They both enjoyed long, Hall of Fame careers, each with the same team. When the Cardinals and Yankees did finally meet in 1964, Stan Musial had just retired. It makes the rare moments when they shared the same field something pretty special.
One such occasion came on March 7, 1953.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is a 7×9″ image of Musial and Mantle posing with multiple bats at spring training in St. Petersburg, FL. Distributed to newspapers through World Wide Photos, the unusual image still carries the original paper caption folded and attached to the back.
While Musial was in his prime at age 32, Mantle wouldn’t turn 22 for seven more months. The Yankee youngster was just about to enter his second full season with the team while Musial was coming off the latest in a remarkable string of 16 straight seasons hitting over .300.
Mantle revered Musial, especially after his career, when he reflected on whether he could have been an even better player.
“You know, I had as much ability as Stan, maybe more,” Mantle once said of his National League counterpart. “Nobody had more power than me. Nobody could run faster than me. But Stan was a better player because he’s a better man than me. Because he got everything out of his life and his ability that he could. And he’ll never have to live with all the regret that I have to live with.”
The photo is one of more than 1,300 in RMY’s November auction, set to close Saturday.