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    Description

    A monumentally significant treasure of Yankeedom with photo matches to two Fall Classics and the legendary home run race in between!

    1961 Mickey Mantle Game Worn New York Yankees Jersey- Photo Matched to 1960 & 1961 World Series! Sure, it stung at the time, but you had to respect the mathematics of it, when the Bums finally broke through in '55. The Yanks had already beaten them in 1941. Then in 1947. Then in 1949. Then in 1952. Then in 1953. It had to end sometime. Parlay a bet on a run like that and you're looking at odds longer than twenty-to-one, and that's after the vig.

    So you get the Dodgers back in 1956 to reestablish the natural order. Then you fall to a stacked Milwaukee Braves team in 1957 but serve up revenge piping hot in 1958. No shame there.

    But how do you pound the absolute pine tar out of a team for the better part of a week in the 1960 World Series and still come up on the short end in Game Seven? How do you scatter massive run production so haphazardly that you can post fifty-five, surrender only twenty-seven, and still suffer the indignity of having to just stand there and watch as Bill Mazeroski walks off with your ring?

    But there's a reason they call it a baseball season. After the death, there is always rebirth--a new hope to rise from the cold soil, nourished by the carcass of its predecessor. There's no motivation quite like failure, particularly when it had been so clear that the baseball gods were corrupt.

    And so Mickey Mantle entered the 1961 season with a used jersey but a new sense of purpose, set upon a reassertion of the long-understood and immutable truth that the New York Yankees are the greatest baseball team in the world. He'd deliver upon that promise in historic fashion, authoring with his good friend Roger Maris one of the greatest sports stories of the post-war era. Together, they'd hunt the ghost of the sport's premier figure and carve their initials--M&M--indelibly into baseball history. That season for the ages is filed amidst the most treasured chapters of Yankee lore, joining Ruth's "Called Shot" and Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" farewell.

    This is, quite plainly, one of the most significant athletic jerseys ever made available to the collecting public.

    The experts at RGU Photo Match Authentication use the unique patterning of the textile's weave to link it first to Game Two of the 1960 World Series, a sixteen-to-two thrashing of the Pirates at Forbes Field that saw the Mick slug two of his record eighteen Fall Classic long balls. Their second match finds Mantle watching Game Five of the 1961 World Series in his Crosley Field visitor's dugout. This was the Championship clincher, so there will be celebratory champagne lurking deep in the jersey's fibers.

    Just hours before going to print with this catalog, we were able to confirm a third photo match, this one assuring what we had strongly suspected but had been unable to demonstrate definitively-game use during the fabled home run race of 1961 that fell between that pair of historic Fall Classics. We find Mantle wearing this shirt in Getty Image #515024110, shot on the steps of the visiting dugout of Fenway Park on July 22, 1961, the penultimate contest of an eleven-game road trip that saw the Mick record home runs thirty to thirty-seven. Photographic evidence further suggests that Mantle wore only two different road jerseys during the 1961 season, virtually guaranteeing a healthy portion of his fifty-four long balls were struck wearing this garment.

    The "New York" on the chest is the only alteration to the jersey, a modern replacement after the original was stripped for secondary wear in the minors. The experts at MEARS advise that a collector could harvest a vintage "New York" from another period Yankees gamer and earn a higher grade by swapping it in. The number "7" on verso remains original to Mantle's ownership. The balance of points lost in the MEARS assessment relate to the heavy game wear that has thinned the body shell, and minor damage to the embroidered swatch at interior collar which reads, "Mantle '60" in red, that placement and color identified in the MEARS paperwork as assurance of delivery for the 1960 World Series (1960 regular season jerseys are embroidered in navy on tail swatches). Lower left front tail bears proper "Wilson [size] 42" label.

    It's important to stress that we see Mantle wearing this jersey on the very last day of 1961 Major League Baseball action, and to consider the logical progression of the jersey from that moment. The Yankees clinch the World Series in Cincinnati. Mantle gets coated in champagne in the visiting clubhouse, strips off the uniform, drops it in a bin, showers, and ventures out for a celebratory dinner with teammates and the Cincinnati night beyond.

    Veteran Yankees equipment manager Pete Sheehy rounds up all the uniforms, the bats, everything left behind by the new champs like kids on the last day of school, and the system repeats as it had dozens of seasons before. This jersey was worn a lot. Sheehy comes upon it when he's preparing for spring training in 1962. It has a 1960 in the collar. It's definitely getting sent down to the minors. That's just how it worked. Nobody was thinking, "That's a Mantle Jersey, a treasure!" They thought, "Old jersey, heavy wear, let's get better ones and leave these for the lower classes. We're champions of the world!"

    While 100% originality is always ideal, the utter certainty of this fate considering the unique and photo-documented circumstances should temper the disappointment of the intelligent collector. Let's remember that the original Mantle designators remain-the fabled number "7" and the name in the collar. In this instance, the original "New York" on the chest could be likened to the original strings of a guitar played by Jimi Hendrix. When Jimi gave up guitars, another musician would play them, break the strings, replace them. No reasonable guitar collector is troubled by this inevitability. Jerseys and guitars were seen as tools, not museum pieces. That viewpoint is a far more recent development. Certainly, the supreme significance of the artifact has long since come into sharp focus. LOA's from RGU Photo Match Authentication. LOA from Resolution Photomatching. LOA's from Sports Investors Authentication (also photo matches). LOA from MEARS, A5. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    1961 Yankees



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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