March 2019 Auction
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Graded NM 7 by SGC. By the time he was 15, Mickey Mantle was playing semipro ball with the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids, a local team of miners, former high-school stars, and even a former minor leaguer once in a while. One day late in that 1948 season, a New York Yankees scout named Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to evaluate one of Mantle’s teammates, a third baseman named Billy Johnson. But his focus quickly turned to the 16-year-old shortstop, who hit two long home runs, one right-handed and one left-handed. Both landed in a creek well beyond the outfield fence. After the game Greenwood approached Mantle and asked: “How would you like to play for the Yankees?” Mickey and his father were both stunned at first, but soon became excited about the prospect of Mickey becoming a Yankee. Greenwade explained that because Mickey was only 16 years old, he would have to wait until he graduated from high school before the Yankees could sign him. Sure enough, when Mantle graduated the next spring, Greenwade offered him a contract to play for the Yankees’ Class D minor-league team in Independence, Kansas. He received an $1,100 signing bonus and a salary of $400 for the rest of the season. In 1949 he hit an impressive .315 for the Independence Yankees in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) League. When Mantle arrived at spring training in 1951, clubhouse manager Pete Sheehy gave him uniform number 6, the implication being that Mantle was expected to be the next great Yankee, and therefore should succeed Ruth (uniform number 3), Gehrig (4), and DiMaggio (5). “The law of mathematical progression,” Yankees public relations director Red Patterson later called it. Mantle never liked the number or the expectations it raised. Joe DiMaggio increased the heat when he announced on March 1 that 1951 would be his final season. The next day, manager Casey Stengel announced that Mantle would be the Yankee Clipper’s successor. Despite the heavy expectations suddenly thrust upon him, Mantle flourished in spring training, hitting prodigious home runs in batting practice and leaving teammates in the dust during running drills. Stengel was amazed, and he saw the future of the Yankees in the 19-year-old who had never even stepped to the plate in a major-league game. “He has more speed than any slugger I’ve ever seen, and more slug than any other speedster – and nobody has ever had more of both of ’em together. This kid ain’t logical. He’s too good. It’s very confusing,” the manager proclaimed. Offered is a recently graded example of most likely the most coveted pasteboard within our hobby, the esteemed 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle! Four utterly pristine endpoints surround the interior of this famed collectible and each corner far surpasses the level of the opined grade. The surface is awash in a blaze of azure blue that seems to provide the detail of a photograph rather than the lackluster appearance of just color printed on a palate of cardboard. From the regal flesh tones of the young sluggers face to the crowning adornment of the Yankee cap upon Mick's head, each and every positive of the offered card elevates it from the norm to the sublime. The centering is astute from right to left while the north to south centering shows an ever so slight bias for the northern border. In years past this centering would be more than acceptable for a grading category one full grade in advance of the currently assessed level, and as such it should be noted and pointed out that cards not the equal of this card aesthetically have been graded at a higher tier and therefore sell at levels in advance of $400,000. The surface offers a scintillating layer of original gloss that accentuates all of the previously mentioned positives, while the reverse is a pleasing palate of battleship gray and scarlet that offers an appearance void of any staining with the centering of the bio set a little high towards the left side if viewing the card horizontally. One of the finest examples we have offered and without question the finest NM copy within our great hobby!
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 7 NM1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 7 NM1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 7 NM
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 7 NM
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