NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Family of Mickey Mantle stated today that an auction house authenticator’s withdrawal of his earlier claim of authenticity for a “game used” Mickey Mantle “corked” baseball bat further proves that the on-line sports memorabilia marketer who promoted it engaged in a patently false, misleading and deceptive claim. In addition, a basic chain of custody research revealed that the bat was originally given by Mickey Mantle to former major league pitcher Milt Pappas, who, in a sworn declaration, stated that he had holes drilled in the bat to help create a stairway handrail in his home.
The Mantle Family continues to press for an apology from Grey Flannel, an online sports memorabilia marketer, which already has withdrawn the bat from auction. Regrettably, months after Grey Flannel pulled down its web site notices and withdrew the bat, still no apology has been issued.
In a recent article on MLB.com by baseball writer Marty Noble, a sports memorabilia authenticator, John Taube, says “I backed off [the initial assessment that the bat was used by Mickey Mantle] because of evidence that has surfaced.” The report further quotes Taube as saying that this evidence “calls into question” the claims that Grey Flannel distributed on its web site. “It’s silly to say now that the bat in question was game-used by Mickey Mantle,” Taube says in the story. Noble writes that Taube acknowledged that “the bat, while clearly doctored, has not necessarily been corked” and that “auctions tend to describe something differently...They embellish.”
Research conducted by Bracewell & Giuliani LLP revealed that Mantle gave the bat to Pappas, who used it with other baseball bats to construct a staircase handrail in his home basement. When Mantle handed it to Pappas, the bat was brand new, in pristine condition and unaltered. There were no holes or marks of any kind.
Pappas told MLB.com, “Any so-called claim that the Mickey Mantle bat I possessed had been corked and ‘game-used’ by Mickey Mantle is false.”
Soon after the purported authenticity of the “Pappas bat” was disproved, a copycat claim of another game-used corked bat sprung up when the bat was offered for sale. Like the Grey Flannel claim, this attempt to create an inflated market for an inauthentic bat was also quickly exposed and discredited.
“We are grateful for the support of Dad’s many friends in the game who share our family’s outrage over this sad spectacle,” said Danny Mantle, Mickey Mantle’s son. “Our Dad loved the game of baseball and played throughout his career with absolute integrity. We all know that our Dad wasn’t a cheater – that principle is a constant and repeatedly has been reaffirmed. We think the time is long overdue for Grey Flannel to show integrity as well and do the right thing: retract the claims it made about our Dad and the bat it advertised on its web site and apologize. Our family, and the legion of fans who remember how Mickey Mantle played and loved the game of baseball, are owed and rightfully expect a full and unqualified restoration of his rightful legacy. We hope that the people who were quick to doubt my Dad will now give him the respect he deserves.”
Bracewell attorneys Jonathan Halpern and Drew Kastner stated: “After the Mantle Family requested our assistance, we asked some fundamental questions and conducted some research, and we soon obtained confirmation that the claims that Grey Flannel and others made about a game-used corked bat were entirely false. The Mantle Family expects a full and unqualified retraction.”
The Mantle Family will continue to be vigilant in safeguarding the well-earned reputation of Mickey Mantle’s baseball integrity against scurrilous and spurious claims. In doing so, the Family intends to take all appropriate measures against those who engage in misleading and deceptive misconduct and to hold them accountable.
Marty Noble’s article on MLB.com can be found here.