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Lot #1182
Ty Cobb

$25,000 to LIFE: Cranky COBB goads his ghostwriter: “If Stoney’s story neutralizes the nice fee now from Life, and possibly the greater fee for my full life story … Stoney will profit more by me”

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$25,000 to LIFE: Cranky COBB goads his ghostwriter: “If Stoney’s story neutralizes the nice fee now from Life, and possibly the greater fee for my full life story … Stoney will profit more by me”

Nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” Cobb is widely considered to be the greatest player of the “Deadball” Era (1900–1920), perhaps the greatest player of all time. He held ninety major-league records by the time of his retirement and was among the first players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. TLS signed “Ty,” two pages, 7.25 x 10.5, personal letterhead, February 12, 1952. Cobb writes to the wife of Stoney McLinn, Cobb’s friend and ghostwriter, who at the time was lying ill in the hospital.Cobb writes to protect his deal with Life magazine, presenting a plan which will benefit both himself and Stoney. In part: “I have been asked many times to call you … but my training of the south, I can’t help it. You and Stoney know how I feel in the many years we have known each other…. Your letter states his story was sold to Sports Magazine, not knowing relative merits of the magazine, I think his story was sold to Sports Stars, which might rank below Sports Magazine…. This comes down to my problem. Life magazine has agreed to a very sizeable fee. The story confined to old time baseball versus baseball of today—two stories 6,000 words each. They had a man out here for two weeks doing this. One story is finished, and I like it very much. Life magazine only wants protection 30 days before and 90 days after any story carring [sic] my name. I might say confidentially, that I received from certain sources, Stoney’s story. I have called Life Magazine representative explaining Stoney’s story, which was given in 1913, also my consent given to Stoney recently to use same. This representative stated he would present this to the proper heads of Time and Life. He volunteered that Stoney’s story might not interfere with theirs. I just as well say here, tell Stoney that my fee with Life is $25,000.00. All the ground work has been done with some expense to the magazine. Also stated by phone, a few minutes ago, if Stoney’s story embarrased them in their plans, they could cancel my contract of $25,000.00. Now here is the point. If this should come up, how can we arrange an out on Stoney’s story with Sports Stars magazine? Can he claim he was to submit this story to me for my approval, and turn it down? Or can Stoney think of another out? There is one point for Stoney’s consideration, whether his story should be as told by me to Stoney McLinn, instead of the story being told by Ty Cobb. In other words would this constitute an out?… The groundwork has been laid and also at a much greater fee. Stoney’s story uses alot [sic] of this material and neutralizes for a small fee for a much larger one…. In closing, if Stoney’s story neutralizes the nice fee now from Life … if any way can be worked out, I here state, that Stoney will profit more by me. In fact he might receive double the Sport Star story, and also more in the future.” After signing, Cobb adds a handwritten postscript: “Stoney’s story written in 1913, I surely had no memory of details, was pleased to have Stoney use for a fee that would benefit him, but did not realize the type & full extent of material was using also thought I was going to see it first for approval. Explain it all to Stoney this means a lot to me also him. The Life story, Ty.” In fine condition, with three horizontal mailing folds, not affecting either signature, a paperclip impression to top edge. Auction LOA Steve Grad/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #330 - Ended February 13, 2008