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Mickey Mantle and the Madness of Alcohol (Part 2)

As we continue our observations about binge drinking, 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. She takes her material from several sources, including the following:

Mickey Mantle: His Final Inning (Garland, TX: American Tract Society, n.d.), by Ed Cheek.

“The Last Days of Mickey Mantle,” Dallas Observer, December 14, 1995, by David Falkner,

A Hero All His Life: A Memoir by the Mantle Family (New York: HarperCollins, 1996); Merlyn Mantle, et al., with Mickey Herskowitz,

This is the third article on the topic of binge drinking, and the second one about Mickey Mantle. I should have one more article on this matter next week.

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

“For Mickey, it wasn’t just fun that drove him to drink, but also fear. Mickey’s father died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the young age of 40 … and three other relatives succumbed to the disease before their 40th birthdays. Afraid his life also could be cut short, Mickey decided to ‘party hard’—his drug of choice, alcohol—because he might never see his sunset years.

“A therapist commented: ‘Mickey is totally controlled by fear. He is filled with fear about everything.’ His father’s death was precisely what pushed Mickey over the edge—the critical turning point when his playful partying turned debilitating. The ‘baseball great’ slid into a self-made addiction—running from his fear instead of facing it.

“With death all around, if Mickey had learned to yield his life to the Lord he could have faced his fear and found comfort by claiming the fourth verse of the 23rd Psalm.…

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

“What Mickey hoped would help manage his life … ultimately messed up his life. He turned to alcohol to both stimulate and soothe—to rev himself up during the day, then settle himself down at night. But what once went down smooth later left Mickey with a bitter aftertaste in his mouth.

“‘I couldn’t go on the way I was living, drunk and sick and depressed, covering up with lies, trying to remember where I was going or where I had been.’ Then the greatest switch-hitter of all time gave this gut-wrenching statement: ‘Don’t be like me.’

“Mickey’s words of warning parallel the words of protection found in the very first verse of the Psalms.…”

Psalm 1:1

1 Blessed is the man

That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor standeth in the way of sinners,

Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Join us next week to find out what happened when Mickey finally “came to himself” (Luke 15:17).

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