2006 Baseball Sluggers
The Postal Service issued the 39-cent Baseball Sluggers commemorative stamps to recognize the accomplishments of four baseball greats: Roy Campanella, Hank Greenberg, Mel Ott, and Mickey Mantle.
These four men were powerful hitters who wowed fans with awesome and often record-breaking home runs. They were also versatile players who helped lead their teams to victory and set impressive standards for subsequent generations.
The stamps were unveiled on July 15, 2006, at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York. The stamps, designed by Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Virginia, were produced in four designs in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of twenty stamps. Lonnie Busch of Franklin, North Carolina, based his illustrations on historic photographs, simplifying and adapting the portraits to resemble old-fashioned baseball trading cards.
A total of 200,000,000 stamps of the 4 players, 50,000,000 each, were issued at 39¢ for a total value of $78,000,000.
Roy Campanella (1921-93) was a catcher in the American Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball. Campanella signed a Brooklyn Dodgers’ contract in 1946. A smart and skilled catcher, he was also impressive at bat. He averaged more than 85 runs batted-in per year over the course of his career. Campanella played every All-Star Game from 1949 to 1956 and was in the 1949, 1952, 1953, and 1955, and 1956 World Series. In 1969, he was the second African-American player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. After a car accident in 1958, Roy Campanella was paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Henry Benjamin Greenberg (1911-86), baseball’s first Jewish superstar, was born in New York. A powerful slugger, Greenberg earned the nickname “Hammerin’ Hank.” Even though he had only nine full seasons, he had a career total of 331 home runs and averaged more than 141 runs batted-in per year played. Greenberg was the first American League player to enlist after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The 34-year-old war hero returned in 1945 and hit a home run in his first game back. Hank Greenberg played in four World Series (1934-35, 1940, 1945) and on five All-Star teams (1937-40, 1945).
Melvin Thomas Ott (1909-58) was born in Gretna, Louisiana. At 16, he joined a semi-pro team near New Orleans and was an immediate sensation. The owner sent him to Giants’ manager John McGraw. At 19 years old, he became the New York Giants’ regular right fielder and was outstanding in that position. Ott stayed with the Giants 22 seasons, playing in three World Series. He was an All-Star every year from 1934 to 1945. When he retired, he had 511 career home runs, the first National Leaguer to hit 500. He averaged more than 80 runs batted-in per year. Ott also held the National League career record in bases on balls, mostly because pitchers grew wary of him early in his career.
Mickey Mantle (1931-95) hit 536 home runs and averaged 83 runs batted-in per year over the course of his career. His father named him in honor of baseball great Mickey Cochrane and taught him to hit right- and left-handed. As a teenager in Oklahoma, Mantle developed great strength from summers working in the lead mines and doing farm chores. That strength enabled him to hit long home runs. In 1960, he hit a ball against the Detroit Tigers that was estimated to have gone 643 feet. Mantle played 18 years for the New York Yankees. He was in 16 All-Star games and seven World Series.
Issue Date: July 15, 2006
City: Bronx, NY
Quantity: 200,000,000 each
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Printing method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾