He looks about 13.
Truth is, Mickey Mantle was a pretty young guy during his first season with the Yankees but next to a couple of guys who had made their big league debuts in the midst of World War II, he seems more like a kid brother than a home run hitting teammate.
The well-worn, but perhaps one of a kind original photo dating to the icon’s rookie season, was taken in the team locker room after Mantle’s eighth career home run had helped the Yanks win a late August 1951 matchup with Cleveland. Making its hobby debut, it’s among the items in RMY Auctions’ current online catalog, with bidding set to end Saturday night.
The 7×9 International News photo spent its life inside a newspaper archive. It shows Yankee pitchers Eddie Lopat and Allie Reynolds flanking the up and coming star from Oklahoma as they celebrate a two-hit day for their youthful teammate on Saturday, August 25, 1951. The photo was published the following day after the two pitchers had combined to stop the Indians, 7-3 in the important finale of a series against their chief competitor in the American League. At that point, it was clear that Mantle would play a major role in the Yankees’ push toward the World Series.
It’s among the earliest images taken that’s actually associated with a Mantle home run during his rookie year and also rare in that it’s a candid image rather than the more common posed shots of a more serious Mantle swinging a bat during his first season.
The Yankees would go on to win the World Series seven weeks later.