Terence Moore of MLB.com has written an outstanding column in which he discusses how alcohol and drug abuse have affected athletes.
Moore's information about Josh Hamilton's recent bout with alcohol addiction, as well as Oil Can Boyd's revelations that he pitched the majority of his games under the influence of cocaine, are breaking stories.
The regrets of Mickey Mantle are not.
In 1994, Mantle granted an interview to Sports Illustrated that resembled a church confessional. He had previously told almost everything found in the SI article to his friend Tom Molito, who has just completed a wonderful book, Mickey Mantle and the Eyeballers.
Mantle told Molito and then SI how alcohol had interfered with the rehabilition programs he was told to follow after his numerous knee injuries.
"Everybody tries to make the excuse that injuries shortened my career. Truth is, after I'd had a knee operation, the doctors would give me rehab work to do, but I wouldn't do it. I'd be out drinking."
Molito, Mantle and Bob Costas made the iconic video,"The 500 Home Run Club" in 1988. It was then that Molito saw the "breakfast of champions," which helped Mantle start his day.
Mantle described it as a big glass filled with a shot or more of brandy, some Kahlúa and cream. Tom was not surprised that Mantle and Billy Martin sometimes went to his restaurant at about 10 o'clock in the morning to have the "breakfast of champions."
Molito, in his book, describes what happened at one of the first planning meetings for "The 500 Home Run Club."
Our morning meeting was held in the back of the restaurant beneath a giant mural of the old Yankee Stadium, with Mickey batting on a beautiful sun-lit day. . I felt joy and sadness. Joy because I had the privilege of seeing Mickey play and sadness because it was from a time lost forever. A waitress brought Mickey what he laughingly called “The Breakfast of Champions,” which was a combination of Kalhua, orange juice and vodka.
After many years, Mantle acknowledged his problem. He sought help, received help and cited himself as a graphic reason to seek aid for addictions.
Sadly, it was too late.
Molito, Tom with Harold Friend. Mickey Mantle and the Eyeballers. Unpublished manuscript. 2011.