In The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy, the author goes into great detail about Mickey’s father, Mutt Mantle, who worked in a lead mine in Commerce, Oklahoma in the 1930s and 40s. Silicosis (a fibrosis of the lung caused by rock dust) was the feared disease of this type of employment. If an x-ray came back positive the employee was fired the same day and could never be hired by another mine.
“When they get sick and can’t work, we throw them in the dump heap.”
An agent for the employer was quoted as saying, “When they get sick and can’t work, we throw them in the dump heap.”
Mutt refused to go to a doctor until it was too late. He died at the age of 40 in 1952, just one year after his son became a Major League player.
Mantle’s father never lived to see his tremendous success as one of the best baseball players of all time.
The mine was closed in 1970. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed this job site as the most toxic waste site in their Superfund list and spent approximately $240 million of taxpayer money to try to clean up the site, without success, which was admitted by the EPA in 2006.
Mickey Mantle began his career with the Yankees in 1951 and his father never lived to see his tremendous success as one of the best baseball players of all time.