Mickey Mantle 1952 #311 Topps Card, PSA 8
Considered "the most important baseball card in the entire industry" and "the symbol of baseball card collecting", Collectable is proud to present a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA 8. Unquestionably the most significant card of one of the most collectible and investable athletes of all time. In the words of PSA, the industry's leading grading agency, "if there were a Mount Rushmore of cards and it was limited to one spot, this card would get it every time."
“Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, ‘Sure, every time.’”
If you cite Mickey Mantle as history’s greatest baseball player, nobody can or will argue. The Hall of Famer led his New York Yankees to seven World Series victories, winning three MVP awards in the process. He was a 20-time All-Star who earned a batting title, a Gold Glove, and, in 1956, won the Triple Crown, a feat accomplished by only nine other players.
Sadly, Mantle was remarkably injury-prone, and had he not missed so many games—of regularly played in pain—his numbers would’ve been even more remarkable. The Mick’s talent was otherworldly, but it was his grit and guts that made him a legend.
ABOUT THE ASSET
This card is graded a NM-MT 8 by PSA, sports collectable’s leading grading company.
There are 35 Mantle 1952 Topps PSA NM-MT 8’s in circulation out of the 1,300 that have been graded.
The PWCC Top 100 Index, an index that tracks the price movements of the top 100 most valuable trading cards sold at auction and which includes other comparable Mantle cards, has risen 264% since January, 2008.
On November 1, 2020, a version of this card sold via Goldin Auction for $584,250.
On September 16, 2020, another version of this card sold via PWCC for $428,100.
In 2018, an NM-MT 9 version sold for $2,880,000 via Heritage Auctions.
A Gem-Mint 10 has been estimated to be worth $10,000,000.
In 2020, Collectable IPO’d $1 million worth of Mickey Mantle’s legendary Topps 1953 card. The card was fully funded in 10 days.
Mickey Mantle: Grit Defined
By Matt Musico
“Mickey Mantle was baseball.”
It’s Game 3 of the 1964 World Series. The New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals entered the tilt tied at one victory each. The winner of this game walks off the field with the momentum, the upper hand, the Fall Classic mojo.
Heading into the ninth inning, the game’s knotted up. The Yanks should’ve been leading. But they weren’t.
Thanks to Mickey Mantle.
To fans, teammates, and opponents alike, the Mick is still a living legend. After all, he’s an MVP, a Triple Crown winner, a five-tooler, a guy who frightened pitchers, baffled managers, and entranced anybody who’d ever had the good fortune to see him perform.
But that was then. Now, today, in October of 1964, the Oklahoma-bred superstar isn’t quite as scary as he was even two years prior, thanks to a myriad of injuries that left his lower body a mess. From his head to his belly, Mantle is (more or less) a teenager; from the waist down, he’s an old man. His ravaged legs are why this crucial World Series game is tied, because good ol’ number 7 had let a routine ground ball go through his wickets. He’s embarrassed, pissed, and aching to clean up his mess.
It isn’t like Mick and his crew haven’t been here before. For Mantle and the Yanks, playing in the World Series almost a given. Between Mantle’s rookie season in 1951 and 1964, there were only two years in which the Yankees weren’t seen in the Fall Classic—1954 and 1959—and of those 12 appearances, they won seven. Dynasty, thy name is Bronx Bombers.
Mick was one of the main reasons—if not the main reason—this iteration of the Yanks was so dominant in the postseason. To this day, Mantle holds a handful of the juiciest World Series records, among them most home runs, most RBI, and most runs scored. Here in 1964, yeah, Mantle is still one of the game’s premier sluggers, but those injuries have turned him into just another player. A really, really good just-another-player, mind you, but he isn’t the celestial being who’d destroyed pitchers for over a decade.
Still, the man they call the Commerce Comet was a proud, proud person, and that error gnawed at him. But baseball is baseball, and in baseball, you always have a chance. And if anybody knows about chances, it was Mickey Mantle.
So it’s the bottom of the ninth inning, and Mick is in the dugout, jonesing to make something happen. Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton tells us what happened next:
“[Mantle] was standing there with the bat on his shoulder watching [relief pitcher] Barney Schultz. His warm-up pitches were coming in about thigh high and breaking down to the shin, to the ankles—two or three in a row. Mickey said, ‘I’m gonna hit one outta here.’ It wasn’t a big announcement. He wasn’t like that. He wasn’t a grandstander. He understood that Barney Schultz was the wrong guy for them to bring in.”
Cards catcher Tim McCarver knew Mantle wasn’t MANTLE anymore— “[He was] a shell of the guy that he once was. I could even hear him groaning on some swings. A swing and a miss were real bad,” said the backstopper—but McCarver was also aware that there was still plenty of magic left in that bat. “Squatting just a few feet from where he stood,” McCarver said, “you could just feel the power resonating from him. When he hit in the cages before a game, you stopped what you were doing and you watched. You stopped playing catch. You stopped running. You stopped stretching. You stopped doing a lotta things. And when he was through, you resumed whatever you were doing.”
To recap: Mantle’s in the box, pride wounded and legs aching. Schultz is on the mound, hoping to fool Mantle with his knuckleball. McCarver’s behind the plate, quaking in his spikes…especially when he gets a gander of Schultz’s first knuckler. Let’s go to McCarver…
“Nothing good was gonna come of this pitch. There are a lotta pitches that don’t do anything during the course of a game. There are fastballs that aren’t fast. There are fastballs that are meant to hop in on a lefthander and they don’t hop. There are breaking balls that are meant to break and guys pop ’em up, foul ’em back, or pull ’em foul, or hit ’em for a single, or hit ’em for a home run. But nothing like this.”
There’s little that makes a batter happier than seeing a knuckleball that doesn’t knuck. The pitch was so damn slow that Mick probably has a chance to run figure out his postgame dinner plans before it crosses the plate.
But it never crosses the plate.
As the ball floats towards him, Mick’s eyes probably widen. He might’ve even let a smile cross his lips. He turns his hips and shoulders just so and swings that magical swing.
Boom, walk-off dinger, game over, mic drop, Mantle out.
It was awesome. But for the Yankees, the remainder of the 1964 World Series itself wasn’t.
In past seasons, when Mantle was healthy—or at least healthier than he is now—the Yanks likely would’ve held on to the Series lead. In 1964, not so much. St. Louis won it in seven, and that’s when things started to go downhill for both Mantle and the Bombers.
In 1965, despite being favored to again take the pennant, the Yankees finished 25 games out of first. Mantle, as usual, appeared in the All-Star Game, plus he finished 25th in AL MVP voting, but most of those All-Star and MVP votes were likely for sentiment’s sake, as he only suited up for 122 games and hit a blah .255/.379/.452. In the midst of that tumultuous 1965 season, the Mick, recalling the big-as-a-watermelon Schultz knuckleball and the ensuing dinger, told one of his teammates, “I shoulda quit right there.”
But he didn’t. Because if there was a ballfield, Mickey Mantle wanted to be on it.
“No man in the history of baseball had as much power as Mickey Mantle. No man.”
-Billy Martin, former MLB manager
Mickey Charles Mantle was great at many things on the baseball diamond, but nothing topped his ability in the batter’s box. He was one of the best switch-hitters to ever play the game—if not the best—racking up 536 home runs in his 18-year career. And those jacks were legit. He rarely got cheated out of hitting a tape-measure shot.
Case in point, his first home run as a professional baseball player. It was June 30th, 1949, and Mantle was playing for the Class-D Independence Yankees, a member of the creatively-named Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. Mantle knocked his maiden round-tripper at Shulthis Stadium, the Yankees’ home park. The ball he torched went over the centerfield fence, a whopping 460-ish feet away from the batter’s box.
Once he made it to The Show, fans and teammates didn’t have to wait long to enjoy Mantle’s absurd power, as he made jaw-dropping home runs a regular part of his routine. To that end, he’s the player who begat the term “tape-measure home run,” when, in 1953, the Yankees’ traveling secretary literally measured a 500-plus foot Mantle moon shot in Washington D.C. Mantle also hit a ball that cleared the right-field roof at the old Tiger Stadium, along with banging the third deck façade of Yankee Stadium on multiple occasions.
Little wonder he appeared in All-Star games in all but two years of his career, and won three American League MVP’s. His number 7 sits retired in Monument Park at Yankees Stadium, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
As phenomenal as his numbers were, his teammates were equally impacted by his presence, both on the field and in the clubhouse. One-time Yankee Clete Boyer described Mick as a “…celebrity in his own clubhouse” raving that he was, “…super in everything.”
Mantle was a celeb from the get-go. When the then-19-year-old debuted for the Yankees in 1951, he appeared in 96 games and collected 386 plate appearances for yet another World Series winner. (Fun fact: One of the biggest differences between rookie Mick and veteran Mick was his number. In year one, Mantle wore number 6, as veteran Cliff Mapes owned 7.) Mantle played 1,742 of his 2,290 career games as a center fielder, but only three of those CF games were in ’51, as Joe DiMaggio was still patrolling the middle of the outfield.
Among the many things Mantle did consistently for the Yankees was suit up to play on a daily basis. His 2,401 career games played for New York were most in the organization from the time he retired in 1968 up until Derek Jeter passed him in 2011.
Considering how many games he played, it may seem incongruous to say, “Mantle had trouble staying on the field.” But he did. Big trouble.