Route 66 News

A big statue for The Mick

Four decades after his retirement and nearly 15 years after his death, baseball legend Mickey Mantle finally received a larger-than-life tribute in his Route 66 hometown of Commerce, Okla.

Although Mantle was born in Sallisaw Spavinaw, Okla., his family moved to Commerce when he was 4 and remained there well after the New York Yankees slugger became known as “The Commerce Comet.” Charlie Duboise, who operates the Dairy King restaurant on Route 66 with his mother, said Mantle even owned a house in Commerce for a few years after he became a baseball star, until he eventually moved to Dallas.

Last week, Commerce officials dedicated a huge statue of Mantle swinging a bat, next to Mickey Mantle Field at Commerce High School. According to an article in the Joplin Globe, the statue is 9 feet tall and weighs 900 pounds. It sits on a 5-foot-tall pedestal. Artist Nick Calcagno designed the statue.

Local officials also plan to build a parking lot and sidewalk near the statue.

The project cost $75,000, and was paid with Oklahoma Centennial funds. The statue stands just west of a big curve of U.S. 69, aka Route 66, just outside the baseball diamond’s centerfield wall.

Commerce named a main street, a local baseball tournament, and the diamond after Mantle, but the town never had anything truly larger than life until now.

I found Calcagno’s creation to be an good likeness of Mantle, especially the facial features.

Mantle was baseball’s best player of the 1950s (only Willie Mays was close) and was one of the best of the 1960s. He was voted Most Valuable Player three times; won the Triple Crown in 1956 by leading the American League in home runs, RBI and batting average; earned a Gold Glove as a center fielder; led the league in home runs four times; hit more than 500 career home runs; and earned seven World Series rings.

He also was baseball’s best switch-hitter ever, bar none. If you want to see Mantle’s jaw-dropping statistics, go here.

Mantle, whose remarkable career was slowed somewhat by injuries, retired after the 1968 season. He died of cancer in 1995.

8 thoughts on “A big statue for The Mick

  1. Terry Gene Hembree, Esquire

    Enjoyed you taking the space to highlight the new statue in Commerce, Oklahoma honoring Mickey Charles Mantle.
    It seems all you ever hear is the negative, only the close friends and family new of all the positive worthwhile incidents that Mick’ was involved with
    A great friend, father, husband and super ball player that is unmatched today
    A note that should be added is that Nick A. Calcagno has passed since he designed the sculpture that was most recently erected in Commerce
    Dr. Calcagno was a fantastic artist and sculptor
    Check out our online dedication to Mick’ at http://www.mickeymantlememorial.com and you may email us at [email protected]

  2. Noel Hamiel

    It’s a fitting tribute to the best ballplayer ever, when healthy. I look foward to seeing it in person.

  3. Marv Kereluke

    Just returned home to Canada from Florida and Yankees Spring Training. Detoured on way home to cut into NorthEastern Oklahoma to visit the statue of my all-time baseball hero. This is as close as I’ve come to the living ‘Mick’ and I can say in all honesty that this is as close as one can come to the real thing. The statue is large, accurate and very impressive if not imposing. Just as he was to opposing pitchers. My wife and I took many pictures, which will now become part of my vast collection. What a fabulous tribute to the great American Dream of becoming anything you want no matter where your from. We just hope that Mantle’s legend can be further perpetuated in Commerce where it all began.

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  5. Mary Calcagno McNair

    Nick Calcagno was my uncle. Although I have never been to OK to see his work personally, I keep up with it online. I live in NC and can’t wait to go to DC to see this amazing work.

    1. Marv Kereluke

      I was born and raised on the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada. Never got to see the Mick play. Three years ago, while on the way home to Canada we took the long way home so as to pass through Commerce. This was approx. 500 miles out of our way. It was well worth it when I saw the statue. It is a beautiful piece of art and a fitting tribute to No. 7.

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