‘Tony Castro’s Biography Is The Bible of Mickey Mantle Books’

By TOM CATAL

There are Mickey Mantle books  by the boatload, but there’s only one Mickey Mantle biography that Mick himself would ever personally bother to read — and endorse. And that’s Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son by former Sports Illustrated staff writer Tony Castro.

Tom Catal, owner and curator of the Mickey Mantle Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

Tom Catal, owner and curator of the Mickey Mantle Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

The book captures Mick as no other book ever has or likely will because Tony Castro knew him as few others ever have. They formed a personal friendship in 1970, not long after Mick’s retirement and right after Tony had graduated from college — and it was a friendship built not on Tony being some obsessed fan or even a prying sportswriter.

It was a friendship built on golf and them playing almost daily on golf courses around Dallas, Texas, where they were both living at the time. (Tony later wrote about that in his dual biography DiMag & Mick: Sibling Rivals, Yankee Blood Brothers.)

I was in business with Mick. I got to known him as we travelled on the memorabilia circuit, and eventually I opened the Mickey Mantle Museum in Cooperstown, New York, with the biggest Mantle collection in the world.

When Tony decided to write his biography of Mick in the years after his death, he reached out to me and spent years exhaustively researching Mickey, his life, his place in baseball history and his role in America, which is significant.

b10411_e2281795fe9e4f0ebcbba977693c73f2The result is the greatest baseball biography around, and I think I’m in an ideal place to judge as a friend of Mick’s, as a baseball collector and historian, and as a friend to countless other baseball legends. In fact, it was through one of those — Pete Rose, our mutual friend — through whom I met Tony in Cooperstown.

And I know Pete shares my sentiments. Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son is the unquestioned bible of Mickey Mantle books.

Tom Catal, owner and curator of the Mickey Mantle Museum in Cooperstown, NY, was one of Mick’s best friends and today owns the world’s biggest collection of his memorabilia.

 

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