Mickey Mantle Original Rookie Photo, 1951 World Series Injury. Type 1 PSA
An Incredible Photograph of Mickey Mantle Immediately after his Career-Altering Injury in the 1951 World Series
Offered here is an incredible Type I Original Photograph from one of the most important, though less fortunate, events in Mickey Mantle’s long, storied career. It was Game 2 of the 1951 World Series, Mantle’s rookie year, when he sustained the infamous knee injury that would linger for the rest of his life.
In this perfectly captured 8x10 photo, a young, wide-eyed and hopeful Mantle anxiously awaits his World Series fate from Yankee team physician Sydney Gaynor, whose expression is not nearly as optimistic as the twenty year old phenom’s. Mantle is looking up at the doctor as if to say, “I’m fine… right, Doc? I can go back out there and play!” Notice how he is sitting on the examination table – on edge, ready to go right back on to the field. The doctor has his left arm on Mantle’s shoulder, almost as if he is restraining the hungry rookie. But we know this to be a gesture of consolation, because the medical professional knows there’s no chance Mantle will play any time soon.
The condition of this particular example is incredible. As always is the case with Type I photographs, the clarity of the photo itself is perfect. You can even see the Yankee Stadium Press Pin on Dr. Gaynor’s left lapel. The bright highlights and dark shadows show the photo’s symbolic contrast - perfectly juxtaposing the naivety of Mantle against the reality the physician knows to be true.
The photo, taken on October 5, 1951, by the New York Daily Mirror, features the studio’s original catalogue caption affixed to the reverse.
Of course, an original photo of Mantle wearing his Yankee pinstripe jersey during his rookie season is exactly what photo collectors are looking for – especially from such an iconic moment in baseball history.
It may not have been the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", but it certainly turned out to be a major event with long term ramifications for the New York Yankees. By now we all know the story of Mickey Mantle's knee injury during the 1951 World Series, the injury that perhaps robbed him of becoming the greatest hitter in history. His career statistics are still quite remarkable nonetheless, but imagine how much more impressive they would have been, but for this event.
As Mickey told the story many times in his typically humble and diplomatic way, before that Game 2 of the Series, manager Casey Stengel instructed him to "take everything you can get to in right field" because Joe DiMaggio, the team's resident center fielder, was "slowing down".
In the fifth inning, Willie Mays hit a fly to right center. The Mick raced over to snag it, but DiMaggio was already under it, causing the 20-year old Mantle to pull up. As Mantle said, "you didn't want to run into Joe". When doing so, Mickey caught his foot in a rubber drain and his knee gave way. That injury of course became the "Achilles heel" of his career. Please excuse the pun. Those close to him knew he was not pleased with DiMaggio over the play.
Mickey's legs were never the same thereafter, and the injury certainly affected the rest of his 18-year playing career. Just look at the video years later of his 500th home run as he gingerly - make that "barely" - trotted around the bases. The speed he was once known for was all but gone after that fateful day of October 5th, 1951. It was said that no player went from the left side of the batter's box to first base faster than he.
Authenticated and presented in a PSA/DNA “Jumbo Slab”
A Type 1 photo is a first generation photograph, developed from the original negative during the period. They are the most desirable and valuable of the four photograph types because of their clarity, vintage, and originality.
In a world where cards and autographs have dominated the hobby, vintage photography is an emerging genre of sports collecting that will continue to rise. These original photographs are extremely scarce with only a handful known – in many cases one of a kind! Serious collectors consider them true artifacts, as opposed to cards and other memorabilia that were mass produced for commercial sale and advertising.