Mickey Mantle Tattoos
February 25, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Did Mickey Mantle have tattoos?

In this photo Jason Kottke posted to his blog from Life Magazine it looks like Mickey Mantle had sleeves (tattoos). Is this true or a distortion in the photo?
posted by blueplasticfish to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The dark bit? That's an undershirt with the sleeves pulled up.
posted by holgate at 11:19 AM on February 25, 2012

If you are looking at what I think you are looking at, those are surgery scars. Some info here.
posted by cushie at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2012

All I see is fuzzy arm hair and shadows.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:22 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nope, just gigantic arms.

Another photo - arm & shoulder
posted by swngnmonk at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Referring to his forearm. But in looking at it, I'm almost certain it's blond arm hair. One of those bizarre perception problems, I suppose.
posted by blueplasticfish at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2012

In that era, tattoos were unusual and certainly not mainstream. Additionally, it's doubtful that the team's dress code would have permitted it (along with facial hair) unless it was a carryover from military service (the Navy in particular, but not exclusively).
posted by tommasz at 11:51 AM on February 25, 2012

I've read Last Boy:Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood and a tattoo is never mentioned.
posted by Lucinda at 12:22 PM on February 25, 2012

No way. Literally the only people that had tattoos back then were sailors and criminals.
posted by gnutron at 12:37 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The photo doesn't look like tattoos to me, and echoing what others have said, tattoos, and especially sleeve tattoos, would have been unusual for this era.
posted by zippy at 3:04 PM on February 25, 2012

He's just got really hairy arms.
posted by loriginedumonde at 3:11 PM on February 25, 2012

If you put this in image-editing software of your choice and do a gamma correction, you will see only hair and flesh on the forearm. Nothing like a tattoo (although it's possible the surgery scars are visible; it's hard to tell).

Here's a rare example of a player from the era sporting a tattoo. As that blog post indicates, any ink would have also shown up in other photographs, but there was a tattoo taboo as late as the 1990s.
posted by dhartung at 5:00 PM on February 26, 2012

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