Yankees: Why someone paid millions for a Mickey Mantle baseball card


While most of us were deeply concerned about whether the Yanks would lose DJ LeMahieu, Rob Gough dropped a cool $5.2 million for a Mickey Mantle baseball card.

Gough is a part-time actor and the man behind highly successful DOPE CPD. The 1952 #311 Topps Mickey Mantle card was brokered by PWCC, an online auction firm. The card was professionally graded in mint condition and is only one of a few like it in existence.

Its sale obliterated the previous record set by an autographed Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractors rookie card last August for $3.93 million. Take that, Mike Trout!

Of course, one has to wonder why someone would want to drop such an enormous sum of money on a baseball card with a somewhat fuzzy picture of a young Mick on the front and his abbreviated stats in the back.

The Mick’s rookie card was a 1951 Bowman. However, the 1952 Topps card has received a lot more attention and desire to acquire.

The first year Topps began to sell baseball cards was 1952, which may have something to do with its perceived value. It is also rare because Topps dumped thousands of the cards into the Hudson River in 1960 following overproduction.

In my view, the primary reason Mantle’s card is aggressively sought after today is because Mick was a terrific ballplayer, arguably the best centerfielder to play the game, at least when he was healthy. Yes, better than Willie Mays.

During his 18 years with the Yanks, the powerful switch hitter and Hall of Famer hit .298 with 536 home runs and 1,509 RBI. He was a 20-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and seven-time World Series Champion. The Mick also won a batting title, a Gold Glove, and a Triple Crown.

And Mick has been credited with hitting several record-setting, tape-measured shots during his career, adding to his lore and aura.

A baseball feat that will never be equaled, in my opinion, is the 18 home runs Mantle hit in 12 World Series (65 games). Mays, also a great centerfielder, didn’t hit one home run in four World Series (20 games).

How well ballplayers perform in the postseason when it’s all on the line says a lot about how great they indeed are. While Mays was an excellent player, Mantle walked on water in his prime.

Finally, if you’re wondering, the most a Willie Mays card in mint condition has been valued is under $500,000, much less than the recent sale of one of Mick’s cards. That reveals a lot.