80070: 1951 Mickey Mantle World Series Game Used Bat, P
After a forty-game demotion to Kansas City and a famous pep talk from his father Mutt, Mantle returned to the Big Apple with a number "7" on his back and a fire in his belly, clubbing thirteen homers and sixty-five RBI's in 96 games of action to earn a spot on the starting roster for what would prove to be the last of six Yankees/Giants "Subway Series," and the first of a dozen appearances for the Mick on the game's grandest stage. His devastating knee ligament tear in Game Two would bring a sudden end to Mantle's 1951 season, and in many ways set the tone for the rest of his career as one of injury and self-medication.
Presented is one of just two bats issued to the rookie Mantle for this historic Series, and the only example known to survive to this day. The signature model Hillerich & Bradsby T41 provides a block lettered "World Series 1951, New York Yankees" framing the facsimile signature on the barrel, and heavy use with repaired handle and barrel and scattered ball marks, stitch impressions and cleat marks. We must report that a percentage of this use is not Mantle's--the lumber took on a second career in the sandlots of the Mick's childhood home of Commerce, Oklahoma. It was a gift from Mantle to his high school baseball coach who passed the bat on to his young friend Gomer Evans, a youngster who, like most boys in this small town, idolized the Mick.
Certainly this secondary usage does nothing to dampen the appeal of what must be considered one of the most important and desirable bats of the post-war era. The historic ash relic measures thirty-five inches in length and just under thirty-four ounces in weight, and makes its hobby debut in this Platinum Night auction. The PSA/DNA letter of examination notes that the incorrect T61 model number penned in the Hillerich & Bradsby ordering records for this September 28, 1951 delivery "is a simple clerical error at the factory and in no way detracts from the bat's authenticity." The letter also addresses a repair to the back barrel and handle, accounting for the lost points in the GU 8 rating. The bat is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the Evans family, who recount that Gomer was informed at the time of receipt that this was the bat with which Mantle cracked his only hit of the 1951 Series. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 8.