"It was all I lived for, to play baseball." - Mickey Mantle
Indeed, Mickey was all about baseball in his life. He was a home run machine throughout the '50s and '60s, feared by opposing pitcher, but loved by all Yankee fans.
The Mick was the end of a line of legendary Yankee heroes, from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, through Joe DiMaggio, and to the end of his career. No one was there to pick up where Mantle left off in the late '60s and the Yankees went into a World Series drought, not winning one from 1962 till 1977.
But when the Mick was on the field he was a monster; he belted 536 home runs with 1,509 RBI, while scoring 1,677 runs. And unlike a lot of sluggers today, Mantle hit for a high batting average as well; he retired with a .298 average and a .428 OBP.
Just to give you a comparison, the closest player in recent memory to compare Mantle to is probably Frank Thomas or Jim Thome, who both exhibit the batting characteristics of the Mick.
Mantle won three MVP Awards and was an All-Star every year except for two seasons, 1951 and 1966.
Mickey led the Yankees to seven world championships over his 18 big league seasons, all of them in pinstripes. He hit 18 home runs and had 40 RBI in 12 World Series appearances.
He was finally forced into retirement in 1968 by chronic knee issues that curtailed his career. He became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, and needless to say, has his No. 7 retired by the Yankees.