1964 Mickey Mantle Pro-Model Bat with Provenance and Letter from Teammate Johnny Blanchard

Sold For: $8,813

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1364

Item Year: 1964

Category: Game-Used Bats

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This Mickey Mantle H&B signature-model "K90" bat, which was manufactured in 1964, has a unique dual-player history and is accompanied by one-page handwritten letter of provenance from Johnny Blanchard, who was Mantle's teammate in 1964. In his accompanying letter (8.5 x 11 inches), written on Blanchard's personal letterhead, Blanchard fully chronicles the bat's history. In full: To whom it may concern - This bat was given to me by Mickey Mantle, my teammate. I had used a different one in batting practice and hit the ball pretty good. I had told him I did like the model (K90). So the game starts and he used this particular bat. You might know, he popped up and was really mad. He came in the dugout and told me I could have the bat. I quickly put my number on the knob and drew my number #38 with two lines underneath. So, the next day I used it and broke it on my first at bat. Sincerely, Johnny Blanchard. The bat, as one would expect given Blanchard's account, displays light use, including a few ball marks on the back of the barrel, rack marks, and a twelve-inch "H" crack in the handle (a small 3.5-inch sliver of wood is missing from the cracked portion of the handle). Blanchard's uniform number ("38") is written on the knob in black marker. Mantle stood five feet, eleven inches in height, while Blanchard was two inches taller. Each was listed at 198 pounds during his playing days. Given the fact that both men were nearly identical in terms of physical proportions, its no surprise that they would use bats of similar size and weight. Unfortunately for Blanchard, it was there that the similarities ended. Mantle enjoyed another banner season in 1964, batting .303 with 35 home runs, and 111 RBI in leading the Yankees to their fifth consecutive pennant. Blanchard, who was one of the Yankees' key reserve players during that same pennant-winning span, finished the season with 7 home runs, 28 RBI, and a .255 average. Mickey Mantle pro-model bats remain among the most desirable of all those used by postwar Hall of Fame players and this example, its dual-player use not withstanding, is particularly exceptional in part because of its outstanding provenance. For nearly all pro-model bats, game use by the respective player is normally inferred, but is rarely certain. That is not the case with this particular bat. Here we not only have first-party documentation from Mantle's teammate that Mantle used this bat in a game, but from design features in the manufacturer's stampings (specifically the length of the lightening bolts under "Powerized" on the barrel) it can also be dated precisely to the year 1964. Rarely, if ever, is a pro-model bat, let alone one used by Mantle, so conclusively documented with regard to game use. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 31.8 ounces. This bat has been authenticated by PSA/DNA. Of special note is the fact that PSA/DNA, as stated in its accompanying Letter of Authenticity, actually contacted Blanchard to confirm all of the statements in his letter before issuing its own letter. LOA from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,813

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