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    1961 Mickey Mantle World Series Game Used Bat. Just one week after Roger Maris' fifty-ninth home run of the season helped clinch the New York Yankees' twenty-sixth American League flag, three bats left the Hillerich & Bradsby factory en route to Mickey Mantle's locker at Yankee Stadium. The September 27th, 1961 ordering record was somewhat of an anomaly, and top bat experts John Taube and Vince Malta note that this is the first and only time they had encountered an order for three World Series bats, as opposed to the standard pair. But why would this be?

    First, it's important to note that, at thirty-six inches of length, the presented bat is a variation on the standard thirty-five inches of Mantle's other model B220's. But Taube and Malta stress that this is clearly a professional model, made of first grade Northern White Ash, with deep barrel branding consistent with H&B pro standards. A secondary letter from MEARS authentication firm likewise concedes that thirty-six inches was unusual for the model, but notes that Mantle had ordered bats of that length in 1960, and that the deep lace impressions and ball marks on both sides of the barrel was consistent with switch hitter use.

    What neither letter notes, but a fact that seems particularly pertinent here, is that Mantle was far from healthy when the 1961 Series arrived, having been sidelined in the final month of the season with a pulled arm muscle and a gruesome hip abscess resulting from a shot intended to cure a viral infection. Understanding that this unfortunate laundry list of ailments might affect his swing in the Series against Cincinnati, it's not much of a stretch to assume that the unprecedented ordering of a third World Series bat of a different length (but the same thirty-three ounce weight) would have been a calculated decision by Mantle.

    This seems far more plausible than the notion that the third bat was simply a mistake, and that the factory workers at H&B figured they may as well send it along anyhow. MEARS would appear to agree that the order was a calculated decision, assigning a perfect base grade of 5 for its match to factory records and a perfect 3 for use, resulting in a grade of A8, the best possible without first or second party provenance.

    There is no need to spend any significant amount of time to explain why a Mantle bat dating to the 1961 season would carry enormous historical significance. Any collector needing an education on this topic would not deserve to own such a special treasure. When the old ballpark in the Bronx is finally reduced to rubble, this bat will survive as one of its most poignant mementos, recalling a joy and purity of the game that we may have lost forever. LOA from PSA/DNA. LOA from MEARS.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    1st-2nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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