The Last Boy, by Jane Leavy
Richard J. Garfunkel
I just finished 450 horrible pages of debauchery and self-destructive and wanton idiocy of an American idol, who hated himself. I have been a Yankee fan since 1951, my first game, and was a Mantle fan like everyone else. I learned about his true character when I was a freshman in college from a classmate who lived next to him in Dallas and often baby sat for the Commerce Comet. Over the years many stories leaked out about his career and how he wasted possibly the greatest physical potential since Babe Ruth. Leavy tells in intimate detail all of his failures, disgusting conduct and his dissolute life. Don't cry any crocodile tears for The Mick. He wasn't misled he made and dissipated fortunes, ruined his children, abused his wife and countless women and was at best a disgusting lout. He was surrounded by idolaters who generally warned him, helped him, gave him the best legal, moral and medical advice and he ignored them all. In the end he left almost $7 million to his do-nothing, drug-ravaged idiotic off-spring, who never were loved by him, and amounted to nothing. His financial legacy continues to pour money into the bank accounts of his Okie, trailer park trash heirs.
Probably of all the ballplayers in the post WWII era, from Williams through Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio, etc, never made together as much as Mantle, from merely his name. The rumors of his business losses are just that. All his lawyers made good on his earlier investments, and his later advisers, despite their loutish client, were always there for him. Don't waste your time or money on this book. it is a disgusting account, with little about his baseball career. Leavy was obsessed with this guy and decided to let all the poisons come out. Alone the language she quotes and his actions would make anyone with an iota of taste throw up.
As bad and boorish as DiMaggio was, he comes across as prince compared to Mantle. DiMaggio, who was incredibly uneducated, and self-absorbed, never made it easy for his center field heir, but so what! His life has already been parsed and it wasn't much of a bargain. But, again, compared to Mantle he was an alter boy and a saint.
Mantle was a somewhat of a babe in the woods, but his actions towards fans, strangers, family and friends was at a level of obnoxiousness that had to be unrivaled. But his buddies like Ford, Martin and others loved his “good-time Charley” spending and partying. As bad as most of them were, they couldn't keep pace with The Mick. Maybe Billy Martin, a drunken and disgusting lout could have rivaled Mantle if he had the fame and had not killed himself when he drove off the road drunk.