Yet when he is at the top he is the fastest and most powerful new promise in baseball. Early in 1951 the New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel considers that the boy must play the season in Major League. The uniform number 6 is attributed to him for stating that this rookie will be the successor to Ruth (3), Gehrig (4) and the then current star DiMaggio (5).
The 1951-253 Bowman card is prepared after the spring training during which Mickey has confirmed his skills. Like all cards in this series the image was a colored drawing copied from a photograph. The future champion is in profile, his smiling face turned towards the photographer and his bat held over the right shoulder. Aesthetics is not a must in these Bowman series : a useless electric pole has not been cancelled.
Bowman cards are rare in Mint condition, mostly because of some centering defect or original stain. Only one 1951-253 was graded Gem Mint-10 by PSA. One of the nine Mint-9 graded copies was sold for $ 590K including premium by Memory Lane on October 14, 2017. It will be sold by Heritage online from Dallas on April 19, lot 80449 with a $ 1M value guide. This very clean card is perfectly centered 50/50 side to side.
The season is not successful. Mickey debuts in Major League on April 17 but is not convincing. Downgraded to Minor League in Kansas City he requires once again to stop baseball but is being bullied by his father. He comes back with the Yankees but returns the number 6 to Bobby Brown. He is then wounded in the right knee with a permanent torsion of a ligament during a fall in full action to avoid hurting DiMaggio. 1951 is indeed his rookie year in MLB but 1952 will be the actual trigger of his fame.
What beats everything in this story is the fact that this guy whose exploits will be a major element of the American Dream of the 1950s is confirmed as physically unfit for the army in 1952 during the Korean War.
SOLD for $ 750K including premium