New York Yankees batting helmet worn by Hall of Fame outfielder Mickey Mantle, circa 1957/1958. Mickey Mantle game-used batting helmets are exceedingly rare. This is the first we have ever offered, and we cannot recall having seen more than two or three others at auction in the past 25 years. It may also hold the distinction of being the earliest-known Mantle New York Yankees game-used batting helmet, as the others we are aware of date from the 1960s. The navy fiberglass helmet features the Yankees white "NY" logo affixed to the front in white-felt lettering. (The logo appears to have been coated with an application of shellac or lacquer, which has hardened over time.) Mantle's uniform number ("7") is written in faded black marker on the protective pad located in the center of the interior. Most important, the name "Mantle" is written in badly faded marker on a strip of white tape located on the interior back of the helmet. It should be noted that Mantle's name on the tape is just barely visible to the naked eye, but it can be seen more easily when observed under ultra-violet light. An "American Baseball Cap" manufacturer's label appears on the interior, which also includes the size: "7 1/4." An additional interior label reads "The only truly PROTECTIVE baseball cap on the market for high schools, colleges and adults." The helmet displays extensive wear, indicative of more than one season's use, including heavy soiling, chips to the edges, and a moderate crack on each side, just past the end of the brim. (The cracks were most likely the result of Mantle repeatedly flipping his helmet after an at bat, as was his custom, rather than a beaning.)
Mantle was at the peak of his career at the time he wore this helmet. After capturing the Triple Crown and winning the MVP Award in 1956, Mantle continued his assault on American League pitching the following year. "The Mick" hit a career-high .365 with 34 home runs and 94 RBI in 1957, with those numbers earning him a second consecutive MVP Award at season's end. In 1958, Mantle hit a league-leading 42 home runs to help lead the Yankees to their sixth and final World Championship of the decade. Batting helmets, much more so than bats, jerseys, or caps, are the rarest of all Mantle game-used items. This wonderful example, given the amount of wear displayed and its late 1950s dating period, may be the finest known and one that would be the centerpiece of any advanced Mickey Mantle or New York Yankees collection. Comes with full John Taube LOA.