As Grey Flannel puts it, “Mickey Charles Mantle was a god to multiple generations of baseball fans.” And anyone even remotely involved in this hobby knows of his appeal in the sports memorabilia market even years after his death. And one of the most interesting Mantle pieces to come along, a “corked” bat, is going to be offered by the auction house in a sale that ends June 5.
Prior to entering it in their auction, Grey Flannel had the Mantle bat examined by PSA/DNA. Not only did the firm perform a rigorous visual examination, its expert John Taube also X-rayed the bat. The X-ray image revealed the truth – cork had been inserted into the barrel end of the bat.
Taube’s written analysis said: “During our examination of the bat, we noticed a circular area .75 inches wide in the center of the top barrel. The finish in the area has also been touched up to mask the circular area. Alterations of this nature indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork (so) we had the barrel X-rayed and (it) confirms that the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork…this is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of.”
According to Grey Flannel, in his autobiography (Beneath the Grandstands), then-MLB equipment manager Ray Crump admitted he had corked some bats for Mantle. Until now, however, none of the alleged corked bats had surfaced.
“Mickey Mantle remains an icon and a legend. This discovery does not define his career or achievements, but there’s no denying the bat is a remarkable piece of New York Yankees and baseball history,” said Grey Flannel Auctions’ President Richard E. Russek.
The bat will be offered in the Internet and absentee auction together with the X-ray and letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA. Bidding on the bat begins May 20, with a required opening bid of $5,000.