On what would have been Mickey Mantle’s 80th birthday, LIFE magazine has published previously unseen pictures of the 1961 Yankees. As the magazine explains:
In 1961, during spring training, LIFE gave 25-year-old Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek a camera and asked him to photograph his teammates: Mantle, Berra, Maris, Ford, and the rest of the players on what would, in time, be seen as one of the greatest teams in baseball history. The resulting photos were never published (see slide 12 in this gallery for a possible reason why). Now, five decades later — on what would have been Mickey Mantle’s 80th birthday — LIFE.com presents those never-seen pictures, along with Kubek’s own insights and memories of the era, the Yankees, and his own stellar nine-year career.
Over at the Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe brings some perspective to just how young Mantle was when he died at age 63. That’s younger than Nolan Ryan is right now.
Photo from LIFE magazine