I haven’t counted it in several years, but I am pretty sure I’ve put Mickey Mantle on the cover of Sports Collectors Digest more than any other single individual, though I suspect Babe Ruth probably comes in a solid No. 2.
Obviously, I make no apologies for that, since it is pretty much conventional wisdom that Mantle is the most influential post-war figure in the sports card and memorabilia hobby. I occasionally get criticism about our admitted reverence for all things Mickey, but it’s hard to take it too seriously. Objecting to Mickey Mantle is like dissing Halloween or the Easter Bunny, the latter of which could not get around on a fastball.
So our 35th anniversary issue, which will be the issue dated Feb. 6, 2009 (a few weeks late, so sue me) will launch “Mickey Mantle: The Complete Collectibles Guide,” an unprecedented multi-part special series written by one of the most well-known and widely respected Mantle experts in the hobby.
Kelly Eisenhauer (shown lower left), a Mantle fan and collector for more than 40 years, offers insight and literally hundreds of photographs of many of the thousands of pieces of ephemera, consumer goods, trinkets, toys, advertising pieces, magazines, books, postcards, regional and food issues, the Topps inserts and test issues, oddball items, and, as they say, a whole lot more.
Whether you’re a Mantle fan or not, this is going to be an extraordinary undertaking, one which I am looking forward to in the same fashion I did for the marvelous T206 Series “The Monster” by Scot Reader in 2006 and the acclaimed “Topps Proofs” Series by Keith Olbermann this past year.
The breadth and scope of Mantle stuff is simply staggering; about my only regret is that the constraints of a weekly magazine – even with a minimum of 12 installments planned – means that we will only be able to picture a fraction of what the author has available. Even having said that, I am going to run a whole lot of pictures with each installment, though they will have to be smaller than we typically would provide.
This is going to be a lot of fun, and along the way it’s going to create a wonderful reference source for serious fans and collectors.