It’s been five months since word of a possible corked Mickey Mantle game model bat surfaced and the late Hall of Famer’s sons are still aggressively working to dispel any notion that their father was a cheater.
The bat first appeared on Grey Flannel Auctions’ website last May, along with X-rays showing a hole drilled through the barrel. It had been consigned by an Orlando, FL collector and was scheduled to be sold. However, after Danny and David Mantle hired a New York law firm and threatened legal action, the bat was taken offline.
Since then, the Mantles and their attorneys have worked to find the source of the bat, which they say turned out to be former big league pitcher Milt Pappas.
Now, Pappas and the Mantle contingent say the bat was doctored not so The Mick could cork it but because Pappas drilled holes in it –and several other bats—so he could create a unique stairway handrail at a home he owned. The stairway was never made and Pappas says he sold the bat after his retirement in the mid-1970’s.
“When Mantle handed it to Pappas, the bat was brand new, in pristine condition and unaltered,” the Mantles claim Pappas told them. “There were no holes or marks of any kind.”
Pappas told MLB.com, “Any so-called claim that the Mickey Mantle bat I possessed had been corked and ‘game-used’ by Mickey Mantle is false.”
The Mantles say they want an apology from the auction company.
“We are grateful for the support of Dad’s many friends in the game who share our family’s outrage over this sad spectacle,” said Danny Mantle. “Our Dad loved the game of baseball and played throughout his career with absolute integrity. We all know that our Dad wasn’t a cheater – that principle is a constant and repeatedly has been reaffirmed. We hope that the people who were quick to doubt my Dad will now give him the respect he deserves.”
MLB.com has this extensive story on the bat, including comments from Pappas and answers the question of where the bat is now.