Baseball: Mantle of Greatness

He looked like a refugee from a Ma and Pa Kettle movie. Sporting a straw hat, brown shoes, freckles, and $4 straw suitcase, he walked out of Commerce, Okla., and into the pin-striped uniform of the New York Yankees. Now, 18 seasons and 2,401 games later, Mickey Mantle put on a $155 pair of black alligator shoes, slipped into a $150 plaid sport jacket, and announced that he was retiring from baseball.

In a blunt, drawling litany, he recited his reasons for calling it quits: "I can't hit when I need to. I can't steal when I want to. I can't...

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