December 9th, 2009 Holiday Auction (#26)
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 12/9/2009.
Ty Cobb ranks, along with Ted Williams, as among the greatest pure hitters in baseball history. His lifetime .367 batting average is still a record. He won the batting title at 20 years old in 1927, the youngest player ever to accomplish that feat and the first of nine in a row. Never a real long-ball hitter (he hit 118 career homers), he purposely hit five in two days (1925) just to prove a point. Also well known for his ferocious no-quarter style of play, he was known to sharpen his spikes while seated in the dugout in full view of the opposing team. The Tigers won their third straight AL pennant in 1909 with the help of some controversy from Cobb. In the first game of a three game series against the Athletics, Cobb sharpened his spikes and cut Athletics third baseman Frank Baker. By the time the teams met again in Philadelphia, Cobb had received numerous telegrams that threatened his life. Cobb had to have a police escort to and from the park. However, the Tigers managed to win the pennant and Cobb won the Triple Crown with 9 home runs, 107 runs batted in and a .377 average. This amazing two page letter on Cobb's letterhead dated 4/29/1947 to Joe Fisher details that infamous incident. Cobb has handwritten and signed the letter in blue ink, letter reads in part, "...the so called Baker spiking incident you no doubt have heard so much of and it only goes to show how unfair newspaper men or sports writers can be. It was Horace Fogel long since dead, a Philadelphia writer (also this happened in Detroit) who wrote a most lurid & inflammatory story about it, he was half drunk most his time and had a poisonous spirit...I received threatening letters if I played in series at Philadelphia. I played but I did not enjoy the threats, of course the park was filled to overflowing, people in outfield right at your back, police escorts on & off field...the play was at third, Baker was in the line reaching past inside of 3rd base to tag me, I am well inside line and trying to reach the bag with my toe, I ended up at least 3 feet inside and away from bag towards the coaching box. I was coming from second base and in no way am I in a position of intent to spike, only trying for the bag with toe, note second base is so far to left you can't see the bag which puts Baker in the line...Baker was only slightly 'nipped' by me heel spike on forearm..." Letter is at least EXMT with signature that grades from 8 to 9. What is really spectacular is the vintage 8" x 10" black and white photo of the incident. Photo is signed and dated (same date as letter) by Cobb, however the signature is almost completely faded and can only be seen by holding the photo at an angle to a light source. The letter, however, starts off as follows, "Am returning picture you wanted autographed, it came bent as cardboard was too flimsy." Amazingly, there is a vertical crease on the photo, making it of great interest as the picture and its flaws are mentioned in the letter! Photo is VG-EX with the above mentioned crease, signature on the photo is not gradable due to the aforementioned. Accompanied by a LOA from JSA.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Price Realized: $7,260
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Wednesday, December 9, 2009.
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