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    Photo matched to Silver Bat presentation for historic Triple Crown season!

    1956 The John A. 'Bud' Hillerich Memorial Award Presented to Mickey Mantle for Batting Championship. Perhaps it was the first, sour taste of Fall Classic failure in 1955 after three seasons of October bliss to launch Mantle's Hall of Fame career that stoked the fire of one of the greatest offensive seasons ever registered. Despite the Mick's admitted lack of self-discipline that many historians believe kept him from rewriting the record books in every major slugging statistic, nobody hated to lose more than Mantle, and he had clearly entered the season anxious to reclaim his team's proper position atop the baseball world.

    Though he had shown many flashes of brilliance during the first five seasons of his career, Mantle entered Opening Day of 1956 two points shy of the .300 mark for his career, his best single-season batting average a .311 in 1952. His thirty-seven home runs in 1955 led all American Leaguers for the first time in his career, but that figure was ten higher than any previous campaign. And not only had Mantle never led the Junior Circuit in runs batted in, he had never even led the Yankees in the statistic. His remarkable foot speed was his calling card at this point, and while his slugging power was undeniable, his propensity for strikeouts and injuries had no experts considering him a threat for the sport's greatest offensive achievement.

    But that Opening Day at Griffith Stadium, with President Eisenhower in attendance, saw the twenty-four year old center fielder belt two mammoth home runs. Three days later, in the home opener in the Bronx, Mantle homered again and drove in four runs. By the end of April, he was hitting .415 with four home runs and fifteen runs batted in in just eleven games.

    The torrid pace continued through May, the Mick batting .414 in thirty-one games with sixteen homers and thirty-five RBI's. He went four-for-four at Comiskey on May 18th, homering from each side of the plate. Six days later he went five-for-five in Detroit with a home run, and then capped off the month back home in New York with his famous blast off the Yankee Stadium façade, narrowly missing authorship of the first home run to leave the House that Ruth Built.

    Now Mickey Mantle was the biggest star in the game. Bill Dickey predicted he would break every record except Lou Gehrig's streak. Mel Ott told reporters Mantle could hit seventy-five home runs and shatter Hack Wilson's RBI record. The daily papers maintained a chart showing how far ahead the young Oklahoman was staying of Babe Ruth's home run pace of 1927. Though he'd fall short of matching his iconic Yankees forebear, he'd best ever other active American Leaguer with fifty-two home runs, 130 runs batted in and a .353 batting average to claim the elusive Triple Crown.

    It was for that third American League-topping statistic that this historic relic was presented, in tandem with the iconic Silver Bat issued every season to each League's batting champion. Seventeen years ago, that trophy bat commanded over $300,000 in the famous auction of Mantle's personal collection. It would likely achieve a seven-figure result today.

    In an image we tracked down of the award presentation, you can see Mantle gripping that Silver Bat in his right hand, and this accompanying certificate in his left, every detail of the lettering a perfect match. That text reads, in part:

    "In recognition of outstanding achievement in Batting, this certificate is presented to Mickey C. Mantle who in the 1956 Baseball Season earned a batting average of .353 and was officially declared the Batting Champion of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs."

    The certificate is crafted from white silk and exhibits expected wrinkling and a later reframing, but otherwise only minimal and inconsequential soiling to suggest decades of proud display. Visible dimensions are 14x10", framed to 17x13". A truly captivating relic from Mantle's "Favorite Summer."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 494

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