Going back many, many years, the New York Yankees have traditionally enjoyed the Rites of Spring in Florida. A unique exception came about in 1951, when under the influence of team part owner Del Webb who was developing real estate in the "Sun Corridor", the Yankees held their Spring Training camp in the arid climes of Arizona. Though Joe DiMaggio had announced that '51 would be his final MLB season, much of the attention at the Yankees camp swirled around up-and-coming superstar Mickey Mantle, who was blasting bombs from both sides of the plate.
From the lone Yankees camp out West, comes this multi-signed baseball. As fortune would have it, the youthful Mantle signed ("5-6") one of the ball's side panels, and the ball could easily be displayed as a Mantle single-signed example. This period autograph is one of Mantle's earliest signings as a member of the New York Yankees, and holds status as a great historic treasure from the start of his rookie season!
On the panel opposite of Mantle's prized signature, are found (6) autographs of average ("5-6") strength, with: Vic Raschi, Joe Page, "Spec" Shea, Wally Hood, Tom Ferrick, and Johnny Hopp. While the factory labeling stamps have faded out of existence, the ball retains a fantastic period authentic appearance.
Accompanying is a handwritten letter of provenance from the ball's original owner detailing how he scored a foul ball off the bat of DiMaggio at one of the Yankees 1951 Spring Training games, which his father had taken him to. Following the game, the proud owner's father took the young fan to the Adams Hotel in downtown Phoenix where the Yankees were staying, in hopes of procuring a DiMaggio autograph. "Joltin' Joe" didn't surface that day, but the youngster was able to obtain the signatures of those named above, including Mickey, who he describes as being shy about his status as a ballplayer. Full photo LOA from JSA.