T206 Ty Cobb Bat Off Shoulder Detroit SGC Authentic Sweet Caporal Back

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  • January 10, 2014
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Offered this week is a  T206 Ty Cobb Bat Off Shoulder Detroit SGC Authentic baseball card with a Sweet Caporal Back. Ty Cobb, the man they called "The Georgia Peach," compiled a lifetime .367 batting average, the highest in the history of the game. He was also the all-time leader in hits and runs scored until Pete Rose and Rickey Henderson eclipsed him in those two categories.  Despite nearly a century since his playing days concluded, Cobb still remains #2 on the hits and runs scored lists. In 1936, Ty Cobb became the first inductee of baseball’s Hall of Fame, earning 222 out of a possible 226 votes. Cobb grew up in Royston,Georgia.  When he went off to play professional baseball, his father sternly warned him, "Don't come home a failure."  Cobb obviously heeded his father’s warning. It is unlikely that anyone can beat his lifetime batting average. In his 24 seasons of playing baseball he topped the .300 barrier 23 times. Cobb's first great season came in 1907, and the Tigers rode success all the way to the World Series. That season, the centerfield's batting average was .350. He won nine consecutive batting titles starting in 1907.   Cobb looked for every possible way to win. He used his great speed and precision hitting as the best weapons available in the dead-ball, strong-pitching era. Cobb studied pitchers and took advantage of their weaknesses. Against Walter Johnson, the great Washington right-hander who was afraid of hitting batters with fastballs, Cobb crowded the plate. Johnson worked him outside, fell behind in the count, and finally threw slow pitches over the plate. Cobb clobbered ball after ball.   His best season was 1911, when he led the league in every major offensive category except home runs while batting a career high .420.   Ty paid the price for success. He would practice sliding until his legs were raw. He would place blankets along the base and practice bunting a ball on the basket. During the winter he hunted through daylight hours in weighted boots so that his legs would be strong for the upcoming campaign. He overlooked no opportunity to gain an edge over his opponents, most of whom admired his drive to succeed.   Cobb appreciated the value of a dollar and engaged in annual haggles with Detroit executives before signing his contract. Cobb's earnings were invested wisely, mostly in General Motors and Coca-Cola stock, which made him very wealthy and probably baseball's first millionaire.   Cobb was one of Major League Baseball's first true superstars and the T206 tobacco baseball card set was issued in his prime. For kids and the few adults who saved those cards that came out of American Tobacco Company cigarette packs from 1909-1911, getting a Cobb was like finding the Golden Ticket.   There are four main T206 Ty Cobb cards in the set, a testimony to his popularity. The American Tobacco Company knew everyone would want a Cobb card and they made sure to make them somewhat accessible. Two are portrait cards, showing a head and shoulders picture while the other two show him with his familiar weapon--the bat. One shows the bat on his shoulder while the other shows it just off his shoulder.  The latter variation is being offered for auction this week by Just Collect on eBay.   The two portrait cards have variations--one with a red background and another with a green background. The green background Cobb is far more scarce, selling for roughly double the cost of a red. Each of the 'bat off shoulder' variations is worth about the same.   There are 15 different back variations, with each advertising a different type of tobacco issued by the American Tobacco Company.   There's a fifth Cobb card in the set, this one a red background portrait. This card was only available in special tins of Ty Cobb tobacco, one of his first endorsements. The back of the 'T206 Cobb with Cobb back' card proclaims Cobb's brand to be "King of the Smoking Tobacco World".  Only a very small handful of this rarity is believed to exist and they sell for tens of thousands of dollars even in off-grade.   

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