Ty Cobb
American baseball player
Ty Cobb
Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb, nicknamed "The Georgia Peach," was an American Major League Baseball outfielder. He was born in Narrows, Georgia. Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the last six as the team's player-manager, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1936, Cobb received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 222 out of a possible 226 votes.
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Time to review an old baseball strategy - The Augusta Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
For that answer, we have to consider the way the game was played in the days of former Augustan Ty Cobb. He often referred to it as “scientific” baseball, a game in which home runs were rare and batters and base runners advanced base to base to base
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'Home of the Stars' turns 100 - Allentown Morning Call
Google News - over 5 years
This year, the structure that allowed fairgoers to see Ty Cobb play baseball, Lucky Teter perform death-defying stunts and Lawrence Welk utter "wunnerful, wunnerful" turns 100 years old. The grandstand cost $96000 — $2.2 million in today's dollars
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The Knife in Ty Cobb's Back - Smithsonian (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Al Stump, commissioned in 1960 to ghostwrite Ty Cobb's autobiography, My Life in Baseball: The True Record, would say it was a boozy, pill-induced, off-the-record confession—a secret revealed by the Detroit Tigers great as he spent the last painful
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Witherspoon added to AC card - fightnews.com
Google News - over 5 years
Just added to the card is Philadelphia's heavyweight contender, Chazz Witherspoon (28-2, 20 KOs) who is set to square off against Ty Cobb (14-2, 8 KOs). Witherspoon, the 2004 National Golden Gloves Champion, is looking to put himself back into the
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Johnny Unitas' Connection to Ty Cobb - Washington Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
So much so that I'm just getting around to “Johnny U,” Tom Callahan's elegant biography of Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas, and “Cobb,” Al Stump's classic rendering of the life and times of baseball great Ty Cobb. Needless to say, I was blown away
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Fan's view: Baseball movies Hollywood should film - Yahoo! Sports
Google News - over 5 years
Contributor Network Aug 10, 6:07 pm EDT From Tommy Lee Jones' portrayal of Ty Cobb to Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," many of Hollywood's most memorable moments have centered on the sport. Ernie: Based on the life of Detroit Tigers Hall-of-Fame
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Commentary by Guy W. Farmer: Illegal immigrants and drug trade a scourge - Nevada Appeal
Google News - over 5 years
Not long ago my friend and fellow columnist Ty Cobb, Sr. pointed out that dangerous California-based Latino street gangs affiliated with Mexican drug cartels are now active in the Silver State. These ultra-violent cartels smuggle illegal immigrants
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New hospital on time, under budget - Franklin County Citizen News Leader
Google News - over 5 years
Construction of the new Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center is on time and under budget. And when it opens as scheduled in the spring of 2012, it will instantly be a major economic force, developers of the project told the Lavonia Housing
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Ty Cobb's Twin Falls Ties - Twin Falls Times-News
Google News - over 5 years
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Ty Cobb, the irascible Detroit Tigers right-fielder who was the first player voted into baseball's Hall of
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ESPN features Ty Cobb and his Detroit home (which still stands) - Detroit Free Press
Google News - over 5 years
Ty Cobb / AP BY KIRKLAND CRAWFORD One of the homes of baseball's first offensive superstar still stands in Detroit. The story behind the woman who lives there now is worth a read. Ty Cobb, the all-time leader in career batting average,
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Sansevere: Blyleven's wait was way too long - FS North
Google News - over 5 years
Not Ty Cobb. Nobody. There are voters who turn in empty ballots. Voters who are self-anointed keepers of the Hall. Voters who punish deserving people, like Bert Blyleven. I had one of the more than 500 votes cast in Hall of Fame balloting this year
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Catch some old Ty Cobb footage and more from the Baseball Hall Of Fame Aug. 5 - A.V. Club Chicago
Google News - over 5 years
... pm The event will be hosted by David Filipi of the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, who will treat baseball fans to very old movies from the Baseball Hall Of Fame of some of the game's most influential players, such as Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ty Cobb
  • 1961
    Age 74
    Some historians, including Wesley Fricks, Dan Holmes, and Charles Leerhsen have defended Cobb against unfair portrayals of him in popular culture since his death. A noted case is the book written by sportswriter Al Stump in the months after Cobb died in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Stump was later discredited when it became known that he had stolen items belonging to Cobb and also betrayed the access Cobb gave him in his final months. As a result of the movie Cobb which starred Tommy Lee Jones, there are many myths surrounding Cobb's life, including one that he sharpened his spikes to inflict wounds to opposing players. Leerhsen's book Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty presents primary evidence in contradiction to some of the more negative charges against Cobb. Both official sources, such as Total Baseball, and a number of independent researchers, including John Thorn, have raised questions about Cobb's exact career totals. Hits have been re-estimated at between 4,189 and 4,191, due to a possible double-counted game in 1910. At-bats estimates have ranged as high as 11,437. The numbers shown below are the figures officially recognized on MLB.com.
    He checked into Emory Hospital for the last time in June 1961.
    More Details Hide Details His first wife, Charlie, his son Jimmy and other family members came to be with him for his final days.
  • 1959
    Age 72
    In December 1959, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and Bright's disease.
    More Details Hide Details He did not trust his initial diagnosis and went to Georgia to seek a second opinion who confirmed that his prostate was indeed cancerous. They removed it at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but it did not check the spread of the disease. It was also during his final years that Cobb began work on his autobiography, My Life in Baseball: The True Record, with writer Al Stump. Later Stump would claim the collaboration was contentious and after Cobb's death Stump published two more books and a short story giving what he claimed was the "true story". One of these later books was used as the basis for the 1994 film Cobb (a box office flop, starring Tommy Lee Jones as Cobb and directed by Ron Shelton). In 2010, an article by William R. "Ron" Cobb (no relation to Ty) in the peer-reviewed The National Pastime (the official publication of the Society for American Baseball Research) accused Stump of extensive forgeries of Cobb-related documents and diaries. The article further accused Stump of numerous false statements about Cobb in his last years, most of which were sensationalistic in nature and intended to cast Cobb in an unflattering light.
  • 1956
    Age 69
    He knew that another way he could share his wealth was by having biographies written that would both set the record straight on him and teach young players how to play. John McCallum spent some time with Cobb to write a combination how-to and biography titled The Tiger Wore Spikes: An Informal Biography of Ty Cobb that was published in 1956.
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  • 1955
    Age 68
    At age 20, he was the youngest player to win a batting championship and held this record until 1955, when fellow Detroit Tiger Al Kaline won the batting title twelve days younger than Cobb when he did it.
    More Details Hide Details Reflecting on his career in 1930, two years after retiring, he told Grantland Rice, "The biggest thrill I ever got came in a game against the Athletics in 1907 September 30... The Athletics had us beaten, with Rube Waddell pitching. They were two runs ahead in the 9th inning, when I happened to hit a home run that tied the score. This game went 17 innings to a tie, and a few days later, we clinched our first pennant. You can understand what it meant for a 20-year-old country boy to hit a home run off the great Rube, in a pennant-winning game with two outs in the ninth."
  • 1949
    Age 62
    At 62, Cobb married a second time in 1949. His new wife was 40-year-old Frances Fairbairn Cass, a divorcee from Buffalo, New York. Their childless marriage also failed, ending with a divorce in 1956.
    More Details Hide Details At this time, Cobb became generous with his wealth, donating $100,000 in his parents' name for his hometown to build a modern 24-bed hospital, Cobb Memorial Hospital, which is now part of the Ty Cobb Healthcare System.
  • 1947
    Age 60
    At the 1947 Old-Timers' Day game in Yankee Stadium, he warned catcher Benny Bengough to move back, claiming he was rusty and hadn't swung a bat in almost 20 years.
    More Details Hide Details Bengough accordingly stepped back to avoid being struck by Cobb's backswing. Having repositioned the catcher, Cobb cannily laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate and easily beat the throw from a surprised Bengough. Another bittersweet moment in Cobb's life reportedly came in the late 1940s, when he and sportswriter Grantland Rice were returning from the Masters golf tournament. Stopping at a Greenville, South Carolina liquor store, Cobb noticed that the man behind the counter was none other than "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who had been banned from baseball almost 30 years earlier following the Black Sox scandal. But Jackson did not appear to recognize him, and after making his purchase an incredulous Cobb asked, "Don't you know me, Joe?" "I know you", replied Jackson, "but I wasn't sure you wanted to speak to me. A lot of them don't."
    The couple eventually divorced in 1947 after 39 years of marriage; the last few of years of which Mrs. Cobb lived in nearby Menlo Park.
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  • 1941
    Age 54
    Cobb's competitive fires continued to burn after retirement. In 1941, he faced Babe Ruth in a series of charity golf matches at courses outside New York, Boston and Detroit and won two out of three.
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  • 1936
    Age 49
    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 that first year.
    More Details Hide Details His 98.2 percentage stood as the record until Tom Seaver received 98.8% of the vote in 1992. Those incredible results show that although many people disliked him personally, they respected the way he had played and what he had accomplished. In 1998, Sporting News ranked him as third on the list of 100 Greatest Baseball Players. By the time he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Cobb had become a heavy smoker and drinker, and spent a great deal of time complaining about modern-day players' lack of fundamental skills. He had positive things to say about Stan Musial, Phil Rizzuto and Jackie Robinson, but few others. Even so, he was known to help out young players. He was instrumental in helping Joe DiMaggio negotiate his rookie contract with the New York Yankees.
  • 1930
    Age 43
    Tyrus Raymond, Jr. then entered Yale University and became captain of the tennis team while improving his academics, but was then arrested twice in 1930 for drunkenness and left Yale without graduating.
    More Details Hide Details Cobb helped his son deal with his pending legal problems, but then permanently broke off with him. Even though Tyrus Raymond, Jr. finally reformed and eventually earned an M.D. from the Medical College of South Carolina and practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Dublin, Georgia until his premature death at 42 on September 9, 1952 from a brain tumor, his father remained distant.
    In the winter of 1930, Cobb moved into a Spanish ranch estate on Spencer Lane in the millionaires' community of Atherton outside San Francisco, California.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, his wife Charlie filed the first of several divorce suits; but withdrew the suit shortly thereafter.
  • 1928
    Age 41
    Cobb returned for the 1928 season, but 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.
    More Details Hide Details On September 3, Ty Cobb pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Senators and doubled off Bump Hadley for his last career hit although his last at-bat wasn't until September 11 against the Yankees, popping out off Hank Johnson and grounding out to shortstop Mark Koenig. He then announced his retirement, effective the end of the season, after batting .300 or higher in 23 consecutive seasons (the only season under .300 being his rookie season), a major league record not likely to be broken. He also ended his career with a rather dubious record. When Cobb retired, he led AL outfielders for most errors all-time with 271, which still stands today. Nineteenth-century player Tom Brown holds the major league record with 490 errors committed as an outfielder, while the National League record is held by nineteenth-century player George Gore with 346 errors. Cobb ranks 14th on the all-time list for errors committed by an outfielder.
  • 1927
    Age 40
    Cobb played regularly in 1927 for a young and talented team that finished second to one of the greatest teams of all time, the 110–44 1927 Yankees, returning to Detroit to a tumultuous welcome on May 11 and doubling his time up to the cheers of Tiger fans.
    More Details Hide Details On July 18, Cobb became the first member of the 4000 hit club when he doubled off former teammate Sam Gibson, still pitching for the Tigers, at Navin Field. 1927 was also the final season of Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson's career. With their careers largely overlapping, Cobb faced Johnson more times than any other batter-pitcher matchup in baseball history. Cobb also got the first hit ever allowed by Johnson. After Johnson hit Detroit's Ossie Vitt with a pitch in August 1915, seriously injuring him, Cobb realized that Johnson was fearful of hitting opponents. He used this knowledge to his advantage by standing closer to the plate.
    Speaker signed with the Washington Senators for 1927, and Cobb with the Philadelphia Athletics.
    More Details Hide Details Speaker then joined Cobb in Philadelphia for the 1928 season. Cobb said he had come back only to seek vindication and say he left baseball on his own terms.
    On January 27, 1927, Judge Landis cleared Cobb and Speaker of any wrongdoing because of Leonard's refusal to appear at the hearings.
    More Details Hide Details 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 any club they wanted.
  • 1926
    Age 39
    Cobb announced his retirement after a 22-year career as a Tiger in November 1926, and headed home to Augusta, Georgia.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly thereafter, Tris Speaker also retired as player-manager of the Cleveland Indians. 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 managed by Cobb.
  • 1925
    Age 38
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns on October 4, 1925, Heilmann got six hits to lead the Tigers to a sweep of the doubleheader and beat Cobb for the batting crown, .393 to .389. Cobb and Brownie player-manager George Sisler each pitched in the final game, Cobb pitching a perfect inning.
    All of these men were assigned to the Gas and Flame Division, where they trained soldiers in preparation for chemical attacks by exposing them to gas chambers in a controlled environment, which was eventually responsible for Mathewson's contracting tuberculosis which led to his premature death on the eve of the 1925 World Series.
    More Details Hide Details On August 19, 1921, in the second game of a doubleheader against Elmer Myers of the Boston Red Sox, Cobb collected his 3,000th hit. Aged 34 at the time, he is still the youngest ballplayer to reach that milestone, and in the fewest at-bats (8,093).
  • 1924
    Age 37
    On May 10, 1924, Cobb was honored at ceremonies before a game in Washington, D.C., by more than 100 dignitaries and legislators.
    More Details Hide Details He received 21 books, one for each year in professional baseball.
  • 1922
    Age 35
    In 1922, Cobb tied a batting record set by Wee Willie Keeler, with four five-hit games in a season.
    More Details Hide Details This has since been matched by Stan Musial, Tony Gwynn and Ichiro Suzuki.
  • 1920
    Age 33
    By 1920, Babe Ruth, newly sold to the newly named New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox, had established himself as a power hitter, something Cobb was not considered to be.
    More Details Hide Details When his 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 hit two homers and a triple during the series, compared to Cobb's one single. As Ruth's popularity grew, Cobb became increasingly hostile toward him. He saw the Babe 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 Babe'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 challenge his own slugging records. After enduring several years of seeing his fame and notoriety usurped by Ruth, Cobb decided that he was going to show that swinging for the fences was no challenge for a top hitter. On May 5, 1925, he began a two-game hitting spree better than any even Ruth had unleashed. Sitting in the Tiger dugout, he told a reporter that, for the first time in his career, he was going to swing for the fences. That day, he went 6 for 6, with two singles, a double and three home runs. The 16 total bases set a new AL record, which stood until May 8, 2012 when Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers hit four home runs and a double for a total of 18 bases.
  • 1919
    Age 32
    Leonard accused former pitcher and outfielder Smoky Joe Wood and Cobb of betting on a Tiger-Indian game played in Detroit on September 25, 1919, in which they allegedly orchestrated a Tiger victory to win the bet.
    More Details Hide Details Leonard claimed proof existed in letters written to him by Cobb and Wood. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis held a secret hearing with Cobb, Speaker and Wood. A second secret meeting among the AL directors led to the unpublicized resignations of Cobb and Speaker; however, rumors of the scandal led Judge Landis to hold additional hearings in which Leonard subsequently refused to participate. Cobb and Wood admitted to writing the letters, but claimed that a horse-racing bet was involved and that Leonard's accusations were in retaliation for Cobb's having released him from the Tigers, thereby demoting him to the minor leagues. Speaker denied any wrongdoing.
  • 1918
    Age 31
    In October 1918, Cobb enlisted in the Chemical Corps branch of the United States Army and was sent to the Allied Expeditionary Forces headquarters in Chaumont, France.
    More Details Hide Details He served approximately 67 days overseas before receiving an honorable discharge and returning to the United States. He was given the rank of captain underneath the command of Major Branch Rickey, the president of the St. Louis Cardinals. Other baseball players serving in this unit included Captain Christy Mathewson and Lieutenant George Sisler.
  • 1917
    Age 30
    In 1917, Cobb hit in 35 consecutive games, still the only player with two 35-game hitting streaks (including his 40-game streak in 1911).
    More Details Hide Details He had six hitting streaks of at least 20 games in his career, second only to Pete Rose's seven. 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. Broadway critic Ward Morehouse called the movie "absolutely the worst flicker I ever saw, pure hokum."
  • 1915
    Age 28
    In 1915, Cobb set the single-season record for stolen bases with 96, which stood until Dodger Maury Wills broke it in 1962.
    More Details Hide Details That year, he also won his ninth consecutive batting title, hitting .369.
  • 1912
    Age 25
    On May 15, 1912, Cobb assaulted a heckler, Claude Lucker (often misspelled as Lueker), in the stands in New York's Hilltop Park where his Tigers were playing the Highlanders (now the Yankees).
    More Details Hide Details Lucker and Cobb had traded insults with each other through the first couple of innings. Cobb at one point went to the Highlander dugout to look for the Highlander's owner to try to have Lucker ejected from the game, but his search was in vain. The situation finally climaxed when Lucker allegedly called Cobb a "half-nigger." Cobb, in his discussion of the incident in the Holmes biography, avoided such explicit words but alluded to Lucker's epithet by saying he was "reflecting on my mother's color and morals." He went on to state that he warned Highlander manager Harry Wolverton that if something wasn't done about that man, there would be trouble. No action was taken. At the end of the sixth inning, after being challenged by teammates Sam Crawford and Jim Delahanty to do something about it, Cobb climbed into the stands and attacked Lucker, who it turned out was handicapped (he had lost all of one hand and three fingers on his other hand in an industrial accident). When onlookers shouted at him to stop because the man had no hands, he reportedly retorted, "I don't care if he got no feet!" Though such an incident seems outrageous in the 21st century, attacking fans was not so unusual an activity in the early years of baseball. Other notable baseball stars who assaulted heckling fans include Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Rube Waddell, Kid Gleason, Sherry Magee, and Fred Clarke.
  • 1911
    Age 24
    On May 12, 1911, Cobb's play illustrated his combination of skill and cunning.
    More Details Hide Details Playing against the New York Highlanders, he scored from first base on a single to right field, then scored another run from second base on a wild pitch. In the seventh inning, he tied the game with a two-run double. The Highlanders catcher vehemently argued the safe call at second base with the umpire in question, going on at such length that the other Highlanders infielders gathered nearby to watch. Realizing that no one on the Highlanders had called time, Cobb strolled unobserved to third base, and then casually walked towards home plate as if to get a better view of the argument. He then suddenly broke into a run and slid into home plate for the eventual winning run. It was performances like this that led Branch Rickey to say later that Cobb "had brains in his feet." Describing his gameplay strategy in 1930, he said, "My system was all offense. I believed in putting up a mental hazard for the other fellow. If we were five or six runs ahead, I'd try some wild play, such as going from first to home on a single. This helped to make the other side hurry the play in a close game later on. I worked out all the angles I could think of, to keep them guessing and hurrying." In the same interview, Cobb talked about having noticed a throwing tendency of first baseman Hal Chase, but having to wait two full years until the opportunity came to exploit it.
    Cobb was having a tremendous year in 1911, which included a 40-game hitting streak.
    More Details Hide Details Still, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson led him by .009 points in the batting race late in the season. Near the end of the season, Cobb's Tigers had a long series against Jackson's Cleveland Naps. Fellow Southerners Cobb and Jackson were personally friendly both on and off the field. Cobb used that friendship to his advantage. Cobb ignored Jackson when Jackson tried to say anything to him. When Jackson persisted, Cobb snapped angrily back at him, making him wonder what he could have done to enrage Cobb. Cobb felt that it was these mind games that caused Jackson to "fall off" to a final average of .408, twelve points lower than Cobb's .420, a twentieth-century record which stood until George Sisler tied it and Rogers Hornsby surpassed it with .424, the record since then except for Hugh Duffy's .438 in the nineteenth century.
  • 1910
    Age 23
    Going into the final days of the 1910 season, Cobb had a .004 lead on Nap Lajoie for the American League batting title.
    More Details Hide Details The prize for the winner of the title was a Chalmers automobile. Cobb sat out the final games to preserve his average. Lajoie hit safely eight times in a doubleheader, but six of those hits were bunt singles. Later it was rumored that the opposing manager had instructed his third baseman to play extra deep to allow Lajoie to win the batting race over the generally disliked Cobb. Although Cobb was credited with a higher batting average, it was later discovered that one game had been counted twice so that Cobb actually lost to Lajoie. As a result of the incident, AL president Ban Johnson was forced to arbitrate the situation. He declared Cobb the rightful owner of the title, but car company president Hugh Chalmers chose to award one to both Cobb and Lajoie. Cobb regarded baseball as "something like a war", future Tiger second baseman Charlie Gehringer said. "Every time at bat for him was a crusade." Baseball historian John Thorn said, "He is testament to how far you can get simply through will... Cobb was pursued by demons."
  • 1908
    Age 21
    In August 1908, Cobb married Charlotte ("Charlie") Marion Lombard, the daughter of prominent Augustan Roswell Lombard.
    More Details Hide Details In the offseason, the couple lived on her father's Augusta estate, The Oaks, until they moved into their own house on Williams Street in November 1913. The Tigers won the AL pennant again in 1909. During that World Series, Cobb's last, he stole home in the second game, igniting a three-run rally, but that was the high point for him, finishing with a lowly .231, as the Tigers lost to Honus Wagner and the powerful Pirates in seven games. Although he performed poorly in the postseason, he won the Triple Crown by hitting .377 with 107 RBI and nine home runs, all inside the park, thus becoming the only player of the modern era to lead his league in home runs in a season without hitting a ball over the fence. In the same season, Charles M. Conlon snapped the famous photograph of a grimacing Cobb sliding into third base amid a cloud of dirt, which visually captured the grit and ferocity of his playing style.
    In 1908, Cobb attacked a black laborer in Detroit who complained when Cobb stepped into freshly poured asphalt; Cobb was found guilty of battery but the sentence was suspended.
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  • 1907
    Age 20
    In the offseason between 1907 and 1908, Cobb negotiated with Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, offering to coach baseball there "for $250 a month, provided that he did not sign with Detroit that season."
    More Details Hide Details This did not come to pass, however. The following season, the Tigers finished ahead of the Chicago White Sox for the pennant. Cobb again won the batting title with a .324 average, but Detroit suffered another loss in the World Series.
    In September 1907, Cobb began a relationship with The Coca-Cola Company that lasted the remainder of his life.
    More Details Hide Details By the time he died, he held over 20,000 shares of stock and owned bottling plants in Santa Maria, California, Twin Falls, Idaho, and Bend, Oregon. He was also a celebrity spokesman for the product.
    Despite great success on the field, Cobb was no stranger to controversy off it. As described in Smithsonian Magazine, "In 1907 during spring training in Augusta, Georgia, a black groundskeeper named Bungy Cummings, whom Cobb had known for years, attempted to shake Cobb's hand or pat him on the shoulder."
    More Details Hide Details The "overly familiar greeting infuriated" Cobb, who attacked Cummings. When Cummings' wife tried to defend him, Cobb allegedly choked her. The assault was only stopped when catcher Charles "Boss" Schmidt knocked Cobb out. However, aside from Schmidt's statement to the press, no other corroborating witnesses to the assault on Cummings ever came forward and Cummings himself never made a public comment about it. Author Charles Leerhsen speculates that the assault on Cummings and his wife never occurred and that Schmidt likely made it up completely. Cobb had spent the previous year defending himself on several occasions from assaults by Schmidt, with Schmidt often coming out of nowhere to blindside Cobb. On that day, several reporters did see Cummings, who appeared to be "partially under the influence of liquor", approach Cobb and shout "Hello, Carrie!" (the meaning of which is unknown) and go in for a hug. Cobb then pushed him away, which was the last interaction that anyone saw between Cobb and Cummings. Shortly thereafter, hearing a fight, several reporters came running and found Cobb and Schmidt wrestling on the ground. When the fight was broken up and Cobb had walked away, Schmidt remained behind and told the reporters that he saw Cobb assaulting Cummings and his wife and had intervened. Leerhsen speculates that this was just another one of Schmidt's assaults on Cobb and that once discovered, Schmidt made up a story that made him sound like he had assaulted Cobb for a noble purpose.
    He finished the 1907 season with a league-leading .350 batting average, 212 hits, 49 steals and 119 runs batted in (RBI).
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    In 1907, Cobb reached first and then stole second, third and home.
    More Details Hide Details He accomplished the feat four more times during his career.
    After being moved to right field, he led the Tigers to three consecutive American League pennants in 1907, 1908 & 1909.
    More Details Hide Details Detroit would lose each World Series (to the Cubs twice and then the Pirates), however, with Cobb's postseason numbers much below his career standard. Cobb did not get another opportunity to play on a pennant-winning team.
  • 1906
    Age 19
    The following year, 1906, Cobb became the Tigers' full-time center fielder and hit .316 in 98 games, setting a record for the highest batting average (minimum 310 plate appearances) for a 19-year-old (later bested by Mel Ott's .322 average in 124 games for the 1928 New York Giants).
    More Details Hide Details He never hit below that mark again.
    Although he hit .240 in 41 games, he signed a lucrative $1,500 contract from the Tigers for 1906.
    More Details Hide Details Although rookie hazing was customary, Cobb could not endure it in good humor and soon became alienated from his teammates. He later attributed his hostile temperament to this experience: "These old-timers turned me into a snarling wildcat." Tigers manager Hughie Jennings later acknowledged that Cobb was targeted for abuse by veteran players, some of whom sought to force him off the team. "I let this go for a while because I wanted to satisfy myself that Cobb has as much guts as I thought in the very beginning", Jennings recalled. "Well, he proved it to me, and I told the other players to let him alone. He is going to be a great baseball player and I won't allow him to be driven off this club."
  • 1905
    Age 18
    Three weeks after his mother killed his father, Cobb debuted in center field for the Detroit Tigers. On August 30, 1905, in his first major league at bat, he doubled off of Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders.
    More Details Hide Details Chesbro had won a record 41 games the previous season. Cobb was 18 years old at the time, the youngest player in the league by almost a year.
    On August 8, 1905, Cobb's mother fatally shot his father with a pistol that his father had purchased for her.
    More Details Hide Details Court records indicate that Mr. Cobb had suspected his wife of infidelity and was sneaking past his own bedroom window to catch her in the act. She saw the silhouette of what she presumed to be an intruder and, acting in self-defense, shot and killed her husband. Mrs. Cobb was charged with murder and then released on a $7,000 recognizance bond. She was acquitted on March 31, 1906. Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to his late father, saying, "I did it for my father. He never got to see me play... but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down." In 1911, Cobb moved to Detroit's architecturally significant and now historically protected Woodbridge neighborhood, from which he would walk with his dogs to the ballpark prior to games. The Victorian duplex in which Cobb lived still stands.
  • 1886
    Cobb was born in 1886 in Narrows, Georgia, a small rural community of farmers that was not an official city or village at the time.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first of three children born to William Herschel Cobb (1863–1905) and Amanda Chitwood Cobb (1871–1936). Cobb's father was a state senator. When he was still an infant, his parents moved to nearby Royston, where he was raised. By most accounts, he became fascinated with baseball as a child, and decided he wanted to play professional ball one day; his father was vehemently opposed to this idea, but by his teen years, he was trying out for area teams. He played his first years in organized baseball for the Royston Rompers, the semi-pro Royston Reds, and the Augusta Tourists of the South Atlantic League who released him after only two days. He then tried out for the Anniston Steelers of the semipro Tennessee–Alabama League, with his father's stern admonition ringing in his ears: "Don't come home a failure!" After joining the Steelers for a monthly salary of $50, Cobb promoted himself by sending several postcards written about his talents under different aliases to Grantland Rice, the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal. Eventually, Rice wrote a small note in the Journal that a "young fellow named Cobb seems to be showing an unusual lot of talent." After about three months, Cobb returned to the Tourists and finished the season hitting .237 in 35 games.
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