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Mickey Mantle’s letter telling kids to avoid alcohol and drugs hits auction block

A handwritten letter penned by Mickey Mantle in which the New York Yankees legend implores children to not use drugs and alcohol has hit the auction block, according to a TMZ Sports report.

Mantle infamously battled chemical dependency issues for years, and his alcoholism necessitated him having a liver transplant later in his life. The letter warns children to not suffer the same fate as him.

“I want to dedicate this book to all my friends. Old, new & especially young friends. Please don’t do alcohol & drugs. I never did drugs but alcohol hurt my career terribly,” Mantle wrote.

Lelands, which is handling the auction of the letter, is unsure what Mantle is referring to when he mentions a book, nor who were the intended recipients of the note.

Mantle, a Hall of Famer, 20-time All-Star, three-time AL MVP and seven-time World Series champion who hit for the Triple Crown in 1956, is of course considered one of the best ballplayers in Major League Baseball history. In the letter, Mantle relays a belief that he could have been even better if he didn’t abuse alcohol.

“I had taken better care of myself I could have done a lot better. I didn’t even take care or do my rehab on my legs like I was supposed to,” the letter reads. “I drank too much when I was playing from 1952, after my dad died till 1969. After I retired in ’69, I drank more and more (I’ll always be ashamed of).”

Mantle’s plea resonates given his personal battles with alcoholism, and it’s clear that the icon hopes the kids he reaches don’t follow the same path.

“So to everyone out there especially young people, little leaguers etc. ‘Don’t end up over the hill before you even start to climb it.’ Makes us all proud of you. Don’t do drugs & alcohol.”

Mantle died at the age of 63 on Aug. 13, 1995, a few short months after receiving a liver transplant due to complications from alcohol-induced cirrhosis as well as hepatitis C. 

As of Thursday, there have been 23 bids, with the current top offer sitting at just over $4,000. The auction ends Friday, and it’s expected that bids will see a significant uptick in value as the opportunity to bid on the one-of-a-kind item nears its conclusion.