Monday, April 23, 2012
Baseball Book Review - The Quality of Courage by Mickey Mantle
I was at my local library a couple weeks ago and saw this book on the shelf - The Quality of Courage. I am really not the biggest Mickey Mantle fan but this book caught my attention for a couple of reasons. 1) It is pretty short, only 185 pages. I almost always finish a book when I start it so this wasn't a huge investment, 2) This book was originally written in 1964, during Mantle's career. I was intrigued by the notion of him writing this book in the middle of his playing days, 3) I have been trying to get into a much longer book - The Last Boy - for a while and thought this might get me going with Mantle and generate some excitement.
This book ended up being a decent read. I would rate it a 3 out of 5. At first I was a little turned off by the language that was used, it is very elementary. Later in the book it became clear that a younger audience was the target audience which lead me to believe the simple language was more by design than due to Mantle's inability to use words longer than 6 letters. Mantle was approached to write this book following up JFKs Profiles in Courage that was written a few years before.
The book gives Mantle a platform to share his views and opinions on different ballplayers and people outside of baseball and how they demonstrate courage. Among the players he discusses include the famous (Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Roger Maris, and Roy Campanella) and the not quite as famous (Ralph Houk, Don Zimmer, Lou Brissie, Jimmy Piersall, Fred Fitzsimmons and Fred Hutchinson). As a want to be amateur baseball historian this was a good read. I got some insight into some of the players of the 50s and 60s (and earlier) for a more simple time along with some new perspective on Mickey Mantle. I may never own an autographed card of his for my HOF collection but I do think I will pick up The Last Boy again soon and finish the story.