Mickey Mantle's secrets don't didn’t stop at his womanizing and boozing. A new biography of the Yankees great reveals that the deeply troubled slugger was a homophobe whose character was branded by an alcoholic father and childhood sexual abuse.
In “The Last Boy,” which hit bookstores yesterday, The Washington Post’s Jane Leavy yanks open the notoriously shy Mantle’s closet.
Some of the revelations include:
• Mantle once slept in the bathroom when a gay man was assigned to sleep in his room at the Betty Ford Center. He was “contemptuous” of gays, Leavy’s book says.
• Mantle’s older half-sister would pull down the future slugger’s pants in front of friends, who would then laugh at him. A local boy cornered him and fondled him repeatedly. “That’s how I learned to run like lightning,” Mantle said.
• Mantle serially cheated on his wife with a bevy of beauties that included Doris Day and Angie Dickinson. Before marrying, the muscled teen enjoyed trysts with teachers: “That’s how I got through high school, was screwing the teachers. That’s the only way I was able to graduate,” Mantle said.
• When he was a patient in Room 202 at the Betty Ford Center in 1994, he wrote a “grief letter” to his deceased father, addressed “To the drunk that shares my body.”
• According to Greer Johnson, the Bronx Bomber's companion during the last decade of his life, Mantle "didn't know how much money he had, what bank it was in, or how to write a personal check.”