as the Sport Artist of the Year by the United States Sports Academy.