TourBanner_The Legend of the Mick

by Jonathan Weeks


GENRE: Sports Biography



In the 1950s, America entered the television age. And Mickey Mantle, a country boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, was made for the moment. Signed by the New York Yankees as a teenager, he made his major league debut in 1951 as a right fielder alongside Joe DiMaggio. When DiMaggio retired at the end of the season, Mantle inherited not only Joltin’ Joe’s position in centerfield but also his stature as the face of the franchise. His boyish good looks, breathtaking power from both sides of the plate, and blazing speed on the basepaths made him an instant superstar. He won league MVP three times, came in second three times, was a 16-time All-Star, a Triple Crown winner in 1956, and a seven-time World Series champion.

Mickey Mantle’s career was the stuff of legend and in this book, Jonathan Weeks tells us why. Mantle’s extraordinary (and at times incredible) tales carry readers on an enthralling journey through the life of one of the most celebrated sports figures of the twentieth century.

BookCover_The Legend of The Mick_fc




For more than a century, residents of the Tri-State Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas area have talked about a paranormal phenomenon known as the “Spook Light.” The light has been described by witnesses as an orb of fire about the size of a baseball or basketball. It flickers, dances, and spins—typically in an east to west pattern—while hovering above the treetops. When observers attempt to walk or drive toward it, it disappears.

According to popular legend, the “Spook Light” was first observed by Native Americans along the infamous “Trail of Tears” in 1836. Since then, a number of ghostly stories have circulated regarding its origin. One of the oldest tales centers around a Quapaw Indian maiden and her lover, who leaped to their deaths after the girl’s father forbade them from marrying. Another oft-told yarn involves the spirit of an Osage tribal chief who lost his head in battle and continues to search for it by lantern-light.

The “Spook Light” is commonly seen along a desolate stretch of road near the town of Quapaw, which is located just six miles from Mantle’s hometown of Commerce. The Yankee slugger grew up with these campfire tales and, like many teenagers of the era, enjoyed the associated benefits. By the time he was in high school, the deserted route known as Spooklight Road (or “The Devil’s Promenade” to some) had become a popular make-out spot. In his 1985 autobiography, Mantle remarked, “If you happened to be waiting at the Spook Light and you happened to have a girl with you, it was a pretty good place for necking.” Mantle’s first social outing with his future wife, Merlyn, was a triple date to Spooklight Road. The youngsters piled into Mantle’s 1947 Fleetline Chevy, which he had purchased with his Yankee signing bonus. Though Mantle was paired with another girl that night, he ended up asking Merlyn out on a date after he “struck out” with her friend.

The “Spook Light” continues to be an enduring legend despite scientific research conducted during Mantle’s teen years. In 1945, it was proposed that the phenomenon was caused by the refraction of vehicle headlights over a range of western hills. The following year, an Army Major named Thomas Sheard stationed a vehicle in the region he believed the so-called “Spook Light” was emanating from. He instructed the driver to flash the vehicle’s headlights at a designated time after dark. Observers in the vicinity of Spook Light Road were able to see the flashes. In 1965, Popular Mechanics magazine recruited professors from the University of Arkansas to investigate even further. They confirmed that distant headlights on Route 66 were being distorted by waves of heat, producing the phenomenon.

Those who still cling to paranormal explanations maintain that the “Spook Light” was seen long before the invention of automobiles and is, therefore, an unrelated phenomenon. The first verified written account of the eerie spectacle didn’t appear until 1935. Multiple sources have claimed that a booklet on the topic was released in the 1880s, but concrete evidence of it has not been uncovered. Detailed information about the ethereal orb—complete with driving directions to Spook Light Road—appear on the Joplin, Missouri official website.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District region of New York State. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany and currently works in the mental health field. He has written several sports biographies and two novels, one of which was a posthumous collaboration with his father.


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The author will be giving away a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner.

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Q &A With Jonathan Weeks

Tell us about you as a person.
I guess one of the first things to know about me is that I’ve never really been comfortable talking about myself. I’ve made a habit of dodging the spotlight for most of my life. Growing up in the Capital District Region of New York State, my father was a popular radio personality. I always admired the way he was so fluid around people. Whenever his listeners greeted him in public (which was pretty often), he was always gracious and accommodating. I’ve never felt completely comfortable around people I don’t know. I’m kind of shy at first. I avoided public speaking in high school and college. Maybe that’s why I turned to writing to find my voice.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Last year, I published a Babe Ruth biography. It was the first installment of a New York Yankee trilogy that I’m still working on. Having researched the lives of Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio, I think it would be most enjoyable to hang out with the Babe if I had a choice among the three. He really was a down to earth, fun-loving sort of guy. He was more or less abandoned as a child and always felt he owed something to his fans. He could be crude and boisterous, but he was very generous with his time and money. I completely understand why people loved him so much and still do.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
The Legend of the Mick is the second installment in my Yankee trilogy. If I had to pick a favorite player from the 1950s and ‘60s, it would definitely be Mantle. He lived such a fascinating life. And there was a dichotomy to him. He could be approachable and genial at times, but downright rude when he wasn’t in the mood to socialize with fans or reporters. He came to the majors with very high expectations. There was tremendous pressure on him to perform. When he fell into slumps, fans sometimes booed him. He even got occasional death threats. On the surface, Mantle exuded confidence, but deep down he was insecure. He was a complex guy.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their latest book?
Well, I’m no marketing expert, but I’m a big proponent of virtual book tours. They help you reach a lot more potential readers than any book signing at a brick-and-mortar store. Not that book signings aren’t a good way to connect with readers… I’ve done them myself. You just get a lot more exposure by creating an online presence. Social media is the way to go.

List 5 things on your bucket list.
Ooh, I love this question!
–Attend a World Series game at Yankee Stadium
–Attend a Stanley Cup Finals game in Boston
–Visit Europe (particularly London and Rome)
–Write another novel
–Live long enough to see both of my daughters graduate from college and have children of their own

Any final thoughts?
I guess I should probably plug my books again. I’d love it if people would pick up a copy of The Legend of the Mick. If you enjoy reading about the all-time Yankee greats, you should grab a copy of The Lore of the Bambino while you’re at it. All the popular legends and myths are covered along with tons of lesser-known anecdotes. Be on the lookout for the third book in my trilogy: Tales of the Yankee Clipper, which explores the life and times of Joe DiMaggio.


Posted on March 10, 2023, in Book Tour and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I love to read about sports legends and this book is one of my favorite sports figures of all times-thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a good book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for hosting! I’ll stop back in a little later to respond to any questions or comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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