The current MEARS auction has as lot # 4 a 1908 Ty Cobb Spalding Autograph Model bat. A lot of work went into the evaluation by Troy as to the model by type with respect to general construction and comparison to other period Cobb offerings. He also laid out comparative work for other Spalding products from the same period of time. I don’t think anyone has doubt about Spalding’s dominance in the early 20th century with respect to providing product to the major leagues for all facets of equipment from bats, to uniforms, to gloves, to shoes or even balls.
I just came across this photograph of Sam Crawford that I would roughly date to the 1914-1915 based on what I can see of his uniform. I am of the opinion that he is very likely holding a Spalding Autograph line model bat. I base this off of a combination of imagery and exclusionary analysis. Imagery analysis suggests to me that the center brand of this bat features a block lettering of a single word at the bottom with no sort of design. This would preclude it from being:
A Reach Product (PLATE I)
A Kren Product (PLATE II)
A Hillerich & Bradsby Product (PLATE III)
A Zinn Beck Product (PLATE IV)
It is also not a:
Draper & Maynard Product as this is certainly not the “Lucky Dog Logo”
A Hanna Product as Hanna was not manufacturing bats at this time.
Wright & Ditson Product as there is no break or separation in the block lettering that you would see in a W&D product from this time.
Exclusionary analysis suggests that if it can clearly be shown not to be one of these others major or minor manufacturers, then the original imagery analysis becomes very supportable in stating it is most likely a Spalding Autograph line product.
For those interested bidders, I apologize for this late article, but as I said, I just noticed this image while looking for information on a period uniform issue. Funny what you can find when your not looking for something. If you are looking for an early Cobb bat and have passed on Spalding Autograph line bats in the past, then maybe all of this isn’t so funny. This Ty Cobb Spalding Autograph model bat will be only be available for viewing and bidding for only a couple of more days so maybe the time is here to get serious. If you have bought one of these for a fraction of what they are probably worth when compared to Hillerich & Bradsby products, you might be laughing all the way to the bank.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.
POST SCRIPT: I have no financial interest in this bat nor have I ever owned it. I will not be compensated in any particular manner if this bat sells or not.