Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Final Card: Mickey Mantle

Starting the new year off in style...

Replacing Billy Martin at the top of this blog is his partner in crime, Mickey Mantle (#500). Mickey and Billy were teammates from 1951 until Martin was traded during the 1957 season. Their off-field exploits are legendary. I like this story particularly.

After 14 straight years as an all-star, Mantle was left off the team in 1966. His numbers actually began to decline in 1965, and would continue to do so for his last 4 seasons.

Mickey switched to first base at the start of the 1967 season, and would play there exclusively for his last 2 seasons, appearing in 131 games each season. He also returned  to the all-star game in his final 2 years.

Mantle retired during spring training 1969, with a .298 career batting average, and having played more games than any other Yankee (later surpassed by Derek Jeter).

Having retired before the season, I don't think it was a given that he would get a card that season, and since he was given the "ultimate" card number (#500), we had to wait until well into the season before he appeared on the 5th series checklist (issued in the 4th series). I was thrilled to break open a pack in 1969 and find Mickey Mantle!

Several months after his retirement, the Yankees held Mickey Mantle Day.

Mantle passed away on August 13, 1995 at age 63. I cried that day.

Also check out Mickey on two cards in the 1968 set.


Brandon said...

An epic card. I somehow was able to get this one as a kid and have prized it ever since. Having a Mantle card of any kind was a big deal and added prestige to my growing collection at the time.

Unknown said...

Even as a lifetime Yankee-hater, I was proud to own this card, along with the rest of the entire'69 series, purchased about 15 years ago. Sadly, the entire series was stolen during a break in about 5 years later.