As if a T206 Wagner and Cobb with Cobb reverse weren’t enough to headline the biggest sports auction of the year, Mile High Card Company has further pushed “The Event” to new heights with a fresh to the hobby and truly unique collection of Mickey Mantle material from his season as a shortstop with the 1949 Independence Yankees of the Class D Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (K.O.M.) League. The auction opens on Monday, September 23rd and concludes on Thursday, October 10th.
Mickey Mantle was 17-years old, just weeks out of high school and beginning his professional baseball career when he was assigned to bunk with Bob Mallon, an 18-year old pitcher who posted a 6-3 record for the 1949 Independence Yankees but did not return to professional ball for the 1950 season. Mantle, on the other hand, immediately displayed his exceptional abilities, leading the team with a .313 batting average and popping seven homers in 323 at-bats. The items featured in “The Event” come directly from the family of Bob Mallon, who has recounted several stories behind the pieces.
One of the most interesting items is a baseball signed by the two roommates, though the Mantle signature is actually printed; an incredible 1949 “Mick” Mantle Signed Official K.O.M. League Baseball. According to Mallon, the ball was signed shortly after they were assigned as roommates. During a conversation about how they would enjoy the fame and fortune of one day wearing the pinstripes for the Bronx Bombers, Mantle grabbed a league ball, wrote his name on it and tossed it to Mallon, saying, “This is how I’m gonna sign it, Bob, how about you?” to which Mallon responded with a more traditional autograph, thus making it the first known ball Mickey Mantle signed as a professional.
Another amazing piece, the first known single-signed and dated Mantle ball, is a game-used orb from Mallon’s first career victory. Admiring his first prize as a pro, Mallon recalls that Mantle asked for the ball, “Toss me the ball, Bob, I’m gonna sign it for you.” When Mallon asked, “Why would I want you to sign my game ball?” Mantle responded, “Because one day I’m going to be a famous player and you’ll be happy that I signed it.” Mallon obliged, tossing the ball to “The Mick” who printed “My First Pro Win July 19, 1949, 6-3 on 7 hits” across the panel, and signed it “Mickey Mantle.” Both balls feature signatures that bear little resemblance to the scores of autographs from Mantle’s later years and carry double authentication, verified by PSA/DNA and JSA.
Other items consigned by the Mallon family include a 1949 Independence Yankees team-signed ball, also signed “Mick” Mantle, an 8 x 10 original type I 1949 Independence Yankees team photo and a rare 1949 Independence Yankees KOM League Souvenir Booklet that was autographed by Mantle in his more familiar signature style, likely decades after the two teens first shared a room, also double-authenticated. As the single most beloved post-war baseball player, collectors dream of the opportunity to acquire new and unique items of “The Commerce Comet” and these are one-of-a-kind Mickey Mantle collectibles with rock-solid provenance.
MHCC is currently accepting consignments for the Fall Elite Auction, so if you desire the maximum possible return for your prized sports cards and memorabilia, please call our office at (303) 840-2784 to speak with one of MHCC’s experts, or visit our website at www.milehighcardco.com.