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1969 Mickey Mantle Inscribed "Retirement Day" Ball with Iron-Clad Provenance
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,938
On June 8, 1969, Mickey Mantle received the highest honor obtainable by a New York Yankees player when the club retired his legendary number "7" and added his plaque to the center-field wall, where it joined those of Ruth, Gehrig, Huggins, and other Yankee immortals. Offered here is a remarkable Mickey Mantle signed baseball dating from that historic day. While we are sure Mantle signed many balls for fans that day, this is, without question, the finest example one could imagine by virtue of Mantle's special inscription and its impeccable provenance. Mantle has inscribed the official American League (Cronin) ball in black ink (grading "6/7") on a side panel "To Frank/My Best Wishes/On my Day of Retirement/Mickey Mantle." The "Frank" to whom this ball is addressed is none other than Frank Scott, baseball's first player agent, and Mantle's longtime business agent and friend. Many years ago our consignor obtained this ball directly from Scott, who has not only provided a one-page handwritten letter LOA, but also a photo of Mantle signing this very ball for him in the locker room after the ceremonies! Both the letter and photo, as well as a ticket stub from the game, accompany the ball. In his letter, dated June 8, 1994 (exactly twenty-five years after the event) on Frank Scott Associates letterhead, Scott attests to the ball's provenance and also references the photo: In full: "Dear Charlie: The picture of Mickey Mantle signing the Yankee baseball, accompanied by the baseball as well was autographed to me personally on the day of his retirement #7 in June of 1969. During that time and during his entire playing career I represented regarding his outside activities. Respectfully, Frank Scott." The 10 x 8-inch black-and-white photo pictures Mantle in the clubhouse signing the ball as Scott looks on. The photographer's credit, "Louis Requena," appears on the reverse. Louis Requena was a well-known New York sports photographer and is best known by collectors today for a series of New York Yankees picture postcards he published between the years 1964 and 1966. Mantle officially retired on March 1, 1969, during spring training, but it wasn't until June 8th of that year that the club officially honored him by holding its second "Mickey Mantle Day." (The first "Mickey Mantle Day" was held in 1966.) Over 60,000 fans packed Yankee Stadium that day to honor Mantle, and in his speech he honored their loyalty: "Playing eighteen years in Yankee Stadium for you folks was the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer." Other than Mantle's Hall of Fame induction, the 1969 "Mickey Mantle Day" was certainly the greatest postseason honor he ever received and this ball remains a significant, tangible memento from that most celebrated event. The ball displays light surface wear and is in Excellent condition. The photo displays a small tear in the lower right border and surface paper loss on the reverse from having once been mounted, and then removed, from an album. Together with a ticket stub (1.5 x 2.5 inches, Ex-Mt) from the June 8, 1966, "Mickey Mantle Day" game. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Total: 3 items (ball, photo, ticket stub). Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,938
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