Joe DiMaggio’s Upper West Side Apartment while playing with the Yankees, at 400 West End Avenue
NEW YORK – As a kid in Oklahoma, Mickey Mantle’s first baseball backstop was a rickety tin shed.
It is still there today, opposite the family’s old house in Commerce.
Not long after taking ownership of The Mick’s boyhood home, Brian Brassfield told the celebrated Hall of Fame Yankees center fielder about the planned restoration project – including propping up the barn.
“Don’t do that,’’ Mantle said. “It was leaning when I was a kid.’’
Landmark for sale
On Nov. 2, the small 100-year-old Mantle home and the crooked tin barn at 319 South Quincy Street are going to auction, starting at a minimum bid of $50,000 through New Jersey based Goldin Auctions.
Maybe a wealthy fan of the famous No. 7 will turn it into a full-time museum.
Maybe the old place will finally be designated as a national historic landmark.
“I just want for the stories to continue and to stay alive,’’ said Brassfield, 58, raised in the same quiet, northeast corner of Oklahoma as Mantle.
Brassfield and his business partner, boxing promoter Tony Holden, had purchased the property from another owner just a few years before Mantle died in August 1995.
“Well, it’s about the same as it was when I was a kid,’’ Mantle told Brassfield in the early ‘90s, prior to a modest renovation.
Visited by Yankees & fans
At about age 3 to about age 12, Mantle and his large family resided in the home – not quite 700 square feet – from roughly 1934-1944.
About 1938, Mantle’s father, Mutt, purchased the home from the mining company he worked for.
The entire uninsulated house was heated by a kitchen hot stove.
Brassfield and Holden put up a plaque near the door, marking the Commerce Comet’s historic home.
Though it’s not officially listed, Brassfield welcomed guests and tour buses to the home – which has remained vacant for the last 25 years – when he wasn’t traveling on business.
Over the years, some of Mantle’s ex-teammates have stopped by, such as Clete Boyer, Bobby Richardson, Don Larsen, Johnny Blanchard and Bob Turley.
Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage, a huge Mantle fan, has been by the house more than once.
“You just never know who’s going to show up,’’ said Brassfield, who has displayed other Mantle items at the home, such as The Mick’s high school yearbook (also up for auction), never charging an admission.
Where ‘The Mick’ learned to hit
But the highlight for most Mantle fans is taking imaginary swings in front of the old tin barn, where The Mick learned how to switch hit.
Mutt would pitch right-handed, Mickey’s grandfather would throw to him left-handed, and the young Mantle would swat tennis balls toward the home.
In the game they invented, a ball hit below the window was a single, above the window was a double, off the roof was a triple and over the house was a home run.
“I’ve had childhood friends of his tell of watching him do that,’’ Brassfield said by phone from Oklahoma. “They would practice until dark.’’
Mantle mentions the home in his 1987 autobiography. He would have turned 89 this week.
“Some person with a lot of passion and more money than we have could probably do some better things with it,’’ Brassfield said of the home, located 1,500 long miles away from the lights of Broadway and Yankee Stadium.
“If you come to Commerce, you’d kind of have an understanding of how far he had to go to make it as big as he did.’’
Ruppert Tower, site of the Ruppert Brewery in Manhattan’s Yorkville section. Jacob Ruppert is the former Yankees owner who helped usher in the club’s first dynasty.