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Superstar athletes and their legacies

Baseball and football are two of the biggest sports in America. Youngsters dream of being superstars in these sports.

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Mickey Mantle is a baseball superstar from a previous generation. During an interview on the George Michael Sports Machine television program in October 1994, Mantle was asked what he was proud of most. He answered, “That I was liked by my teammates.

“I’m a team man,” he continued. “On my headstone, I wouldn’t want them to write that I was a great long ball hitter. I want them to write that I was liked by my teammates.”

A year later, after receiving a liver transplant to save his life, Mantle would acknowledge his problem with heavy drinking – and then lose his life to the effects of many years of alcohol abuse. At his funeral, sportscaster Bob Costas referred to Mantle as “the most compelling baseball hero of our lifetime.” But a year earlier, Mantle himself had stated, “I wasn’t like I should be. I wasn’t a good husband or father.”

Mantle had not realized, until it was too late, how destructive his drinking was. He didn’t know any better at the time. He didn’t realize, as a baseball superstar, the kind of legacy he would be leaving behind. He didn’t realize how much he would regret his actions.

“This is a role model?” he said in a television interview from his hospital bed. “Don’t be like me.”

Now you know. Now you have an opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes.

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