This forlorn figure, writhing in pain in the dust of a New York park, is baseball's most valuable property, the American League's biggest gate attraction and, for eight of the last 10 seasons, the New York Yankees' one-man band—Mickey Mantle. Sprinting to beat out a grounder hit off the Minnesota Twins' Dick Stigman, Mantle tore a muscle in his right thigh. The injury, his 20th since 1950, sent Mickey crashing to the ground. The immediate question was: Had the Yankees' hopes crashed with him?

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