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Yankees Lawsuit -- The 'Lost' Mickey Mantle Letter

6/30/2010 4:05 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

TMZ has obtained a copy of a signed Mickey Mantle letter at the center of a nasty lawsuit filed against the New York Yankees -- in which a fan claims the MLB team somehow lost his treasured keepsake.


The Mantle letter in question is actually a form response that Michael Kovalovsky -- a lifelong Yankees fan -- received in 1959 after he wrote a letter to The Mick.  However, Mick's form letter is hand signed by the Hall of Famer ... which is pretty freakin' cool

According to the lawsuit, Kovalovsky loaned the 41-year-old letter -- along with other cool memorabilia -- to the Yankees last year. Problem is, according to the docs, the team failed to return all but one of the items. The lawsuit, filed in Florida, was first published on courthousenews.com.

The Yanks did promise, in writing, to return the items if they "locate them." But when Kovalovsky asked about compensation in case the letter never turns up, his attorney tells TMZ the Yankees tried to argue that the Mantle letter wasn't worth anything. 

Kovalovsky is suing the Bronx Bombers for $100k -- to cover the value of his memorabilia (an estimated $15k) plus attorney's fees. The Yankees have not returned calls for comment.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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1541 days ago


I was named after Mickey Mantle. My dad collects Mick memorbilia and I know how much this must suck for this guy.

1541 days ago


Mickey Mantel was said to be horse-hung.

1541 days ago



1541 days ago


The best all around baseball player the game has ever seen...

1541 days ago


A 1959 letter would be 51 years old, not 41, as reported in story.

1541 days ago


If this were me, I would also be upset, as any type of memorabilia affiliated with Mickey Mantle is a collector's item in and of itself. Even 15 years after his death, The Mick remains THE ultimate athlete in collectability, whose baseball cards and memorabilia run into the thousands and millions of dollars.

Money matters aside, the letter should be looked upon as a once in a lifetime keepsake from a sports immortal, and should be returned to its rightful owner, if found. Although I admire the Yankees for their long and storied history and success, this story does not surprise me in the least. The Yankees have and continue to treat their most loyal of fans poorly (I live in NY).

From exorbitant ticket prices, to most current players being inaccessible to fans (no autographs (Steiner Sports), photo ops, fan appreciation, charging fees to visit Monument Park), the Steinbrenners and ownership have changed a once admirable and accessible sports organization into a money-making conglomerate that continues to overpay underachievers/cheaters and price the average fan out of being able to attend a game in person or watch on TV (YES Network only available on cable).

When healthy, Mickey Mantle was the greatest package of talent and skills ever seen, but the greatest all around player has to go to Willie Mays, and or even Hank Aaron.

1541 days ago


This letter is a typical response sent by the Yankees in response to the thousands of fan letters that arrived at the Stadium every week.

The odds of the signature being genuine are about the same as the Mick coming back to life. Somewhere, the secretary who signed it is laughing.

1541 days ago

kathleen stallings    

Yes today's athletic stars have private seretaries, but 51 years ago I seriously doubt it... if it was typed by one... she sure was masterful in duplicating Mickey Mantles signature, she belongs in NYCPD FORENSIC UNIT!!!!!!

1540 days ago


can i have micky mantles autograph

1148 days ago

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