1906 Detroit Tigers Team Photo - Ty Cobb's Rookie Season!

Sold For: $3,231

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1398

Item Year: 1906

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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This rare and historically significant original press photo, culled from The Detroit News archives, dates from Ty Cobb's 1906 rookie season and represents one of the earliest known images of the legendary "Georgia Peach" in a Major League uniform. The crystal-clear photo captures twenty members of the Detroit Tigers posing together in front of the grandstand prior to an unspecified road game. Cobb, who was just nineteen years old at the time of this photo, is pictured seated third from the right. Other team members include Sam Crawford, manager Bill Armour, Bobby Lowe, George Mullin, and Germany Schaefer. Reverse markings feature three date stamps ("July 12 1906," "August 17 1908," and "Jun 15 1967") and period editorial notations, including the handwritten year "1906." Research indicates that the Tigers were in Philadelphia on July 12, 1906, for the start of a four-game series with the Athletics. Prior to that, on July 7th, 9th, and 10th, the club was in Washington for a series against the Senators. Cobb made his Major League debut with Detroit on August 30, 1905, appearing in forty-one games and finishing the year with a .241 average (the only season of his career in which he would bat lower than .300). The Tigers obviously liked what they saw and the following season they gave Cobb a starting position in the outfield alongside Sam Crawford and Marty McIntyre. Cobb missed some time in 1906 due to illness, but still managed to appear in ninety-eight games, batting .316 with 1 home run, 34 RBI, and 23 stolen bases. Despite his success on the field, Cobb's rookie season was far from enjoyable. Just one year earlier his father, who was a dominant figure in his life, was shot to death by his mother in what was later deemed an accident. That tragic event was a terrible emotional blow for Cobb and left him ill equipped to handle the standard hazing given to Major League rookies at the time. Cobb was about seven years younger, on average, than most of the other Tiger players and that age disparity left him with few friends on the club. Alienated and picked upon by his teammates, Cobb endured a trying rookie season that left him emotionally scarred for life. In later years he would often blame the horrible treatment (real and perceived) he received from his teammates during his first season for much of the hostility that punctuated his adult life, both on and off the field. The photo (9.5 x 7.75 inches) has a number of minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including three corner chips, a few light creases, and a two-inch diagonal tear along the left border that has been repaired with clear tape on the reverse. Very Good condition. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $3,231

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