Mickey Mantle’s Signed Death Threat Letter Hits Auction Block

There have been some peculiar things that have been sold at auction — celebrity hair, a grilled cheese sandwich that looked like the Virgin Mary, a Dorito shaped like the pope’s hat — but this might be a first where a death threat is up for sale. Goldin is auctioning a death threat letter that was written to New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle in 1956 — the year he won the Triple Crown.

Mantle ended up signing the letter and giving it to collector Barry Halper during the 1970s or 80s.

Death threat letter signed by Mickey Mantle
Death threat letter signed by Mickey Mantle. (credit: Goldin)

“Barry: This a**hole scared me into hitting a home run. I did circle the bases in record time! (Signed) Mickey Mantle,” wrote Mantle.

The letter, which was written by a Boston Red Sox fan, warned Mantle that if he played in a Sept. 7 game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, his “baseball career would come to an end with a 32.” However, the person got the date wrong because Mantle and the Yankees were facing the Washington Senators that specific day in 1956 in the Bronx.

“Presented here is a crudely worded, typewritten and unsigned letter contrived by a Boston Red Sox fan and posted through the U.S. Mail on August 26, 1956. In its broken-English text—which is admittedly sordid—the author proposes to engineer the demise of the New York Yankees’ Golden Boy, Mickey Mantle, should that worthy competitor be so bold as to take the field at Fenway Park on September 7,” Goldin writes in the description lot. “(Though, deranged lunatic that he was, the actual start date of the next Yankees series at Fenway was instead September 21—and… Mantle did indeed hit the very HR mentioned in his inscription to Halper.)”

This wasn’t the only death threat Mantle received during his career. He got a similar letter in 1960 that was sent to Cleveland Municipal Stadium prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians. The FBI ended up investigating.

“I had a son that was drafted with a bad leg, bad eyes,” the letter reads, The Washington Post reports. “He got killed but a rotten draft dodger that could run like you gets turned down. I have a gun with microscopic lenses and I’m going to get you thru {sic} both of your knees and its going to happen soon.”

The 1956 letter has been authenticated by JSA. Bidding ends Saturday, June 1.

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