Among the mere handful of non-gamer, single-signed Cobb bats ever to reach auction, the gold standard is a Gem Mint 10 example that sold in 2010 for over $40,000. Why so rare and valuable? Because though the Georgia Peach signed countless baseballs, photos, checks, books and album pages in his lifetime, he was presented with very few opportunities to autograph such an unwieldy item as a full-length bat. How many fans had the foresight to have a bat handy? Especially back when fountain-pen ink was the only option on a wooden surface? Before the invention of felt-tip markers revolutionized bat signing?
The original recipient of this almost single-signed example was one such enterprising, outside-the-box admirer. Now 88 years old, Colorado resident Jack Anderson (who himself once played in the Phillies farm system) tells the wonderful back-story as follows: “I believe I was 15 years old in 1946 and playing American Legion baseball when my dad told me that Ty Cobb and Oscar Vitt were coming to the Paramount Theater in Denver for an appearance. We grabbed one of our bats (a Joe DiMaggio 34 incher) and went to the theater. I have little recollection of the program but I distinctly remember both men signing the bat. To be honest I was not as impressed as was my dad and I even used the cudgel a couple of times before being fully informed of legendary Mr. Cobb.”
The Cobb signature rates "6-7" and Vitt is a "5-6", while the bat shows moderate wear commensurate with age and period usage focused predominantly on the reverse of the barrel away from the signatures. A mounting hole is found on the knob. More information about the interesting relationship between Cobb and Vitt can be found on our website. Full LOA from JSA.
This item has a reserve. Estimated value ($5,000-$10,000).
More Information About Cobb/Vitt: Indeed, the bat is quite unique with its connections to fellow HOFer DiMaggio and fellow Tiger Ossie Vitt—with whom Cobb had a dramatic on-again, off-again relationship. ON: In 1912, Vitt was one of 18 Detroit players who went on strike to protest a Cobb suspension. OFF: Also in 1912, Cobb hazed young Vitt to the point that catcher Oscar Stanage threatened, "If you don’t lay off 'Little O,' 'Big O' is going to hit you so hard he will drive you right back to Georgia." OFF: In 1913, Vitt was denied a salary raise due to Cobb's disproportionate wages, and then he disparaged the star in a Michigan newspaper by suggesting Cobb was a grandstander out for his own glory—not to mention less important to his team than Eddie Collins. ON?: When Vitt got married in 1915, he and his wife lived on their California ranch and hunting grounds, where he jovially teased the avid Georgia hunter Cobb by saying, "One visit would convince him that I have the real place for sport.” Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Press offered the headline, “Oscar Vitt, with Bride in Mountains, Lonely for Ty Cobb."
Okay, so maybe it was more of an off-again relationship. But the two evidently mended fences later in life, and they're forever linked by this fresh-to-the-hobby discovery, which has been in Jack Anderson's family for the past nearly 75 years.