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.
Nicknamed “Campy,” Roy Campanella (1921-1993) hit 242 home runs during his ten-year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the famous “Boys of Summer.” A three-time National League MVP, he was also the first black catcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
Campanella began his career in the American Negro Leagues and signed his 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. (Stamp ID# Scott 4080).
Hank Greenberg (1911-1986) is remembered as one of the greatest right-handed batters. During his time with the Detroit Tigers, “Hammerin’ Hank” led the American League in home runs and in RBI four times each, and he was twice named Most Valuable Player.
Greenberg was baseball’s first Jewish superstar and was born in New York. The powerful slugger only played nine full seasons, yet 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). (Stamp ID# Scott 4081).
Known for his unusual but powerful high-leg-kick batting stance, Mel Ott (1909-1958) distinguished himself with the New York Giants for 22 seasons. Ott was the first National League player to hit 500 home runs, and he led the league in homers six times.
Ott 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 played in three World Series, and was an All-Star every year from 1934 to 1945. When he retired, he had 511 career home runs and 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. (Stamp ID# Scott 4082).
Synonymous with the New York Yankees for nearly two decades, switch-hitter Mickey Mantle (1931-1995) hit 536 homers, including a record 18 home runs in World Series play. A three-time American League MVP, he won the Triple Crown in 1956.
Mantle was named by his father in honor of baseball great Mickey Cochrane, who also 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 appeared in 16 All-Star games and seven World Series. (Stamp ID# Scott 4083).
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