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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/27/2017

     Although Ty Cobb was one of baseball’s brightest stars, controversy seemed to follow the tall Georgian at every step of his career. Certainly, Cobb’s iron will and innate competitive drive did not dissuade this controversy, but after his career ended his legacy has been clouded with dark tales of his temper and purported transgressions.

     While Cobb’s personal life and attitude are up for debate, his skill as a batsman is not. In 24 seasons in the Majors, Cobb won 12 batting titles, thrice compiling an average above the .400 mark. His career batting average of .366 remains the highest in baseball history, even 90 years after his retirement. To this date, Cobb has recorded the most hits of any player in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with 4,189. The longtime Detroit Tiger won the American League Triple Crown in 1909, and the American League MVP Award in 1911, but a World Series title always eluded the cantankerous center fielder. His Tigers reached three consecutive Fall Classics, in 1907, ’08, and ’09, but the American League franchise came up short each time.

     The great Cobb finished his career in 1928, after two seasons manning the center field position at Shibe Park as a member of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. Eight years later, Cobb became a member of the inaugural class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, alongside all-time greats Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Of all these distinguished men, it was Cobb who received the most votes for induction, appearing on 222 of the 226 ballots. The amount of ballots he appeared on, 98.2%, remained a record until Tom Seaver reached 98.8% in 1992.

     In this three page letter, Cobb discusses one of the most infamous moments of his career: his 1909 spiking of Philadelphia Athletics third baseman Frank Baker. It was, by almost all accounts, a legal, if aggressive, slide that resulted in Baker’s arm receiving a fearsome cut. Baker, Connie Mack, and the rest of the A’s accused Cobb of being a dirty and cruel player, but a wire photo from The Detroit News appeared to vindicate Cobb by showing Baker encroach upon his space.

     The picture Cobb signed is one of the photos from The Detroit News, which shows Cobb sliding into third base against Baker. He signed the 8 x 10 inch photograph in blue pen, adding the date of “4/15/55”, roughly six years before his death.

     Displayed beneath this photograph are three pages of a handwritten note from Cobb. He describes the situation, noting how a Philadelphia sportswriter named Horace Fogel wrote a “lurid story…to boost the attendance” the next time Detroit visited Shibe Park. Later in the letter, Cobb claims that “not more than six people have a reprint of this play”, making this an incredibly rare piece of Cobb memorabilia. The letters are written in green pen, on three pages of stationary that bear the header “Tyrus R. Cobb”. Cobb signed the final page simply as “Ty”. This item comes in a 21 x 23 inch framed display. The signature on the photograph comes with a LOA from PSA/DNA (S05952), who have graded the signature a GEM MINT 10, and a LOA from JSA (X73511) that authenticates both the signature on the photograph and the handwritten letter.

1955 Ty Cobb 3 Page Handwritten and Signed Letter With Autographed Photo re: Famous Frank Baker Spiking Incident (PSA/DNA Gem Mint 10 & JSA)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $16,200.00
Estimate: $25,000+
Number Bids: 10
Auction closed on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
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