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Mickey Mantle and the Madness of Alcohol! (Part 3)

As we continue our observations about alcohol, I want to remind you that the following words are not my own. They are taken from a book I own entitled, Biblical Counseling Keys on Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), by June Hunt.

This is the fourth article on this topic and the third one about Mickey Mantle. If you would like to read the other articles please visit my website at

This is the final article on this series.

Let’s continue the story of “Mickey Mantle and the Madness of Alcohol!”

“Mickey Mantle not only abused alcohol, but he also abused the people around him. His children have spoken of his inattention to the family while they were young. He was depressed and irritable, and when the Yankees lost a game or Mickey struck out, the children knew to leave Dad alone. The entire family walked on eggshells, hoping to prevent what had become inevitable verbal attacks. Not only was Mickey in denial about his alcoholism, but his wife also minimized the problem.

“Mickey made excuses for his absences, which often included time spent with other women. Ironically, the baseball great’s increasing dependence on alcohol was a desperate attempt to boost his self-esteem. More and more, alcohol became necessary to function during the day … then more and more was needed for him to sleep at night.

“Mickey later reflected, ‘I am embarrassed by what I did when I drank: the foul language, the rudeness, having to face people the next day that I didn’t remember insulting the night before.’

The first verse of Proverbs chapter 20 reflects this very point.…

Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: And whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

“It took ‘hitting rock bottom’ for Mickey Mantle to turn from substance abuse. With his body deteriorating, his memory lapsing, and his family crumbling, Mickey does what everyone thought was unthinkable—he entered rehab.

“But immediately upon finishing treatment, Mickey was under enormous pressure to relapse.… His son, Billy, died of a heart attack and then his mother died. But just as there once had been a great expectation for him to drink with the guys, Mickey now knew there was great expectation for him to stay sober.

“Son Mickey, Jr. assessed the situation: ‘Out of all the things he did, the World Series teams he starred on, the home runs he hit, the records he broke, his induction into the Hall of Fame, what I admired him for the most was getting sober.’ Mickey eventually experienced on a very personal and profound level the transforming truth of these words …

Isaiah 41:13

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, Saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

“Mickey made the call at 6:00 in the morning. 'Betsy, let me talk to Bobby, I want him to pray for me.’ The request was inconceivable … it seemed impossible … that the raucous, rebellious slugger would ever solicit God’s help. Yet Mickey phoned his former Yankee teammate Bobby Richardson because he finally recognized that he needed God in his life.

"For too many years Mickey succumbed to one temptation after another, but now he wanted to stand in the strength and grace of the God that his friend Bobby knew. Bobby prayed with Mickey, and the aged baseball buddies had several more conversations about spiritual things.…

"Bobby Richardson had agreed to officiate Mickey Mantle’s funeral, and he was summoned to Dallas, Texas, three days before the death of baseball’s greatest athlete. Bobby visited Mickey in the hospital as he lay suffering from liver cancer. He knew this could be his very last opportunity to make an appeal that would direct the eternal destiny of “the Mick,” so there was no time for small talk or hesitation.

“‘Mickey,’ Bobby implored, ‘I love you, and I want you to spend eternity in heaven with me.’ Nothing more needed to be said, for Bobby had already clearly communicated before to Mickey that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and rose again, opening the door for full forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life. So how would his longtime friend respond in these final moments? Would he accept or reject the amazing grace being extended to him?

“Mickey smiled, and serenely said, ‘Bobby, I’ve been wanting to tell you that I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior.’ On August 13, 1995, baseball legend Mickey Mantle died a healed man. He was healed physically, delivered from dependency, and no longer suffered the pain and anguish of a disease-ravaged body. And he has been healed spiritually—every single sin Mickey Mantle ever committed has been forgiven by Christ … never … ever … to be brought up again.…

Ephesians 1:7

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace

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