While his phenomenal batting prowess is now a well-documented chapter of baseball history, Mickey Mantle was not above acknowledging his own mistakes, as two items in an upcoming auction so aptly attest.
Grey Flannel Auctions’ absentee, phone and Internet auction, which will close for bidding on Dec. 8, contains the speech Mantle hand wrote and delivered over national television shortly before his death in August of 1995. Mantle was gravely ill and being treated at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. In his last public message, which aired from coast to coast, Mantle read from a personally handwritten document, thanking his fans for their cards and flowers, and urging youngsters to avoid drugs and alcohol.
In the speech, Mantle also made reference to Lou Gehrig’s courageous last speech to the Yankees nation, stating: “I said one time I didn’t know how Lou Gehrig could [be] here at home plate knowing he was going to die and say he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Now I think I know.”
The handwritten notes were written in large letters so the ill Mick could read it, and written in his own hand. Mantle began writing it in blue marker, and finished it in black (majority is written in black). It is written on a 32” x 25” section of a PGA leaderboard from a tournament at Preston Trails in Dallas. The speech was given from Mantle to an employee of the club and then acquired by Greer Johnson, a woman who was very close to him and handled many of his business matters.
The poignant, handwritten speech Mantle read that day, is framed together with other Mantle mementos. The speech is offered as a Premier lot in Grey Flannel’s Holiday catalog auction, with an opening bid of $5,000 having already been met. The auction runs through December 8.