These fascinating letters record the epistolatory friendship between the 74-year-old Hall of Famer and a young woman he has met at the baseball shrine in Cooperstown. In the first letter, Cobb asks Quinn to send her future letters care of his friend "Doc" Harris, explaining that he prefers that his assistant not see them. "I have a secty. cook & housekeeper not the usual domestic but her duties are very important to me. ... she sees all my mail ... you are a woman, while young I daresay you know women and their ways. I have a job keeping her at a distance. ..." Three weeks afterwards, the necessity for that ruse is lifted when Cobb writes to tell Quinn that his house-manager has precipitously left him. He writes of his busy schedule, makes predictions for that fall's world series, and laments on modern mores: "it is not the right that prevails today, no the wrong way seems to be so popular, but I say to you, right & homesty prevails in the end."
By mid-September 1959, Cobb was suggesting that they meet Boston where he will be for "some big arrangements for many sports celebrities ... trophies, & speeches, etc.," so that he can take her "to a real nice place for dinner so we can have a quiet time and learn a little more of each other, ideals, principals etc." He assures Quinn that he will arrange to have a chaperone present should she prefer. As the correspondence progresses, Cobb mentions his early rising in order to catch the opening of the stock market and expresses satisfaction in his profits from "Cola." He also reports that after losing another housekeeper ("She was not qualified and yet being a type of some women, she infliected her shortcomings on me & my home"), he determined to hire a manservant. "I think now I have a gem, he does it all and seems so interested. Between he and my 'Jap Gardener' I feel now am set and mind free."
Another recurrent theme throughout the letters is the state of Cobb's health. After a succesful diet he reports "I am now a plain 196 to 198 and year I retired 1928 some 31 years ago, I weighed 192 of course my type of weight then was different than now." He also frequently invites Quinn to visit him during breaks in her college classes, assuring her that he will take care of all expenses and that everything will "be on the up and up." In a letter from January 1960, Cobb pleads with her to arrange to see him when he is New York. "I fully understand what you say is your position & conditions with you, but just tell me please whose position is really more important, yours or mine. I am coming a long ways back & there for scheduled and arranged plans and honors, you are in a stones throw. ... you be sensible, and be your good common sense self, and dont be piling complications on me when really I am the one in stress." This letter closes with an unintentionally ironic postscript: "I am not feeling so hot, as usual, and yet I have to pitch Marie and do my part also I do not complain."
The correspondence reaches it emotional climax in a wrenching, manic 6etter of 29 February. "This is laying it on the line ... I am not well, also deeply in the evening of my years to live. So am very serious. I have quite a bit to offer to you in material ways, salary, travel, security, open doors, all if you come with me. ... You would be paid well, and yet you are not be a servant, you will [not?] wear a uniform or apron and meet my friends on a common level and yet you will administer to my every service, drive car, shop, keep house, use type writer which I have, help me, and yet Marie not in any way, you will be expected to fill any sex exactions, only if you desire, and yet I am not so sure ay my age I can qualify. You are to enjoy my social life. You might meet some person, you feel you would like to marry, just tell me, you will have the freedom of the house. I will help you, your job is to help me. I will help you honey to get married to one of your choosing, and with me in circulation you have a chance, not up there in Windham. ... Ttahs it, you are to get $7200.00 for the year, you are getting too much, so only for a year. I might do more for you in the future, I do not promise. This is it—you have a wonderful chance, to grace my home and meet my friends. I will not ever marry again, even to the Queen of sheba. I really loved one woman, thats enough, now divorced poor girl, 4 times since after menoupause, on her knees, crying, asking me. ... I want no more of that, she was a wonderful person, want you to come and be nice to me."
Somewhat remarkably, the correspondence continued after this odd plea. In March 1960, Cobb is in Scottsdale, Arizona, still trying to convince Marie to join him, and evidently her letters encouraged him: "In your letter you spoke of keeping my letter as it indicates a contract. Well it works both ways, how about giving me firm assurance." Cobb's letters continue in this vein for another three months, as he promises Marie a trip to Rome to see the Olympics and assures her "there will be no 'extra curricular' things." But Marie evidently informed him that her responsibility of nursing a sick parent would once more delay her trip west. Cobb died in July 1961, evidently without ever seeing Marie Quinn again.
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