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April 17, 1951 Yankee Stadium Program From Mickey Mantle's Major League Debut

Lot Number 511

Quantity: Bid Starts: 04/27/2018 12:00:00 
Bid Open: 400.00  Bid Ends: 05/10/2018 23:30:00 
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Labeled a “can’t-miss” prospect, Oklahoma-born Mickey Mantle was saddled with the pressures of skipper Casey Stengel, the New York City press and the winningest tradition in the history of American sports. Setting out to meet the lofty expectations, the 19-year-old rookie was penciled into the 1951 opening day lineup at Yankee Stadium. This program was issued in the Bronx for that historic debut. The 20-page guide is a rare and pristine survivor! Free of creases and compacting folds almost always inherent to stadium-issued publications of this era, this crisp guide is complete with center pages that feature scoring grids with pre-printed lineups that include Mantle in the No. 3 slot wearing uniform number “6.” We note that there are two different versions of this program: one with Mantle's name factory printed in the lineup, and one with Yogi Berra's name printed in the No. 3 slot (as skipper Casey Sengel's decision to keep Mantle with the parent club wasn't made until literally hours before the scheduled season opener). This is the former version and it was, without question, issued for the April 17-18 series against the Red Sox. Telltale proof lies in the fact that Joe Page is listed on the Yankee roster and Page was released by the club on May 16 (Boston didn't return to Yankee Stadium until June 29). While the scoring grids remain unmarked, there are vintage graphite pencil notations of “Wight” and “Raschi” (that day’s starting pitchers). Also of note is Mantle’s No. 3 counterpart: Boston’s Ted Williams. It was almost 12 years to the day (April 20, 1939) that Williams, himself debuted at Yankee Stadium and was in a lineup for the first and last time with Lou Gehrig.  

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