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Mickey Mantle corked bat goes on auction block

A corked bat that belonged to baseball legend Mickey Mantle is going up for auction later this month by Gray Flannel Auctions.

The bat, which has a reserve price of $5,000, is a Mantle bat from the 1960s. Authenticator John Taube was verifying that the bat was a Mantle bat when he noticed alterations at the top of the barrel.

“During our examination of the bat, we noticed a circular area .75 inches wide in the center of the top barrel," Taube says in a statement.

"The finish in the area has also been touched up to mask the circular area. Alterations of this nature indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. We had the barrel X-rayed and it confirms that the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. This is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have seen or heard of.”

Did Mantle use it in a game? Was it used only in batting practice? Were teammates pulling a prank on him? We'll never know for sure.

Mantle hit 536 home runs in his career with the New York Yankees. He retired after the 1968 season and died in 1995.

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