That's why I didn't own a Mantle baseball card issued during his playing days until six years ago, when I found this card sitting inside some magazines I purchased at the flea market:
1967 Topps Poster Inserts #6
Okay, so technically this isn't a card. It's a poster printed on newspaper stock, but it was originally pulled from a pack of cards.
Later that year, I picked up his 1962 Topps home run leaders card that also features his teammate Roger Maris off of eBay:
1962 Topps #53
I had been wanting to add this card to my collection for years. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and the Great Home Run Race of 1998 were the inspiration.
In 2015, I purchased the 1968 Topps Game set on eBay which included this card:
1968 Topps Game #2
Just like the 1967 Topps Posters, these were inserted into packs of cards. Who doesn't enjoy a nice, vintage floating head every now and then?
The following year, I made one of my favorite card show purchases of all-time, when I picked up a complete 1964 Topps Giants set at the Serramonte Mall Sports Cards, Toys, and Collectibles Show. And guess what... Mantle was part of the checklist:
1964 Topps Giants #25
This is one of my all-time favorite oddball issues. It features a beautiful design and an awesome checklist.
Getting back to floating heads, my next Mantle acquisition came from the Capitol Flea Market a month or two after the 1964 Topps Giants purchase:
1967 Topps #103
If you ever want to pick up a vintage Mantle from his playing days and your budget is limited... then this card is for you. I found my copy sitting in a quarter bin.
Up until this weekend... this checklist represented the last vintage Mantle card addition to my collection. Up until this weekend.
That's when I opened up a padded mailer sent to me by Commish Bob over at The Five Tool Collector and saw this staring back at me:
1958 Topps #487
I immediately muttered, "holy crap" and then sat there sitting at my desk in my office staring speechless for at least a minute... if not longer.
At first I was just admiring the beauty of this card. The 1958 Topps Sport Magazine All-Star cards is one of the greatest looking subset cards of all-time. They're gorgeous. But the Mantle is the best looking card of them all. Most of the guys in the set are head shots. And the handful that are posed action shots are zoomed in a little too much.
Mantle is zoomed out and placed smack dab in the center of this card. I'm still staring at this card's beauty as I type out these words.
The back of the card states that he was the most powerful slugger in the game back when this card was issued, but I was more impressed by his batting average. In 1957, he hit .333 or higher against every team he faced during the regular season except the Detroit Tigers.
Thank you Bob for this super generous gift you've given me. I'm not sure what I did to deserve such an awesome card. What I do know is that I promise to cherish this card forever... as it now represents the oldest Mantle in my collection and hands down the most beautiful.
Happy Monday and sayonara!