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Exploring Mickey Mantle magazine cards

In 1954, there was a new kid on the block in the American sports magazine world. That new kid would turn out to be the most popular sports magazine on the planet, Sports Illustrated. In its inaugural issue, SI publisher Henry Luce decided to include 27 1954 Topps baseball cards that would prove to be a hit with fellow baseball card collectors. It would mark the first time in a long time that baseball cards would appear in a weekly periodical.

In the past, cards were issued in tobacco and candy products. They also appeared in loaves of bread. Earlier in the same year, they even appeared in packages of hot dogs and were available through a wrapper redemption program by Red Heart Dog Food. So why not magazines? After all, the idea had already proven to be successful with the Sporting Life and Baseball Magazine.

In that inaugural issue, paper-thin cards of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Duke Snider, and Eddie Mathews, who graced that August 16, 1954, cover, could all be found. It was a decision made by Topps and Sports Illustratedthat would not only boost sales of the new magazine but would also prove to be very popular with collectors even today. (Photos 1, 2)

Photo 1

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 2

To further entice fans to purchase Sports Illustrated, 27 more cards were included in issue No. 2. This gave Yankee fans the opportunity to see what a 1954 Mickey Mantle Topps card would have looked like, had Mickey not been under an exclusive contract with rival Bowman.

As it turned out, it was a win-win situation for both Topps and Sports Illustrated. The magazine had come out of the block with two top-flight issues and the baseball card collectors were equally pleased, as it filled a void in their Mickey Mantle and New York Yankee collections.

Now granted, collecting baseball cards may not have been as popular back then. It was a hobby that was supposed to be only for kids, but we know better. Even today, those first two issues of SI are the most coveted issues in its long run of 66 years, and SI can boast of a circulation over 3.26 million.

As time went on, other magazines would also include baseball cards and postcards in their publications. In fact, one could say that in the early to mid-1990s, when card collecting had reached unimaginable levels, there was a myriad of collector magazines and price guides that included those cardboard relics on a regular basis. Eventually Major League Baseball would shut down most of these secondary publications because of copyright infringement violations and the use of unauthorized photos.

In this article, I’ll be cataloguing the various Mickey Mantle collectibles that made their way into the collecting hobby via the magazine.

1. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, ISSUE 2, AUGUST 23, 1954

As described above, the second issue of Sports Illustrated, which showed a less than exciting photo of a bunch of colorful golf bags, included 27 New York Yankee 1954 Topps baseball cards. Mixed with both color and black-and-white cards, the tri-fold contained noteworthy players such as Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Bill “Moose” Skowron, and Hank Bauer, who appeared in color and showed the same identical fronts and backs of their 1954 Topps issue. (Photos 3, 4)

Photo 3

Photo 3

Photo 4 

Photo 4 

The black-and-white cards consisted of Irv Noren, Gil McDougald, Jerry Coleman, Bob Cerv, Allie Reynolds, Enos Slaughter, Mickey Mantle, and other lesser-known individuals. It was these “pseudo” cards that never made their way into the Topps set that year because of the players’ exclusive contract with Bowman.

The Mantle card showed two photos of the Yankee great. The larger photo showed him looking off to his right with a smaller action shot of him drag bunting. The reverse side, which was void of any card number, had Mickey’s full name and particulars. Statistics from 1953 along with his life stats, which included 1951 and 1952, were placed in the middle of the card. Below the stats, a short write-up was printed above Mickey’s poor season of 24 home runs, 92 RBI, and a .295 batting average. (Some bad year!) In the 1980s, a reprint set was printed on a thicker cardboard stock. The set included all the black-and-white “pseudo” cards of the Yankees that were in the SIissue. Uncut sheets were also available. (Photos 5, 5a)

Photo 5 

Photo 5 

Photo 5a

Photo 5a

If you think the Mantle card looks familiar, it should. It was this photo of Mickey’s that would grace the front cover of SIwhen he passed on August 13, 1995. (Photo 6)

Photo 6

Photo 6

2. 1959 OKLAHOMA TODAY MAGAZINE

In the 1959 summer issue of Oklahoma Today, a sheet of 20 “stamps” that featured some of Oklahoma’s greatest baseball players was inserted into the magazine. Some of the players featured on the magazine insert were Paul and Lloyd Waner, Warren Spahn, Allie Reynolds, Lindy McDaniel, Pepper Martin, Carl Hubbell, Paul and Dizzy Dean, Johnny Callison, and Mickey Mantle. The Mantle perforated “stamp or card” is the key as complete issues of the magazine in excellent condition can command prices of $700-$800 or more depending on condition. (Photos 7, 8)

Photo 7

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 8

3. LIFE MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 1962

With a photo of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on the set of “Cleopatra,” this 1962 Life magazine had a hidden treasure. Inside the magazine attached to a business reply mailer from Life were two cards of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. The two Post cereal cards promoted the new 1962 set of 200 cards. The Mantle card, No. 5, showed Mickey in a right-handed batting pose and included his 1961 and career batting statistics. The promotional Roger Maris card was No. 6. (Photos 9, 10)

Photo 9

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 10

4. BASEBALL CARDS MAGAZINE BY KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS

In the October 1984, Issue 10, I wrote the first detailed Mickey Mantle checklist ever published for Baseball Card magazine published by Krause Publications. Inside this memorable issue, Baseball Card magazine included a special 1950, pre-rookie Joplin Miners card of Mickey Mantle. The card was printed on a Sports Collectors Digest and Baseball Cards cardboard advertising insert. (Photo 11)

Photo 11

Photo 11

5. BASEBALL CARDS MAGAZINE BY KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS

Four years later in December 1988, Issue 40, Volume 8, No.12, I updated the Mickey Mantle checklist for Baseball Card magazine. Inside the magazine, readers were treated to a panel of three Mickey Mantle repli-cards. The panel included the 1951 and 1952 Bowman cards, as well as the 1952 Topps “Rookie Card.” (Photo 12)

Photo 12

Photo 12

6. BASEBALL CARDS MAGAZINE BY KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS

In 1988, Baseball Cardmagazine issued a Mickey Mantle version of what a 1958 Hires Root Beer card might have looked like had one been issued. The card measures 3 1/4"x2 3/8". (Photo 13)

Photo 13

Photo 13

7. BASEBALL CARDS MAGAZINE BY KRAUSE PUBLIATIONS

Baseball Card magazine also produced a reprint of the 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle card. It was No. 202. (Photo 14)

Photo 14 

Photo 14 

8. FUN WITH BASKY AND ROBIN, BASKIN ROBBINS ICE CREAM MAGAZINE

In the July 1980, Issue 9, ice cream giant Baskin and Robbins issued three colorized baseball cards in their “Fun with Basky and Robin” comic book. Made to be cut and pasted into a scrapbook, the cards were printed on newsprint stock and featured Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. They were a part of the Baseball Hall of Fame Collectors’ Series and were designated as “B 4-6.” (Photo 15)

Photo 15 

Photo 15 

9. 1992 BALLSTREET JOURNAL MAGAZINE CARD

Shown in a left-handed follow through swing, this Mantle card is from Vol. 2, Issue 4. The card is designated as the Commerce Comet card 38. The card measures 3 ½” x 4.” Also printed were uncut sheets with Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Ty Cobb, and Satchel Paige that measured 15”x24.” (Photo 16)

Photo 16

Photo 16

10. 1998 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS MICKEY MANTLE CARD

To date, two different Mickey Mantle cards have appeared in the Sports Illustrated for Kidsmagazine. The first one appeared in 1998 and uses an Ozzie Sweet photo of Mickey and shows him in his Yankee pinstriped uniform with blue sky and right-handed, follow-through swing. “Baseball Legends” appears in yellow and black on the card’s left side. (Photo 17)

Photo 17

Photo 17

11. 2000 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDSMICKEY MANTLE CARD

The second Mantle card uses a black-and-white photo of Mickey after a swing and a miss. The card has Mickey’s name on top in a gold banner, while “Athlete of the Decade: 1950-1959,” appears on the bottom of the card. (Photo 18)

Photo 18

Photo 18

12. 1991 TUFF STUFF, JR. MICKEY MANTLE CARD

This 1991 Tuff Stuff Jr.magazine card of Mickey Mantle is a very simplistic illustration of The Mick that shows him in a follow-through left-handed swing. It is designated as card No. 5. (Photo 19)

Photo 19

Photo 19

13. INVESTOR’S JOURNAL SEPTEMBER 1992, ISSUE 6

Offering investing advice from baseball cards, to baseball-related postal cachets, bobbing heads and even starting line-up figures, The Investor’s Journal informed its monthly readers on prudent investments in the world of sports memorabilia. Also included in each issue were 18 colorful insert cards that were uncut and placed in the centerfold. In the September 1992 issue, Mickey Mantle was front and center on the magazine’s front cover. The publication was machined numbered on the reverse side and limited to a specific number. Some editions were limited to 17,500, while other editions were limited to 10,000. D & B Publications, Bluffton, IN 46714, published the magazine. (Photo 20)

Photo 20

Photo 20

14. 1992 INVESTOR’S JOURNAL CARD 95, GOLD FOIL

In its first anniversary issue with Cal Ripken, Jr. on the front cover, The Investor’s Journal included a Mickey Mantle card that used the same photo from the September ‘92 issue. The card, which was designated as No. 95, has gold-foiled lines around the card’s borders. “Investor’s ‘92” and Mickey’s name appear on the front, while a write-up about Mickey being 61 years old and a sound and stable investment appears on the reverse side. (Photo 21)

Photo 21 

Photo 21 

15. 1992 INVESTOR’S JOURNAL CARD 48-BLUE FOIL

Also issued that same year by The Investor’s Journal was a card that showed Mantle in his away Yankee uniform. The card has blue foil lines around the car’s borders and has “Investor’s ‘92” printed in the upper-left corner. The card is designated as No. 48. (Photo 22)

Photo 22

Photo 22

16. 1995 INVESTOR’S JOURNAL GOLD FOIL IN MEMORIAM

With a photo showing a right-handed, follow-through swing, Mantle is in the foreground of this highly glossy, black-background card. Appearing in gold foil are the words, “The Mick 1931-1995,” with a large #7. The words, “In Memoriam,” appear at the bottom. The card’s reverse side has “Future Pick #3” at the top of the card and advises card investors to wait until 1996 to make any investments. (Photo 23)

Photo 23 

Photo 23 

17. 1995 INVESTOR’S JOURNAL SILVER FOIL IN MEMORIAM

This card is identical in every way to the above-described card with the only exception being that the card was printed using silver foil in the printing process. (Photo 24)

Photo 24 

Photo 24 

18. 1982 OFFICIAL NEW YORK YANKEES YEARBOOK

In 1982, TCMA produced an 18-card 1951 Bowman-styled set that was inserted in the 1982 New York Yankees Yearbook. Found in uncut form, the two, nine-card sheets featured mostly New York Yankee Greats, as well as other stars. The cards included Phil Rizzuto, Joe DiMaggio, Billy Pierce, Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra, Joe Sewell, Virgil Trucks, Roy Sievers, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Billy Martin, Mel Parnell, Bill Dickey, Hank Greenberg, Allie Reynolds, Boog Powell, Whitey Ford, and Lou Boudreau. The backs included statistics and a biographical write-up of each player. The Mantle card is No. 15. (Photo 25)

Photo 25

Photo 25

19. 2003 UPPER DECK SPORTS COLLECTIBLES MAGAZINE

With a 5”x7” pull-off action card of LeBron James on the front cover, the 2003 Upper Deck Sports Collectibles Magazine contained an exclusive nine-card uncut sheet with cards of Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordon, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, and others. The Mantle card showed him connecting while batting left-handed. The Mantle card was designated as UD7. (Photos 26, 27)

Photo 26

Photo 26

Photo 27

Photo 27

20. 1992 CARTWRIGHTS MAGAZINE

With a short-lived production run of only two years, Cartwrights magazine lasted only five issues. From 1992 to 1993, the magazine was distributed in very limited quantities. In Vol.1, No.3, Mickey Mantle, card 36, appeared on a high-quality insert sheet. The card showed a black-and-white rookie photo of Mantle in his road grays. With Mickey’s name on the bottom of the card, the top showed a “1992 Players’ Choice,” banner printed in black on top of a gold-foiled background. Other cards appearing with Mantle on the uncut sheet of nine were Deion Sanders, Fred McGriff, Tony Gwynn, Ben McDonald, Mark McGuire, and Roberto Alomar. (Photo 28)

Photo 28

Photo 28

21. 1996 MICKEY MANTLE: THE ANALYST, GOLD FOIL

In January of 1996, The Analyst Price Guideissued a Mickey Mantle gold-foiled card that commemorated Mickey’s passing in 1995. The Analyst Fan Favorite Mantle card showed a color photo of Mickey with Mantle’s last name printed in gold and black seven separate times. (Photo 29)

Photo 29 

Photo 29 

22. 1996 MICKEY MANTLE: THE ANALYST, COPPER FOIL

Identical in every aspect to the above-described card, The Analyst produced a second variation of the Mantle card. The only difference was that the gold foil printing was replaced with “copper-colored” foil. (Photo 30)

Photo 30

Photo 30

23. 1994 INVESTOR’S FOCUS, INVESTMENT PICKS #14, GOLD FOIL

In September 1994, Investor’s Focus included Mickey Mantle as a good bet in their top picks for the baseball card investor. The gold sparkle card included the publisher’s thoughts on the popularity of Mantle and how he remains one of the most popular players of today. (Photo 31)

Photo 31 

Photo 31 

24. 1994 INVESTOR’S FOCUS-INVESTMENT PICKS #14, SILVER FOIL

Identical to the above gold foil Mantle card described above, this variation possesses a silver sparkle foil on the card’s border. (Photo 32)

Photo 32 

Photo 32 

25. THE MICK HALL OF FAME 1974, BASEBALL CLASSICS LTD.

Devoid of any team insignias, this issue shows a young Mickey Mantle in his 1951 Yankee pinstripe uniform with his fielder’s glove resting on his left knee. Vertically printed on the card’s left side are the words, “The Mick,” which appear in gold foil, as well as another variation that is printed using silver foil. The front also has a 1½” foiled ribbon in the upper-right corner. “Baseball’s Finest” appears at the bottom of the card. The reverse side features a write-up of Mickey’s career as well as his lifetime statistics. The cards were 1 of 10,000 issued. Both the gold and silver variations are pictured. (Photos 33, 34)

Photo 33

Photo 33

Photo 34 

Photo 34 

26. MICKEY, A YANKEE LEGEND, HALL OF FAME 1974, BASEBALL CLASSICS LTD.

Similar in format to “The Mick” card produced by Baseball Classics, Ltd.,this card shows Mickey kneeling on his right knee with his bat tucked underneath his right arm. The “NY” on Mickey’s hat has been removed with the same silver and gold foil designs. Printed vertically on the card’s left side is the word,” Mickey.” At the bottom of the card are the words, A Yankee Legend.” The card is 1 of 10,000 issued. (Photos 35, 35a)

Photo 35

Photo 35

Photo 35a

Photo 35a

27. 1991 MICKEY MANTLE AMERICAN SPORTS MONTHLY

Produced in 1991, American Sports Monthly issued a Mickey Mantle card that showed him in a right-handed batting pose. Wearing his home pinstripes with the Yankee Stadium stands visible in the background, the card has Mickey’s name at the bottom in a gold-and-blue scroll. The card is designated as ASM 29 on the reverse side. The card is printed on high-gloss cardstock. (Photo 36)

Photo 36

Photo 36

28. 1993 MICKEY MANTLE AMERICAN SPORTS MONTHLY

Similar to the 1991 issue, this 1993 version shows Mickey holding his bat horizontally below his waist. The card is printed on a “flat” black-card stock, unlike the 1991 issue. There is no designation of any card number on the front or back side. (Photo 37)

Photo 37 

Photo 37 

29. 1991 MICKEY MANTLE CARDBOARD DREAMS ART CARD & PROTOTYPE

In 1991, Cardboard Dreams magazine issued a 16-card set of art cards that featured Mickey Mantle. The card features two illustrations of “The Mick.” The card was designated as No. 9.

A prototype 7-in-1 card was also issued before being shut down by MLB. Players on the prototype included David Justice/Frank Thomas/Mickey Mantle/Nolan Ryan/Sandy Koufax/Ted Williams/Joe DiMaggio. (Photos 38, 38a)

Photo 38

Photo 38

Photo 38a

Photo 38a

30. MICKEY MANTLE RBI PROTOTYPE

TheRegional Baseball Indexwas a short-lived memorabilia price guide that saw only one issue published. In that issue, 10 high-quality baseball cards that included Michael Jordan (Birmingham Barons Uniform), Bo Jackson, Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr., George Brett, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Mickey Mantle, were inserted in the magazine.  The cards were marked as prototypes. (Photo 39)

Photo 39

Photo 39

31. MICKEY MANTLE RBI HOLOGRAM PROMO

Stadium Sports Publishing, Inc. produced this first “pure” hologram card of Mickey Mantle. Designed as a promo card for Regional Baseball Index(RBI) the 3-D effect showed Mickey kneeling with the Yankee Stadium bleachers in the background. The card was designated as No. 7. (Photo 40)

Photo 40 

Photo 40 

32. 1992 BALLSTREET JOURNAL MICKEY MANTLE CARD #38

In 1992, Ballstreet Publications produced 10 different 3 ½” x 4” cards that included Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, and Satchel Paige. The Mantle card was designated as No. 38. A large 15”x24” promotional poster that contained all 10 cards was also issued. The insert and poster cards are nearly identical; however, the insert card shows a greenish border, while the poster card features a black border and features a write-up of the M&M boys of 1961. The cards appeared in Vol.2, No. 4, with a picture of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on the magazine’s front cover. (Photos 41, 42)

Photo 41

Photo 41

Photo 42 

Photo 42 

33. MICKEY MANTLE SPECTACULAR SECOND ISSUE BY MAGNUM COMICS

In November of 1992, Magnum Comics continued “The Mickey Mantle Story” in their second issue. The Magnum Comics came individually wrapped in a clear, plastic bag with the addition of a Mickey Mantle postcard. There were three different Mantle postcards drawn by artist Joe Orsak. (Photo 43)

Photo 43

Photo 43

34. SPORTS CLASSICS #2, FEATURING MICKEY MANTLE BY PERSONALITY COMICS

Personality Comics released “The Unauthorized Biography” of Mickey mantle in June of 1992. Four limited edition trading cards were inserted as the magazine’s centerfold. The cards were limited to 6,000 and were individually numbered. All of the cards were done in black and white. (Photo 44)

Photo 44

Photo 44

35. MICKEY MANTLE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY BY CELEBRITY COMICS

Produced in November 1992, Celebrity Comics released a Mickey Mantle comic book that shows him in a close-up, smiling pose. Inserted inside the clear, plastic bag was a colorful, illustrated card that had Mickey’s name printed at the top in yellow and “Personality Comics Trading Cards” printed vertically along the card’s left border. As so often is the case, the trading cards were removed leaving only the comic book for sale. The trading cards were limited to 1,500. (Photos 45, 46)

Photo 45

Photo 45

Photo 46

Photo 46

36. LEGENDS SPORTS MEMORABILIA PRICE GUIDE, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1993

Using the artwork of artist Christopher Paluso, Legends Sports Memorabilia chose Mickey Mantle as its subject for its 50th cover. Inside the magazine, nine cards were inserted in the LSM galley. The silver-foiled insert sheet contained cards of Charles Barkley, Arantka Sanchez, Pat Riley, Joe Montana, Shaquille O’Neal, Eddie Delahoussaye, Bernhard Langer, Patrick Roy, and Mickey Mantle. The Mantle card is No. 43. (Photo 47)

Photo 47

Photo 47

37. LEGENDS SPORTS MEMORABILIA PRICE GUIDE, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1991

In the Vol. 4, No.4 edition of Legends Sports Memorabilia, Nolan Ryan appeared on the front cover. Inside the price guide were nine more silver-bordered cards that included Randall Cunningham, Eric Lindros,Gabriela Sabatini, Ramon Martinez, Bo Jackson, Richard Petty, David Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Kevin Costner. Also included were three LSM postcards that featured Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas, and Ted Williams. (Photo 48)

Photo 48

Photo 48

38. 2001 LEGENDS SPORTS MEMORABILIA ARCHIVES

In a 2001 edition of Legends Sports Memorabilia, three postcard-sized cover cards were included as inserts. The three postcards were Daytona Legends, Yankee Legends, and Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio. The postcards were mini-replicas of past LSM covers. The Daytona Legends included artwork of Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Jarrett. The artwork was used for cover Vol.3, No.3.

The Yankee Legends card showed illustrations of Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Derek Jeter. This cover was used for Vol. 13, No. 4.

The third postcard was from the magazine’s first issue, Vol.1, No.1, and featured Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio. (Photo 49)

Photo 49

Photo 49

39. 1993 CONFIDENTIAL MAGAZINE CARDS BY KITCHEN SINK

Using the most sensational covers of the king of gossip magazines, Confidential, Kitchen Sink produced a 36-card set that contained two Mickey Mantle cards. Although not an insert card, but still a magazine card, these cardboard oddities showed Mickey in a less than glamorous spotlight.

Card No. 20 features a cover from March 1957 that writes about “The doll that owns 25% of Mickey Mantle.” The card shows The Mick in a right-handed batting pose.

Card No. 23 features a photo of Hank Bauer, Billy Martin, and Mickey from the September 1957 issue. The teasing headline read, “They were playing night games, but not baseball!”; no doubt a reference to the infamous Copacabana nightclub incident that led to the trade of Billy Martin to the Kansas City Athletics. (Photo 50)

Photo 50 

Photo 50 

40. 1992 ALLAN KAYE’S SPORTS CARDS

Artist Cliff Spohn’s large, illustrated portrait card of Mickey Mantle appeared in the July 1992 issue of Allan Kaye’s Sports Cards, a guide that provided news and prices for baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and non-sport cards. The over-sized Mantle card that measured 5”x8” showed Mickey in three different poses. The card was part of an uncut sheet that also had five 1910-era tobacco style cards. Those cards included the likenesses of Cool Papa Bell, Ray Dandridge, Lou Dials, Judy Johnson, and Josh Gibson. The Mantle was designated as No. 16. (Photo 51)

Photo 51 

Photo 51 

41. 1993 BALLSTREET PUBLICATIONS

From 1991 to 1993, Ballstreet Publications issued four different Mickey Mantle cards. Without any card numbers to identify the different issues, Mantle appeared in a rookie pose with the 1951 American League patch on his left sleeve. A circle with a large “B” appears in the upper-right corner of the card. Mickey’s name is printed vertically along the right border. A similar Ballstreet card of Mantle exists where his name has been replaces with a gold sparkle, vertical strip. (Photo 52)

Photo 52

Photo 52

Ballstreet also produced two Mantle cards that show him in a follow-through right-handed swing. The photo was taken at spring training. With Mickey’s name printed vertically on both variations, the Ballstreet circular “B” logo is present on one variation and absent on the other. The cards were issued in a nine-card uncut insert sheet. (Photos 53, 53a)

Photo 53 

Photo 53 

Photo 53a

Photo 53a

42. HALL OF FAME LIVING LEGENDS #33, SPORTS STARS USA

1993/94 Sports Stars USA produced a card called Hall of Fame Living Legends. The card featured Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. The card is designated as card #33 on the reverse. The card also has three gold-foil facsimile signatures of the threesome. (Photo 54)

Photo 54

Photo 54

43. KEN GRIFFEY, JR. BREAKS MANTLE’S RECORD, SPORTS STARS USA

With Ken Griffey, Jr. superimposed over a kneeling photo of Mickey Mantle, Sports Stars USAcreated card 146 that shows the twosome with facsimile gold-foiled signatures. Also printed in gold foil are the words, “Official Record Breaker Card.” The reverse side also has photos of the two with Mickey’s 1952 Topps card #311 appearing next to Junior hitting a home run. The card was issued in 1994/95. (Photo 55)

Photo 55 

Photo 55 

44. MICKEY MANTLE PRO SPORTS MONTHLY #11

Limited to a run of 4,000, Pro Sports Monthly produced a Mickey Mantle card to commemorate his passing in 1995. Dated 1995/96, the card shows Mickey in a right-handed batting pose wearing his home pinstripes with a blurry, airbrushed background. Below his name in copper foil appears “1931-1995.” The reverse side has a large passage of Mick’s career. The card is designated as Card 11. (Photo 56)

Photo 56

Photo 56

45. MICKEY MANTLE PRO SPORTS MONTHLY #7

Also produced in 1995/96 by Pro Sports Monthly, a card shows Mantle posing with his left hand on his hip, while leaning on his bat. With 15 gold-foiled dots printed vertically on the card’s left-side border, a facsimile Mantle signature and the word, “MANTLE,” appears in gold foil as well. The reverse side shows a black-and-white close-up of the same photo used on the front. The card had a press run of 4,000. (Photo 57)

Photo 57

Photo 57

46. SPORTS HEROES OF THE ‘90S, PROTOTYPE

Using the same J.D. McCarthy as described above, Sports Heroes of the ‘90s, Inc. produced a similar card that was devoid of any printing on the front side. The reverse side showed Mickey’s batting statistics from 1951 to 1968. The card is listed as a prototype and was limited to 1,000. (Photo 58)

Photo 58 

Photo 58 

47. PROFILES IN SPORTS

In 1992 when the National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Atlanta, Ga., a promotional card was made as an insert for Profiles In Sports, the magazine for the national hobby. With gold sparkle and an oval photo of Mantle on the front, the card had “Premier Edition,” prominently displayed on the top of the card and a blue ribbon with the words, “Pro File,” located at the bottom. The reverse side featured the National Sports Collectors Convention logo and was marked as promo card #10 of 12. (Photo 59)

Photo 59

Photo 59

48. LEGENDS OF THE GAME MICKEY MANTLE

One of the most eye appealing magazine cards ever made, this entry shows Mickey in a right-handed follow-through swing with blue puffy sky in the background. With gold-sparkle foil on the card’s border, a gold-foil facsimile Mantle autograph appears at the bottom of the card. The reverse side includes biographical data, career totals, and a short write-up of the Yankee slugger. The card is identified as a “Collectible Promo Card,” with no number. Famed sports photographer Ozzie Sweet took the photo. (Photo 60)

Photo 60 

Photo 60 

49. 1991 ROOKIE FLASHBACK MICKEY MANTLE

This unlicensed 1991 issue shows a smiling Mickey looking to his right. The card has “Rookie Flashback,” printed at the top of the card while an emblem printed in the lower-left corner contains his name and the year 1951. The reverse side contains a career highlight passage with no identifying marks or card number. Several other cards with the same design and theme also exist. These included Joe Montano, Rickey Henderson, Nolan Ryan, and Wayne Gretzky. (Photo 61)

Photo 61

Photo 61

50. 1993 FIELD LEGENDS #7

This Field Legends card shows a smiling Mickey Mantle bust shot. Taken from Ozzie Sweet’s portfolio, the card’s design shows the word, “Outfield” and “Mickey Mantle,” at the top and bottom respectively. The design uses a green background with gold-foil pinstripes. The reverse side gives Mantle’s birth date and the years that he won the MVP and Triple Crown years. A quote by Whitey Ford is also printed that states, “Everyone who roomed with Mickey said he took five years off their career.” The card is copyrighted 1993. (Photo 62)

Photo 62

Photo 62

51. CELEBRITIES ‘93

Using an action pose of Mantle batting left-handed, Celebrities ’93 issued this card that has red-and-gold foil block letters of “Mantle,” at the top of the card and a facsimile gold-foiled signature at the bottom. The reverse has Mickey Charles Mantle printed in block letters with career totals and a short biographical write-up. The card was issued in 1993. (Photo 63)

Photo 63

Photo 63

52. THE LEGEND GOES ON, DIAMOND CLASSICS BY LEGENDS #7

With a triple image of Mickey and an oval inserted photo in the upper-right corner, this Mantle card has “Mickey” at the top and “The Legend Lives On” printed in gold-foil script at the bottom of the card’s front side. With all “NY” insignias removed, the card’s back has Mantle’s career stats and “Baseball’s Finest,” is printed in white at the bottom. The card’s designation is #7. (Photo 64)

Photo 64

Photo 64

53. MICKEY MANTLE LEFT-HANDED CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

With no identifiable markings as to the origin of this card, Mickey is shown in a left-handed follow through swing. A gold-foiled facsimile signature is also found on the card’s front. The back contains a write-up of Mick’s career and admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Photo 65)

Photo 65

Photo 65

54. THE LEGEND CONTINUES, DIAMOND CLASSICS BY LEGENDS #7

With the words, “FAREWELL TO A LEGEND 1931 TO 1995”printed in gold foil, this Mickey Mantle card by Diamond Classics uses a Sports Illustrated photo of Mickey from 1951. The “NY” has been removed via the airbrush and just the letter “N” remains. The reverse side has the Diamond Classics logo in the upper-right corner with career stats and a write-up of Mick’s home run power. “The Legend Continues,” is printed in white at the bottom. The card’s designation is #7. (Photo 66)

Photo 66 

Photo 66 

55. MICKEY MANTLE: SPORTS HEROES OF THE ‘90S

Almost identical to the 1995/96 Pro Sports Monthly card described earlier, this “Commerce Comet” card shows Mickey in the same right-handed batting pose with a clear background view of the Yankee Stadium stands. The card has “Mickey Mantle, Outfield, Yankees,” in the upper-right corner. (Photo 67)

Photo 67

Photo 67

56. 1994 HEROES OF THE GAME

With a production run of 7,500, Mickey is shown batting right-handed with the Yankee Stadium stands in the background. The title of the magazine appears in the upper-right corner of the magazine. (Photo 68)

Photo 68 

Photo 68 

57. 1996 HEROES OF THE GAME, EDITION 37

In 1996, Blue Book Publishers released two collector editions of its magazine, “Heroes of the Game.” A platinum edition, with a printing runs of 1,500, and a gold collector’s edition, with a printing run of 4,000, showed an action pose of Mickey Mantle batting left-handed. The photos of the Mick were the same in each edition but had different colored foiled borders. The platinum version had a silver border and the collector’s edition has gold-foiled borders. Both editions were hand numbered.

An uncut sheet of six mini-reproductions cover cards was placed in each magazine. The Mantle card is No. 37. There are two variations, platinum and gold, for each card. Both variations are shown. (Photo 69, 70)

Photo 69

Photo 69

Photo 70 

Photo 70 

58. CHAMPIONS SPORTS MEMORABILIA MAGAZINEARTWORK

In 1996 at the Cleveland National, a promotional poster by Los Angeles born and raised artist Samantha Wendell was distributed. The 18”x24” poster called “Champions of Sport” featured six different portraits that included Troy Aikman, Magic Johnson, Joe Namath, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cal Riken Jr., and Mickey Mantle. All six pieces of artwork measured approximately 5”x7½.” (Photo 71)

Photo 71

Photo 71

In closing, a lot has changed since the late 1980s and ‘90s. Back then, it seemed like there were countless issues of sport magazines coming out every month. Almost all contained an inserted collectible of some sort. Today, Sports Illustrated for Kidsis still in production and usually features a nine-card uncut sheet to entice the younger generation to subscribe. Even though these cards will have minimal value, one can never tell when the next Mantle card or Tiger Woods rookie will make its debut. 

Kelly R. Eisenhauer of Lehighton, Pa., has been a fan and collector of Mickey Mantle memorabilia for more than 50 years. He owns and operates a Mantle website at www.hofmemories.com and Mickey Mantle Cards and Other Memorabilia on facebook. He can be reached at mrike@ptd.net.