Getting Ty Cobb’s Grandson’s Autograph

Posted January 23rd, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in CASEY Awards, Heart of a Tiger, Herschel Cobb, Mike Shannon, Spitball Magazine, Ty Cobb

Here’s news you can use!

“Spitball Magazine is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2013 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year is: Heart of a Tiger: Growing Up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb by Herschel Cobb and ECW Press.

Mr. Cobb will be presented with his CASEY Award, a specially-made blue & gold Louisville Slugger, at the 31st Annual CASEY Awards Banquet from 2-4 p.m. at Crosley’s Sports Bar & Eatery, located at 4910 Vine Street, St. Bernard, OH (a suburb of Cincinnati).

For more information, please visit:”

Editor Mike Shannon added:
“The book is also still in the first edition, which is important in the book collecting world and the future re-sell value of a signed copy. Also, … and this is very cool … Mr. Cobb told me today that he will be signing in GREEN INK … just as his famous grandfather did!
I will ask him to inscribe all books with a special “CASEY Awards Banquet, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 9, 2014” inscription, in addition to whatever else you ask him to inscribe, such as “To Billy, a great fastball hitter at UK.”

I hope you will be present at the Banquet, but even if you can’t make it (and I know some of you live too far away to come), I can get a book signed for you and mail it to you afterwards. So … please let me know if you want me to include you … and how many copies … in my order to the publisher.

Cost will the cover price, $25. Plus $3 if I have to mail your copy. Spitball will make a few bucks on each copy we sell, but I hope you don’t mind that. Good cause and all that.

And please, forward this email to anybody I left out whom you know will be interested in coming to the Banquet or ordering a signed copy of the book.

My best,
Mike Shannon, Ed.
Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine”

A Final Tribute To Virgil “Fire” Trucks

Posted August 5th, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in Detroit Tigers, Ty Cobb, Virgil Trucks


Autograph collecting needs more heroes like Virgil Trucks.

The late pitcher remained grateful to the end. He appreciated fans and hobbyists as much as we adored him.

I wanted to share the thank-you note sent in response…

to MY thank-you note!

I had sent “Fire” a postcard picturing Ty Cobb’s glove. On the back, I thanked him for his years of signing autographs, knowing that he had to stop signing once a broken hip required hospitalization.

Here was his surprising unsolicited reply:

“Hi, Tom,

Thanks for your wonderful card. Also for all the nice things you do for Caroline and I. We both appreciate your help and thoughts.

I’m sorry about my short note and writing. I’m writing this in rehab and have several weeks to go. Yes, Caroline is one sweet person and I’m glad she is my precious daughter.

Enclosed is a card for you if you care for it.

Again, Tom, thanks for all you do, and my best to you forever.

Virgil Trucks

P.S. I met the famous Ty Cobb. Very nice person.”

My best to you, forever, too, Virgil Trucks!

Coming Thursday: Greatest minor league response ever?

Ty Cobb Disses Babe Ruth in Letter

Posted August 24th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Babe Ruth, Nate Sanders Autographs, Ty Cobb
Did Upper Deck know that Cobb would
want top billing against Ruth?

I troll the Internet weekly, seeking examples of vintage baseball correspondence. I find few.

Is that because letters from baseball players aren’t collectible? Hardly. I feel it stems from a truly small supply. Few letters survived.

I was tickled to see a Ty Cobb letter to a licensing agent. Cobb was concerned about the acclaim Babe Ruth received. Even after he retired from baseball, Cobb’s ego still competed.

Cheers to Nate Sanders Autographs for showcasing this jewel of baseball history. Bidding had topped $3,000 the last time I checked. The moral? Letters matter. And not just for historians. Price guides may not exist for one-of-a-kind finds, but that doesn’t mean hobbyists wouldn’t welcome such revelations in their own collections.