Mickey Mantle is still considered by many to be the last true baseball hero. The young outfielder accepted the torch passed by the great DiMaggio, who had similarly followed in the path of Lou Gehrig. The 1951 season was Mantle's first in pinstripes and, despite his being sent back down to the minors for more seasoning, Bowman issued this card in that year's final, key series. Bowman's colorized visage of future greatness was adapted from an image taken in spring training before the 1951 season. This is one of the earliest images of Mickey Mantle in a Yankee uniform. If you look closely it is even evident that he is sporting #6 on his back. Only in the most carefully preserved specimens, as here, does the design's true magnificence reveal itself.
This example has superb white borders culminating in four sharp corners. A tiny trace of wear is manifested at the upper right, but the corner remains distinctly well-formed in appearance. While the centering slightly favors the northward edge, the card has tremendous eye appeal with bold colors and a full, uninterrupted image. It has escaped the printing inconsistencies that characterize the issue and which make "clear" examples, like this one, so very special. The reverse is perfectly centered and unblemished by typical wax stains. This is a superbly appealing card, in Near Mint to Mint condition as graded by PSA.