Originally written on The Hardball Times  |  Last updated 4/6/12
Eighty years ago today, one of the most famous baseball players of all-time was born, Mickey Mantle. He’s a Hall of Fame batter named after a Hall of Fame batter. His dad was a big fan of A’s catcher Mickey Cochrane. I have nothing particularly insightful to say about Mantle’s career, so I won’t even try. What is striking is how young he was when he died, just 63 years old. His dad died at a much younger age, and Mantle rather famously lived wild and hard in his day, so it’s not really surprising that he died so young. But 63 is still pretty young. To put into comparison, here is an All-Star team of guys currently 63 years old: C – Johnny Bench (or Carlton Fisk) 1B – Richie Hebner 2B – Lee Lacy (hey, he played some second base) SS – Davey Concepcion 3B – Ron Cey OF – Willie Montanez OF – Cesar Geronimo OF – Billy North SP – Charlie Hough SP – Gary Nolan SP – Larry Gura SP – Ed Figueroa SP – Bill Bonham RP – Bill Campbell RP – Gene Garber RP – Reggie Clevela
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