The year 1951 was a time of transition for the Yankees as a young, good-looking All-American future star player would join the team. His name was Mickey Mantle (1931-1995) and he was from Oklahoma. Joe DiMaggio (1914 - 1999), the iconic center fielder since 1936, was nearing the end of his career.
Joltin’ Joe was 37 years old, but had sustained a series of injuries through his last half-decade of baseball. The pair played side-by-side in the outfield, Mantle in right and DiMaggio in center (rookies simply did not replace veterans in those days, especially future Hall of Famers).
This ball is signed by both of these Yankees, who are enshrined now in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown . Some autograph history is in order. DiMaggio, known to all as the "Yankee Clipper," did not like signing autographs generally. What he detested even more, however, was signing anything that had been previously signed by another star, especially if that star was named Mickey Mantle, who arguably was even more popular than the "Great DiMaggio" (as Hemingway referred to him in his novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”). Mantle, however, had no such feelings and would sign a previously signed ball by DiMaggio.
The ball was signed by one of the players---in the regular course of a signing---then the clever collector proceeded to have the other sign it at a later point. In any case, this combo ball is rare indeed. In fact, it is rarer than a Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris combo ball (of which, perhaps 50 or 60 exist and sell upward of $6,000 each in this high-grade condition), or dare we say, a sphere autographed by both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (of which even more exist in various conditions....believe it or not ).
Accompanied with a Letter of Authenticity from the JSA Company.