When Mickey Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969, he not only shocked the baseball world, he brought an entire era to an end.

After all, The Mick was the last of New York’s three vaunted centerfielders from the 1950s to still be playing in New York … “Willie, Mickey, and The Duke” suddenly became just “Say Hey by the Bay.”

And Mantle was the last real vestige of those great Yankees teams that dominated the 1950s and the early part of the 1960s.

Yet, his announcement wasn’t really shocking, not for those who had paid attention to his declining playing time throughout that latter decade, or his hobbled move to first base.

And there was something fitting about the timing of it all — in many ways, Mantle was the face of 1950s baseball. And he provided hope throughout the ‘60s that you really could go home again, recapture that glory you’d known in your youth.

It’s hard now to even imagine Mantle on the ballfield in the 1970s (though that designated hitter role would have been tantalizing, wouldn’t it?).

No, Mickey Mantle belonged to the 1950s and 1960s, when all the teams in each league fought for one spot — first place — and a seat at the World Series table.

Sort of fitting, then, that he retired on the very eve of divisional play.

But Mantle’s timing also afforded Topps the chance to fire up the pinstripe cardboard machine one more time and issue a final, career-capping card:

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That 1969 Topps Mantle is a classic (what cards of The Mick aren’t?), and it was a fairly uncommon career-capper — neither Willie Mays nor Hank Aaron were afforded the same nod, thanks in large part to their retiring right after their last seasons rather than the next spring.

Heck, Topps even coughed up a white-letter variation of Mantle’s 1969 card, much scarcer than the yellow, just to spice things up (or because, you know, we all make mistakes).

But Topps wasn’t done with Mantle just yet, either.

Whether they already had their oddball plans for the year laid out, or whether they just decided to go to the Mantle well one more time is unclear, but the old gum company included the Commerce Comet in a couple of peripheral issues that summer — a Decals insert and a Stamps standalone.

And there was one more … a real card, and not something to just stick to stuff … a super card.

A Super card, in fact …

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The 1969 Topps Supers featured 66 cards, with Mantle at #24. And, though they resemble the 1970 Topps Super cards, with rounded corners, the 1969s measure just 2-1/4″ by 3-1/4”.

Turns out “super” in 1969 Topps vernacular meant super duper bright photography and a supper glossy finish.

But, hey — it was still another Mantle card, and you can bet collectors at the time thought that was pretty super.

Today, this card runs a few hundred dollars in raw condition, and that jumps to $1000 or more for copies in PSA 6 … upwards from there.

No matter the condition, though, this beauty would make a Super addition to any Mantle collection.

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