He hadn’t played in 30 years but when Ty Cobb spoke, ballplayers tended to listen.
In 1958, the man whose name was still atop the all-time hits list paid a visit to Yankee Stadium for Old Timer’s Day. He struck up a conversation with two-time reigning MVP Mickey Mantle and the cameras began to click.
While images of that historic chat session have been seen before, original photos from that August 11, 1958 moment are scarce. The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is one of them. The 6 1/2″ x 7 3/4″ Associated Press photo is one of hundreds in the company’s current auction.
While it isn’t known exactly what was said between the two icons, Cobb did take time out to chat with reporters as well. Some of his comments made their way into newspapers across the country. He lamented the emphasis on home runs as opposed to “small ball” and said his base stealing prowess came not just from good speed, but studying pitchers’ legs and feet. He also said he had no qualms about stealing bases, no matter the score.
Cobb had made a similar appearance in Detroit earlier that summer. He was 71 at the time he spoke the Mantle, who would lead the Yankees to a World Series championship two months later.