There is a time when all the important choices in our lives are before us. It is a time pregnant with the excitement of adolescence and the promise of adulthood. This story is about that time. Baseball fans, even the casual ones, know something of Mickey Mantle – the tape measure home runs, the blazing speed, the nagging injuries. His story of becoming The Mick is part of American lore – the ultimate baseball father creating a legendary performer. Mickey became a great baseball player, one of the best ever, and certainly the finest switch-hitting slugger of all time. There was greatness in him,but there was also vulnerability. Those qualities not only brought him the adoration of millions, but also gave his fans reasons to excuse his shortcomings.
Mutt’s Dream presents the psychological and sociological threads that wove the tapestry of Mickey Mantle’s life. His father’s dream shaped who Mickey became–from humble roots in rural Oklahoma to a baseball legend. Elven “Mutt” Mantle saw few options in life for himself: farming, working in the mines, or making it big in boxing or baseball. During the Great Depression Mutt learned that farming could be a gamble. He found mining work to be a hellhole that often brought an early death. Mutt did not know how to box, but he did know baseball, and he knew it very well – better than most men did. If his circumstances had been different, he might have become a Major League player himself, but he felt family obligations had forced him to give up his chance. He wanted to give Mickey his dream,so he did exactly that. Some have said that the obsessive and unrelenting pressure he put on Mickey caused psychological damage to his son. Mutt knew only that he was giving Mickey the best chance to have a far better life than his, and the hope of giving his dream to Mickey was what kept Mutt going.
The book is targeted at baseball fans, particularly those of Mickey Mantle. Without question his legend continues to intrigue devotees. The story also will appeal to readers of coming-of-age stories.
There are many books detailing Mantle’s professional career and life after baseball. Mutt’s Dream, Making The Mick is unique. Thoroughly researched and enhanced with the dialogue of a playwright, it is an account of the background story of Mickey’s life until the day he signed his first professional contract. Most fans already know the rest of the story. They know about his accomplishments on the baseball field, and about his later problems–his alcoholism, his womanizing, and his controversial final days. But how did he get that way? By exploring his early years, readers will come to understand how his father and his upbringing in Depression-Era Oklahoma forged the legend that became The Mick.
About the Author
Howard Burman was born in Brooklyn. His father would take him to Ebbets Field to see the Dodgers. His love of baseball is reflected in some of the books and plays he has written. Burman received his PhD from Ohio State University. He has produced off-Broadway shows in New York, was Artistic Producing Director of the Hilberry Theatre in Detroit and the Chair of the Theatre Department at Wayne State University. He chaired the Department of Theatre Arts at CSU Long Beach and has produced over 150 shows, many nationally acclaimed.
He is the author of several baseball books, including ,A Man Called Shoeless, which relates the life story of the enigmatic Joe Jackson. He and his wife, Karen, currently reside in Felton, California.