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  #1  
Old 07-13-2019, 05:48 PM
Al C.risafulli's Avatar
Al C.risafulli Al C.risafulli is offline
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Default Opinions Wanted re: Mickey Mantle Program

I’ve come across an interesting research project that I thought I’d present to the group here in an effort to gain some consensus on an issue that seems to keep popping up every few months: the issue of the scorecard from Mickey Mantle’s first regular-season game.

Mantle’s first game was on Tuesday, April 17 at Yankee Stadium, against the Red Sox. Mantle started in right field and hit third in the order behind Phil Rizzuto. In the sixth inning, he got his first major league hit, drove in Jackie Jensen for his first RBI, and eventually came around to score the Yankees’ 5h run in the 5-0 win.

Back in August of 2017, LOTG sold an official scorecard from what we believed to be that game, in outstanding condition (see it here). Within a few days of the auction going live, we were contacted by a knowledgeable collector – and member of Net54 – who I really respect, who said that the scorecard we were selling was actually not from Mantle’s first game. He shared an example of a scorecard offered by another auction house, which sold for big bucks, that had a completely different lineup printed on the scorecard. The scorecard had numerous names crossed out in pencil, and the actual lineup from the April 17 game filled in.

After I was contacted, I did some more research into the game, and felt confident that I was correct in my assertion that the scorecard was the correct one. Ultimately, however, the scorecard sold for a very low number in comparison with other, different scorecards claiming to be the ones from Mantle's debut. I took some solace in the fact that the piece in our auction was won by an employee at another auction house that was very knowledgeable about Yankees-related items, and so I kept an eye out, looking forward to reading what more research they would come up with to prove that the scorecard was the correct one.

Sadly, when they subsequently sold the piece, they simply cut-and-pasted my original description.

I since have received another example of that scorecard on consignment, and decided to do some further research into the game, to see if I could definitively prove which scorecard was the correct one. In the process, I discovered a third scorecard that was sold by a major auction, claiming to be from the April 17 game! That’s right – auction houses have actually sold three different scorecards, each containing different lineups – claiming to be from Mantle’s first regular-season game.

The run-up to the 1951 season for the Yankees was a tumultuous one. The rookie outfielder Mickey Mantle certainly received a ton of press, but it was unknown whether or not he’d even be on the team to start the season – he needed to register for selective service. There were other issues with the Yankee lineup as well: shortsop Phil Rizzuto was injured, and it was unknown whether or not he’d be able to play on Opening Day. Two additional players were fighting to make the roster that spring: infielders Gil McDougald and Gene Markland.

The Yankees’ roster began to take shape in the week prior to Opening Day. On April 12, doctors pronounced Phil Rizzuto would be ready to play on Opening Day. On April 13, Mantle was pronounced physically unqualified to serve in the Army, clearing the way for him to make the roster. And Markland and McDougald both continued on and made the team - the team rested both Rizzuto and Jerry Coleman in an exhibition against Brooklyn on the 15th with McDougald starting at second base and Markland at short. The following day, the Yankees were rained out of a game in Washington, setting up the home opener on the 17th in New York against Boston.

The Opening Day lineups for the Yankees and Red Sox were both identical to the ones printed in this scorecard, the one that was consigned to LOTG. You can see the boxscore here, courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Here's the lineup portion of the scorecard that was consigned to us:



You’ll note the presence of both Gene Markland and Gil McDougald on the roster. The pitchers’ names have been written in pencil (something that could obviously have been done at any point over the past 60+ years). The game has not been scored.

A second program that has been sold at auction as having come from Mantle’s first game has a very similar Yankee lineup, with the exception of Hank Bauer, who is printed in the lineup as the leadoff hitter and left fielder. In the actual game, Jackie Jensen occupied that slot. In the program that has been sold at auction, Bauer’s name is crossed off and Jensen’s name written in its place, in pencil. The starting pitchers’ names are also penciled in, to match the lineups for that game.

The third program that has been sold at auction as being the one from Mantle’s first game – and the one that has sold for the most money – is one that has a printed lineup that had no resemblance to the actual Opening Day lineup whatsoever. It featured Gene Woodling hittling leadoff and playing left, followed by Gil McDougald at second, Yogi hitting third and catching, DiMaggio hitting cleanup in centerfield, Johnny Mize hitting fifth and playing first base, Cliff Mapes hitting sixth and playing right, Billy Johnson hitting eighth and playing third base, and Gene Markland hitting ninth and playing short. In every case I can find of this scorecard being offered at auction, the printed lineups have been crossed out and the actual starter penciled into the right lineup (one actually spells Mickey Mantle’s name as “Mantel”).

Gene Markland is the key here. Anyone who has researched this scorecard knows that Markland never played a game for the Yankees – the Yankees’ third scheduled game, the one on April 19, was rained out. Markland was demoted to Kansas City on that date, the Yankees went on to Washington to play the Senators on the 20th without Markland.

It is my belief that the program that has sold multiple times at auction as being from Mantle’s first game – the one with Markland in the starting lineup at shortstop (a position that the newspapers reported on April 12 that Phil Rizzuto would be playing on Opening Day), with all the crossed-out names – was actually produced for that nonexistent third game. The starting Yankee lineup printed in that scorecard didn’t look anything like the lineup that Casey Stengel sent out of the field for either the first or second game. However, we have no idea what Casey had planned for Game 3, because Game 3 was never played.

It is also my belief that the program that has been sold at auction as being from Mantle’s first game that features Hank Bauer hitting leadoff and playing left field is actually the one from the Yankees’ second game, April 18. In that actual game, Gene Woodling led off and played left.

Lastly, it’s my belief that the program we have offered in the past as the actual Opening Day program - and the one we have currently on consignment - is the correct one. The lineups in this scorecard match, without any crossouts. My experience has been that the official scorecards for a given game generally have the lineups from that game correctly printed on the scorecard page - or, at least they're very close (in the case of a late scratch, etc). In addition, I’ve reviewed this with several people who are collectors of vintage programs and scorecards, and they agree.

What do you think?

-Al
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2019, 07:09 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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One day is a really short time to print and staple together enough programs for a game.

The stapling is probably the biggest roadblock. We did a catalog for MIT once that was roughly program size, maybe a bit thicker, but the stapling machine would do pretty much anything in its thickness range at the same speed.
That was 25,000 course catalogs, and it took a week if I remember it right.(and that in 1981)

Could a big place have done a next day turnaround of say 10,000 programs with lineups stapled in? Probably, and the Yankees were probably a big enough customer that it was routine. But even 5K printed and assembled in a day is very fast.

Do the programs, especially the scorecard part have any notes like a number followed by something like 5M or 10M? That's usually the job number and quantity printed.

The program part would have been ready to go, and the lineup and assembly done later. I think it's possible that a change was made so maybe some were the lineup expected earlier, and then the last part of the order had something more like the actual lineup. Possible, but I don't know precisely how they were produced.
Assuming it was done in a rush, the one that's mostly incorrect and has mantles name spelled wrong seems the most likely to be the one.
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2019, 09:10 PM
bigfanNY bigfanNY is offline
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I agree that printed lineups take more than a couple hours. The first game in NYC for the Yankees that season was an exhibition game vs Brooklyn. The lineup for that game has Markland in the lineup. It makes sense that the next game (opening day) would use the same lineup. And the lineup with Mantle would be printed for the game after opening day. Markland was not included on the official opening day yankee roster. And according to Markland himself he was informed just before opening day that he was being sent down. That combined with the Markland program sold for big money was accompanied by a ticket for opening day from the same original owner.
To be open I have a program with the Markland lineup that I do consider a 1951 opening day program.
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2019, 08:45 AM
Hot Springs Bathers Hot Springs Bathers is offline
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While I really have no idea about the speed of type setting, the 1956 Yankee highlight film shows the stadium staff preparing for a game day. One segment of film talks about and shows a printing press inside the stadium preparing that days scorecards/program. It gives the appearance of preparing the scorecard on a daily basis? Doak Ewing of Rare Sports Films sells DVds of that highlight film. I have the old VHS version.
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2019, 01:21 PM
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nolemmings nolemmings is offline
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Default As the late Arte Johnson would say--verrrry interesting

Al, I am following your logic and don’t disagree with your findings, but am wondering where it leaves you. Caveat: I am not a program collector and have not researched this in any great detail, but it seems to me as if the lineups for all three scorecards could have been printed at the same time, inserted and then incorrectly distributed at the wrong games. In other words, Al may be right about what was intended to be Mantle’s first game scorecard, but others were used that night instead or as well.

Have any programs where the printed lineups match the April 17 box score been scored? The one Al shows is unscored, as is the other he auctioned awhile back. So too for the same scorecard lineup in an REA auction from 2015. Is it possible that the opening day lineups were printed and stapled but incorrectly assigned for distribution in game 3—the rainout? If so where does that leave things–an opening day program/scorecard that was never or only partially distributed? [BTW, I do not know at what time the rainout was called–before or after people showed up at the ballpark and may have bought their programs]

Both of the other two scorecards attributed to Mantle’s debut were scored, and apparently correctly, although of course these days there is always the possibility the pencil marks were added well after the fact. Still, there appears some anecdotal evidence, such as the sale of an Opening Day game ticket that allegedly accompanied one of the programs, that suggests these other lineup cards were distributed on April 17.

Finally, it makes sense to me that the scorecards for all three games would be printed at the same time where possible, as opposed to rushing for lineup info between games (especially if the opponent did not go out of its way to cooperate). The opening series of the season would present a great opportunity to do this, although it may have created confusion as well.

So, there you have it–clear as mud. My two cents.
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Last edited by nolemmings; 07-20-2019 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:30 PM
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Gary Dunaier Gary Dunaier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolemmings View Post
Finally, it makes sense to me that the scorecards for all three games would be printed at the same time where possible, as opposed to rushing for lineup info between games (especially if the opponent did not go out of its way to cooperate).
The bold part of the quote baffles me. I guess it's because this kind of information is easily and instantaneously available to all of the clubs these days.

I know it was a different time back then, but I'm just not able to figure out a reason why a club wouldn't cooperate, even if only so the other team will reciprocate at some point in the future if needed.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2019, 10:10 PM
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nolemmings nolemmings is offline
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I'm sorry that you're baffled. Let me make it easy--I will delete that from my post, as it added very little in the first instance.

My point was that it would be preferable to get the needed info as soon as possible, and to print three days of lineups if you can. That implies some sense of cooperation as its basis, so I was not implying anything sinister. Time was short in between games as far as printing deadlines go, and I foolishly considered a scenario where the opposing manager, after a long, hard-fought game, did not hurry or skip his shower to make sure that the other team's local press or public relations team got his lineup card for the following day as soon as possible. Somehow I can see that not being a priority in certain situations.
But I will defer to others with knowledge of how things were back then.
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Last edited by nolemmings; 07-20-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 12:12 AM
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nolemmings nolemmings is offline
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I apologize if that last post came across as flippant. I really am curious to know more about how these scorecards were printed, and thought more forum members would have shared insight.

I do not recall pre-printed lineups showing up in the Twins'scorecards/programs at games I attended beginning mid-1960's, and it seems most other teams I've seen from that era lack them also, although again I have spent almost no time studying the matter. It would be a nice feature unless it proved to be too difficult to continue, so I am wondering when the practice waned. Then again, apparently the Cardinals ran them until 1982, so it was not overly difficult. I saw this in an article found after 10 minutes of online research:

"Starting lineups appeared in Cardinals scorecards through the 1982 season, facilitated by the luxury of having a printing press on-site at both Busch Stadium and Sportsman’s Park. The drill for getting lineup information from the manager’s office onto the scorecard was, literally, an overnight mission. Shortly after the end of a game, a member of the Cardinals’ PR staff visited the home and visitors clubhouses to retrieve each manager’s probable starting lineup for the next day’s game. The information was whisked off to the press room – located behind the right-field corner at Busch and under the first-base stands at Sportsman’s – and delivered to a two-man team of union printers that had just clocked in at the ballpark. Setting type by hand, the pressmen cranked up the old press and ran scorecards past dawn, typically 10,000 to 15,000 per game.

Kip Ingle, a member of the club’s media relations staff through the 1980s, remembers the drill in its twilight years.“Whitey (Herzog) was great, he always had his lineup ready,” Ingle recalled.“The visitors clubhouse could be another story. One manager, in particular, always seemed to be more occupied with visitors, and you’d be trying to pull the lineup out of his back pocket while hewas entertaining guests."
http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl...rd_history.pdf
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I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears, but it's alright
Cow is giving kerosene, kid can't read at seventeen
The words he knows are all obscene, but it's alright

Last edited by nolemmings; Yesterday at 01:20 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 10:41 PM
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RCMcKenzie RCMcKenzie is offline
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Would Mantle have batted 3rd in his debut? I know he was a phenom, but that would be an impressive place to start given the other names in the lineup.
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