An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Mickey Mantle: “The Mick” Card
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Monday, March.18, 2013
MLB Reports: We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports. Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.
An American Hobby
Just as Joe DiMaggio was winding down his career in 1951, a nineteen-year-old wunderkind burst upon the MLB scene. His name was Mickey Mantle, he hailed from Commerce, Oklahoma, and he was the walking, talking personification of the All-American boy. The Mick was boyishly handsome, strong, sleek, and fast as the wind.
And he could hit Home Runs further than anyone in the game. When he won the Triple Crown in 1956 he captured the hearts and souls of an entire generation of youngsters who would go on to be known as the Baby Boomers. But just like Roy Hobbs, The Natural, in Bernard Malamud’s 1952 story, his personality flaws along with injuries, would keep Mantle from realizing his full potential.
The Yankees seemed to be blessed with sterling talent that showed up at just the right time. As Babe Ruth’s career with the Bronx Bombers wound down, Lou Gehrig was there to carry the team forward. When Gehrig’s career came to an abrupt and tragic end, Joe DiMaggio was just establishing himself as the preeminent Center Fielder of his day.
Mickey Mantle’s 500th HR(3rd one in) is amongst these 7 Mantle videos :
As Joltin’ Joe stepped gracefully into retirement, The Mick magically appeared on the scene. He was the whole package, a five tool player, who had the potential to carry on the tradition of superstar Yankees. But could he deliver?
The answer was a definitive “yes, and then some”. During Mantle’s eighteen year career, the Yankees won twelve pennants and seven World Series. He captured three MVP awards and finished second three times. Two of those second place finishes came in 1960 and ‘61 when he lost to his teammate Roger Maris.
In 1961, he and Maris became the greatest Home Run hitting duo in MLB history when they hit 54 and 61 dingers, respectively. Maris’ record breaking Home Run total was undoubtedly due, in great measure, to the fact that he saw more than his share of fastballs as the pitcher couldn’t help but notice The Mick waiting in the on-deck circle. Throw in his Triple Crown performance in 1956 and his 536 Home Runs (16th best ALL – Time) and there’s no doubt that Mickey Mantle delivered in spades.
But statistics alone do not capture the magic of Mickey Mantle. In the eyes of his multitude of fans, he was a larger than life, iconic hero who existed on a higher plateau than all other athletes. The Mick was revered.
Sadly, his life off the field was filled with unhappiness and family strife. Alcohol got the best of him. The combination of injury, illness, and neglect shortened his career. Although he played for eighteen years, his productivity declined dramatically in his last four years.
His last “Mickey Mantle year” came in 1964, at the age of 32. Nonetheless, The Mick is #12 in career offensive WAR, a clear indicator of just how great a ballplayer he was. Those ahead of him (with the exception of Ted Williams who lost five years to military service) played significantly longer than Mantle. There’s no telling what Mickey’s career numbers would have been if he had been able to stay healthy.
The reverence with which Mantle is held can clearly be seen in the world of baseball memorabilia where anything Mickey Mantle commands a handsome premium. His 1952 Topps Card is one of the most sought after cards in the hobby; demand greatly exceeds supply.
Do you have any Mickey Mantle memorabilia – let us know!
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. He inherited his love of baseball from his dad. The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field. This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career. While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards.
His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years. Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball. He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball! Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below. Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball. Follow @chinmusicstory
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Posted on March 18, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1927 New York Yankees, 1952 Topps set MLB Baseball, 1961 HR Race MLB, @chinmusicstory on twitter, AL: triple crown winner', babe ruth, bernie malamud, boston red sox, chin music story the Book, joe dimaggio, lee edelstein, lou gehrig, mickey mantle, new york yankees, roger maris, roy hobbs, ted williams, the natural. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.