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Mickey Mantle was not only one of the greatest baseball players of all time, he was widely known as a fan-friendly star who graciously gave his time and autograph to anyone who asked.

He was also a notorious prankster, known for his bawdy sense of humor and practical jokes. One of his most notorious pranks was a lewd letter he wrote to Yankees executives in 1972 outlining a sexual act he claimed to have participated in at Yankee Stadium.

The letter/questionnaire, which has been widely shared over the years, has finally hit the auction block, highlighting Leland’s 2022 Fall Classic Auction.

Mickey Mantle poses with his new Yankees team contract in 1961.

Mickey Mantle poses with his new Yankees team contract in 1961.

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Mantle’s infamous letter was written to longtime New York Yankees PR Director Bob Fishel, who in December 1972 sent a questionnaire to former Yankees players asking them to share their most outstanding experience at Yankee Stadium. The responses were to be featured in a 1973 50th Anniversary Yearbook for the Yankees’ “Golden Anniversary.”

Cover letter sent to Mickey Mantle as part of a 1972 New York Yankees questionnaire for former players.

Mantle’s shocking response has become a part of Yankee lore.

He wrote on the questionnaire that, “I got [oral sex] under the right field bleachers by the Yankee Bull Pen.” When asked to provide specifics, he wrote [in part]: “It was about the third or fourth inning. … She was a very nice girl … .” He signed the questionnaire: “Mickey Mantle - The All-American Boy.”

To view the letter, see Leland's auction listing here. (WARNING: The letter includes graphic and lewd content.) 

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Former Yankees Assistant PR Director Marty Appel, who worked with Fishel and wrote part of the questionnaire, confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but pointed out that it was meant as a joke.

“Mick's response is indeed his, in his handwriting, but it was meant to shock the very straight-laced Bob Fishel on whom he was always playing practical jokes,” Appel wrote in a letter to Leland’s. “The item is authentic, but the intent was bawdy humor, not depiction of a real event.

“I called Mick when I received it and said, ‘We're going with the Barney Schultz home run in 1964,’ and he laughed and said, ‘Of course.’ I held the letter for decades (never showed Bob Fishel), finally gave it to [collector] Barry Halper, and from there it slipped off to others over time.”

Mantle returned his questionnaire in a prepaid envelope marked “Personal – Bob Fishel” in pencil.

Both Mantle's signature and handwritten text were written in blue ink and have been graded 9/10. The questionnaire and cover letter (8.5-by-11) display two horizontal mailing folds, a few small edge tears at the fold lines and a paperclip impression near the top border. They are accompanied by the original return mailing envelope (8.75-by-4). Both the cover letter and envelope are dated/postmarked December 14, 1972.

Though copies of the letter have been shared and passed around for decades, this is the first time it has ever been made available for sale, publicly or privately. Leland’s calls it Mantle’s “magnus opus, if you will.”

“This is the most famous, or perhaps we should say infamous, Mantle handwritten document in the hobby,” Leland’s writes in its item description. “It has, however, been viewed by many collectors because copies of it exist and have been posted [and then reposted] online and through various social media platforms. That familiarity has led to its now iconic status but, like the Mona Lisa, or any other great work of art, there is only one original, and this is it.”

The letter has a current bid of $10,832 in the Leland’s auction that runs through Dec. 10. 

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