Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with friends and family, teammates and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle’s life, mining the mythology of The Mick to excavate the true story of an illustrious talent with an achingly damaged soul.
Meticulously reported and elegantly written, The Last Boy is a baseball tapestry that weaves together reminiscences from friends and family of the boy from Commerce, Oklahoma who would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth’s home run crown in the summer of 1961. The same boy who would never grow up.
Leavy transcends the hyperbole of hero worship to reveal the man behind the coast-to-coast smile who grappled with a wrenching childhood, crippling injuries, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. In The Last Boy, Leavy chronicles her search to find out more about the person he was and, given who he was, to explain his paradoxical hold on a generation of baseball fans who were seduced by that lopsided, gap-toothed grin.
Ultimately, though, with The Last Boy, Leavy discovers that what we remember of our heroes—and even what they remember of themselves—is only where the story begins.