Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unbelievably rare Mickey Mantle gamer surfaces for Heritage Auctions April Sports event

Feb. 5, 2010
Posted by Noah

An extensively photo-matched, researched and authenticated New York Yankees jersey worn by Mickey Mantle during the 1967-68 MLB season – truly one of the greatest Mantle-related pieces of memorabilia to ever surface in the hobby – will make its’ world auction premiere as part of Heritage Auction Galleries April 22-23 Signature® Sports Memorabilia Auction, live in Dallas and online via It is estimated at $100,000+.

Let's turn to Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage Sports, for his opinion, yes?

“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.

After Mantle agreed to participate in the clinic, the “O” was stripped and replaced with a block lettered "NEW YORK," which is how the jersey appeared when it came to Heritage from the consignor, a friend of one of the boys who had attended the camp. The stitching path of the original "NY" logo still remains clearly visible, even after expert restoration to return the jersey to its original appearance. Importantly, however, the number "7" on the reverse shows no such sign of removal or replacement.
"In actuality, the jersey also saw active duty in the spring of 1969, and could therefore be justifiably billed as Mantle's last pinstripes,” Chris said. “We know for sure that this was the very jersey that The Mick wore on the cover of the Mickey Mantle Day program distributed to more than 60,000 fans at Yankee Stadium on June 8, 1969.”

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.

“Now, in a magical moment, Mantle has once more surfaced to gift us with his immortal presence in the form of this long-hidden gamer,” Chris said. “It’s easily one of the most important and desirable Mantle artifacts ever to reach the public auction block.”

To leave a comment, click on the title of this post.

-Noah Fleisher

No comments:

Post a Comment