Circa 1913 Ty Cobb Action Photo - Sliding Into Frank Baker!

Sold For: $1,175

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1407

Item Year: 1913

Category: The Golden Age of Baseball Photography

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Spectacular original press photo, culled from The Detroit News archives, featuring Ty Cobb sliding into third base as Philadelphia A's third baseman Frank Baker attempts to make the tag at Navin Field in Detroit. Both Cobb and Baker are immediately recognizable in this crystal clear photo that instantly brings to mind Charles Conlon's famous 1909 image of Ty Cobb sliding into Jimmy Austin. The same immediacy and fury of Conlon's photo is captured here as we see Cobb barreling into third, awash a sea of dirt, just ahead of Baker's tag. Taken directly from behind third base, the photo encompasses both the right side of the infield as well as the grandstand and a section of the outfield wall (a portion of which displays a Coca-Cola advertisement). It is interesting to note the Cobb's reputation as a dirty player and one who always went in "spikes high" on the bases was mainly borne as a result of an altercation he had with Baker in 1909. In that game, played on August 24th in Detroit, Cobb spiked Baker on a play at third which left Baker bloodied. Afterwards, Connie Mack criticized Cobb's actions and stated to members of the press that he "was the dirtiest player in baseball history." Coming from someone of Mack's stature, the phrase stuck and Cobb had to carry that label with him, deserved or not, for the rest of his life. While the comment bothered Cobb, he certainly was not about to change the way he played the game and, as evidenced here, he had no such reservations about taking Baker out again if need be. Although the exact date of this photo is unknown, based upon the uniform styles shown here it was most likely taken in either the 1913 or 1914 season (according to the Baseball Hall of Fame uniform database). This is an extraordinary and simply remarkable Cobb photo in all respects, and it is not surprising that it was used by the paper numerous times over the years (it displays more dates stamps on the reverse than any other photo offered here from The Detroit News archives). A total of seven different date stamps are present, with the earliest reading "May 5, 1938" and the most recent reading "Apr 8 1991." Also present on the reverse are a number of period editorial notations and paper residue from what appear to be the remains of three separate paper news captions. The photo (6.25 x 4.5 inches) has a number of flaws common to nearly all working press photos, including chips in the lower right and left corners, a few light creases, three tears (the largest measures 1.25 inches and extends vertically from the top border; another, which has been repaired by clear tape on the reverse, measures 1 inch and extends horizontally from the left border), and editorial marks on the front. Although technically in Good to Very Good condition, the central image of Cobb and Baker remains free of any significant defects and displays as Excellent. Reserve $200. Estimate $400++. SOLD FOR $1,175

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