A few months earlier, no one would have expected Ty Cobb to retire from baseball, let alone be wearing the uniform of a team other than the Detroit Tigers in the spring of 1927. Then again, no one would have expected his name to surface in a seven-year-old gambling allegation, either.
Under pressure from American League President Ban Johnson, Cobb and Tris Speaker “retired” in November of 1926, but public pressure and a lack of concrete evidence led to their reinstatement. The Detroit Tigers opted to let Cobb walk away and he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, where he played the final two years of his career.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is a rare image from May 10, 1927—Ty Cobb Day at Navin Field in Detroit—as Cobb returned for the first time to his old stomping grounds. Following a luncheon, he was presented with several gifts at the ballpark, including a new Cadillac. What may be a promotional photo, perhaps issued by Cadillac with a caption at the bottom, is up for bid in RMY’s March Premier Auction.
The 8×10 photo shows Cobb beaming as he leans on the vehicle, parked in foul territory. The photo has pinholes but is otherwise considered in good condition. It’s one of more than 1,200 historic images up for bid through Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.
Detroit fans went crazy for Cobb, despite his donning a rival’s uniform. Local newspaper reports indicated the game was delayed after the top of the first inning because Cobb had opted to sign autographs for fans in front of the outfield wall. He had doubled for Philadelphia in the top of the inning.
The 40-year-old Cobb got off to a hot start with the A’s that year, hitting .408 a month into the season and finishing with a .357 average with 93 RBI and 22 steals.