Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Publicist’s donations swallowed by Mantle bankruptcy auction
Posted Jun 24, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Jun 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM
It’s tough when you try to play Good Samaritan, try to help out friends, and try to preserve the memory of a great athlete — and you suffer a loss in the process.
That’s what longtime publicist and New York Yankees historian Marty Appel is going through now as the bankruptcy auction for Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant and Sports Bar draws near. That auction will take place Tuesday, June 26, at the restaurant, located at 42 Central Park South in Manhattan.
To help the financially trouble restaurant, Appel donated 22 framed items from his personal collection to the restaurant several weeks ago. He was promised that he would have them returned if the restaurant ever closed.
That’s what the restaurant owners said. They had no control over the bankruptcy trustee, Allan Mendelsohn, who had the restaurant padlocked in early June and put everything — including Appel’s donations — up for bid.
“The trustee doesn’t dispute that they are mine,” Appel wrote in an email Sunday evening. “He just says it’s tough luck.”
I say it’s ridiculous.
Appel is not only a Yankees historian, who authored this year’s “Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees From Before the Babe to After the Boss.” He also worked for the club in the late 1960s and early 1970s as their public relations guy. He also did PR for the Topps Co.
What he donated is not priceless, but is certainly dear to him. Among the items were lithographs of Reggie Jackson’s third home run in Game 5 of the 1977 World Series and Chris Chambliss’ pennant-winning homer in Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS.
Other donations: an uncut sheet of Topps Mantle card reprints, limited edition lithographs “sent by the Hall of Fame to donors,” and a Baseball Magazine cover of Mantle from the early 1950s.
Those items will be among the 400 lots for sale in the auction, conducted by David R. Maltz & Co. of Plainview, N.Y. There will be no reserve; to see the items for sale, check out http://www.maltzauctions.com.
Earlier this week, Mendelsohn told Seth Rosenthal of New York Sports that he had heard from Appel.
Appel “sent me a letter — and believe you me, he was not the only guy,” Mendelsohn was quoted as saying. “There are a lot of people who claim to have stuff in there.”
Mendelsohn went on to say that folks like Appel “may have a claim to the fund from the proceeds of the auction.”
Appel isn’t counting his money, or figuring that Mendelsohn might reconsider and allow him to take his memorabilia and go home.
“Unlikely, from everything I’ve heard about him,” Appel said. “A lot of lawyers know him.
“I might consider bidding on my own items, but I can’t be there.”
Appel will be speaking at the Yogi Berra Museum that afternoon.
Mantle was an original investor in the restaurant, which opened in 1988, and was a frequent visitor there until his death in 1995. Some of the memorabilia that graced the restaurant during its heyday was breathtaking, and could be bought by collectors right off the wall.
Guess that’s basically what will happen Tuesday. So why am I taking up the mantle for Appel? (Sorry, you just knew I couldn’t let that pun pass me by …). Well, I just believe it’s grossly unfair. But Appel already has come to grips with what happened and is taking a more realistic view.
“I went from angry and frustrated to reminding myself that the staff — my friends — lost their jobs,” Appel said. “That’s worse.
“This (losing the memorabilia) is one you chalk up to life’s experiences and move on.”