Mickey Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, batting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBIs. My brother and I often heard some of our friends that didn’t exactly root for Mantle or the New York Yankees claim that Mantle usually hit home runs when the Yankees were well ahead or far behind.

Baseball-Reference has posted data that allow us to discover if that claim is true.

The Yankees opened the 1956 season in Washington. In his first at-bat of the season, Mantle hit a two-out home run against Camilo Pascual to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. He put the game away with a three-run blast in the sixth inning for an 8-2 lead on the way to a 10-4 win.

In 1956, Mantle hit 10 home runs with the score tied, seven home runs with the Yankees behind by one run and six home runs with the Yankees ahead by only one run.

Twenty-three of his 52 home runs, 44 percent, were hit when they were most meaningful.

bWE is a statistic that calculates a team’s win expectancy after any play in a game.

After a Mantle home run, the Yankees’ win expectancy was at least 90 percent 12 times, at least 80 percent nine times and at least 70 percent five times.

Only 11 of his 52 home runs resulted in the Yankees’ win expectancy being less than 50 percent.

I guess my friends were wrong during Mantle’s Triple Crown season.

Mantle distributed his home runs nicely. He never had a three-home run game and hit two home runs six times, which means that he hit home runs in 46 of the games in which he played.

The Yankees won the pennant and faced the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. Much had always been expected of Mantle, but coming off such a dominant season put even more pressure on him, if that was possible.

In the Series opener, against Sal Maglie with Enos Slaughter on first and one out in the first inning, Mantle hit a home run—just as he had done his first at-bat in the regular season.

The Yankees won in seven hard-fought games. Mantle was considered to have had only a decent World Series because he batted .250, more than 100 points less than he hit in the regular season.

In 2012, we know that Mantle didn’t perform only decently. He had a great World Series because his on base percentage was .400, his slugging percentage was .667 and he hit three home runs, which was only one short of the record for a seven-game Series.

It’s amazing how Mantle gets better and better despite not having played a game in over 40 years.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com