DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Mickey Mantle (aged 63)
American baseball player
Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995), nicknamed The Commerce Comet and The Mick, was an American professional baseball player. Mantle played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career (1951-1968) with the New York Yankees as a center fielder and first baseman. Mantle was one of the best players and sluggers and is regarded by many as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
DEATH: Mantle died on August 13, 1995, at Baylor University Medical Center with his wife at his side, five months after his mother had died at age 91. The Yankees played the Indians that day and honored him with a tribute. At Mantle’s funeral, Eddie Layton played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the Hammond organ because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. Roy Clark sang and played “Yesterday, When I Was Young.” The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a number 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas described him as “a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic.” Costas added: “In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it.” Richardson did oblige in reading the poem at Mantle’s funeral, something he described as being extremely difficult. The same poem (God’s Hall of Fame) which originated from a baseball fan, was recited by Richardson for Roger Maris during Maris’ funeral.