Ty Cobb

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Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb (December 18, 1886 - July 17, 1961), nicknamed "The Georgia Peach", was an American baseball player considered to be the greatest player of the "Deadball Era" (1900 1920), and perhaps of all time. When he retired he was the holder of 90 major league records and he was the first player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1936.


Pre-professional career

Tyrus Raymond Cobb was born in Narrows, Georgia, the first of three children. His mother Amanda (Chitwood), who had married William Herschel Cobb when she was 12, was 15 when she gave birth to Ty. In 1893, W.H. Cobb, a teacher by profession, bought a 100 acre (400,000 m²) farm in Royston, Georgia to supplement his teaching income. It was on this farm that Tys father taught him the values of hard work and perseverance. It was also in those fields that Ty grew strong and developed his relationship with his father. When W.H. saw that Ty displayed a knack for farming and its economics, the two grew closer. Cobb once said, "It was the sweetest thing in the world to be fully accepted by my father. All at once, he was willing to hear my ideas, discuss them, and even exchange opinions."

W.H. Cobb became a very well respected man in the community, getting elected to the Georgia State Senate. When Ty was not working the farm for his father, he was honing his baseball skills by playing for the Royston Rompers and the semi-pro Royston Reds during his early and mid-teens. W.H. greatly disapproved of Ty playing baseball, fearing that his firstborn would become a drunken womanizer like the stereotypical big league ballplayers of the day. However, when Ty, at 17, approached his father to ask for his blessing to try out for the South Atlantic League (Sally League) team in Augusta, W.H. reluctantly acquiesced. He figured that it would be best for his son to get the baseball out of his system and return home to pursue a career as a doctor, lawyer, or military man.

Professional career

Minor leagues

In 1904, Cobb successfully tried out for the Augusta Tourists, a minor league club in the newly formed South Atlantic League, but was cut two days into the season. Cobb asked his father for permission to try out for a semi-pro team in Anniston, Georgia. In Cobb’s account of the conversation he said that his father gave him permission to go, but warned him, "Don't come home a failure." Cobb tried out for the Anniston Steelers of the Tennessee-Alabama League. He easily made the team due to his previous professional experience. Cobb was hoping that his success would be noted in a major paper in Georgia, but to no avail. He took matters into his own hands by sending postcards to Grantland Rice, the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal, under several different aliases. Eventually, Rice wrote a small note in the Journal that a "young fellow named Cobb seems to be showing an unusual lot of talent." W.H. kept this press clipping in his wallet until his death, showing it to all as if it were a baby picture.

Cobb continued to tear up the league, and after about three months, he received a telegram from Augusta asking him to return. Con Strouthers, Cobb’s previous manager with the Tourists, had been released, and the team missed his aggressive style. His return to Augusta proved unfruitful, as he finished the season hitting a meager .237 in 35 games.

Andy Roth, manager of Augusta, wanted Cobb back for 1905, but Cobb demanded a raise to $125 per month. It was the first of many salary disputes in his career. Despite the fact that he was asking a lot for a teenager with less than a season's experience, Roth consented and he rejoined the team in the spring of 1905.

By August 1905 Cobb, under the tutelage of his new manager, George Leidy, was leading the league in hitting. The Tourists’ management sold the left-handed hitting and right-handed fielding Cobb to the American League's Detroit Tigers for $750. Cobb was given a $50 gold watch as a gift in his final appearance with the Augusta Tourists.

Just before Cobb reached the majors, tragedy struck. On the night of August 8, 1905, his father was shot to death. The story is that he suspected his younger wife of infidelity. He told her he was going out of town, but he returned after midnight and climbed onto the porch roof outside his wife's bedroom. Amanda Cobb saw the figure, took a shotgun that was in the bedroom, and fired twice.

"My father had his head blown off with a shotgun when I was 18 years old -- by a member of my own family," Cobb said. "I didn't get over that."

Amanda Cobb was arrested on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, but she was acquitted the following spring after testifying she had mistaken her husband for an intruder.

Major leagues

The early years

Cobb signs a $5000 contract for  after a bitter holdout
Cobb signs a $5000 contract for 1908 after a bitter holdout

Three weeks after his mother killed his father, Cobb was playing center field in Detroit. In his first at-bat on August 30, 1905, Cobb doubled off the New York Highlanders's Jack Chesbro. The rest of the season wasn't so successful; he batted .240 in 41 games. Cobb showed enough promise as a rookie for the Tigers give him a lucrative (for the time) $1,500 contract for 1906. Although rookie hazing was customary, Cobb could not endure it in good humor, and he soon became alienated from his teammates. He later attributed his hostile temperament to this experience: "These old-timers turned me into a snarling wildcat."

The following year he became centerfielder for the Tigers and hit .320 in 97 games. He would never hit below that mark again. In spring training in 1907, Cobb, considered a racist by many, fought a black groundskeeper over the condition of the Tigers' spring training field in Augusta, Georgia, and ended up choking the man's wife when she intervened. In one regular season game Cobb reached first, stole second, third and home. He would do it again five more times in his career to set the record. Cobb's Tigers were engaged in an incredibly close 4-way race for the American League pennant with the Philadelphia A's, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. Both the White Sox and Indians ran into trouble late in the season. The final series that year pitted the Tigers against Connie Mack's Athletics. Cobb belted a ninth inning out of the park home run to send the game into extra innings. In his next at bat (11th inning), Cobb struck a ground rule double, driving in the go-ahead run. Unfortunately, the A's recovered. When the game was called a tie in the 17th, the Tigers won the pennant anyway. That season, his first as a regular, Cobb hit .350 to win the first of nine consecutive batting titles. He also led the league with 212 hits, 49 steals and 116 RBI.

In the 1907 World Series the Tigers faced the Chicago Cubs. Cobb got a triple in Game 4, but the Tigers lost the series 4-0-1. Cobb struggled to hit .200 in the postseason.

Cobb was almost traded in 1907 to the Cleveland Indians for Elmer Flick. He was put on the block by his manager, Hughie Jennings, who was exasperated by Cobb's antics. The trade never materialized because Cleveland felt that Cobb was too divisive and that Flick was a better player.

Missing image
Newspaper advertisement from 1907 was the first Coca-Cola ad featuring Cobb

In September of 1907 Cobb began a relationship with Coca-Cola that would last his entire life and make him a very rich man. In 1918 Cobb took a loan out against his future baseball earnings to buy his first 1000 shares of Coke stock. By the time he died, he owned 3 bottling plants, in Santa Maria, California, Twin Falls, Idaho and Bend, Oregon and owned over 20,000 shares of stock.

The following season the American League Pennant Race came down to the Tigers and another team, this time it was the White Sox. The Tigers ended up winning it on October 6, 1908, their last game of the year, defeating the White Sox 7-0. Cobb again won the batting title, although he "only" hit .324 that year. In their first rematch with the World Series champion Cubs, the Tigers once again lost the series 4-1, but Cobb had a much better postseason, leading the Tiger regulars with a .368 batting average.

In August 1908 Cobb married Charlotte "Charlie" Marion Lombard, the daughter of prominent Augustan Roswell Lombard.

In a 1909, Cobb spiked Frank "Home Run" Baker. After the incident, Connie Mack called Cobb "...the dirtiest player around." Ban Johnson, AL President, initially condemned him for his slide, but later said that Cobb was merely playing hard within the rules. A photo of the incident also supported Cobb, as it was clear that Cobb was sliding to the inside of the base and Baker was reaching across the base to try to tag him. There was no obvious malevolent intent. The Tigers won the American League pennant, and it looked as if they might beat Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. Babe Adams, a rookie pitcher and the 4th starter in Pittsburghs rotation, was chosen by Fred Clarke to pitch the first game in place of Howard Camnitz, the Pirates ailing ace. He finessed the Tigers, becoming the first pitcher to win three games in a World Series. During the Series Cobb stole home in the second game, igniting a three-run rally, but that was the high point for Cobb. He ended batting a lowly .231 in his last World Series. Cobb won the Triple Crown in hitting .377 with 107 RBI and 9 home runs, all of which were inside-the-park home runs.

The Conlon photo

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Cobb stealing third by Charles M. Conlon

One day in New York, in 1909, Charles M. Conlon was fortunate enough to snap a terrific action photo of Cobb sliding into third base, an image that has been reprinted countless times. In the book Baseball's Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon, by the brother-and-sister team of Neal and Constance McCabe, the story of that famous photo is presented, along with a print of the full photo, the way it actually looked.

For publication, the original photo was cropped on the right, taking away almost half of it, in order to focus on the action. That is the version everyone saw until the book was published in 1993. The excised portion merely shows more of the right-side bleachers, as well as the left arm of the third base coach.

Conlon was actually on the field with his big camera, a common practice of the day. He was positioned to the outfield side of the third base coach's box. Cobb was on second. New York third baseman Jimmy Austin was playing in for a possible sacrifice bunt. Cobb took off for third, but the batter did not get the bunt down. Austin backpedaled to take the throw from the catcher. Cobb spilled Austin and the catcher's throw sailed into left field. Presumably Cobb could have got up and scored, but the book does not elaborate.

Instead, the issue was whether Conlon got the shot or not. He changed plates, just to be safe, because he did not remember if he had squeezed the shutter bulb or not, and he knew it had potential to be a great shot. It turned out that he did, it was, and baseball had its answer to the Mona Lisa.

1910 Chalmers Award controversy

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In 1910, Cobb and Napoleon Lajoie, manager and star of the Cleveland Indians, were neck-and-neck for the American League batting title, with Cobb ahead by a slight margin going into the last day of the season. The prize was a Chalmers Automobile. Cobb sat out the game to preserve his average. Lajoie, whose team was playing the St. Louis Browns, notched seven hits in a doubleheader to pass Cobb. Six of those hits were bunt singles that fell in front of the third baseman. It turned out that Browns manager, Jack O' Conner, had ordered third baseman Red Corriden to play deep, on the outfield grass, so as to allow the popular Lajoie to win the title. AL president Ban Johnson declared Cobb the official batting average winner after some wrangling. The Chalmers people, however, decided to award an automobile to both Cobb and Lajoie. The next year, the Chalmers Award was given to the player "most valuable" to his team, and the modern Most Valuable Player Award was born, with Cobb winning the American League version unanimously.

One of Cobb's most devastating approaches to baseball and perhaps the one that left the most lasting impression was his psychological intimidation. Cobb was having an incredible year in 1911, but by the end of the season, Shoeless Joe Jackson had a 9 point lead on him in batting average. Very near the end of the season, Cobbs Tigers had a long series (6 games in 4 days) in Cleveland with Jacksons Indians. Cobb and Jackson were friendly both on and off the field, both being Southerners. Cobb used that friendliness for his gain. Cobb would ignore Jackson whenever Jackson said anything to him. Then Cobb would snap angrily at Jackson making him wonder what he could have done to so anger Cobb. Meanwhile, Cobb says, "My mind was centered on just one thing: getting all the base hits I could muster. Joe Jackson's mind was on many other things. He went hitless in the first three games of the series, while I fattened up. By the sixth game, I'd passed him in the averages." Then, just for good measure, Cobb completed his ploy by giving Jackson a hearty good-bye just as the Tigers were leaving town. Cobb felt that it was those mind games of his that caused Jackson to "fall off" to a final average of .408, while Cobb himself sailed home with a .420 average, 248 hits, 147 runs scored, 144 RBI, 83 stolen bases, and the league lead in doubles, triples, and slugging average. He was awarded another Chalmers, this time for being voted the AL MVP by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

On May 15, 1912, Cobb assaulted Claude Lueker, a heckler, in the stands in New York. The league suspended him; and his teammates, though not fond of Cobb, went on strike to protest the suspension prior to the May 18th game in Philadelphia. For that one game, Detroit fielded a replacement team made up of college and sandlot ballplayers, plus two Detroit coaches, and lost, 24-2. The strike ended when Cobb urged his teammates to return to the field.

In 1914, Red Sox pitcher Dutch Leonard hit Cobb in the ribs with a fastball. In the next at bat, Cobb bunted the ball down the right side line. First baseman Clyde Engle covered the play, turning to toss the ball to Leonard just as Cobb spiked him.

Cobb became the first professional athlete to appear in a motion picture when he starred in "Somewhere in Georgia". Based on a story by sports columnist Grantland Rice, the film casts Cobb as "himself", a small-town Georgian bank clerk with a talent for baseball. When he's signed to play with the Detroit Tigers, Cobb is forced to leave his sweetheart (Elsie McLeod) behind, whereupon a crooked bank cashier sets his sights on the girl. Upon learning that Cobb has briefly returned home to play an exhibition game with his old team, the cashier arranges for Our Hero to be kidnapped. Breaking loose from his bonds, Cobb beats up each and every one of his captors and shows up at the ball field just in time to win the game for the home team.

Baseball starts to change

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Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth

Cobb kept dominating the league winning batting titles in every year till 1915. Also in 1915 Cobb set the single season steals record with 96 which stood until Maury Wills broke it in 1962. Cobbs streak of batting titles ended the following year when he finished second with .371 to Tris Speakers .386. In 1919, a young pitcher from the Boston Red Sox named Babe Ruth began to come on strong as a home run hitter by shattering the 40-year old home run record by hitting 29 round-trippers. Cobb abhorred Ruth's power game, and when he saw fans becoming enamored with the Babe, he was afraid that the "inside style" of bunting, taking the extra base and hitting the ball to gaps that he had perfected would fall by the wayside.

Ruth started the 1920 season on a pace to destroy his own record. Therefore, when Cobb and the Tigers showed up in New York to play the Yankees for the first time that season, writers billed it as a showdown between two stars of competing styles of play. Ruth easily won this mini-battle, with two homers and a triple, while Cobb got only one single in the entire series.

But the people who really knew baseball still favored Cobb, according even to Ruth's own manager, Miller Huggins. The venerable Tris Speaker once said, "Babe was a great ballplayer, but Cobb was even greater. Ruth could knock your brains out, but Cobb would drive you crazy." Most of the fans, however, even in Cobb's own home city of Detroit, now came to watch Ruth instead of Cobb. The fans began to prefer the excitement of the home run rather than the strategy and cunning moves of the hit and run and double steal.

As Ruth's popularity grew, Cobb became increasingly hateful of him. Cobb saw Ruth not only as a threat to his style of play, but also to his style of life. While Cobb preached ascetic self-denial, Ruth gorged on hot dogs, beer, and women. Perhaps what angered him the most about Ruth was that despite Ruth's total disregard for his physical condition and traditional baseball, he was still an overwhelming success and brought fans to the ballparks in record numbers to see him set his own records.

After enduring several years of seeing his fame and notoriety usurped by Ruth, Cobb decided that he was going to show that anybody could hit home runs if he chose to. On May 5, 1925, Cobb began a two-game hitting spree better than any even Ruth had unleashed. He was sitting in the dugout talking to a reporter and told him that, for the first time in his career, he was going to swing for the fences. That day, Cobb went 6 for 6, with two singles, a double, and three home runs. His 16 total bases set a new AL record. The next day he had three more hits, two of which were home runs. His single his first time up gave him 9 consecutive hits over three games. His five homers in two games tied the record set by Cap Anson of the old Chicago NL team in 1884. Cobb wanted to show that he could hit home runs when he wanted, but simply chose not to do so. At the end of the series, 38-year-old Cobb had gone 12 for 19 with 29 total bases, and then went happily back to bunting and hitting-and-running.

On August 19, 1921, in the second game of a double header against Elmer Myers of the Boston Red Sox Cobb collected his 3,000th hit.

Cobb as player/manager

Frank Navin, the Detroit Tigers owner, signed Cobb to take over for Hughie Jennings as manager in 1921. To say the least, the signing caught the baseball world off-guard. Universally disliked (even by the members of his own team) but a legendary player, Cobb's management style left a lot to be desired. He expected as much from his players as he gave, and most of the men did not meet his standard. The closest he came to winning the pennant race was in 1922, when the Tigers finished in second place. Cobb blamed his lackluster managerial record (479 wins-444 losses) on Navin, who was an even bigger skinflint than Cobb. Navin passed up a number of quality players that Cobb wanted to add to the team. In fact, Navin had saved money by hiring Cobb to manage the team.

At the end of 1925 Cobb was once again embroiled in a batting title race, this time with one of his teammates and players, Harry Heilmann. In a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns on October 4, Heilmann got six hits, leading the Tigers to a sweep of the doubleheader and beating Cobb for the batting crown, .393 to .389. Cobb and Browns manager George Sisler each pitched in the final game. Cobb pitched a perfect inning.

Cobb moves to Philadelphia

Cobb finally called it quits from a 22-year career as a Tiger in November 1926. He announced his retirement and headed home to Augusta, Georgia. Shortly thereafter, Tris Speaker also retired as player-manager of the Cleveland team. The retirement of two great players at the same time sparked some interest, and it turned out that the two were coerced into retirement because of allegations of game-fixing brought about by Dutch Leonard, a former pitcher of Cobb's.

It seemed that Leonard was bitter about being let go from organized baseball in what he felt was a conspiracy by Cobb and Speaker. He used the game-fixing charges as a way to retaliate against the two men so that they would know what it would be like to be run out of the league. His plan failed as he was unable to convince either Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis or the public that the two had done anything for which they deserved to be kicked out of baseball.

Landis allowed both Cobb and Speaker to return to their original teams, but each team let them know that they were free agents and could sign with whomever they wished. Speaker signed with the Washington Senators for 1927, Cobb with the Philadelphia Athletics. Speaker then joined Cobb in Philadelphia for the 1928 season. Cobb says he came back only to seek vindication and so that he could say he left baseball on his own terms.

Cobb played regularly in 1927 for a young and talented team that finished second to one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1927 Yankees, which won 110 games. He returned to Detroit to quite a welcome on May 11, 1927. Cobb doubled in his first at bat, to the cheers of Tiger fans. On July 18, 1927, Cobb became the first player to get 4,000 career hits when he doubled off former teammate Sam Gibson of the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field.

Cobb returned again in 1928, for no real reason other than he had nothing else to do with his life. He played less frequently due to his age and the blossoming abilities of the young A's, who were again in a pennant race with the Yankees. It was against those Yankees in September that Cobb had his last at bat, a weak pop-up behind third base. He then announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. Ironically, had he stuck with the A's in some capacity for one more year, he might have finally got his elusive World Series ring. But it was not to be.

In 1928, in a game against the New York Yankees, the combined line-up included 13 future Hall of Fame players. In addition to Cobb, Tris Speaker, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove, Eddie Collins, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, Earle Combs, Herb Pennock and Tony Lazzeri participated in the game.

Post professional career

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Cobb retired a very rich and successful, but very lonely man. He spent his retirement pursuing his off-season activities of hunting, golfing and fishing, full-time. He also traveled extensively, both with and without his family. His other pastime was trading stocks and bonds, increasing his immense personal wealth.

In the winter of 1930/31, Cobb moved into a Spanish ranch estate on Spencer Lane in the millionaire's community of Atherton outside San Francisco. At that same time, his wife Charlie filed the first of several divorce suits.

Cobb had never had an easy time being a father and husband. His children had found him to be demanding, yet also capable of kindness and extreme warmth. He had expected his boys to be exceptional athletes, especially baseball players. Ty, Jr. flunked out of Princeton and would have rather played tennis than baseball, and in general was a disappointment to his father. Despite his shortcomings as a father, Cobb had only wanted his children to work hard and succeed, though it seems that it was hard for him to accept that they would succeed in anything except baseball. Charlie finally divorced Cobb in 1947, after 39 years of marriage, the last few of which she lived in nearby Menlo Park.

A tremendous thrill came in February, 1936, when the first Hall of Fame election results were announced. Cobb had been named on 222 of 226 ballots, outdistancing Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, the only others to earn the necessary 75% of votes to be elected in that first year. His 98.2 percentage stood as the record until Tom Seaver received 98.8% of the vote in 1992 (Nolan Ryan also surpassed Cobb, being named on 98.79% of the ballots in 1999). Those incredible results show that although many people disliked him personally, they respected the way he played and what he accomplished.

There was little else for Cobb to be happy about, now a bachelor in the twilight of his life. He drank and smoked heavily, and spent a great deal of time complaining about the collapse of baseball since the arrival of Ruth. Cobb was known to help out young players. He was instrumental in helping Joe DiMaggio negotiate his rookie contract with the New York Yankees, but ended his friendship with Ted Williams when the latter suggested to him that Rogers Hornsby was a greater hitter than Cobb.

At 62, Cobb remarried. The bride was 40-year-old Frances Cass. This marriage also failed, and she later filed for divorce. She felt that he was simply too difficult to get along with when he was drunk. However, Cobb counter filed and won the suit.

When his sons died young, Cobb was alone, with few friends left. He therefore began to be generous with his wealth, donating $100,000 in his parents' name for his hometown of Royston to build a modern 24 bed hospital now called the Cobb Memorial Hospital. He also established the Cobb Educational Fund, which awarded scholarships to needy Georgia students bound for college, by endowing it with a $100,000 donation in 1953.

Cobb knew that another way he could share his wealth was by having biographies written that would set the record straight and teach young players how to play. John McCallum spent some time with Cobb to write a combination how-to and biography. He, like everyone else, found Cobb difficult at best, and impossible at worst. McCallum's book came out in 1956 and was filled with half-truths and misinformation that McCallum had never checked out.

After McCallum left, Cobb was again alone and had a longing to return to Georgia. It was on a hunting trip near his Lake Tahoe home that Cobb's long-range plans were going to be cut short, as he collapsed in pain and was diagnosed with prostate cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and Bright's disease, a degenerative kidney disorder. He returned to his Lake Tahoe lodge with painkillers and bourbon to try to ease his constant pain. He did not trust his initial diagnosis, however, so he went to Georgia to seek advice from doctors he knew, and they found his prostate to be cancerous. They removed it at Emory Hospital, but that did little to help Cobb. From this point until the end of his life, Cobb criss-crossed the country, going from his lodge in Tahoe to the hospital in Georgia.

Al Stump, one of the most celebrated sports writers in the country at the time, was asked by Doubleday to ghostwrite Cobb's autobiography. Like John McCallum, Stump found Cobb rather difficult to work with most of the time and totally impossible when drunk. Stump's time with Cobb was "interesting," but not necessarily in a good sense. Despite the troubles, Stump stuck it out mostly because he feared Cobb's reaction if he tried to leave. From the time the two spent together we now have two books and a movie, each of which offers a slightly different point of view of Cobb's life.

A powerful moment in Stump's experience was the visit to the Cobb family mausoleum in December 1960. Cobb had used the mausoleum as an attempt to reunite his family members in death, disinterring some of them to do so. It was here that Cobb told Stump about the murder of his father, and pointed the finger at his mother. He had never spoken much about the incident, and most people at the time probably didn't even know that W.H. had been shot.

Cobb also spent much of his last few years making visits to places important to him, like the Hall of Fame. He traveled to Cooperstown in June 1960, and lingered after-hours in the Hall, gazing at the plaques on the wall, including his own, with tears in his eyes.

By the spring of 1961, Cobb was spending most of his time at Emory Hospital for cobalt treatments to slow the spread of his cancer, which had now moved into his spine and skull. He did feel good enough to make it to spring training of the new LA Angels in 1961, and then to his last ball game on their opening day, 1961.

In his last days Cobb spent some time with the old movie comedian Joe E. Brown, talking about the choices Cobb had made in his life. He told Brown that he felt that he had made mistakes, and that he would do things differently if he could. He had played hard and lived hard all his life, and had no friends to show for it at the end, and he regretted it. Publicly, however, Cobb claimed not to have any regrets: "I've been lucky. I have no right to be regretful of what I did" (Newsweek, July 31, 1961, 54). His last year or so must have been quite trying for him, old, alone, and sick.

He checked into Emory Hospital for the last time in June 1961, bringing with him a paper bag with a million or so dollars in securities and his Luger pistol. This time his first wife, Charlie, his son Jimmy and other family members came to be with him for his final days. His final day came a month later, July 17, 1961.

His funeral was perhaps the saddest event associated with Cobb. From all of baseball, the sport that he had dominated for over 20 years, baseball's only representatives were three old players, Ray Schalk, Mickey Cochrane, Nap Rucker, along with Sid Keener from the Hall of Fame. Also there were his first wife, Charlie, his two daughters, his surviving son, Jimmy, his two sons-in-law, his daughter-in-law, Mary Dunn Cobb, and her two children. He had outlived many of his contemporaries, had alienated most of the others, and a lot of them were glad that he was finally dead.

In his will, Cobb left a quarter of his estate to the Cobb Educational Fund, and the rest of his reputed $11 million he distributed among his children and grandchildren. Cobb is interred in the Royston, Georgia town cemetery.

The Stump autobiography came out a few months later to take advantage of the publicity surrounding his death, and sold well for the four years that it was in print. Despite Cobb's unpleasantness, the book (Cobb: A Biography) painted Ty in a sympathetic light. Thirty years later, however, Stump extensively revised the book, including his own experience with Cobb and capturing the man who was so disliked by so many of his contemporaries. In 1994 the writing of the book was used as the basis for a film starring Tommy Lee Jones as Cobb.

Efforts to create a Ty Cobb Memorial in Royston failed, primarily because most of the artifacts from his life were in Cooperstown, and the Georgia town was too remote to make a memorial worthwhile. The building erected is now Royston City Hall.

However, on July 17, 1998, on the 37th anniversary of his death, the Ty Cobb Museum opened its doors in Royston. The time had become right to honor the man in his own hometown.

Records and achievements

  • Highest lifetime major-league batting average (.366)
  • Most career batting titles (12)
  • Most career steals of home (54)
  • Second in career hits (4,189 – first in AL and first when retired)
  • Second in career runs scored (2,246 – first in AL and first when retired)
  • Third in career steals (892 – first when retired)
  • Led the American League in hits 8 times
  • Led the American League in runs scored 5 times
  • Scored 100 runs 11 times in his career
  • Reached 1,000 hit level by the age of 24 -- the youngest of any major league player.
  • Batted under .320 only once in his career -- his first season
  • Batted over .400 three times (1911, 1912 & 1922)
  • Batted over .320 for 23 straight seasons
  • One of only two people to hit a home run before his 20th birthday and after his 40th birthday (the other is Rusty Staub)
  • Won the prestigious Triple Crown in 1909
  • First player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Regular season stats

3035 11434 2246 4189 724 295 117 1937 892 178 1249 357 .366 .433 .512 5854 295 94

See also


  • Charles Alexander, Ty Cobb (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).
  • Richard Bak, Ty Cobb: His Tumultuous Life and Times (Dallas, Tex.: Taylor, 1994).
  • Al Stump, Cobb: A Biography (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin, 1994).
  • Template:Imdb name

External links

sv:Ty Cobb


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