Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio have a lot in common.

The greatest centerfielder of all-time? They’re both in that conversation.

The greatest centerfielders in New York Yankees history? Yeah, they show up as a 1-2 punch there.

And the greatest players in Yankees lore? Well, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and a few others will weigh in on that one, but you can’t have the discussion without Joe D. and The Mick.

The ties go beyond those subjective arguments, though.

Consider …

  • DiMaggio debuted in 1936, when Gehrig was still at first base in the Bronx, and when the New York faithful were hungry for a World Series title after a three-year drought. They then reeled off four in a row, five of six, and six of eight before whiffing in the middle 40s.
  • Mantle debuted in 1951, right in the middle of a five-year championship run, and the last season of DiMaggio’s career. The Yanks won five of eight World Series to start Mickey’s career, then two of three after missing out in 1959.
  • Both men retired at age 36, leaving with what felt like some unfinished business from a career-numbers perspective.
  • Both won three MVP awards.
  • Both became hobby legends.

And it was that last point, the hobby connection, that eventually reunited the 1951 teammates and immortalized them in a hunk of ephemera that figures to carry their legacy longer than any of us will be around.

Specifically, Kenner followed up their wildly popular Starting Lineup series of baseball figurines and card from 1988 with an expanded offering in 1989.

Part of their, um, lineup featured ten double-dips called Baseball Greats — two legendary player figures in the same package, and accompanied by individual cards of each guy.

Right there in the middle of the pantheon, the #3 pairing, was none other than the Bombers’ game-changing centerfielders:

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A card and figure for each, with Mantle getting the rookie treatment — relegated to road grays and caught in a sort of half-swing, maybe-bunt knee twist.

The Yankee Clipper gets a more powerful follow-through and home whites, but no pinstripes for some reason.

And … well .. that Linda Blair head position is a bit nightmarish.

But overall?

Yeah, it’s good to have Joltin’ Joe and the Commerce Comet back together again, on the same team, never to be torn asunder.

Unless, you know, you need a legendary ballplayer to tag along with G.I. Joe on a backyard adventure.

Mickey Mantle Joe Dimaggio Baseball Greats Starting Lineup

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