While the extreme rarity of this card provides a major challenge for most T206 set collectors, it remains one of Ty Cobb’s most desirable issues. Cobb, already featured on four different T206 cards mentioned earlier on this list, appears a fifth time. At first glance, this card appears to be a mere variation of the Red Portrait Cobb, looking virtually identical on the front. The reverse, instead of containing one of the tobacco brands associated with the issue, is labeled “TY COBB, KING OF THE SMOKING TOBACCO WORLD” in green ink. The face of the card, while identical in image, was given a slightly glossier coating to protect the card from staining since it was originally distributed with tobacco products. Until February of 2016, there were about 15 known examples of this great rarity. A remarkable discovery of seven previously-unknown examples occurred at that time. The find was dubbed “The Lucky 7 Find” – which has been documented on the PSA label of each card. Even with the 2016 discovery included, this card remains clearly tougher to find than three other notable rarities in the set, including the famed T206 Honus Wagner.
Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb
Born: December 18, 1886 - Narrows, GA
Died: July 17, 1961 - Atlanta, GA
Career BA: .367
Managerial Record: 479–444
Detroit Tigers AL (1905–1920; player-manager: 1921–1926)
Philadelphia Athletics AL (1927–1928)
Probably the most gifted athlete of the early twentieth century, Ty Cobb was an incredible hitter, the best base stealer of his era, and superb defensively. He was the dominant player in the American League during the Deadball Era, but his aggressive, competitive style of play led to controversy throughout his career.
The superstar of his day, Cobb was not well-liked by players, even those on his team. His reckless base running intimidated the competition, giving him the edge, but it certainly didn’t earn many friendships. Ty Cobb became the highest paid player in baseball during the second half of his playing career. As a businessman he was a genius, amassing a fortune with investments in companies such as Coca Cola and General Motors, but as a player he continued to be surrounded by controversy. Cobb became player-manager of the Tigers in 1921, continuing on in that role for six seasons. Although not pennant contenders, the team did fairly well under his leadership. He retired in 1926 due to allegations of a game fix in 1919...allegations made by a player who had a grudge against Cobb. After he was cleared of any wrong doing, Connie Mack recruited him for the A’s where he finished out his career.
Considered mean spirited and racist, Cobb was actually quietly philanthropic later in life, helping out many indigent ballplayers. Whatever the assessment is of Cobb, it is our consensus that, as a player, he belongs at the top of our list as the Best of the Best. “The Georgia Peach” won an incredible 11 batting titles, batted under .320 only once in his career, and still holds the record for highest career batting average. With 4,191 hits, along with 892 stolen bases, Cobb stands near or at the top of the all-time list. One of the first to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he is the overwhelming choice for our Cracker Jack All-Star Team.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html