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Mickey Mantles Throws His Batting Helmet in Disgust

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Mickey Mantles Throws His Batting Helmet in Disgust

It might be hard to believe given he's regarded as one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived, but Mickey Mantle was never fully healthy throughout his illustrious career.

"The Mick" was just a rookie in the 1951 World Series when his first serious injury occurred. While he was tracking a fly ball, his cleat got caught in a drain grate and he blew out his right knee.

Doctors at the time didn't know the full extent of the damage, and restorative knee surgery was essentially non-existent.

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It might be hard to believe given he's regarded as one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived, but Mickey Mantle was never fully healthy throughout his illustrious career.

"The Mick" was just a rookie in the 1951 World Series when his first serious injury occurred. While he was tracking a fly ball, his cleat got caught in a drain grate and he blew out his right knee.

Doctors at the time didn't know the full extent of the damage, and restorative knee surgery was essentially non-existent.

It was only recently discovered how bad the injury was. For the 2010 Mickey Mantle biography The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, author Jane Leavy had Mantle's original X-rays re-examined by modern experts. They revealed that Mantle had torn his meniscus, ACL and MCL in the incident.

Mantle played the remainder of his career on that bum knee, crushing over 500 home runs and earning the unofficial title of "the fastest man to first base."

His destroyed knee was just the beginning.

Mantle played through countless other painful injuries over his career, including a bone chip in his shoulder, which speared into a tendon like a knife, and severe shin splints. It's hard to imagine how good Mickey might've been had he avoided some of these injuries.

This photo, taken in 1965, captured Mantle chucking his batting helmet in frustration as age and injuries were finally starting to make him mortal.

Mantle hit .255 with just 46 RBIs that season, which were the lowest of his career to date. 

Photo Credit: John Dominis/Getty Images

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