By Matt Kelley Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A century ago, it was just a piece of lumber in the hands of one of the greatest hitters of all time.
Tuesday, the Ty Cobb game bat went for a winning bid of $220,000 on the auction stage of MLB FanFest in Bartle Hall.
The previous record haul for a Cobb bat was $137,000, according to Hunt Auctions president David Hunt .
The bat’s previous owner, Nancy Onslow-Purviance, is the daughter of Eddie Onslow, who made his major-league debut with Cobb’s Detroit Tigers in 1912.
“Of course a 19-year-old fellow was pretty much in awe of him (Cobb),” Onslow-Purviance said. “Dad always said that he taught him more about baseball than anybody, and they were such great friends.”
The bat was purchased by memorabilia collector Tyler Tysdale of Denver, Colo., who said Cobb is his favorite player. So deep is Tysdale’s admiration of The Georgia Peach that he named his 2-year-old son John Tyler after him. Even for a seasoned collector, there is no chance that Cobb’s bat will become just another item.
“This will rank No. 1 on the shelf. You bet,” Tysdale said.