Fall, 2020 Auction - Closes November 28
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/29/2020

Stunning mounted photo picturing the Detroit Tigers, taken by photographer Doc Rollins during Spring Training of 1907.  Measuring approximately 9" x 7" with its dark cardboard mount, the photo was likely taken at Warren Park in Augusta, the location where the Tigers trained.  The players appear in a variety of uniforms, including their dark 1906 uniforms, a surly young Cobb appearing in the top row.

Cobb's sour expression could stem from an incident that occurred at that very park chronicled in the March 17 edition of the Detroit Free Press, an infamous episode where Cobb was accused of assaulting African-American groundskeeper Charlie Schmidt and his wife.  A strikingly similar photo appears adjacent to that newspaper article (included in our internet listing for reference purposes), enabling us to date the photo to that camp.  Though the photo is not dated in the newspaper, it seems likely that it was taken on or around March 15 or 16, based on its publication date.

The 1907 Spring Training was anything but ordinary for Cobb, his behavior issues chronicling not only the aforementioned assault but receiving a dressing-down for ignoring Hughie Jennings' bunt sign in a March 21 game, a March 30 fistfight with catcher Boss Schmidt that sent Cobb back to the hotel with a bloody nose and swollen eyes, and a month-long drama that had Cobb asking to leave the Tigers and be traded to the Highlanders, a deal that the teams ultimately could not pull off.  

Despite his disposition and the anger issues displayed during the Spring, Cobb would reach full stride as a player in 1907, with 212 hits and 119 runs batted in for a league-leading .350 batting average.  He would lead the Tigers to the World Series that season, though the Tigers would lose in five games to the Cubs.  Each member of that pennant-winning club is ostensible representerd in this photo, including fellow Hall of Famers Sam Crawford and Hugh Jennings, star pitchers George Mullin and Ed Killian, catcher Boss Schmidt, and popular infielder Germany Schaefer.  

The photo is clear and exhibits strong image contrast, some wear evident at the top-right in the sky, and some light silvering visible primarily at the bottom-right.  Rollins' photo credit is both etched and stamped on the photo - other baseball photos taken by Rollins have been found in the hobby (including one of Ira Thomas from 1906, which appears in this auction). The mount appears strong, though corner wear and chipping is evident, as are some mild surface abrasions.  Creasing is visible on the reverse of the mount, at least one of which has created a light bend in the photo itself, visible though not distracting.

Though Cobb's major league debut occurred in 1905, it is the 1907 season that marks the release of his earliest baseball cards, his W600 Sporting Life cabinet and a number of postcard issues considered his "rookie" releases.  Dating of this photo to mid-March of 1907 is significant, however, in that we are aware of just one earlier photo picturing Cobb in a major league uniform, a 1906 team photo that sold at auction more than a decade ago.  Since that time, demand for early Cobb memorabilia has exploded, particularly individual and team photos and postcards.  Cabinet photos of the 1907 ballclub routinely fetch five figures at auction.

Likely a one-of-a-kind photo, this image captures the Tigers during their pre-season turmoil, the expression on Cobb's face an embodiment of the stress and anger that he would channel into his play, becoming one of the most intense players ever to take the field.  A truly wonderful and unique photo, one of the earliest known examples picturing Cobb in a major league uniform.

1907 Detroit Tigers Spring Training Cabinet Photo w/Ty Cobb - One Of the Earliest Known Photos of Cobb in the Major Leagues!1907 Detroit Tigers Spring Training Cabinet Photo w/Ty Cobb - One Of the Earliest Known Photos of Cobb in the Major Leagues!
1907 Detroit Tigers Spring Training Cabinet Photo w/Ty Cobb - One Of the Earliest Known Photos of Cobb in the Major Leagues!
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $13,200
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
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