George Vecsey in today's NY Times offers up a fascinating "what if." In his column, "Home Runs and Demons for Hamilton and Mantle," he talks about Mickey Mantle's problems with alcohol and promiscuity, his troubled childhood, and - most damning of all - the permissive environment he found himself in with the Yankees. Nobody helped Mickey deal with any of this.
Then George comes up with the thought that dazzled me. I quote: "Suppose Mantle had signed with his boyhood favorites, the Cardinals, and played for a fatherly manager like Eddie Dyer or Johnny Keane, alongside his temperate hero, Stan Musial, instead of being scolded by Stengel and ignored by Joe DiMaggio and indulged by the open city of New York? We will never know."
I can almost see Mantle in a Red Bird uniform and a couple of more pennants flying over Sportsman's Park.
Here's a link to the article. In Rangers’ Hamilton, Shades of Mantle, but Brighter Outlook - NYTimes.com