July 17, 1995 in Sports

Collectors Find Buyers Of Old Junk Where Mickey Mantle’s Legendary Bad Liver May Turn Up Is Just About Anybody’s Guess

Norm Cohen Newsday
 
Tags:hobbies

I wasn’t going to broach this subject, but as long as Mickey Mantle himself brought it up, no, I did not buy his liver, and, apparently, neither did super-collector Barry Halper.

During his news conference last Tuesday, Mantle, spotting friends in the crowd, went off on several tangents, like when he noticed Halper, whose collection includes Ty Cobb’s dentures - not to mention a piece of the Yankees - and asked, “Barry, did you buy my liver?”

Funny, people asked me the same thing on the day of the operation.

Sure, I’ve got a few sweaty, game-worn caps and jerseys, but certainly no diseased organs.

For one, the whole concept is disgusting; secondly, how would one store it? It certainly wouldn’t fit in a standard plastic holder, and even then, it would probably require refrigeration.

Plus, how in the world would you get it authenticated?

Gross?

Extremely, but you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff collectors will buy.

Besides Cobb’s dentures, Halper’s home in Northern Jersey houses Babe Ruth’s last will and testament the order for his casket, a lock of Ruth’s hair, Cy Young’s pipe, Christy Mathewson’s monogrammed handkerchiefs, Cobb’s pocket flask and the shotgun that was used to kill Cobb’s father.

It doesn’t stop with Halper, either, scavengers who recently found X-rays of Blackhawk players among the ruins of old Chicago Stadium have found many willing buyers; Tom Seaver’s toothpick was sold at a well-publicized auction several years ago and I know a guy who claims he owns a men’s-room trough from Old Comiskey Park but says he would have rather had one that came from the players’ clubhouse.

On a much more positive note, the most valuable cards ever issued were given away to anyone who wanted them during the All-Star FanFest at the Dallas Convention Center.

Pinnacle distributed more than 10,000 organ-donor cards at a booth provided by Major League Baseball to the American Liver Foundation.

Pinnacle booth workers witnessed signatures as fans filled out the donor-card backs, and fans were also given the opportunity to sign the seven huge get-well cards that were presented to Mantle.

Pinnacle is considering more projects with the Baylor Medical Center, including the possibility of distributing organ-donor cards on a national basis, perhaps within the distribution of trading cards.

xxxx HOT CARDS This week’s hottest cards and prices dealers are selling them for, according to Doug Kale, editor of Sports Card Trader: 1. Cal Ripken 1982 Topps Traded ($300-$325) 2. Frank Thomas 1995 Fleer Flair Spotlight ($60-$75) 3. Drew Bledsoe 1995 Upper Deck SP ($75-$90) 4. Manny Ramirez 1992 Bowman ($25-$30) 5. Michael Jordan 1994-95 Upper Deck SP ($60-$75)


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