(Poor) Roger Maris, 1964 Topps

Poor Roger Maris, 1964 Topps, ed

Pocket-weary, scuffed, and battered, Roger Maris gazes skyward in defiant optimism. More than anyone, he should know how pinstripes can suppress the ecstasy of flight. At age 29, the navy blue cap sits atop a ravine-furrowed brow, conceals bald patches and tufts of gray—distressed vestiges from 1961. An expanse of black netting looms behind his back. In high, deserted tiers, no crowd of a thousand empetalled faces quivers with applause. But even bold trajectory always dips eventually. So Roger plays with bone chips, a broken hand; he wracks his knees on grandstand dives; and, come retirement, he combats the Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose cytology reveals periwinkle profusions among white blood cells. What history has since transpired: wrinkles extend in cellulose varicose veins from center to edges frayed. Yet still he stares through folds of time; he lifts his head, as if to trace the measured beat of ash wood—its resonant, aerial song arcing through the pale-blue down above.

*Previously appeared in Harpur Palate 13.2 (Winter/Spring 2014), page 63.

1952 World Series: Yankees vs. Dodgers, Game 7 . . . on YouTube?

So apparently game seven of the 1952 World Series is available to watch on YouTube for free. Yes, that World Series: Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Pee Wee Reese, et. al. And while it’s not the highest video quality, well, keep in mind that this is 1952 television film footage–and probably shot from high up in the bleachers of the old Yankee Stadium.

Honestly, I’m not sure whether or not this is an official unofficial YouTube release by MLB. In fact, the MLB logo is emblazoned across the channel’s homepage banner and elsewhere at http://www.youtube.com/user/MLBClassics, although I can’t locate any legitimate source that indicates MLB endorses or is responsible for this content. Apparently, the AZ Snake Pit (an SB Nation affiliate blog) has this brief post that claims this is indeed a YouTube channel operated by MLB. In any case, knowing the tendency of MLB’s iron-fisted grip on broadcast rights, I would be very surprised if they did not know about a popular YouTube channel that, by the latest count, over 34,000 unique users subscribe to–and with more than six million views. Nevertheless, I’d watch it while you still can (for free,and before MLB has a change of heart contract). And you can watch game seven of the 1952 World Series along with, oh, about 2oo other fully archived baseball classics. Enjoy!

♦ ♦ ♦

Here are some stellar AP photographic images of the 1952 World Series that I found at AP Images:

Mickey Mantle In Action

Yankee Stadium bleachers

Ebbets Field

Stengel in Dugout

Best Worst Mickey Mantles, Part II

It’s time to expand the digital collection of the best worst Mickey Mantles. Some of these appear just mildly, colorfully marred–while others belong in a category specially reserved for the utterly wretched, shipwrecked, and weather-wracked. . . . And, again, if you happen to have a beautifully ruined Mickey Mantle that you’d like to share, then by all means please feel free to comment to this post with a link to your own poor Mickey Mantle.

 

1956 Topps 135 Mickey Mantle

1957 TOPPS BASEBLL #95 MICKEY MANTLE YANKEES GREAT LOOK

1959 Topps Mickey Mantle 10

1961 Topps Mickey Mantle 300

1962 Topps 18 Managers Dream Mickey Mantle Willie Mays

1962 TOPPS 200 MICKEY MANTLE

1962 TOPPS BASEBALL 471 MICKEY MANTLE ALL STAR

1963 Topps 2 A.L. Batting Leaders Mickey Mantle

1963-mantle-bombers-ed1

1965 Mickey Mantle 350

1965 Topps 350 Mickey Mantle

1965 Topps Micky Mantle

1968 Topps 280 Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle 1959 Topps Bazooka

Mickey Mantle 1968 TOPPS GAME 2 Baseball Game Card - Needs a good home

 

Best Worst Mickey Mantles

Here follows a collection of the best worst Mickey Mantles that I have ever laid eyes on. I think this should be a post in-progress. And if you happen to have a beautifully wrecked Mickey Mantle that you’d like to share, then by all means please feel free to comment to this post with a link to your own poor Mickey Mantle.

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle RC Yankees 311, crop.

Mantle Jello 15, 1963, front

300 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle

1952 topps Mickey Mantle

1954 BOWMAN MICKEY MANTLE

1957 Topps 407 Yankees Power Hitters,Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle - 1957 Topps #95, v2

Mickey Mantle - 1957 Topps 95

MICKEY MANTLE 1966 TOPPS 50

1958 Topps 418 MICKEY MANTLE - HANK AARON

1958 Topps 418 MICKEY MANTLE - HANK AARON back

1958 Topps 487 Mickey Mantle

1959 TOPPS 461 MICKEY MANTLE

1962 Post Canadian 5 Mickey Mantle

1951 Bowman 253 Mickey Mantle

1954 BOWMAN COLOR MICKEY MANTLE

1961 Topps 475 Mickey Mantle

1960 Topps 563 Mickey Mantle

1955 BOWMAN MICKEY MANTLE 202

Confession: I doodled on a Mickey Mantle Card

2013-02-24-5694

OK, I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I can explain—really, I can. You see, when this card first came into my possession it already looked like this. . . .

mantle mays before

So it was not exactly in pristine condition in the first place. And although even my wife advised against it, I just couldn’t help myself. Perhaps it had something to do with a few too many glasses of scotch whiskey that I found myself with a cheap, blue ballpoint Paper Mate pen gravitating in hand towards the card’s surface already besieged as well by fate’s hand with so many creases & folds like topographic ranges and rifts.

Honestly, however, it was the ghost of some poor child’s only half-finished doodle that compelled me to this act of insanity. For I can almost see the scene playing from out of the past: the oft-neglected, attention-starved younger sibling of a baseball enthusiast creeping into his brother’s ill-lit, forbidden bedroom, opening the closest door, and reaching for the first card on top of the floor stack. And I even envision the boy menace taking pause to gleefully admire his nearly finished masterwork of Willie’s goatee and Mickey’s newly grown beard. Of course, all of this comes before a deafening scream rings in his ears and he finds himself being yanked by the collar of his little Lacoste polo shirt and flung in the air.

So now you see. I really had no choice but to honor whoever the unfortunate, anonymous brat and this perhaps now long-forgotten act of cardboard defacement—though, come to think of it, none of it may be forgotten in the least. For all I know, the parties involved may still harbor some deep-buried, dark sentiments to this day.

What happens to a Mickey Mantle card when it goes through the washing machine?

1963, Mantle, Bombers, ed1

Well, if my deduction is correct, this is what happens.

I believe the Ebay seller mentioned something about that old bicycle spokes activity of now legendary horror. . . . But since this misfit has made its way into my possession and I can examine it more closely, I am no longer too sure. It appears to have been folded not once but twice–not merely into halves but quarters–as if to better fit in one of those tight, inner slots of some well-used Velcro wallet. Or, perhaps more likely, it was folded and creased as such to more easily slip into that miniature pocket sewn on the right hip of every pair of blue jeans. And observe how some of the surface has been scuffed and rubbed away near the top–just overhead of the unsuspecting, famed “bombers”–to give an almost pastel-like quality. That’s the aftermath of the laundry. . . . No, I definitely think that at least one of the culprits here was water–oh that pesky, ancient, and universal element that searches & destroys so many a beloved piece of cardboard.

And beloved it must have been, as evidenced by whatever wonderful act of salvage that mercifully granted this card a stay of execution from some wicker waste paper basket or said bicycle spokes.