‘Holy Grail’ of cards (1952 Mickey Mantle) goes on display
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
Tuesday, July 17
DENVER (AP) — The “Holy Grail” of baseball cards, a pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle valued at several million dollars, was delivered to the History Colorado Center on Monday via armored truck for a 72-hour public display.
“I want the community to enjoy looking at the card,” said its owner, retired lawyer Marshall Fogel of Denver. “It’s the finest card ever made, and it just happens to be my favorite player, Mickey Mantle.”
The cardboard treasure was transported from a bank’s safe deposit vault and placed in a secure case that once housed Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, with UV-lens protection and temperature/humidity control.
The card, which Fogel said was insured for $12 million “and is probably worth more than that,” is being displayed in the lobby of the museum where its current exhibition, “Play Ball!” features Fogel’s collection of classic baseball artifacts.
Mike Fruitman, a sports card expert in Aurora, Colorado, said Fogel’s ‘52 Mantle card is at least on par with the 1909 Honus Wagner T206 card whose rarity is attributed to Wagner’s supposed disapproval of the card being sold along with tobacco.
One reason Mantle’s 1952 card is so rare is that so many of them were returned along with other unsold cards by retailers making room for the 1953 cards. The returned ‘52 cards were subsequently sunk from a barge in the Hudson River.
Fogel’s card is a gem mint PSA 10, one of only three ‘52 Mantle cards in existence with this rating. Of the three, Fogel’s card is the only “perfect 10,” what’s known in the collecting world as an A-plus. The other two are As.
“So, yes it’s the Holy Grail of sports cards,” Fruitman said. “Mickey Mantle was exceedingly more popular than Wagner. But each has a romantic backstory about them.”
Fogel also owns the original photo that was used to make the Wagner T206 card.
Like so many others, Fogel caught the collecting bug in the late 1980s, but he focused on high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces that he sometimes displays at Yankee Stadium.
In addition to amassing one of the most valuable baseball memorabilia collections in the world, he also has boxing artifacts and a collection of original historic photographs.
“I always liked boxing. I used to box as a kid. My dad used to take me to the fights as a kid. So, I have Jack Dempsey’s gloves, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali. I have Patrick Roy’s Stanley Cup jersey, John Elway’s uniform. I have my photo collection, I collect ‘Wizard of Oz,’ Marylin Monroe. I have one of the original photos of Iwo Jima, the flag raising.
“But I mainly concentrate on our national game, which is really the fiber of our culture. Everybody loves baseball.”
He showed an Associated Press reporter at his home a Babe Ruth-signed baseball, a rare Ty Cobb-signed ball, Lou Gehrig’s last signed bat and a ball signed by all the game’s greats who toured Japan in 1934.
The Mantle card is kept in a bank’s safe deposit vault in Denver, and Fogel said he takes it out about once a year to admire it.
“I’d go to the bank for other reasons and I’d take it out and pinch myself,” he said.
“Oh, I enjoy it. I have his uniform that used to be in his restaurant across from Central Park in Manhattan. It’s on display here,” Fogel said. “More than seeing this card in my hand, but I have to admit — now, don’t tell anybody — but I put Mantle’s uniform on.”
The last time Fogel displayed his Mickey Mantle card in public was at a sports memorabilia convention more than two decades ago.
Fogel paid $120,000 for the card in 1996 and he figures it’s now worth 100 times that.
“People said I was stupid to buy it,” Fogel told the AP. “Now, I’m wisely eccentric.”
Unlike the “Play Ball!” exhibit, which is running through the baseball season, the Mantle card will only be on display for the All-Star break. Jason Hanson, the museum’s chief creative officer and lead curator of the exhibit, said there are many reasons for that but primarily because no one wants the brilliant colors from the 66-year-old baseball card to fade under the lights.
It will head back into Fogel’s safe deposit box midweek.
Fogel said he’s no longer looking to buy any baseball memorabilia.
“I’m very satisfied with what I possess,” he said. “There’s got to be a point where you enjoy what you have.”
And he’s enjoying the Mantle card most of all, he said.
Fogel, who is in his 70s, wouldn’t say whether the card’s ultimate destination was another auction or whether he’d bequeath it to his children someday.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, I’m going to take it to heaven with me. It’s going to be laid across my chest in my casket.”
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Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings
Bregman, Springer homer in 10th inning as AL beats NL 8-6 in All-Star Game
By BEN WALKER
AP Baseball Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — A record 10 home runs. A slew of strikeouts.
The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become.
Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American League beat the National League 8-6 Tuesday night for its sixth straight win.
“Standard operation nowadays, right?” said AL manager A.J. Hinch of Houston. “We’re going to homer and punch out as an industry.”
“There’s a great love affair with both results. I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable,” he said. “Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run, especially when the big boys hit it and especially when the Astros hit it.”
Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Jean Segura also connected for the AL in a game where every run except one scored on a homer.
Scooter Gennett hit a tying two-run shot off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. Joey Votto, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Christian Yelich also homered for the NL.
There had never been more than six homers in an All-Star Game since Babe Ruth hit the very first one in 1933.
One of the homers came off Milwaukee’s Josh Hader. After the game, the 24-year-old reliever took responsibility for racist and homophobic tweets that resurfaced while he was pitching.
Hader said he was immature at age 17 when several of the tweets were posted. Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said he had spoken to Hader, and the league would have no comment before Wednesday.
“There’s no excuse for what was said,” Hader said. “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on. It doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now.”
While several sluggers went deep, not everything went their way. Starters Max Scherzer and Chris Sale and the relievers combined to fan 15 in the first 4 1/2 innings, and there were 25 strikeouts overall.
Fitting, because this season is on pace to become the first with more strikeouts than hits, a year after a record number of home runs.
“You’re facing power pitchers right now, so that’s kind of what you expect: hit-or-miss with these guys,” Boston’s J.D. Martinez said.
Martinez, who leads the majors in homers and RBIs, singled and struck out in his two at-bats.
Orioles shortstop Manny Machado had fun, pulling out a camera to snap a selfie at second base after Matt Kemp doubled. By Wednesday, they could be teammates — Baltimore seems ready to trade Machado, with the Dodgers and Phillies in the mix.
“I’m just trying to enjoy this moment with the American League guys,” Machado told FOX in the dugout. “If this is the last time (in a Baltimore uniform), hopefully I treated them well and did everything I can for the organization.”
Major League Baseball, meanwhile, seemed to take a selfie of itself, with all the homers and strikeouts. This was MLB 2.018, an update that’s not appealing to everyone.
“Some of us are going to get them and they’re going to get us. It’s just how it goes,” Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said.
Declining attendance is a concern, and the sport’s owners worry that slower games with less action on the bases are taking a toll.
A day after hometown star Bryce Harper electrified the crowd by winning the Home Run Derby, it was eerily quiet for most of the evening at Nationals Park. Harper didn’t excite the fans, either, fanning in his two at-bats.
The popular Presidents Race drew the biggest cheer in the middle innings, with the big-headed George Washington character prevailing.
The only thing missing was a bevy of defensive shifts. Overloaded infields are the norm now, Hinch and NL manager Dave Roberts of the Dodgers pretty much played things straight up.
Bregman and Springer homered off losing pitcher Ross Stripling of the Dodgers — that’s kind of how last year ended, too, with Houston battering Los Angeles pitchers in the World Series.
Bregman smiled all around the bases and earned MVP honors. He’s familiar with this city, his grandfather having been the general counsel for the old Washington Senators.
“My dad grew up on Ted Williams’ lap. So to see Ted Williams Most Valuable Player on this trophy is pretty special,” Bregman said.
Segura’s three-run homer in the eighth landed in the bullpen and broke a 2-all tie. The Seattle infielder popped up the previous pitch, but Votto, Cincinnati’s reliable first baseman, dropped it for an error as he approached the dugout railing. Segura then connected off Hader.
Judge homered in the second off Scherzer, the Nationals ace who became the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to start an All-Star Game in his home park. There was another judge at the park besides the Yankees slugger — Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
“It’s tough to barrel up some balls when you’ve got some of the best pitchers in the game throwing against you and you don’t really have a scouting report. You’re just going up there swinging,” Judge said.
Trout kept up his All-Star excellence, tagging Mets righty Jacob deGrom. A two-time MVP in his event, Trout is 7 for 15 with five extra-base hits and three walks in these games.
Diaz wound up with the win and Toronto’s J.A. Happ got his first pro save after giving up Votto’s homer.
The AL won for the 18th time in 21 games played to a decision, and leads the series 44-43-2. Not since the early 1960s has the AL been ahead.
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