There’s no question that Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest baseball players, if not athlete, to ever live. Mantle’s reign on the field isn’t the only place in history where he’s honored. In fact, it was the 1952 Topps Mantle card that brought national attention in the 1980s during the rapid rise of interest in baseball card collecting. The 1952 Topps card, the last series of Topps’ first full-size set, is popular, largely because it’s hard to find—although that wasn’t always the case. With less than stellar sales of the cards after being released they became premium items and pick ups in carnival vending machines. It’s said an estimated 400 cases of the 1952 cards were dumped into the Atlantic Ocean around 1960, when a Topps executive made the decision to ditch the lot.
In 2003 a live auction of items from Mantle’s estate generated more than $4 million, which included $321,000 for Mantle’s 1957 MVP award and $700,000 for his player contracts from 1949-1969.
In another era of Yankee history, when the pennants and glories were less forthcoming than in the early years, another pinstriped hero emerged in Thurman Munson. The first Yankee captain since Gehrig, Munson helped the Yankees end a long dry season with a pennant win in 1976, leading the way with an MVP season. With more than 100 runs with only 12 home runs (and batting .318) in 1975 Munson went on to top the .300 mark five times in his 11-year career which included seven All-Star selections. His career ended much earlier than expected with his tragic death at the age of 32, following a plane crash.
However, this home plate hero’s popularity continues today, at the ballpark and the auction block. At the 2008 All-Star Auction in New York City, Munson’s 1976 MVP Award brought in $126,500.
It’s these players along with the Babe, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Berra, Ford, Rizzuto, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Jeter, and A-Rod who are celebrated and featured in the new book Legendary Yankee Stadium. The stories of the players, photos and details about memorabilia and what some have called "the cathedral of baseball" fill the pages of this tribute to the "House that Ruth Built."
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