“The Mick” Mickey Mantle
The greatest switch hitter of all-time was Mickey Mantle.
Mantle would play 18 seasons with the New York Yankees and win seven World Series rings and three American League MVP’s. He accomplished the amazing feat of winning the triple crown during the 1956 season.
Mantle would start his Major League career in 1951 at the age of 19. He began the season with the Yankees, but a slump would send him down to the minors. Mantle would be called up later in the season and in 96 games he batted .267 belt 13 home runs and drive in 67 RBI. It would be a start to a remarkable Hall of Fame career.
The 1952 season Mantle would hit 23 home runs drive in 87 runs and bat .311. These numbers helped Mantle finish third in the American League MVP race and be elected to his first all-star team. In 1953 Mantle would put up solid numbers again .295-21-92 and in 1954 Mantle would lead the American League in runs scored with 129 while batting .300 with 27 home runs and 102 RBI.
In 1955 Mantle’s power increased as he led the American League with 37 home runs and also an AL leading 11 triples, which gave him an AL best .611 slugging percentage. His AL best 113 walks and .306 batting average would make him lead the AL in on-base percentage .431.
Then the incredible 1956 season would occur as Mantle won the triple crown with .353 batting average, 52 home runs and 130 RBI. Mantle led the league in runs scored (132) and have his career best 188 hits. These numbers would give Mantle his first AL MVP.
In 1957, Mantle won the AL MVP again as he batted a career high .365, which was second in the American League to Ted Williams (.388). He had 34 home runs and drove in 94 runs. He once again would lead the AL in runs scored (121). He led the AL in walks with a career best 146, which would contribute to a career best .512 on-base percentage.
Mantle blasted 42 home runs in ’58, 31 in ’59 and 42 in 1960. He would hit no less than 30 home runs from 1955-1962.
In 1961, Mantle had one of the most incredible years of his career when he battled teammate Roger Maris for the single season home run record of 60 held by Babe Ruth. Mantle would finish short by hitting 54 home runs as Maris would go on to break the record by hitting 61. Mantle batted .317 and drove in 128 RBI in ’61.
The 1962 season Mantle would win his 3rd AL MVP batting .321 hitting 30 home runs and driving in 89 RBI. Mantle would lead the AL in on-base percentage (.486) and slugging percentage (.605).
Mantle would have his last great season in 1964, which he would finish 2nd in the AL MVP race to Brooks Robinson. Mantle batted .303 with 35 home runs and 111 RBI. He would lead the AL again in on-base percentage (.423).
Mantle’s career would slowly fade from 1965 until 1968, but still show that legendary power by hitting 82 home runs over the 4 seasons.
Mantle finished his career with 536 home runs, 1,509 RBI, 1,676 runs scored, .298 batting average, .421 on-base percentage and .557 slugging percentage.
Despite Mantle striking out 1,710 times he still managed to walk (1,733) more than strikeout.
Mantle would play on 12 different World Series teams and win seven times. He would hit 18 home runs in the World Series, which is a record.
Mantle was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and became a member of Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The Yankees retired his #7 in 1969.
When you think of pure power hitters to play the game of baseball, the name Mickey Mantle is always mentioned, but he is undoubtedly the best switch hitting power hitter ever.
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