TMZ Sports reports that Mickey Mantle’s moving farewell address, which he wrote as he was dying in 1995, has sold at an auction for $24,000. Mantle wrote the note on a PGA scorecard just before he gave a speech on June 12 at Baylor University’s Beasley Auditorium, which was nationally televised.
The note, as written, reads:
How about this uniform
I feel like Phil Rizzuto in a Babe Ruth unif.
I want to thank God, the Amer. people, and all the Yankees fans who sent cards and flowers–with all my heart. I was really lucky to play in NYC for you folks, the NY press and especially all the great teamates I had over the years. I said one time I didn’t know how Lou Gehrig could here at home plate knowing he was going to die saying he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth now I think I know. I’ve always said when I died I want on my tombstone “A great teammate” but I didn’t mean this soon. To all my little teamates out there. Please don’t do drugs & alco. God only gave us 1 body. Take care of it.
If you want to do something great be an organ donor.
The note was sold at a sports memorabilia auction put on by Grey Flannel Auctions. A Michael Jordan game-worn rookie jersey sold for $25,076; a 1927 New York Yankees “Murderers’ Row”-signed photograph–with autographs from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig–sold for almost $72,000; and an autographed game-used Hank Aaron jersey from 1974, when he broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record, sold for $29,586.
Mantle’s speech at Baylor had many in the audience in tears; he had received a liver transplant on June 8 at the University’s Medical Center. So emaciated from the cancer consuming him that his wristwatch was halfway up his arm rather than on his wrist, Mantle said through tears:
I owe so much to my family, to God and to the American people for accepting me as they have, for being such great fans. … God gave me the ability to play baseball. … God gave me everything. [But] for the kids out there … don’t be like me. … All you’ve got to do is look at me to see it’s wasted. … I want to get across to the kids not to drink or do drugs. Moms and dads should be the role models, not ballplayers.
Mantle’s son Danny was sitting next to him as Mantle continued:
I wasn’t even like a father. I don’t ever remember playing catch with the boys in the back yard. I was a drinking buddy. I feel more like a dad now. … I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to make up. … I just want to start giving back … All I’ve done is take.
Mantle died four weeks later, on August 13.