Rare 1949 Mickey Mantle Signed Independence Yankees Minor League Program, PSA 8
The Earliest Mantle Autograph We've Ever Owned!
We have handled so many impressive pieces of memorabilia in our forty years, and this extremely rare program is certainly among that group. We purchased it decades ago and recently had the opportunity to once again offer it for sale. It's nice when a great item you've sold previously comes back your way, which is why we continually preach Quality!
Offered is an souvenir booklet autographed by the entire 1949 Independence Yankees team, including their future Hall of Famer and "fleet footed shortstop” Mickey Mantle. This is the earliest Mickey Mantle autograph we've ever owned!
Mickey's early, pre-rookie style signature is bold and strong and graded 8 by PSA/DNA - notice how different it is from his later styles; his signature evolved dramatically over the years. There are 17 signatures total in this original, completely intact program including: Harry Craft, Bob Weisler, Lou Skizas and Steve Kraly - each of whom followed Mickey to the Yanks. All signatures are bold and strong, the condition of the photo itself is excellent and the images of the players are all clear. This extraordinary Mantle collectible originally came our way from the collection of a player on that team, Bob Wiesler, who later made it to the Major Leagues.
The Mick's first fully professional team was the Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. He was a mere 17 years old and freshly out of high school. Famed baseball scout, Tom Greenwade, discovered Mickey at a game in Baxter Springs (Kansas). Greenwade signed him to that now-famous $1,500 bonus and the team paid him $140 per month. That bonus check was auctioned off for $286,000 in 2013.
At Independence, Mickey went into an immediate slump. That precipitated a call by Mickey to his dad. As the story goes, after his dad went to Kansas and delivered a "pep" talk to him, the Mick went on a tear, even belting a 460 foot home run soon thereafter. He then batted .313 with seven home runs and led his team to the league championship. The following year he was promoted to Joplin Miners, the Yanks Class-C Minor League affiliate.
He was a mere 17 years old at the time and just another "potential" Major Leaguer. That explains why his bonus was not significantly higher - others were signing in the five-figure range. When asked why he accepted such a small sum, Mickey's response was simple: no team had offered him anything and so, he accepted. Consequently, there's a dearth of Mantle autographs from his period in his professional career. Those authentic examples from 1949 through 1951 are extremely scarce, collectible, and sought after by buyers (as evidenced by the $286k bonus check in the 2013 auction). This rare, early signed booklet certainly ranks in that elite class of Mantle memorabilia.
A classic indeed - True Brigandi Quality!
Comes with graded Letter of Authenticity from the PSA/DNA, as well as a letter of provenance from the former player.