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1960s Mickey Mantle Game-Worn Yankees Helmet w/Military Stencil Logo

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1960s Mickey Mantle Game-Worn Yankees Helmet w/Military Stencil Logo

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SKU: 29166 Category:


In the major league ranks, we believe it was Pittsburgh who introduced batting helmets. From card issues dating as early as 1954, many Pirates are imaged wearing them. Across both circuits, however, ballplayers were slow to warm to these safety measures – real men of sporting chivalry stepped to the plate undaunted by a 95-mile-an hour missile passing in such perilous proximity. (Today, of course, batsmen shamelessly take their turn protected by a whole kit of safety accessories – helmets with ear flaps, elbow pads, instep guards and the like – generally enough to endure a direct grenade assault.)

But in those early days, most ballplayers would sooner wear a tu-tu with pink daisies than face Bob Gibson (along with 20,000 fans and television cameras) wearing a batting helmet. It just ain’t John Wayne. On the other hand, no hitter wants a beaning – especially with nothing more than a light wool cap to cushion the impact. Indeed, takin’ one in the head hurts like hell (at best); it can interrupt or even terminate a career (not to mention the lamentable Ray Chapman tragedy).

For many franchise rosters, a compromise solution seemed acceptable. Forthwith, a helmet of sorts became vogue – one that provided skull protection in the form of indestructable fibreglass, but covered on the exterior with a material masquerading as a woolen cap. So durable were these “helmets” that, in many instances, they’d survive several seasons of the harshest abuse. Problem was, the applied covering quickly degenerated. One quick remedy was to peel the fabric surface off in its entirety, then paint the helmet’s exterior in the standard team-color (hoping to maintain the visual similarity to wool), and somehow affix the proper logo to the front of the crown.

Typical were those adopted by the Yankees and, in recent memory, such helmets once used by Roger Maris, Berra and Elston Howard have traded in our industry. Now, for the reader’s indulgence, is one tracing to Mickey Mantle. It’s in wonderfully compromised condition, victimized by extensive use and on-field torment. The original “wooly” surface is completely gone, and the outer crown has been thoroughly painted (perhaps more than once) in flat Yankee black. That this helmet has served duty is evidenced by broad, but light, chipping across most of the visor’s edge. (There are no cracks in the crown or the visor.) Most convincing, however, is the state of this helmet in its internal aspects. The texture of the leather-cushioned head band demonstrates plenty of use and, as seen in our photo, a 2 1/2″ section is now missing. Further, a wide application of woven adhesive tape remains at the rear side of the internal crown. Though heavily impregnated with soil and perspiration, “7” and “Mantle” are clearly discernible. At the top of the crown (again, internally) is the standardly affixed circular cushion. “7” is pan style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>printed on its surface, suggesting that the manufacturer was instructed to designate specific helmets for each of the rostered Yankees. The manufacturer’s label is also affixed internally. Made by American Baseball Cap, this helmet is indicated as a size 7 1/4 and, helpful in determining the vintage, we note that ABC (of Media, Pennsylvania) is indicated with a Zip Code, thereby demonstrating the helmet’s making to a date later than 1963.

Finally, and perhaps the most profound feature of this piece is its stenciled Yankee logo. Such was the solution found by the Yankee equipment staff – after painting the crown and visor, the interlocking “NY” logo was applied by a burst of white paint against a fabricated stencil. Do note in our illustration for this listing that a photo of Mantle is provided – one depicting him (during the 1964 World Series) wearing just such a stenciled batting helmet.

There’s a profound legacy in this piece – once a vital accessory in the professional effects of Mickey Mantle

100% Authentic Team

1964,Baseball,Batting,Cap,Card,Equipment,Game-Worn,Helmet,Major League,Photo,Yankees  Bob Gibson,John Wayne,Mickey Mantle,Ray Chapman,Roger Maris

Auction End: 12-Apr-06  Post Views: 4382

Price; $0.00 – $5,000.00




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