By the late 1960s, baseball knew that Mickey Mantle’s days as a player were numbered—there had been whispers that he'd retire before the previous two seasons. But it wasn’t until spring training started in 1969 that Mantle made it official, calling it quits on March 1. Sport magazine’s editors were ready to go with the perfect cover shot: an Ozzie Sweet special capturing Mantle in pinstripes—glove tucked under arm, Yankees hat in hand—as he looked off into the distance.
Even though it appeared on Sport's April 1969 cover, the image actually dates to spring training 1968, when Mantle was starting what would be his final season. Ozzie, anticipating the need for a sort of “farewell” photograph, put his friend Mickey up to the perfect pose, one that reflects his nickname: The Magnificent Yankee.