Jane Leavy is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood (HarperCollins) and Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy (HarperCollins). Entertainment Weekly called her comic novel, Squeeze Play, "The best novel ever written about baseball." Leavy's sought-after keynote presentations focus on topics ranging from baseball legends and the history of baseball, to women's roles in professional sports and sports media. She has appeared recently on Larry King Live, Morning Joe, and CBS's The Early Show.
Leavy's own memories of Mantle fill The Last Boy, as well as her speeches, with reminiscences of a man who led the Yankees to seven world championships, was voted the American League's MVP three times, won the Triple Crown in 1956, and dueled teammate Roger Maris in the thrilling 1961 chase for the single season home-run record -- all the while battling crippling injuries and the lifelong drinking problem that eventually led to his death. As she did so indelibly in her acclaimed biography of Sandy Koufax, Leavy goes beyond the myth and the hyperbole to understand the person Mantle really was and the paradoxical hold "The Mick" had on a generation of baseball fans who revered him.
Leavy was a staff writer at The Washington Post from 1979 to1988, first in the sports section, where she covered baseball, tennis, and the Olympics, and wrote profiles of many of the country's most famous athletes including Mickey Mantle, Martina Navratilova, John Riggins, and Dr. J. Later, she was a features writer for the Style section, where she covered sports, politics, and pop culture.
Before joining The Washington Post, she was a staff writer at womenSports and Self magazines. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, and The Los Angeles Times. Her work has been anthologized in collections such as Best American Sports Writing; Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference; Child of Mine: Essays on Becoming a Mother; Nike Is a Goddess: The History of Women in Sports; and Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend: Women Writers on Baseball. She will be the guest editor, and the first female editor, of the 2011 edition of Best American Sports Writing.
Leavy grew up on Long Island where she pitched briefly and poorly for the Blue Jays of the Roslyn Long Island Little League. As a little girl, Leavy worshipped Mickey Mantle from the second-floor ballroom in the Concourse Plaza Hotel where her grandmother's synagogue held services on the High Holidays.
Leavy attended Barnard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she wrote her master's essay (later published in The Village Voice) on Red Smith, the late sports columnist for The New York Times. She has two adult children, Nick and Emma Isakoff, and lives in Washington, D.C., and Truro, Massachusetts.
Praise for The Last Boy:
"Leavy comes as close as perhaps anyone ever has to answering 'What makes Mantle Mantle?' The Last Boy is something new in the history of the histories of the Mick. It is hard fact, reported by someone greatly skilled at that craft, assembled into an atypical biography by someone equally skilled at doing that, and presented so that the reader and not the author draws nearly all the conclusions."
-- The New York Times
"Candid, compassionate ... the best of the Mantle biographies."
-- Kirkus Reviews starred review
"With storytelling bravado and fresh research ... [in] Leavy's hands, the life of Mantle no longer defies logic. She hits a long home run."
-- Publishers Weekly starred review
"A masterpiece of sports biography."
-- Booklist starred review