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Lot # 492 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1925 Ty Cobb Signed Record-Setting Home Run Ball

Starting Bid - $4,000.00, Sold For - $20,880.00

Presented is one of the most significant Ty Cobb signed baseballs in existence. This is the actual ball which was hit by Ty Cobb for his second home run of the game at Sportman's Park in St. Louis on May 6, 1925. That home run, however, was not just a routine round tripper. That home run would cap one of the single most amazing individual hitting performances in the history of our national pastime. On May 5th and 6th of 1928 Ty Cobb hit a record-tying five home runs in two consecutive games, a feat which has remained unsurpassed to this day (although it has been equaled by five other players, the first being Cap Anson in 1884). As unbelievable as that offensive output was, what made it all the more remarkable was that just before taking the field for that May 5th game, Cobb had boasted that such a performance would be forthcoming. There is no controversy about this prediction, as there is with Babe Ruth's "Called Shot," for example. It must be remembered that in 1925 Cobb was nearing the end of his long and illustrious career, and the "dead ball" era, characterized by scientific fundamental baseball, had now been replaced by the new "style" of baseball, with the greatest emphasis on the home run. Cobb detested the "lively ball" and the new heroes it was producing on the basis of sheer power, such as Babe Ruth. After having been forced to listen to reporters criticize him constantly over the past few years about how he earned his reputation on bunt singles and scratch hits while Ruth slammed them out of the park, Cobb decided to show them just how wrong they were. While talking to reporter H. G. Salsinger prior to the game Cobb stated to him, loud enough for all the other reporters to hear, "I'll show you something today. I'm going for home runs for the first time in my career." And show them he did. Cobb would begin the barrage by going six for six in the first game, adding a double and two singles to his three home runs, a feat which set a then record for total bases in one game with sixteen. For an encore Cobb would get three more hits the next day, two home runs and a single, with his first inning single also being his ninth consecutive hit over the past three games. The following day, which was the finale of the four game series with the Browns, he missed another home run by just a foot. Cobb had proved his point to the baseball world. He could, if he wanted to, be the type of player idolized by the fans during the 1920s. Cobb, however, chose to play the game his way. It was fundamental difference of viewpoints and he would forever remain true to his ideals. This phenomenal baseball originates directly from the family of Al Lanemann, who caught Cobb's historic fifth home run ball on that fateful May afternoon, and is accompanied by a handwritten letter of authenticity from Lanemann's son-in-law transcribed here in its entirety: "To whom it may concern: My father in-Law, Al Lanemann caught this home run baseball from Ty Cobb, while sitting in the right field bleachers in May 1925. This was the fifth home run that Ty Cobb hit in two days. The next time the Tigers returned to Sportsman Park to play the Browns my father-in-law had Ty Cobb sign his baseball that he caught. He waited at the exit door that the players left and asked Ty Cobb to signed this home run baseball that he had caught." The Official American League (Johnson) baseball is signed "Ty Cobb 7/4/25" ("8") in black ink on a side panel. The period blue ink notation "Cobbs Fifth In Two Days May 6, 1925" appears on the opposite side panel. "St. Louis" is written in blue ink across the sweet spot. The ball is toned and exhibits considerable wear and use. Very Good condition. Cobb would continue playing for another three years; however, he would never again provide a repeat of that power display, finishing with just seventeen more home runs before officially retiring in 1928. In spite of his many accomplishments, those two memorable days in May must surely have been Cobb's finest personal hour. It would not only be his final rebuttal to the members of the press but also a personal vindication of his claim regarding how simplistic the game had become. Cobb, in his mind, had clearly shown that home runs were not extraordinary, but just the opposite, quite mundane. For Cobb, the true skill in baseball was not swinging for the fences every at bat but in mastering the finer points of the game such as hitting behind the runner, bunting, the hit and run, sliding and baserunning. He was a living anachronism during the evolution of baseball in the 1920s, content to play his brand of ball to the very end but, most important, with the inner knowledge that he could excel in any era. This museum-quality baseball is one of the most spectacular relics in existence relating to Cobb's legendary career that we have ever seen and will forever stand as a testimony to both his unique and unparalleled hitting abilities as well as his strong willed personality. Absolutely one of the most significant Ty Cobb signed baseballs that could possibly exist, from one of baseball's most legendary performances by one of its greatest legends. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $4,000. Estimate $8,000/$12,000. SOLD FOR $20,880.00

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