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Lot # 637: Extraordinary Gil Hodges Handwritten Letter to Ty Cobb Asking for Batting Help! (PSA) - "I Would Appreciate Anything You Could Tell Me in This Matter Mr. Cobb and I am Willing to Try Anything That Might Help Me Improve"

Starting Bid: $1,000.00

Bids: 26 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
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Item was in Auction "Summer Classic 2022",
which ran from 8/28/2022 7:00 PM to
9/17/2022 10:00 PM

Extraordinary handwritten letter, undated, written by Gil Hodges to Ty Cobb in which he asks the legendary Hall of Famer for batting advice. To understand this letter fully, we must recount what preceded it. Gil Hodges began the 1952 season as one of the top power hitters in the league, having hit twenty or more home runs and driven in more than 100 runs in each of the past three seasons. 1952 was no different, as Hodges finished the year with 32 home runs, 102 RBI, and a .254 average, which helped lead the Dodgers to the National League Championship. Unfortunately for Hodges, he went hitless in twenty-six at bats during the club's seven-game loss to the Yankees in the 1952 World Series. Naturally, Hodges bore much of the blame from the town's unforgiving sportswriters after the Series. The criticism heaped upon Hodges prompted Ty Cobb to write him in late January of 1953, telling him not to listen to his critics and offering to give him some hitting advice. (We know this because the Cobb letter to Hodges has entered the hobby and was previously sold at auction.) This letter is Hodges' response to Cobb. The two-page handwritten letter, on two unlined sheets, is addressed "Dear Mr. Cobb" and reads in part: "Received your wonderful letter and was very happy to hear from you. . . . I was very glad you had taken time to write me on the subject of hitting and I'm sure with your many achievements in baseball you have a lot of hitting secrets I would be very much indebted to you if you could give me a few tips that help me in my career. As you might know, I'm strictly a pull hitter and hit very few balls to right field up to last season. I tried to go to right field all last season; sacrificing my power to get a base hit to right. . . . It was difficult to cut down my swing to try and punch the ball to right. . . . I would appreciate anything you could tell me in this matter Mr. Cobb and I am willing to try anything that might help me improve." Signed "Gil Hodges." Hodges started his letter in black ink, but his pen ran out about halfway through and he finished it in blue ink. Both the text and signature are boldly scripted and grade 9/10 overall. Whatever advice Cobb gave Hodges, it certainly worked, as Hodges improved his batting average to .302 in 1952, while totaling 31 home runs and 122 RBI. Each page of the letter (7.10.5") displays two horizontal folds and a few light creases. In Very Good to Excellent condition. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Ty Cobb's son, Christopher Paul Cobb, and a full LOA from PSA. 

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