Mantle becomes sixth player to reach 500 home runs

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Craig Muder

It was a club that only included five members prior to May 14, 1967 – and all five were known by singular names.

Ottie. Ted. Jimmie. Willie. And the Babe.

Then Mickey joined the fraternity.

Mickey Charles Mantle entered the 1967 season with 496 home runs in his 16 big league campaigns. Mantle hit his fourth home run of the season on May 14, a solo blast off of the Orioles’ Stu Miller at Yankee Stadium to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead in a game they would go on to win 6-5.

At the time, Ruth paced the record books with 714 career home runs – a mark that would stand until 1974 when Henry Aaron hit No. 715.

Mays, still active in 1967, was second on the list with 546 home runs on May 14, 1967 – followed by Jimmie Foxx (534), Ted Williams (521) and Mel Ott (511).

Mantle would pass Ott by the end of 1967 and stand just three homers short of Williams, whom he would pass in 1968. The Mick would also eclipse Foxx in his final season, ending his career with 536 home runs – third all-time behind Mays and Ruth.

“It was all I lived for, to play ball,” Mantle said.

Two months following Mantle’s 500th home run, a seventh player would join the 500 home run club: Eddie Mathews. The long-time Braves third baseman began his first year with the Astros in 1967 sitting at 493 home runs. He launched his seventh of the season on July 14 against the Giants.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series