1907 Detroit Tigers Imperial Team Cabinet Photo

Sold For: $4,444

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 1007

Item Year: 1907

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Rare imperial cabinet photo capturing the 1907 American League champion Detroit Tigers in a traditional team pose. This is a particularly remarkable original early team cabinet photo. Nineteen team members are pictured dressed in their home whites as they pose together in front of the dugout, including Ty Cobb, manager Hughie Jennings, Sam Crawford, Wild Bill Donovan, Davy Jones, Ed Killian, George Mullin, and Claude Rossman. "Copyright Pending" is lettered in white in the lower right corner. "Detroit's Champions of the American League 1907" is printed in black along the base of the mount, as are the names of all the team members pictured and the photographer's credit, which reads "Photographed by FISHER-KLINE CO., 64 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, Mich." We have seen only two other examples of this rare team cabinet and, interestingly, they are not all exactly the same. One of the others has slightly different printing on the mount (identifying the club just by team name and year, not as "Champions of the American League"), while the offered example features a slight variation with regard to the photo. (The photographer took a number of shots of the club while posing in this manner, each of which were seconds or minutes apart, so one can see very subtle differences here with regard to the placement of some players' hands or the direction in which they are looking when compared to other examples.)

1907 was Ty Cobb's second full season in the Major Leagues. Although only twenty-one years old, Cobb flashed the brilliance that would distinguish him as one of the game's greatest players. The fabled "Georgia Peach" captured his first of nine consecutive batting titles (.350) and also led the league in RBI (119), hits (212), stolen bases (49), and slugging percentage (.473). Those lofty numbers helped lead the Tigers to their first of three consecutive pennants. Unfortunately, the Tigers were swept by the Cubs in the World Series (one game ended in a tie). Despite his success on the field, Cobb was alienated by his teammates and his early years were extremely stressful for him. Judging by Cobb's dour expression displayed here, he was probably counting the seconds when this shoot would be over and he could leave the close company of his "friends."

The photo (10 x 8 inches) displays minor surface wear, including a small abrasion in the upper right border area, a small, light horizontal crease that touches upon the images of Schaefer and Jones, and a tiny edge tear at the base. The visible portion of the mount displays only a tiny tear in the upper right corner and is otherwise in apparent Excellent to Mint condition. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 16.75 x 16 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $4,444

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