You bring up Mickey Mantle. What about Babe Ruth calling his own shots? Or Ty Cobb the trash talker who tried to hurt people? Or all the dirty play that used to happen on the football field where they actually tried to hurt each other? I guess that is overlooked by fans like you that believe in perception versus reality. The perception is they didn't used to trash talk each other. The reality is they used to bash on each other all the time even worse than they do they nowadays. It often was very physical to the point of trying to hurt a guy. Not to mention all the racist garbage in lockerrooms.
There is the illusion of a given time and the reality. You believe in the illusion when in reality the players are better to each other today than in the past. The game is safer and played tighter in almost every sport. There's a reason old school football players had missing teeth and looked like they were in a brawl.
The only difference between nowadays and then is advent of social media. If you had had social media and the level of media coverage you have nowadays, you probably would have found out a lot of nasty stuff about old school athletes and the way they conducted themselves. Old word was a dirty world where they brushed under the carpet drunkness, wife beating, womanizing, drug use, and all the other negative behaviors people worked so hard to keep quiet.