mantle

Merlyn Johnson, Mickey Mantle and Merlyn’s younger sister, Pat Johnson LaFalier, are seen sitting on a sofa in the Johnson home. LaFalier, now 75, lives at Miami, Okla.

Mickey Mantle's childhood home in Commerce, Oklahoma, has been vandalized.

The home, located at 319 S. Quincy Street, is owned by Brian Brassfield of Miami, Oklahoma, and Tony Holden of Tulsa.

"Brian and I have been friends for a long time, grade school, high school," Holden said. "It was something that Brian had a passion for, and I went in half on it. Brian went in and put all timeline furniture. He talked to the Mantle family and made it exactly inside as it was when Mickey was raised there. They kept the barn leaning because that's how Mickey talked about it. They constructed it where the barn is still leaning. It's something we enjoy doing."

Holden said there was no major damage to the four-room house.

"I got a call from the mayor saying it was vandalized," Holden said. "Windows were knocked out. Eggs were thrown inside. It's nothing totally destroyed. It can be fixed.

"It is sad because it makes no sense. The Mantle home is like a crown jewel of Commerce. Whenever I'm by there, tourists are driving by, taking pictures of it. It broke my heart that someone would do that. We've never had any problems. So we're going to have to put a security camera out there and do some other changes. All the windows had to be boarded up. It's pure vandalism."

Mantle, who became known as the "Commerce Comet," was born in 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. When he was 4 years old, the family moved to Commerce so his father could work in nearby lead and zinc mines.

Mantle was a baseball, football and basketball standout at Commerce High School, and he started playing for the Baxter Springs (Kansas) Whiz Kids when he was 15. After graduating from high school in 1949, Mantle spent two seasons in the minors — Independence Yankees in 1949 and Joplin Miners in 1950 — before joining the New York Yankees in 1951 to start an 18-year Hall of Fame career as one of the best switch-hitters in the history of the game.

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