This is an easy one. Mickey Mantle, IMO the greatest of a team that has fielded the greatest players. You all know him. He was a larger-than-life figure in his day. He was an all star in every season he played (that he wasn't injured) except his rookie year. 3x MVP, integral to seven World Championship Yankees teams. He was a triple crown winner and 4x led the Majors in home runs. He was a big part of the 1961 home run race that saw Maris break the record. But what most folks don't know is it almost didn't happen.
In his rookie year, 1951, Mantle was invited to Spring Training with the Yankees after just two minor league seasons. He impressed them so much they signed him to a $7500 contract (equivalent to around $200k today) and gave him uniform number 6. That was no accident. Ruth was 3, Gehrig 4, DiMaggio 5, Mantle 6... the next big thing. But Mantle was never a man who dealt well with pressure and he descended into a slump so deep he was sent down to the Yankees AAA team in Kansas City. He called his father and told him he didn't think he could play anymore. His father's reply was "Then you can come back to Oklahoma and work in the mines for the rest of your life". That was what he needed to hear. Mantle was back with the Yankees the following year wearing #7 and the rest is history.
7 days to go!
Edited by Guard Dog, 25 March 2017 - 05:19 AM.