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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/10/2022

When one thinks of Ty Cobb, a few iconic images immediately come to mind: the dramatic Charles Conlon sliding photo; Carl Horner’s evocative 1907 cabinet portrait; or the pair of batting poses used for his famous T-206 and Cracker Jack baseball cards. And while those images may be more well-known, the photograph we have here may be the most significant and rarest of all Ty Cobb images. This breathtaking print captures the great ballplayer in mid-slide, at the very height of his career – wearing a Cleveland jersey!

The story behind the image we are offering goes back to the spring of 1911. The Cleveland Naps were in Chattanooga for an exhibition game. During the pregame warmups, Addie Joss, Cleveland’s ace pitcher, fainted while talking with one of the Chattanooga players. Joss was rushed by train to his home in Toledo, Ohio where his doctor diagnosed the 31 year-old with tubercular meningitis. As his wife and two small children watched helplessly, Addie Joss passed away on April 14, 1911. At the time, Addie Joss was one of the most successful pitchers in the American League. Between 1902 and 1910, Joss won 160 games for Cleveland while posting a miniscule 1.89 ERA. Besides his skills on the mound, Joss was among the most popular players in the game. Fans across the country filled trainloads of flowers and arrived from across the country for his April 17 funeral. American League president Ban Johnson reluctantly gave the Cleveland team the day off to attend the funeral, but all agreed that something more needed to be done to memorialize their friend and aid his widow and two children. Soon, plans were finalized for what would become MLB’s first All-Star Game.

The “Addie Joss Benefit Game” was held at Cleveland’s League Park on July 24, 1911. The game pitted the Cleveland Naps against an all-star squad that featured the best American League stars of the day. No less than nine future Hall of Famers took part, including the great Ty Cobb. Cobb was in his seventh professional season and was in the middle of a nine year streak in which he reigned supreme as the AL’s batting champion. When word was passed of the Addie Joss benefit, Cobb was among the first players to volunteer.

15,270 fans turned out to pay tribute to Cleveland’s fallen ace, as the All-Stars nipped the Naps 5-3. Though the game was widely attended and received writeups in newspapers coast-to-coast, relatively few photographs exist of the game, the majority being posed team and group shots. One thing that does stand out is Ty Cobb – he is wearing a Cleveland road uniform! The reason why may never be known, but the story has been told that his Detroit togs were lost enroute to Cleveland and he was lent a set of Naps road greys for the game.

And it is that curious fact that makes this offered photograph so significant. In one of the only non-posed photographs taken that day, the Cleveland-outfitted Ty Cobb has been captured sliding into base, his face expressing the raw determination he was known for. The play most likely took place in the top of the third when Cobb singled off the legendary Cy Young. As he was famous for, Ty made a mad dash to steal second, but was nipped by catcher Syd Smith’s throw to second baseman Neal Ball who tagged the sliding Cobb. This photograph, taken during an exhibition game that had no bearings in the standings whatsoever, more than any other demonstrates Ty Cobb’s ultra-competitive nature and sheer drive to win.

In addition to its historical value, this is a Type 1 photograph, printed from the original negative within 2 years of the photo being taken. With the significance of the game in which it was taken and being a Type 1, this is one of the most significant and rarest of all Ty Cobb photographs.

The 8x10” photo has been printed to the edge of the paper without a border. There is some edge wear including some corner chipping, though this does not affect the dramatic image in any way. The photo is all original and has no restorations.The warm sepia-brown tones make this outstanding image among the most attractive Type 1 photographs of Ty Cobb in existence. The photograph has been encapsulated by PSA and graded a Type 1.

We have added a couple of different links to show the importance of this game.

Article on event, shows box score, and references jersey at the bottom.

Article on both 1911 all-star game and 1933 all-star game, team photo of AL all-stars (Cobb sitting 3rd to right first row.)

Article on event, panoramic picture of both teams (Cobb 3rd from far right), references jersey at the bottom.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $10,780
Number Bids:24
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