Circa 1910 Ty Cobb Photo

Sold For: $1,058

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1401

Item Year: 1910

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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Original press photo, culled from The Detroit News archives, capturing Ty Cobb in uniform seated in an automobile. A photographer's credit stamp, reading "W. D. Benham - Commericial Photographer - 414 Wetherbee Bldg. - Detroit, Mich," appears on the reverse. Seeing Ty Cobb posing in an automobile was not an uncommon sight at the time. Ty Cobb arrived in Detroit just as the automobile was becoming popular and he quickly became an enthusiastic fan of the "horseless carriage." What Cobb enjoyed most about cars was the speed. An avid racer, he was no stranger to many of the country's top speedways, including Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Savannah, where he would often drive his car at speeds of 100 miles per hour. Cobb was also notorious for speeding around the city of Detroit, where, because of his status, he was rarely ticketed. Even when he was flagged by an officer, the charges rarely stuck. Once, in 1911, during a court appearance to challenge a speeding charge, Cobb simply testified that "he wasn't going any faster than when he steals second base." The judge, who was probably a baseball fan, immediately suspended his sentence. Although fans found such stories humorous, Tigers general manager Frank Navin did not. Navin feared that Cobb's reckless driving would eventually lead to either injury or death. Cobb later commented on such concerns: "Those who feared for my life were the pedestrian type. You have to do it to appreciate it." Cobb eventually agreed to give up his high-speed pursuits, but it was only after his good friend, race driver Bill McNey, perished in a car crash at the Savannah Raceway. The photo (7.75 x 8.5 inches), which displays flawless clarity, is mounted upon a period linen backing and has a few minor flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including an unevenly trimmed top border, a small area of surface paper loss in the lower right corner, and light rippling. Very Good Condition. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,058

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