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1951-1957 Mickey Mantle Pro-Model Team Index Bat
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $4,700
Rare Mickey Mantle Adirondack block-letter ("Mantle Type") bat, model "288C," dating from the 1951-1957 labeling period. Graded A8 by MEARS. Mantle Adirondack bats from the "C" series are considered to be team index bats according to the strict definition of the term: "a bat ordered for general organizational use that coincides with an established or indexed player model or length." Many Major League clubs including the Yankees routinely ordered a small quantity of bats each season, normally for use by the players during spring training. The fact that this bat was ordered by the team (as opposed to being listed in the factory records as ordered by Mantle himself) in no way precludes the possibility that he used it, and, in fact, the qualities of this particular bat, including its unique provenance, support the likelihood that it was ordered by the Yankees for Mantle's personal use, and was, in fact, used by Mantle. This bat originates from a former Chicago White Sox batboy, Thomas DePasquale, who has provided a one-page handwritten letter, dated 9/16/02, detailing its history. In full: "To whom it may concern. I was the batboy for the Chicago White Sox 1951 and 1952. My brother Joe DePasquale was the batboy from end of 1952 through the 1957 season. We both collected baseball bats that we received directly from the players. In the mid nineteen fifties my brother Joe received the Adirondack Mickey Mantle bat directly from Mantle and it was the pride of our collection." In further support of the bat's provenance, DePasquale has also provided four official team photos of the White Sox, from the years 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1957, all of which picture and list his brother as batboy for the club. (Both the letter and photos accompany the bat.) In addition to its provenance, the bat's specifications match up perfectly to all other factory-documented Mantle pro-model bats. The bat measures 35 inches in length and weighs 31.6 ounces, both of which are documented lengths and weights ordered by Mantle during the referenced labeling period. MEARS further notes in its accompanying LOA that the bat features "straight, high-grade grain, and has been flame tempered, both traits consistent with Mantle game-used bats." Heavy use is displayed along its entire length, including numerous deeply embedded ball marks on all sides of the barrel, which is consistent with its use by a switch hitter. A large ten-inch "H" crack appears on the handle. There are two black-marker notations on the knob, one of which appears to be the number "7." (The other appears to be a larger number "7," but neither can be conclusively identified as such.)
Team-index bats traditionally sell at a discount to bats recorded as personally ordered by the player, but as can be seen here, all team-index bats are not alike. This is as good as a team-index bat can get, especially since it dates to the earliest portion of Mantle's career, including his 1956 Triple Crown season. Graded A8 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use and another 1 point for its provenance, but minus 1 point for the crack in the handle). Mickey Mantle 1951-1957 Adirondack pro-model bats are exceedingly rare. To put the numbers in perspective, one should know that of the sixty-seven Mantle pro-model bats listed in the MEARS census, only four are 1951-1957 Adirondacks. Of those four, the offered bat is the only example graded A8, with two graded higher. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,700
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