Mickey Mantle was without a doubt the best switch hitter in pro baseball history. Mickey Mantle played pro baseball for the New York Yankees. Mickey's best buddies on that team were Whitey Ford and Billie Martin. These three were known for their legendary baseball careers - they were also known for their partying, corousing, womanizing ways.
You might remember that Mickey played Right Field for most of his pro career. Listen to some of Mickey Mantle's VITAL STATISTICS - Home Runs - 536; Leader in RBI's; MVP in the American League; Triple Crown; MVP in the world series; MVP in the entire Majors...But when you look for the only Vital Statistic that really counts of a persons life - a relationship to Jesus Christ - we don't hear much about that with Mickey Mantle. Did Mickey Mantle ever come to know the Lord Jesus Christ? Or, will Mickey Mantle be separarted from God for all eternity?
Now, thank the Lord Mickey Mantle had some other friends - not all were partiers; not all of his teammates got into drunken brawls in bars night after night. Tony Kubek, the great shortstop on those great Yankee teams - Tony was a dynamic Christian. Bobby Richardson, maybe one of the greatest 2nd basemen to ever play the game was on those Yankee penant teams. Bobby loved the Lord and still serves Him and speaks for God around the world today. 2 of Bobby's sons are preachers - one son is his pastor - of a SBC church in the Carolina's.
Bobby shared Christ with Mickey Mantle so many times. When Bobby Richardson retired from the Yankees, Yankee stadium was filled to capacity to honor this baseball legend. Bobby Richardson, at his own personal expense paid for a gospel tract - explaining clearly God's plan for every persosns life to be in a right relationship to God. At home plate when all the accolades and all the honors of a 10 year career were handed to him - Bobby gave all the accolades and all the honor to his Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ. Bobby lovingly kept a relationship with his dear friend, Mickey Mantle - and every time they gathered for those famous Yankee reunions and all-star games - Bobby shared his faith in Jesus. Mickey never responded at all.
Then one day life tumbled in for Mickey Mantle. Liver Cancer. Mickey Mantle is famous for the saying, "If I'd have known I was going to live this long - I'd have taken better care of myself!" AMEN!
Mickey Mantle received a liver transplant. In fact, at Baylor Hospital in Dallas - chaplains shared faith in Jesus with Mickey. The food service people saw to it that a gospel tract was carefully placed under his dinner plate every day. Still, no response from Mickey.
As Mickey's life slowly wasted away at Baylor Hospital - Mickey Mantle called to see his friend, Bobby Richardson. Bobby and his wife of 50 plus years (Betty) walked into Mickey's hospital room Mickey Mantle announced to his friends of the years - "Bobby, I want you to know that yesterday I bacame a Christian!"
What good news. What great news! no one knows whose witness finally did it and that's not the important part. What is most important is that Mickey Mantle accepted Jesus as the Lord of his life.
Betty Richardson - wanted to know that Mickey knew - she said, "Now Mickey, I want to make sure I have this straight - you say you've trusted the Lord...Mickey let me ask you - if you died tonight and faced God and should God ask you, 'Mickey, why should I let YOU into my heaven?' Mickey waht would you say?
Mickey Mantle said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son' that whosover believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Mickey Mantle said, "It's the only verse of the Bible I know - but it seems it is the most important verse in the Bible! They tell me I can face God with trust in my heart and this one verse..."
At Mickey Mantle's funeral Bobby Richardson told 2,000 people and a national television audience - there are only two kinds of people: "Those who say "yes" to Christ and those who say, "No!" to Him.
The Bible confirms this in John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life - but he who rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."