With the newest alcohol struggles admitted by Texas Rangers Outfielder Josh Hamilton last week, comparisons can be made to the Yankee great Mickey Mantle.
Both MVP power hitters plagued by injuries, endured constant battle against alcohol abuse.
Mantle an MVP in ’56, ’57 and ’62 died during a liver transplant due of cirrhosis mostly caused by his drinking habit in 1995.
Mantle lead the league in homeruns four times in his career but missed over 100 games due to injury. In fact in 1963 Mantle missed 89 games just a year after winning the MVP award.
Hamilton also missed almost six weeks of the 2011 season just a year after being crowned MVP.
Josh and Mickey both played through their pain. Mantle having a lifelong chronic pain due to osteomyelitis an illness he inherited from football injury in his youth. Hamilton has missed games in every season of his career ranging from knee contusions, trunk contusions, hamstring problems but most recently playing the entire postseason with a hernia that required surgery once the season was over.
Josh’s most impactful injury came off the field in 2001 when he was involved in a car accident that sparked his alcohol and drug dependency.
Subsequently Mantle recalled a memory of himself and friends drinking and driving that made him decide to give up alcohol for good. Mantle became a born again Christian and found faith to help in his fight against alcoholism.
Josh too has become very outspoken giving credit to his Christian beliefs to combat his alcoholism.
Hamilton admitting to a relapse last week said, “I had a weak moment…”
After a grueling year of coming within one pitch twice of winning the World Series and seeing it slip away for the second straight year. Dealing with his injuries, recovering from recent surgery, contract negotiations as well as the burden of the Shannon Stone accident [fan who fell to his death reaching for souvenir tossed by Josh Hamilton] most fans are dismissing Josh’s moment of weakness and have faith that he’ll have another strong season.
Regardless of injury problems and a battle against alcoholism, fans admire Josh’s inspired outlook and his remarkable talent, just as they did for legendary Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.