NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An altered bat allegedly used by Yankees great Mickey Mantle has been removed from the auction block.
Grey Flannel Auctions pulled the item on Thursday after the Mantle family hired the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani to intervene.
In a statement, Mantle’s kin said claims that “The Mick” used a corked bat are “outrageously false, misleading and deceptive … apparently for a quick buck and publicity.”
“We no longer can remain silent,” the family said Monday. “The statements and suggestions that Dad used a corked bat more than 49 years ago to cheat at the game he worshipped are false. Let us be clear: Dad didn’t need and never used a corked bat. Mickey Mantle was honest about the way he played the game that he loved and to which he devoted his professional life. He was one of the best who ever played the game because of his natural talents and abilities – and his heart. Our Dad’s legacy must be protected and the injury to his reputation must be corrected – he does not deserve to be the subject of these outrageous fabrications.”
The Hall of Famer hit 536 home runs and won seven World Series titles in an 18-year career with the Yankees.
He died in 1995.
“This all stops now,” his family said in the statement. “No effort will be spared to preserve Mickey Mantle’s well-deserved legacy for honesty, fairness and supreme effort in the face of physical adversity that most players would not have been able to overcome. We love and are proud of our Dad. Because he can no longer defend himself, we will do it for him.”
Bracewell & Giuliani released its own statement imploring Grey Flannel Auctions to respond to “several straightforward, common sense authenticity requests” from the Mantle family, “including the right to review the purported bases for the claim.”
Grey Flannel Auctions also removed pictures of the 1964 Hillerich & Bradsby Co. bat from its website, including an X-ray image of the barrel. Authenticator John Taube, who worked on the bat for the auction company, told the New York Daily News there’s “no question it is a Mickey Mantle bat.”
“We say in our letter the bat was used by Mickey Mantle but we don’t know anything about when it was used,” Taube told the paper. “The last thing I want to do is cast a shadow on Mickey Mantle. He was my hero.”
WFAN radio host Mike Francesa railed against the auctioneers last week and placed a call to Bobby Richardson, one of Mantle’s closest friends on the Yankees, to ask if No. 7 would ever use a corked bat.
“Never, never, never, and nor will I believe he ever did that,” Richardson told Francesa. “He might have one time kidding around said something, but he never, never did that. Absolutely, positively.”