Cracker Jacks have been a part of baseball even before Jack Norworth immortalized the confection's connection to the game in the lyrics of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' while riding the New York City subway in 1908. More than a century later, that song is ingrained in the mind of every baseball fan, and every child has reached into a box of the sweet snack to claim their prize. In 1914 and '15, that prize came in the form of a baseball card, showcasing a 'Cracker Jack Ball Player' on an emblazoned red backdrop. In 1915 some of the best to ever play the game were contained in the 176-card set, but none was better than Tyrus Raymond Cobb, presented here in his prime in a conservatively graded PSA 3 VG example.
In 1915 Europe was embroiled in the First World War, but the only 'war' the 28-year-old Tiger outfielder knew was baseball. Cobb had led the league in batting since 1907 (twice topping the .400 mark), led the Tigers to three consecutive American League pennants, and in 1911 had won the Chalmers Award, the precursor to the MVP Award. There was no player his equal with batting foes like Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie at the end of their career, and 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson just coming into his own. Collectors in 1915 would have been tremendously thrilled with the opportunity of claiming any Ty Cobb card for their example, but this Cracker Jack would have been the centerpiece of their collection. Unlike other contemporary issues, which were small and typically contained either an advertisement or checklist on the reverse, this cardboard contained the pertinent facts of the Georgia Peach's career thus far. It would go on to call him a "marvel for speed and batting" and perhaps no truer words have spoken about a man who for 24 long seasons captured the imaginations of baseball fans young and old across the nation. Over the past year, prices for 1914 Cracker Jacks have surged, as the set celebrated it's centennial anniversary. As the calendar looms towards 2015, many expect the 1915 set to increase well, making the purchase of any 1915 Cracker Jack - and especially a key card like Ty Cobb - a potential investment opportunity that oughtn't be overlooked. This classic pose of the immortal Ty Cobb would be well placed in any advanced pre-war collection, and is likely to marvel your friends, as much as Cobb marveled the original owner 99 years ago.