UPDATED on August 2, 2020
The number of successful home runs (homers) in Major League baseball is the metrics that makes it possible to compare the best hitters of all time throughout their career. Babe Ruth was the first player to record his 500th homer in 1929, followed by Jimmie Foxx in 1940.
On September 19, 1968, the New York Yankees meet the Detroit Tigers. The absolute classification on that date is led by Ruth and Willie Mays with Foxx and Mickey Mantle sharing the third position with 534 homers each.
Since his rookie year in 1951, The Mick is a very popular player but at 37 years old in 1968 he has lost much of his effectiveness. During the game with Detroit, he holds the bat while the pitcher is one of his fervent admirers, Denny McLain, a strong personality who is not afraid of controversy. McLain launches an easy ball to Mantle and The Mick achieves his 535th homer with which he can finally overtake Foxx.
There was nothing illegal in this complacent pitch despite a wink by the Tiger when The Mick reached the third base. McLain will be reprimanded by the Major League Baseball Commissioner. Mantle will achieve before the end of that year his 536th and final homer.
These records have been exceeded many times : Mickey Mantle is currently in 13th position for the number of homers in Major League. His difficult end of life is forgotten and he has become again the symbol of the post-war American dream.
The road grey jersey worn by Mantle against the Tigers was autographed by him on the upper chest to a friend and signed "The Mick". This game worn uniform graded A10 by MEARS was sold by Heritage for $ 490K including premium on February 25, 2017, lot 80014. It is listed by the same auction house in an online sale closing on August 29, 2020, lot 80050.