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Mantle estate reaches agreement in auction flap

November 21, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Facing a lawsuit from Mickey Mantle’s estate, an agent agreed today to pull 33 of the slugger’s personal items _ including his prescription drug bottles _ from an auction Saturday.

The deal will still permit Leland’s auction house to sell more than 200 items belonging to the New York Yankee great’s longtime agent, who was also his girlfriend. Those items include a lock of Mantle’s hair, his passport, a signed American Express card, his tuxedo from Billy Martin’s wedding and his condo and home.

``We’re glad we got what we wanted,″ said Roy True, Mantle’s attorney and co-executor of his estate. ``We’re sorry we had to file a lawsuit to do it. We came out happy.″

True said the items that were withdrawn included Mantle’s birth certificate, his prescription drug bottles, his bathrobe, other clothing and his luggage. Those items will be turned over to the estate.

Mantle’s agent-girlfriend, Greer Johnson, told The Dallas Morning News that it would have cost her $500,000 to fight Mantle’s estate.

``I don’t think I have a choice. I can’t fight them,″ the 46-year-old said in a quavering voice. ``It’s turned into an absolute nightmare for me.″

The lawsuit accused Ms. Johnson of violating her business relationship with Mantle by damaging his image and asked for monetary damages.

Mantle died in Dallas of liver cancer in August 1995 at 63.

Although he and his wife were estranged for the last 15 years of his life, they never divorced. Mantle spent many of those years with Ms. Johnson, whom he met in 1984.

Yet Ms. Johnson was not named in his will, written in 1989, which included only family members.

``I worked 10 long, hard years with Mickey. I did nothing but what I thought would be best for Mickey. Now I feel like an injustice has been done to me,″ she said.

One estimate had put the haul of the Mantle memorabilia at more than $500,000.

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