Mickey Mantle was the New York Yankees' most beloved slugger since Babe Ruth
. He played his first game for the Yankees in 1951, the same year Joe DiMaggio
retired; Mantle went on to replace DiMaggio in center field. Mantle was famous for his home run power both right- and left-handed; he hit 536 home runs in his career. Mantle was voted the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1956, 1957 and 1962, and won seven World Series championships with the Yankees before he retired on March 1, 1969. As great as he was, Mantle might have been greater without leg problems that dogged him throughout his career; he tore up his right knee in 1951 when he caught his spikes on a drain cover in a World Series game. A famously hard drinker, Mantle went to the Betty Ford Clinic for alcohol treatment in 1994 and received a liver transplant in 1995, shortly before his death.