Update 5/13: Bat pulled from website; Mantle family enlists help of attorneys
Grey Flannel Auctions will offer what it is touting as a corked bat once swung by Mickey Mantle.
The bat, which was consigned from the personal collection of what Grey Flannel calls "a very prominent collector of Yankees memorabilia" but never thought of as anything other than a genuine Mantle bat, was examined by PSA/DNA bat authenticator John Taube. A ¾” circular area in the top portion barrel was discovered and the finish had been touched up to mask that area. From experience, Taube says he knew that alterations of this nature often indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork.
Taube told Sports Collectors Daily he had the bat x-rayed at an accommodating New Jersey veterinarian’s office which revealed the barrel had been drilled.
The x-ray will accompany the bat, which hasn’t been sourced to a particular game by the auction house but does show ball marks on the barrel.
“This is the first corked bat of Mantle we have ever seen or heard of,” Taube stated. “We see vintage bats and modern day bats that have been modified. No matter the era, corking can be considered rare.”
Editor's Note: Taube has rescinded the above comments according to a story on MLB.com.
In its description, the auction company indicated former Minnesota Twins' clubhouse man Ray Crump had admitted corking Mantle's bats in his autobiography, but the book does not actually state that.
"It's not in the book but I wouldn't tell you even if I did it," Crump told Sports Collectors Daily by phone. "Mickey was my friend."
The Hillerich & Bradsby model M110 is made of ash, is 35 inches in length, weighs 32.6 oz. and is uncracked. It shows ball marks on the back barrel and a light coat of pine tar at the mid handle. Four small, repaired mounting holes are on the back of the handle and barrel and the finish on the bat has been lightly coated with urethane. The description that will accompany the lot when it comes up for bid later this month states the use of pine tar in that area by Mantle was common from the early 1960’s to the end of his career. It’s been graded GU 7.5 by PSA/DNA.
A $5,000 reserve will accompany the lot. The auction will conclude June 5.