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1951 Kansas City Blues Team-Signed Program with Mickey Mantle - Mantle's Final Game with the Team
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,998
Rare 1951 Kansas City Blues baseball program, issued for a game against Toledo, signed on the reverse in pencil by Mickey Mantle and eight other Kansas City Blues players. This is a very rare and substantial program from Mantle's brief career in the Minor Leagues. The fact that Mantle is pictured on the cover in the Blues team photo makes this an extraordinary display piece as well as an extremely historic early Mantle item. This program is all the more significant in that it dates from one of Mantle’s final three games with Kansas City prior to his being recalled by the Yankees on August 20th. Mantle’s signature appears along the top border and grades “8.” The remaining eight Kansas City signatures are those of Andy Carey, Clint Courtney, Max Peterson, Rex Jones, Don Bollweg, Kal Segrist, Hank Wyse, and Kite Thomas. The signatures of three Toledo players also appear on the back cover: Paul Foytack, John Weiss, and Dwain Sloat. All of the signatures are fairly uniform in grade, averaging “8.” Mantle, who was nineteen years old at the time, began the 1951 season with the Yankees but soon became mired in a horrendous slump. On July 16th, the Yankees optioned Mantle to the Kansas City Blues, a triple A affiliate, in the hopes that he could regain his confidence at the plate. Instead, the move had the reverse effect. Mantle was devastated by the demotion and his slump worsened. Depressed and down on himself, he called his father, Mutt, to tell him that he was quitting. His father immediately got in his car and drove five hours from Commerce, Oklahoma, to Kansas City to confront his son. Instead of comforting Mickey, his father began packing his son’s bags, telling him that he thought he raised a man, not a coward. The words stung Mickey and soon he was pleading with his father to let him stay. That night, with his father watching in the stands, Mantle broke out of his slump with two home runs. Mantle continued to stay hot, batting .361 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI over the course of forty games with the club. Mantle’s final three games with Kansas City were against Toledo, with a single game on Friday, August 17th, and a doubleheader on Sunday, August 19th. This program, which is not scored, is from one of those three games. The interior scorecard lists Mantle, and all of the position players, under the heading “utility.” A separate page lists the team’s roster, including Mantle (#20 – OF). A Kansas City home schedule, located on page four, shows that the only time Toledo visited Kansas City during Mantle’s brief stay with the club was for the three games between August 17th and 19th. Mantle returned to the Yankees on August 20th and helped lead the club to its third consecutive World Championship. The eighteen-page program (6.75 x 10 inches) displays normal handling wear and is in Excellent condition overall. This is an extremely rare and highly desirable Mickey Mantle signed program dating from one of his last three games with Kansas City. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $1,998
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