Winter 2020 Catalog Auction Ending Feb 22
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Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle began his ascent to his ultimate destination, the New York Yankees, in 1948 when he was a member of the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids – a semi-pro team in Kansas. That same year, as luck would have it, Yankees’ scout Tom Greenwade came to see Mantle’s teammate Billy Johnson. What Greenwade saw was Mantle belting three home runs in one game, which prompted Greenwade to return a year later to coincide with Mantle graduating high school. Mantle would sign with Greenwade and the Yankees right after his graduation (literally the same evening) and was assigned to the Class D Independence Yankees of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. Despite Greenwade playing somewhat of hardball with Mickey and his father Mutt, particularly in terms of his infield fielding (shortstop) and size (small), Greenwade would later admit “The first time I saw Mantle I knew how Paul Krichell felt when he first saw Lou Gehrig."

This offered check, dated July 1, 1949, represented half of Mantle’s monthly salary of $140.00. With $0.70 deducted for social security and $2.30 taken out for withholding, Mantle’s “take-home” pay was $67.00 – the amount of this check. The check was drawn from Independence Yankees account from “The Independence State Bank”. The check was signed by club secretary John Vallina, who above his signature wrote “Independence Baseball Club”. This check then produced an incredibly rare teenage signature of soon-to-be legend and icon Mickey Mantle. Mantle endorsed this check on the back before he would adapt to his highly identifiable signature with the hooks on the “M’s” when he played in New York and post career.

After two years with the Class D Independence Yankees, Mantle would make his debut with the Big Club in the Bronx and ultimately fill the shoes of Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. The historical significance of this check cannot be overstated. Since Mantle graduated high school on May 16, 1949 and subsequently signed with the Yankees, this check represented payment for his pay period between June 15th to June 30th, meaning that only two other checks would have been issued to Mantle prior to this one and to-date, none of them have ever surfaced. This would make this check the earliest known payroll check ever issued to Mantle. On top of that a great teenage signature! This check has been encapsulated by PSA/DNA (83823596) and has been graded Authentic, plus a LOA from JSA (Y96466).

1949 Mickey Mantle Signed Payroll Check - Independence Baseball Club (PSA/DNA & JSA)
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