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Thread: Ty Cobb didn't bat .401 in 1922

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    Ty Cobb didn't bat .401 in 1922

    On May 15, 1922 Ty Cobb hits a grounder SS Everett Scott. The official scorer of the game John Kieran rules it an error. Fred Lieb scores it a hit for the Associated Press.
    At the end of the year the AP says Ty has 211 hits in 526 at bats, good for a .401 batting average. The official scorers tabulations is 210 hits in 526 at bats, good for a .399 batting average.

    At the end of the season a mini-controversy erupts when the AL uses the AP tabulations as the final numbers. To add to the confusion the New York Times has at the end of the season with 527 at bats and 210 hits.



    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-14-2007 at 10:44 AM.

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    Then on top of all that Fred Lieb the guy who gave Ty the extra hit takes the hit away and says Ban Johnson shouldn't have done what he did.



    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-14-2007 at 10:49 AM.

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    More of the saga.


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    Ubi is quite correct in this particular instance. AL President, Ban Johnson, should have used the official score, as submitted by NY sports writer, John Kieran.

    Fred Lieb had more experience, and called it a hit, because it was a hard hit ball to Yank SS, Everett Scott. Official scorer John Kieran ruled it an error on SS, who had fumbled the ball. There had also been some suspicious scoring decisions during the last week of the 1921 season in NY too, and Ty brought that to the attention of the league office, but they failed to act on it.

    Would have been no big deal to rule Cobb hit .399, like Lefty O'Doul. Hitting .400 twice is enough to make the point. TC had enough glittering awards to stud his record. Didn't need that third one. He also hit over .390 on another occasion. No biggie.

    How much evidence is needed to prove the guy was especially gifted at putting the ball in play and getting on?
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-17-2009 at 12:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Hi Ubi:

    I've been really busy the last few months so I haven't had much time until now to look in on the happenings at BBF. However, I would take issue with your assertion that Cobb didn't bat .401 in 1922.

    In reading the articles you have cited for your evidence two important facts come to light. First, the following statement is conceded by the reporter in the first article.

    "There was some doubt on the play, and it could have been
    scored as either a hit or an error"

    Second, it is noted in the article that the official scorer (upon whom you are apparently relying upon in your revisionist claim), was not in his usual place when he called the play. The official scorer was in effect "out of position". Given these facts, I think the decision by the commissioner to give Cobb credit for a hit is entirely reasonable.

    I would also again point out to you that the statute of limitations has long since run on belated revisionist claims of this kind, and the interested parties are no longer around to argue their positions.

    Your claim that Cobb didn't hit over ,400 in 1922 is no more valid than the revisionist claim made a century after the fact that Lajoie batted ,426 in 1901 instead of .422 which was his official average for almost one hundred years. One gets a little weary of revisionist stat people running around trying to degrade the records of the historical greats they don't like and bolstering the records of historical figures they like.

    c JRB

  6. #6
    I'll just point out that if that at bat had never occured, Cobb would have gone 210-525 or .400, and since his hard running got him to first base anyway, he was actually BETTER for having had that AB.

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    Why would the at bat never have occurred?

    For JRB:
    This isn't revisionist. The writer Fred Lieb recanted the hit. The official scorer scored it an error and the reporters that were around him scored it an error. Fred Lieb up in the booth had to make a decision on his own and he scored it a hit. He failed to check with the official scorer before handing in his score sheet. There is no reason on earth it should go down as a hit, which Fred Lieb himself points out. The league made a mistake and like mistakes in the past Ban just wouldn't admit he made one and bully onwards.

    Imagine today if a guy from the Chicago Tribune scores a hit for somebody and the official scorer scores it an error. What do you think will stand? The official scorers or the guy in the pressboxes decision?

    It isn't revisionist to state a simple fact. The official scorer scored it an error, it wasn't a hit.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Why would the at bat never have occurred?
    It would have. I'm just saying that we have a guy who batted .400 in 525 at bats, and in his other at bat reached on an error which actually made him more valuable. In this case, .400 + a valuable at bat=.399

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JRB View Post
    One gets a little weary of revisionist stat people running around trying to degrade the records of the historical greats they don't like and bolstering the records of historical figures they like.

    c JRB
    Very weary. Just as weary of the revisionist history which brought Cobb's career average down to .366, but which under further scrutiny, Major League Baseball has since restored the proper, accurate figure. Cobb's career average is once again .367.

    Ty Cobb's Offcial Statistics, per Major League Baseball

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Why would the at bat never have occurred?

    For JRB:
    This isn't revisionist. The writer Fred Lieb recanted the hit. The official scorer scored it an error and the reporters that were around him scored it an error. Fred Lieb up in the booth had to make a decision on his own and he scored it a hit. He failed to check with the official scorer before handing in his score sheet. There is no reason on earth it should go down as a hit, which Fred Lieb himself points out. The league made a mistake and like mistakes in the past Ban just wouldn't admit he made one and bully onwards.

    Imagine today if a guy from the Chicago Tribune scores a hit for somebody and the official scorer scores it an error. What do you think will stand? The official scorers or the guy in the pressboxes decision?

    It isn't revisionist to state a simple fact. The official scorer scored it an error, it wasn't a hit.

    Ubi: It may be a simple fact that the official scorer thought it was an error, however I think it would be revisionist to claim that "Cobb didn't hit .401 in 1922" . Cobb's official average for 1922 has been .401 for 85 years. A person may disagree with Johnson's decision, however his decision was the final word on the subject. Case closed! No doubt Cobb also had some bad decisions that went against him. Good and bad decisions usually even out over the course of a season. One of the problems with trying to change the historical record, is that those trying to change the records usually just cherry pick one or two particular instances which support their thesis, ignoring the fact that if the particpants were still around to represent their own interests they might very well be able to give their side of the incident or to point to other instances which would offset or mitigate the incident being cherry picked.

    c JRB

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    When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
    I too have seen the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, however I don't think you got my point.

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    --The wisdom of the official scorers decision may be questioned, although none of us are really in a position to do so - not having seen the play. It is true that those types of decisions tend to even out over the course of a season or career (or not, home scorers do play favorites sometimes). However, this particular play was officially ruled an error. It was never overruled, the wrong info was simply entered into the record books. The fact that Ban Johnson decided not to correct the mistake when it was eventually pointed out to him does not change the fact that it was a mistake. Cobb did bat .399, not .401.
    --Why anybody would care very much about that is another question. .399 or .401 coming at that particular point in history, especially by a guy with a pair of .400 seasons already in the books is pretty meaningless. Now if it was somebody this year trying to be the first .400 hitter since 1941 THAT would be a controversy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRB View Post
    Ubi: It may be a simple fact that the official scorer thought it was an error, however I think it would be revisionist to claim that "Cobb didn't hit .401 in 1922" . Cobb's official average for 1922 has been .401 for 85 years. A person may disagree with Johnson's decision, however his decision was the final word on the subject. Case closed! No doubt Cobb also had some bad decisions that went against him. Good and bad decisions usually even out over the course of a season. One of the problems with trying to change the historical record, is that those trying to change the records usually just cherry pick one or two particular instances which support their thesis, ignoring the fact that if the particpants were still around to represent their own interests they might very well be able to give their side of the incident or to point to other instances which would offset or mitigate the incident being cherry picked.

    c JRB
    How is it revisionist to point out that Ty Cobb didn't hit .401 in 1922. If the official stats say that Ty Cobb hit 40,000 hits in 1922 are we supposed to say "well that is what they say, so be it"?

    This isn't cherry picking this is a well known and well covered event that happened in baseball history.

    Ty CObb in 1922 hit .399, the record says .401.

    Should the two hits for Cobb in the Lajoie controversy stand?

    What we are talking about is reality vs. legend. In reality Ty was credited in his career with 3 extra hits. The legend says Ty has 4,191.

    Record keeping was poor in those days, furthermore integrity of the stats was pretty low as well. I really don't understand why people wouldn't want to go through the process of discovering the truth as it pertains to the stats of players of old. Sure the numbers might change for awhile but at some point the dust will clear and we will be a lot closer to the truth then if we were to simply ignore what really happened and believe in the fairy tale.

    Ty Cobb with 4188 hits isn't any different then Ty Cobb with 4,191 hits. He is the same guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leecemark View Post
    --The wisdom of the official scorers decision may be questioned, although none of us are really in a position to do so - not having seen the play. It is true that those types of decisions tend to even out over the course of a season or career (or not, home scorers do play favorites sometimes). However, this particular play was officially ruled an error. It was never overruled, the wrong info was simply entered into the record books. The fact that Ban Johnson decided not to correct the mistake when it was eventually pointed out to him does not change the fact that it was a mistake. Cobb did bat .399, not .401.
    --Why anybody would care very much about that is another question. .399 or .401 coming at that particular point in history, especially by a guy with a pair of .400 seasons already in the books is pretty meaningless. Now if it was somebody this year trying to be the first .400 hitter since 1941 THAT would be a controversy.
    Hitting over .400 for the third time tied him with Jesse Burkett who did it in the 1890's. Initially since record keeping was so bad (remember nobody at the time knew who Babe Ruth was surpassing when he was hitting homers) people thought Ty Cobb was the first to do it. Either way it would be a feather in Ban Johnsons AL reputation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRB View Post
    I too have seen the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, however I don't think you got my point.
    My post was in reply to CSH.

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    Does anyone know the facts regarding rhe incident that Cobb mentions in one of the articles above? The last series versus the Yankees in 1921. He states that 3 hits were taken away from him and 2 at bats added incorrectly. If true that would give him an average of .396 that year which would have been enough to lead the league over Heilmann.
    "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

    Rogers Hornsby, 1961

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    I saw that too and plan on looking into that series when I get home to see if the game recap sheds any light on it.

    The last series in 1921 for Tigers in New York was from Sept 18th to the 22nd. It was a 4 game series.
    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-14-2007 at 08:33 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    How is it revisionist to point out that Ty Cobb didn't hit .401 in 1922. If the official stats say that Ty Cobb hit 40,000 hits in 1922 are we supposed to say "well that is what they say, so be it"?

    This isn't cherry picking this is a well known and well covered event that happened in baseball history.

    Ty CObb in 1922 hit .399, the record says .401.

    Should the two hits for Cobb in the Lajoie controversy stand?

    What we are talking about is reality vs. legend. In reality Ty was credited in his career with 3 extra hits. The legend says Ty has 4,191.

    Record keeping was poor in those days, furthermore integrity of the stats was pretty low as well. I really don't understand why people wouldn't want to go through the process of discovering the truth as it pertains to the stats of players of old. Sure the numbers might change for awhile but at some point the dust will clear and we will be a lot closer to the truth then if we were to simply ignore what really happened and believe in the fairy tale.

    Ty Cobb with 4188 hits isn't any different then Ty Cobb with 4,191 hits. He is the same guy.
    Ubi:

    Baseball has enough problems without trying to relitigate everybody's official batting records from almost a century ago. Why should Cobb or any other player be deprived of a share of a record (hitting over .400 3 times), when they are no longer around to defend themselves. Can you honestly say that you have first hand personal knowledge of every fact or point that Cobb might have been able to raise in defense of his having really batted over .400 in 1922. If not, then your historical inquisition is patently unfair. In my opinion, you wouldn't be uncovering truth you likely would just be creating a new myth.

    JRB

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    Cobb has no say in this. What is he going to say? "I though it should have been scored a hit"

    This isn't some typo we have just discovered and no idea what it means. We have the official scorers take on this. WE have the guy who scored it a hit take on this. We have the info. This isn't some mystery lost to the sands of time.

    I'm not even sure why you are viewing this as an attack on Ty Cobb. One hit doesn't define Ty Cobb's career or life.

    Why should Cobb or any other player be deprived of a share of a record
    Why should somebody who didn't actually achieve the accomplishment get the reward for said accomplishment?

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