Earlier this month, Mickey Mantle’s, a Yankees-themed restaurant on Manhattan’s Central Park South, was suddenly shuttered after filing for bankruptcy. Apparently the 25 year old restaurant had failed to pay its rent for months, resulting in the closure of the business and all of its assets being seized by bankruptcy court, which are now set to be sold off at an auction.
This turn of events does not make Marty Appel happy.
Who’s Appel? Well, he’s a lifelong Yankees fan, former publicist for the team, author of the book Pinstripe Empire, and a man who donated 22 framed items from his Yankees collection to the restaurant just days before it closed, says an article in the New York Daily News from earlier this week. Now his collection—which, again, he generously donated for free—is being auctioned off next week with the rest of the stuff inside the restaurant, items that range from signed baseballs to barstools to ovens.
Said Appel on the loss of his collectibles:
“Where’s the justice? Nobody denies that these are my things. […] The bankruptcy court seems to be taking the position, ‘We don’t care. If it was in there, it’s ours.’ They just say tough luck. […] It’s very disappointing. I was just trying to do a good deed, and now I’m losing my personal possessions.”
According to the article, the bankruptcy attorney handling the situation, Allan Mendelsohn, has gotten a letter from Appel as well as plenty of others who claim to have possessions that were seized.
“…he was not the only guy,” he said. “There are a lot of people who claim to have stuff in there.”
At the end of the day, though, that’s what a donation is—you give someone something, and it’s gone. As grimy as it seems, Appel forfeited his rights to the pieces of his collection—which includes lithographs of Reggie Jackson’s third homerun in Game 6 of the ’77 World Series, among others—and his decision not to attend the auction to buy them back more or less confirms that the stuff isn’t his anymore:
“I’m doing a book signing that day at the Yogi Berra Museum. At least I don’t have to witness my stuff walking out in the hands of others.”