In these times of the "instant classic" and "must-have
collectibles," it is refreshing to find an item that qualifies in
both regards. That item is the all-new 1999 This Day in Mickey Mantle
History™ Photo Calendar -Fact Book. From the producers of the
award-winning documentary, Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes
To Life®, this 15-month calendar is the follow-up
to the 1998 Photo Calendar - Fact Book.
Designed to complement and continue the
1998 edition, it contains the usual elements found in wall calendars: monthly
feature photos, monthly calendar grids and legal holidays prominently marked.
But the 1999 Mickey
Mantle Photo Calendar - Fact Book goes far beyond what traditional calendars
offer, and in doing so has become a compellingly unique collectible that
will delight baseball fans everywhere.
When it first passed across my desk I picked it up with the intention
of briefly skimming through it. After all, I had seen the 1998 edition
so I knew it was a quality product. I was curious to see how the 1999 edition
would differ, so I started leafing through the pages. To my great delight
I found that the 1999 edition offered significantly different material:
all-new photos, all-new quotes, all-new facts, stats and new entries. As
before, the volume and variety of its entries captivated me, and I began
reading each one - as well as the captions - and found myself staring at
the copious number of photos. The next thing I knew I was in the month
of June and over an hour had passed. I realized I had come across something
special. This wasn't just a repeat of last year. The 1999 Mickey Mantle
Photo Calendar - Fact Book is an entire new volume, a sequel that continues where
the 1998 edition left off.
First of all, there are the all-new feature photos. Not content with
simply posting the usual assortment of Mantle shots, the publishers have
carefully selected a variety of photos from Mickey's personal collection
and from the archives of such well-known photo libraries as Associated Press-Wideworld Photo, the
Corbis-Bettman Archive (which includes the old
UPI collection), the New York Daily News, the Baseball Hall of Fame,
and a number of private collectors. (The Daily News, Wideworld Photo and
Corbis-Bettman receive associate producer credits, and it is easy to see
why judging from the volume and quality of photos.) The photos were then
digitally enhanced and given new life through a beautiful duotone treatment.
Each feature photo – there are thirteen, one for each month plus one for
the three-month bonus section that takes the calendar through March 2000
– is a little larger than the standard 8 x 10 size. They are pre-matted
with colorful borders, and the print quality is good enough to make them
ready for framing. A true Mantle fan can build his own photo gallery after
the months have passed. To top things off, the photo captions are short
stories in Mantle's own words, lending a nice personal touch.
If that was all the Mickey Mantle Photo Calendar offered it would
be an automatic purchase for Mantle fans. But the crowning glory of this
product are the monthly calendar grids, which are truly something to behold.
There are over 100 additional photos, some designed to fit in a single
day's slot, some covering as many as four days, and some included as the
feature photo below a New York Daily News headline. Many of these
photos have captions, and they range from diagrams of some of Mantle's
prodigious home runs to shots of Mickey with other players and teammates
like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Billy Martin and others. Then
there are the action shots: Mantle pounding homers, Mantle rounding the
bases, Mantle laying down a bunt, Mantle sliding into home, and Mantle
posing with a number of his teammates. Among the rarer photos are several
shots of a youthful Mantle, a number of stunning color shots that have
been beautifully cleaned, retouched and restored, and even a unique shot
of Mickey rounding the bases as Denny McLain shrugs after grooving him
his 535th home run.
The photos are fabulous, but the real achievement of the
Photo Calendar - Fact Book is the painstaking research that went into the daily
entries that form a sort-of Mickey Mantle History subtext. There's an entry
or photo for every day of the year (some days even have more than one)
and include more than just events. There are "Mickey Facts,"
"Mickey Stats," "Mickey Quotes" (from Mickey and teammates,
friends and contemporaries), and a variety of achievements, awards and
accomplishments that act as reminders of the Mick's legendary career. It
is a breath-taking accomplishment, made all the more wonderful by the way
the various elements have been blended together.
Writer/researcher Lewis Early is said to have put over 1,000 hours of
research into the project, and it is easy to believe after having read
through just part of the Photo Calendar - Fact Book. (Interestingly enough,
when asked why it is called a Photo Calendar
- Fact Book, Early said that
he had originally written the project as a book to be titled, "This
Day in Mickey Mantle History." The calendar concept eventually won
out, but it is doubtful that any Mickey Mantle fans will toss out pages
after the months have passed.) The sheer volume of information about Mantle
makes this product an invaluable reference book, ideal for future consultation
and settling bar room bets and hot stove league arguments.
No matter what angle you look at it from, the 1999
This Day in
Mickey Mantle History™ Photo Calendar - Fact Book is a magnificent accomplishment,
and an ideal companion for the 1998 edition. It is informative, entertaining
and just plain fun. Baseball fans will enjoy it all year long and for years
to come. Suggested list price is $14.95, shipping & handling is $4.95.
To order the 1999 This Day in Mickey Mantle History™ Photo Calendar
- Fact Book call 1-800-THE MICK (1-800-843-6425) or send a check or
money order payable to Baseball Legend Video, 1253 Vallejo Street, San
Francisco, CA 94109-2120. Readers can get a preview of the calendar
by visiting their website at www.themick.com. Copies of the Mickey
Mantle Gift Catalog can also be obtained by calling 1-800-THE MICK.
Item: 1999 Mickey Mantle:
The American Dream Comes
Calendar - Fact Book
List Price: $14.95
Shipping & Handling: $4.95
Mail order: Baseball Legend Video, 1253 Vallejo Street, San Francisco,
Phone Order: 1-800-THE MICK (1-800-843-6425)
Rating: 4 Stars (highest rating) – General, ages 8 and up