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Yankee haters are heard from ...


For several months now in the Feedback section of Sports Collectors Digest, we’ve gotten the occasional missive lamenting that our once-a-month coverage offered in the form of the Complete Guide to Mickey Mantle Collectibles is way too much of an admittedly good thing.

Well, more candidly, I suppose I should concede that not everyone thinks it’s a good thing. Some of the commentary is clearly from Yankee Haters, as noble and deeply entrenched of a fan subgroup as exists on the major league scene. When the group includes the elderly, many of whom grew up in the period of the 1950s and early 1960s when the whole American League played a supporting role to the Yankees’ star turn, such hostility is easily understandable.

Likewise, for another whole generation of fans or more who have endured the last 15 years of renewed Bronx dominance, it’s easy to see why they might be a little sensitive about coverage so extensive devoted to a single team.

Technically, though, the coverage is not devoted to the Yankees but rather to one Yankee: Mickey Mantle. We regard Mantle’s stature within the hobby to be so extraordinary and unique that the commitment of space seems to us justified.

When the idea about the Collectibles Guide was pitched to us by Kelly Eisenhauer a couple of years ago, there was no way of knowing just how extensive it would ultimately be. Within the first few months of its launch last year, it had already become the largest ongoing editorial series ever produced in SCD. Now, as it reached Part XX in this week’s issue of SCD (July 23), it’s evolved into a major piece of hobby reference material, unmatched in its scope and breadth.

And though I am sure I probably can’t talk anybody into it, I could also point out that as a percentage of overall editorial space, the Mickey Mantle coverage is significantly less today in the smaller-format SCD than it was in 2009 when the magazine was in the larger format.

There have been 13 issues produced in the new smaller-format size, yielding roughly 400 pages of editorial copy over that span. About 25 pages have been Mantle-related over that period, or 8 percent of the total.

That’s significant and unprecedented but not – in our view – out of line for something as weighty as what Eisenhauer has produced.

Next year is the 60th anniversary of Mantle’s rookie season, the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest teams in postwar history from the historic 1961 season and will also mark what would have been his 80th birthday. Mickey Mantle nostalgia is going to be everywhere you can imagine and then some, and we’re just glad to have anticipated all of this by a couple of years or so.

And now – since I used this blog as yet another shameless opportunity to plug our book about the Yankees – comes another word from our sponsor ...

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