A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 6 Ty Cobb (Number 2 Center Field)

Ty Cobb lived an awfully hard life. He left home to play pro ball at the age of 17 despite coming from a well-off family and a Father who he idolized. His Mother shot and killed his Father thinking he was a burglar. He was on a trip but snuck back home because he thought his wife was cheating on him. Apparently, he must of told others that was why he was sneaking home, because no one interviewed him after he died. This did not sound like a happy home.
Cobb played baseball for 24 always in anger. Some say this was due to his Father’s death, but I am guessing he already had a lot of anger in him when he left home. He won a record 12 batting titles, the most important title in those days, but one is disputed. That one took place in 1910. Cobb and Nap Lajoie were battling for the batting title. A car company stated they were going to give the winner a new car. Cobb had the lead so sat out the last couple of games to hold onto the lead. Nap Lajoie had a double header against the Browns. The Browns manager Jack O’Conner apparently hated Cobb. So, he told his rookie third baseman to play back. Nap took advantage of this with some bunt singles and passed Cobb in the batting race.
Or so it was thought. Ban Johnson the American League President decided to sweep this under the rug as it was a new league. It was found out over 60 years later one of Cobbs games was counted twice making Cobb the winner. I don’t know if this has been proved, but it is widely assumed. Some record books recognize Lajoie as the winner. I go with Cobb, even though I’m not a big Ty Cobb fan. There was something happening here, just because they swept it under the rug 110 years ago, we should now recognize Lajoie as the champion. So, I still have Cobb at 12.
Cobb was known for getting into fights and a biographer, Cobb hired to write a book Al Stump didn’t portray Cobb in a good light at all. Charlie Leerhsen wrote a book that portrays Cobb in a better light. He was probably closer to Leerhsen’s version, but he was never a saint. A lot of his teammates weren’t too thrilled with him. He did lend or give money to his fellow ballplayers after they had financial problems in retirement. Cobb invested in Coke and had plenty of money. Leerhsen was right Cobb was a complicated man, who showed the world both a lot of goodness, but also a lot of his warts.

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Author: Douglas Byzewski

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