DescriptionEarly 1960's Yogi Berra Game Used Catcher's Mitt from Mickey Mantle Holiday Inn Display, MEARS Authentic. As tough as Hall of Fame jerseys are to locate and acquire, the game used glove or mitt has always been considerably more difficult. The reasoning is simple to understand. The attachment between a Big League ballplayer and his mitt is a visceral thing. Whereas most players see uniforms as inconsequential, simply clothing issued by the team, the glove is an instrument of the trade, a constant companion, almost an extension of oneself. Bats get cracked, uniforms are torn or outdated, but the glove only improves with age, and remains the least likely game used piece with which any ballplayer is likely to part.
Thankfully for one lucky Heritage bidder, the great New York Yankees catcher did indeed part with this "Spalding 1413" model mitt at some point in the early 1960's, giving it to his buddy Mickey Mantle for display at his fellow Hall of Famer's Holiday Inn hotel in Joplin, Missouri. It was later transferred for display to another Holiday Inn in which Mantle was an investor, this hotel in Baxter Spring, Kansas. When this location was either closed or sold, Mantle's mentor and co-investor Harold Youngman donated the glove to the town's Little League Museum in the early 1980's before finally being purchased from that location about ten years ago.
The mitt shows strong use from its days of Yankee action, and one can only imagine what historic games it saw. The early 1960's, the era from which this mitt derives, was filled with pinstriped glory, with pennants, World Championships and the famous Mantle/Maris home run chase. We can make no claims about this glove's specific history, but odds are strong that any mitt from this era would have seen Championship action. Speaking to the physical specifics of the mitt, we begin with the "Larry Yogi Berra" facsimile signature stamped into the heel below the pocket. The model number appears above the pocket, with "Professional Model" stamped at the three o'clock position. "Form Pocket" and "E-Z Flex" are stamped in the use-darkened pocket of the mitt. A "Spalding" patch remains stitched to the right side of the wrist strap on reverse. All in all, a picture perfect example of the glove with which the stocky Yankee backstop earned a piece of immortality. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. LOA from Joe Phillips.
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