As a collector with a curious case of selective OCD qualities, any joy from appreciation of a nice copy of an old, glorious card is usually foiled by my left-brain subconsciousness ruining the experience with thoughts of, "...it isn't real...." or "...you'll never know what this card was truly like, will you?"
Awful, I know.
But these usual sentiments didn't apply as soon as I laid eyes upon this beauty. It's a reprint of the 44th card from Bowman's 1953 "color" set. And I think it's absolutely perfect!
Berra is goofy, Bauer is in control and having a good time while the Mick appears to be a bit forlorn and wary of the price for the fortune and glory that lies ahead. Who says these little pieces of cardboard aren't true pieces of art?
This picture was most likely taken during the 1952 campaign and the season's stats for all three Yanks can be reviewed on the back of the card shown below.
Bauer enjoyed an All-Star season in '52 and was probably still enjoying life to the fullest after four years of war from '42 through '45. Purple Heart and Bronze Star, people.......a hero. On the diamond, he had about as solid of a career as any could ask for. One of my favorite highlights would have been in the Fall Classic previous to this picture, when Hank popped a bases-loaded triple to clinch the series for the Bombers over the New York Giants.
Yogi had established himself as one of baseball's finest backstops, if not THE best catcher (as noted for the junior circuit on the card back above). Thirty home runs from you game caller is an incredibly valuable power source, no matter what decade we're talking about - and the Yankees had Yogi in their lineup for 142 games in '52. With careful monitoring of ailments and exclusive pitcher/catcher tandems resulting in frequent changes for catchers in today's game, his records become even more impressive.
I love how this card still refers to Mantle as being the youngster who
replaced inherited DiMaggio's centerfield spot. That wording is very carefully chosen and very indicative of the Yankees fandom culture that was prevalent at the time. Perhaps this was a brief moment captured where Mickey was still trying to find his place in the Bronx universe? The Mick was fortunate and would eventually play his way into the hearts and minds of the Yankees faithful. Another young, record-setting outfielder with a crew-cut wouldn't be so lucky at the beginning of the next decade.
Do I even need to point out the great appearance of Yogi's vintage catcher's gear in the forefront of the picture? Awesome stuff!
This particular card comes from some sort of a Mickey Mantle commemorative set in 1996. I'm not too certain of its origin but if any of the other cards are in line with this beauty, I would be hard pressed not to add them to my collection.
Alas, my OCD hasn't let me off scott-free with this card. It has been officially placed on my radar as one of those epic cards to be obtained at a later date......only time will tell.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!