Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle are my son's favorite players. And he's only 9. I think the film *61 had something to do with it.
I grew up with The Mick. First saw him playing right field in 1951, as Joe D. was still the starting center fielder in what would be his last season before retiring. Every time the Mick came to bat there was an audible buzz in the ballpark, waiting for him to belt one. How many times did I hear Mel Allen say, "There's a long drive to right. That ball is going, going, gone. Mickey Mantle just hit a Ballantine [the beer co. that sponsored the broadcasts] Blast. How about that!" When Mick was young and could still run, even a routine grounder to short was an adventure, because if the ball wasn't handled and thrown perfectly, he would beat it out for a hit. Mick was very special.
When he retired, Mantle's 536 career home runs placed him third in major league history. Thirteen of them were game-ending homers. His 1964 World Series home run off Barney Schultz, a "walk-off" home run in the vernacular, broke Babe Ruth's series record. Ten times, he collected more than 100 walks; nine straight seasons, he scored 1oo or more runs;four times, he won the American League home run and slugging Titles. He collected 2,415 hits, batted .300 or better ten times, won three MVP Awards , and appeared in twenty All-Star Games. He scored more runs than he drove in ( 1,677 to 1,509). I agree with you Michael, the Mick No.7 was very special.