On August 4th, 1918 the Washington Senators visited the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field as part of a day-night doubleheader. After the Senators easily won the first game, the second contest was an epic. Legendary flamethrower Walter Johnson pitched all 18 innings but still came on the short end of a 1-0 decision via a Ty Cobb double that scored Donie Bush with the winning run. The offered game-used baseball is attributed to that contest and was pitched by Walter Johnson and hit by Ty Cobb, two charter Hall of Fame inductees. The blue-and-red stitched OAL Johnson ball comes from the estate of George Cowden, prominent journalist, who as a lad caught the foul ball. This incredible first generation relic is accompanied by thirteen poignant pieces of provenance such as correspondence with the Detroit Tigers, the Baseball Hall of Fame and signed testimony regarding the game. The ball reveals moderate-to-extensive game usage including scuffing, bat abrasions and typical soiling. Additionally, the sphere was endorsed by Donie Bush (not visible in display), who scored the winning run. A dark notation is found on the east panel that reads Pitched By Walter Johnson, Hit By Ty Cobb, Caught By Geo. Cowden. Also present is an impressive dated 6/5/1930 Ty Cobb (d.1961) signed check and stub from his Augusta, Georgia account and entirely penned in Cobb’s hand with the endorsement grading an (“8”). This museum-quality pieces are professionally framed in an 18x4-1/2 x 20 archival-quality shadowbox with acid and adhesive-free matting proudly linking this historic pairing. This unique game-used ball/check display is not only a carefully chronicled story but an equally detailed historical document attributed to two of the greatest players ever to lace up the spikes. The Cobb check comes with an auction LOA from James Spence Authentications. For an itemized list of provenance, please visit our website.
1.) Signed statement by George Cowden regarding his catching the baseball.
2.) Index card detailing the date and circumstances regarding the retrieval of the baseball by George Cowden.
3.) Dated 10/18/65 George Cowden information request to Detroit Tigers (carbon copy).
4.) Dated 10/20/65 Detroit Tigers letter to George Cowden referring Mr. Cowden to Baseball Hall of Fame for information.
5.) Dated 10/21/65 George Cowden information request to National Baseball Hall of Fame (carbon copy).
6.) Dated 10/27/65 Baseball Hall of Fame two-page letter to George Cowden with detailed information of game that Mr. Cowden caught the ball at. Also includes Donie Bush’s home address.
7.) Dated 10/30/65 George Cowden autograph request to Donie Bush (carbon copy).
8.) Dated 10/30/65 George Cowden letter to National Baseball Hall of Fame (carbon copy).
9.) Dated 11/16/65 Donie Bush letter (photocopy) to George Cowden regarding his autograph request.
10.) Dated 11/20/65 George Cowden autograph request to Donie Bush.
11.) Dated 9/9/71 George Cowden letter to Detroit Tigers regarding the details of the game in which the ball was hit (carbon copy).
12.) Dated 7/15/85 George Cowden signed letter offering the ball for sale.
13.) Dated 4/11/89 George Cowden obituary from Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot.