“This amazing jersey truly represents the find of a lifetime for collectors of top shelf baseball memorabilia,” he said. “Even more incredible is the fact that it sat in a private collection for more than three decades with the owner completely unaware of how important and piece it actually is.”
Consigned by a South Florida collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, the jersey found its way to the area after Mantle’s final game in pinstripes when the great slugger participated in a youth baseball camp in spring of 1970. Before that, however, it saw active duty in the minor leagues with the Oneonta Yankees – a farm team for the great franchise – as they trained alongside the professional team in Ft. Lauderdale in 1969, evidenced by a very faint outline of the letter "O" appearing over the heart, which replaced the original iconic “NY” Yankees symbol.
The aging slugger couldn't help but think of a man honored on that same ground three decades earlier as he stepped to the microphone.
"I've often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” Mantle said, “but now I guess I know how he felt."
Like Gehrig, the Mick had nothing left to give to the fans of the Bronx other than his gratitude, the sharp edges of his athletic gifts dulled by injury, hard living and the relentless, unforgiving passage of time.