Rare 1970 Mickey Mantle Handwritten Letter with Outstanding Baseball Content

Sold For: $5,700

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1666

Item Year: 1970

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Rare Mickey Mantle handwritten letter with incredible baseball content, including Mantle's greatest thrill in baseball. This one-page letter, written on January 6, 1970, was sent to our consignor, Bill Hongach, in response to a phone call Hongach made requesting Mantle to answer the following five questions: 1) What was your greatest thrill in baseball? 2) Who was the toughest pitcher you were ever up against? 3) Do you think baseball has seen its last 400 hitter? 4) What are your hobbies and pastimes? 5) What goals do you have for the future? In his letter, printed in blue ink on his personal letterhead, Mantle was kind enough to answer each question. In full:

Dear Bill - I'll do my best to answer your questions. (1) The day the Yankees retired No. 7 at Yankee Stadium. (2) The toughest left hander was Sandy Koufax. The Right-hander would be Don Drysdale. (3) I don't think anyone will ever hit .400 again. The pitchers are too good. (4) Golf, fishing, Bird-hunting. (5) To be a good business-man. Thank you. Mickey Mantle [signed].

Both Mantle's printed text and his scripted signature are boldly executed and grade "10." As most collectors are aware, Mickey Mantle handwritten letters are rare, especially those offering significant baseball content. This is the first Mantle handwritten letter we have ever offered and one of fewer than five we have seen at auction in the past twenty years. Although the letter is not dated, it is accompanied by its original "Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin" mailing envelope, addressed to our consignor, and postmarked "Jan. 6 1970 Dallas TX." Together with a separate sheet, dated "1-6-70" and typed by Mantle's secretary, listing the questions asked by Hongach. It was during this time that Hongach wrote to hundreds of ballplayers, asking them similar questions. Recently, Hongach has been publishing all the approximately 1,000 letters he received back from the players in a series of books titled In Their Own Write. This letter appears in Volume III of that series. The entire original letter collection featured in Volume III is offered in the preceding lot. This one letter, given its significance, was culled from that group and offered separately. The letter (5.5 x 8.5 inches) displays a horizontal and vertical mailing fold; otherwise in Near Mint condition. The envelope (9.5 x 4.25 inches) is in Very Good to Excellent condition, while the secretary's type note (4 x 5 inches) to Mantle displays a vertical fold and is in Excellent to Mint condition. Total: 3 items (letter, envelope, and secretary's note). Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Becket Authentication. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).

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