HOUSTON (AP) â€” The autographed baseball that an Oregon firefighter contends is the one Mickey Mantle hit for his 500th home run has sold after more than a year of controversy.
Dale Cicero told the Texas Journal of The Wall Street Journal he sold the ball to an investor group in Grand Rapids, Mich. Terms of the sale weren't disclosed, but both sides say the price was ``well into the six figures.''
The sale, which was completed in March, wasn't disclosed until last week.
``I was totally vindicated,'' Cicero said. ``I'm very happy with the price.''
Last January, Mantle's widow had contended that the item was a fake. That derailed a pending sale at Guernsey's auction house in New York that was scheduled just minutes after Mark McGwire's record-setting 70th home run ball from last season sold for $3 million.
Appraisers had earlier believed the McGwire momentum could help push the price of the Mantle ball as high as $250,000.
But when the telephone at Guernsey's rang, Merlyn Mantle told the auctioneer that the ball was a phony and that she had the real souvenir in her Dallas home.
So Guernsey's officials pulled the ball off the auction. Cicero, a firefighter from Bend, Ore., had been crusading ever since to convince collectors he had the genuine article.