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Ty Cobb General Thread

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  • Ty Cobb General Thread

    Friends All,

    I'd like to have a thread where I can ruminate, move around and mix it up on Ty Cobb stuff. There are things yet, that are probably not common knowledge on this strangest of all sports stars.

    Did Ty Cobb Once Fix a Game?

    Every once in a while, in baseball discussion groups, one is asked, "Didn't Cobb once fix a game?", or "Wasn't Ty accused of throwing a game?" And I was recently asked about the Leonard/Cobb/Speaker controversy. This was one of the traumas of Cobb's career. Although he & Speaker were totally exonerated by Judge Landis, there remained many critics, who sneered that Landis had looked past their "misdeeds". Allow me to give my understanding here. You will find no whitewash here.

    Dutch Leonard had been a good pitcher in the AL. Boston, '13-18, and Detroit, '19-21, '24-25. In '14 he had an ERA of 0.96 for 224 innings, and 19-5. Of course, he had Speaker, Hooper & Lewis performing their circus catches in the OF, to make the whole staff look real good, but still 0.96 IS startling! By '25, he was on Cobb's Detroit staff, and not getting along with his manager. He rep was that he ducked the good teams and loaded up on the weak sisters. Cobb's lost it when Leonard refused to take the mound when ordered to, to help the team. So Cobb put him on the market, for $7,500., and no one claimed him. So he passed out of the league. And he blamed Cobb and also Speaker who he hoped would pick up his waiver. Speaker had been his teammate and friend on the '13-15 Red Sox. But Tris passed on him. There is no doubt in my mind that Tris would have called Cobb and gotten Ty's version of why he was trying to unload Dutch. Dutch burned with frustration and held Ty & Tris responsible for railroading him out of the league and his career. He was only 33 yrs. old. He withdrew to his home in Fresno, California.

    In May, 1926, Dutch came East and contacted the office of the Tigers and informed Detroit owner, Frank Joseph Navin, that he held proof that Ty & Tris had fixed and bet on a game, played on Sept. 25, 1919. He contacted Ban Johnson's office as well. After traveling back and forth, Navin & Johnson, believed Leonard's story, and agreed to buy him off for $20,000, the amount that Leonard believed that Detroit owed him. So, Dutch surrendered his 2 letters to them. They, in turn, notified Judge Landis of the events, as a courtesy.

    Next, Johnson contacted the 2 players and called them into his office. Cobb and Speaker denied the charges and Johnson totally thought they were lying. He told them they had to quit. On Nov. 2, Ty left a letter of resignation at Navin's office. The next day he boarded a train and left for Atlanta, where he told the press that he had resigned. On Nov. 29, 1926, Speaker's resignation was announced, with no explanation given. The BB world buzzed and wondered what was going on. In the meantime, 2 newspapers had gotten wind of the controversy, and threatened to publish what they had. Judge Landis had conducted his own investigation. Dutch refused to come back to Chicago, saying pople "got bumped off there", so Landis went to Cal. He bided his time for the moment. By this time, Cobb & Speaker, who originally had acquiesced to being coerced into the railroad to keep the story from breaking in the national media, now realizing that the story was going to break anyway, changed their minds and decided to fight the charges. They hired attorneys and began commencing their legal defense in tandem. They demanded that Landis release whatever he had.

    That, on top of the 2 newspapers giving him a deadline to announce everything, forced his hand, and he made the announcement on Dec. 21, 1926. What a jolt that was to the BB community!!

    Leonard's Accusation
    Before he could rule on that case, another case exploded in his face. So he dealt with another big scandal before he got back to the Leonard/Cobb case.
    Where Leonard had accused the others (and himself) of fixing the game in question, he had no evidence outside of his word, that there had been a plan to pre-arrange the results of the game. His only evidence, the 2 letters, strangely never referred in any way to a fix. They only referred to betting.
    Leonard's accusation was based on his hope that people would assume that where there is smoke, there is fire. This was his basic charge.

    Dutch accusation was based on the hope that people would assume that if there was evidence of betting, then the betters probably fixed the results.
    So, that was Dutch Leonard's thinking, and the entire premise of the accusation. Betting was beyond question. Fix? His word against 2 teams.
    The day before the game in question, Cleveland had clinched 2nd place for the '19 season. On the day of the game in question, Leonard was talking under the grandstand with Joe Wood and Tris Speaker, and they plotted to fix the game for Detroit to win. Just then, according to Leonard, Cobb came along, joined the conversation and agreed to plan for Detroit to win, and they all agreed to bet $2,000. on the game. That was Dutch Leonard's accusation. The only thing missing is that he had no evidence of anything, except his own word, along with 2 letters, which spoke clearly of a bet, but not on what the bet was based on. It could have been a bet about anything. And he had no evidence whatsoever of any fixing of anything. So, Dutch was desperately hoping that others would make assumptions, and draw conclusions based on his version of events.

    By January 27, 1927, Landis had finally dealt with & gotten clear of the other scandal, and he announced his verdict in the Leonard/Cobb affair. He said that he could not find any proof of any fix at all. He exonerated both Cobb & Speaker, completely. He implied that they had bet, when he said that what they had done was inappropriate & reprehensible, but not corrupt.

    Landis vs. Johnson
    There were so many sub-plots going on. Ban Johnson had tried to coerce both players out of his league. He said neither would play in the AL ever again. And when he did that, he didn't know it, but he saved them. Because it was a pre-ordained forgone conclusion, that whatever he proclaimed, was sure to be reversed by Landis. Landis ordered both men restored to their teams, which instantly gave them their unconditional releases, making them free agents. Ban Johnson's handling of this affair was so shockingly incompetent, that the other owners voted him out of office.

    It ended his career. He had stated that he knew they were innocent of any wrongdoing, but had to be sacrificed due to appearances. Ban, the Autocrat, never reticent at flexing his authority, took the draconian extreme of quietly muscling Baseball's 2 most glittering superstars out of BB. And therein lay his self-created, well-deserved downfall. For he was running up against Baseball equivalent of a brick wall. One who was easily his equal as an arbitrary, autocratic, authoritarian power broker. Judge Landis. For whatever Johnson was to decree, Landis was pre-ordained to undecree. So, it's very fortunate that Johnson tried to coerce them out of BB, without the approval of Landis.

    Here is my personal take. When Cleveland clinched 2nd place, they intended to break training and carouse late into the wee hours. Wood told this to Leonard, and they both felt it would be an opportunity to cash in, due to Cleveland being ill-prepared to contest the next day's battle at full strength. Cobb also felt no big deal in betting. Although he always claimed to not having bet, I don't believe him. I believe he bet.

    I believe that Speaker may or may not have had anything to do with anything. But Joe Wood, his best friend and team mate did accuse Tris & Ty of having put up part of the betting money. Leonard lied about everything except the bet. So, Speaker involvement, if any, isn't clear-cut. But Wood's accusation, in conjunction with Leonard's does look as if it tips the balance in favor of Tris betting against his own team. Which, if true, would look more damaging than Cob betting on his own team to win. But Joe Wood's statements in his Lawrence Ritter interview's is inconsistent.

    In his letter to Leonard, he wrote that Cobb told him he didn't bet, and that he believed him. However, in his Ritter interview, he says that both "Cobb & Speaker had put up some of this money to make the bet". So, if they had, and Wood was the one holding the betting money, he would have known this before he wrote his letter to Leonard, in which he seems NOT to have known, whether Cobb put up money.

    So, Joe Wood impeaches himself somewhat here. And that is death as a credible witness. So, due to this inconsistency in Wood's statements, I consider Speaker's involvement as unclear & questionable.

    Furthermore, at that moment, BB had no rule against betting. So no rule was broken. No fix was ever thought of. And Cobb, not being the manager, was in no position to direct Tiger pitching. In '19, Cobb was just another player on Detroit, albeit their supreme star.

    So, I don't believe there ever was an attempt to fix a game, only bet on one, upon hearing that the Indians were going to party long into the night. And no rule was broken. Leonard took the $20,000. he got for selling his letters, and started a grape vineyard in Fresno, Cal. and became a millionaire by selling wine. But he died early in life, July 11, 1952, at the age of 60. These are the main events. Charles Alexander gives a concise account of this controversy in his book, Ty Cobb, in the chapter, "Is there any decency left on Earth?", pp. 185-194.

    But Landis' problem with that was the simple fact that they had broken no BB law, rule, regulation, whatever. He had no nail on which to hang them, so to speak, even if he had wanted to. Which he clearly didn't want to. Landis had been a lawyer, before he became a Federal judge, and he thought in legal terms. And he realized that he had nothing. No club with which to bludgeon them with. But his problem went much deeper than legalities.

    Judge Landis actually liked both Cobb & Speaker. And he loved the institution of baseball. All the way. In 1915, he had told the Federal League that he would not look kindly upon anything that harmed the institution of baseball. He opposed the Federal League because he mistakenly thought that it was, for some reason, an "outlaw" league. Apparently, he had forgotten that the American League, in 1901, was once an "outlaw" organization, according to the National League. While he had been wrong in his opposition to the Federal L. in '15, he was right about Cobb/Speaker in Dec., '26.

    He knew that to hurt them would harm BB. And he would never have done that unless he believed in his heart that they had done something to truly betray or sell out BB. Judge Landis "looked past" nothing. It wasn't in his character to protect anyone who betrayed BB. And even though he did really love and admire Speaker & Cobb, that wouldn't have saved them, if Landis had believed them to have been corrupt. He liked them but he loved BB more.

    And what did Landis really have anyway. The word of a man, who had motive to lie. HUGE motive to lie. So much motive, that he incriminated himself to bring down the objects of his hatred. And his letters, if true, should have mentioned a fix. But they didn't.

    An item I haven't mentioned here, it that this bombshell, had caused huge headlines across the land. And it was all pro-players, and anti- Navin, Johnson & Landis. Landis may have been high-handed and arbitrary in his rulings before and after, but he wasn't a fool or stupid. He probably knew that if he expelled the biggest stars, without good reason, he would have harmed BB in a way that was unacceptable to him.

    And lest we forget. To hurt Cobb & Speaker, would have supported Ban Johnson, who had given the 2 players the back of his ungrateful hand.
    Landis and & Johnson had nothing but utter contempt for each other. The most helpful thing Johnson did for Speaker and Cobb was to announce that neither would ever play in his league ever again. And therein laid their salvation! Landis was not about to let that stand. In some ways, it appeared as if both Johnson & Landis treated this incident as a canvas on which to play out their personal power struggle for who ruled baseball, than about the fates of 2 superstars. And the proof of that, is when McGraw tried to sign Ty, Landis wrote him, "Lay off Cobb." Landis was totally in earnest about rubbing Johnson's nose in it. He insisted that they be returned to their teams' reserve lists.

    Ultimately, Landis comes out looking much more credible than Johnson. Landis, at least called in 2 entire teams, and questions them as to whether or not the game in question had been played on the up & up. Johnson did almost nothing. Johnson's private detectives would not be able to inform him on whether or not the game was fixed. Did Johnson care? Apparently not a whit.

    I personally believe that what Ty, Joe and Dutch did was very wrong and should not have been done. It was tasteless, class-less, inappropriate, reprehensible, lamentable, regrettable, unethical, immoral, unprincipled, etc. But not illegal, criminal or corrupt. They tried to turn a quick buck over inside information. Similar to insider trading today. Like Martha Stewart. One should not try to take advantage, profit, or cash in on highly classified, inside, secret information. I would not have fined or suspended them, since they technically broke no rule. Shameful as it was, it would be also wrong to enforce retroactively a rule which didn't exist yet. I believe in the subsequent rule against betting on baseball, regardless if it's for or against your team. Pete Rose did wrong. There SHOULD have been a rule against betting in Ty's time.

    But John McGraw OWNED a gambling casino in Havana. Hornsby was betting on horses every day at the track. Cap Anson had been a betting man. In fact, Landis had once called Hornsby into his office and demanded that he stay away from the track and horses and Hornsby told him his betting on horses was none of his business and to go to hell. Landis backed down. What else could he do? Rogers was quite right, morally and legally. Morally, Landis was not a stickler for morality. Every day he served as Commissioner, he looked the other way at the owners' gentlemen's agreement not to allow blacks into the MLs. So he wasn't a stickler on moral issues.

    Ty & Tris were initially cowed by Ban Johnson, who sat there behind his big desk, and smugly read them their "Miranda rights". They were probably shocked and embarrassed and furious that Johnson refused to believe them. Johnson gave them an ultimatum. Quit quietly and we'll keep this all hush-hush, and no one will know. Who will believe you after seeing these letters? The riot act worked. Ty & Tris were bluffed into going quietly into the night. Or so it appeared for a short while. But not for long. Because once 2 newspapers caught wind of the story, they threatened Landis that they'd break the story if he didn't. And they gave him a deadline to announce whatever he had. One of them was the Chicago Tribune.

    Back to controversy. Later, when the sports community lined up behind Cobb & Speaker, Ban Johnson put out this fantastic message at a press conference in Chicago, IL, Jan. 17, 1927;

    "I don't believe Ty Cobb ever played a dishonest game in his life. If that is the exoneration he seeks, I gladly give it to him. But it is from Landis that Cobb should seek an explanation. The American League ousted Cobb, but it was Landis who broadcast the story of his mistakes.

    I love Ty Cobb. I never knew a finer player. I don't think he's been a good manager, and I have had to strap him as a father straps an unruly boy. But I know Ty Cobb's not a crooked ball player. We let him go because he had written a peculiar letter about a betting deal that he couldn't explain and because I felt that he violated a position of trust.

    Tris Speaker is a different type of fellow. For want of a better word I'd call Tris cute. He knows why he was forced out of the management of the Cleveland club. If he wants me to tell him I'll meet him in a court of law and tell the facts under oath.

    The American League is a business. When our directors found two employees whom they didn't think were serving them right they had to let them go. Now isn't that enough? As long as I'm President of the American League neither one of them will manage or play on our teams."

    "I have men working for me, on my personal payroll, whose business it is to report on the conduct of our ball players. We don't want players betting on horse races or ball games while they're playing. We don't want players willing to lay down to another team either for friendship or money. That's why I get these reports. This data belongs to me, and not to Landis. The American League gave Landis enough to show why Cobb and Speaker were no longer wanted by us. That's all we needed to give him. I have reports on Speaker which Landis never will get unless we go to court.

    "Judge Landis need not worry over the correctness of that interview. I made that statement then, I'm making it again, and I'll make it when he calls me Monday.

    "I only hope he holds an open meeting. I want the public to know what the American League did and what Landis did.

    "I sent a detective to watch the conduct of the Cleveland club two years ago. I learned from him by whom bets were made on horse races and ball games. I learned who was taking the money for the bets. I learned the names of the bookmakers who accepted the wagers and how much money was won or lost. I was gathering the evidence. Now, I watched Ty Cobb, too. I watched him not because I thought he was crooked, but because I thought he was a bad manager. Frequently, I have called him down. I gave Ty an interview just before he went on his hunting trip last Fall. He talked to me for two hours. He was heart-broken and maintained his innocence in that alleged betting deal which his letter tells about. I told him that whether guilty or not, he was through in the American League. I didn't think he played fair with his employers or with me. The actual facts which caused this whole explosion came to me early last Summer.

    "Dutch Leonard had a claim against the Detroit Club. He threatened to sue for damages. He asserted that he had sworn statements of five men stating that Cobb had declared he would drive Leonard out of baseball. Ty always has been violent in his likes and dislikes. Those statements of his, if carried to court, would have been damaging to the Detroit Club. Frank Navin, the owner, also faced the possibility that, should he refuse to settle with Leonard, the latter would sell two letters, One, of course, was that one written by Cobb, and the other was that letter of Joe Wood.

    "You know the contents. Both indicate knowledge on the part of the writers of a plan to bet on a framed ball game. Cob denies he bet, and I don't think he did. I say again I think Ty is honest. But as he couldn't explain the letter satisfactorily, it was a damaging document. So on that letter alone the American League would have been forced to let Cobb go. Now Speaker was implicated in the deal by statements by Leonard. I also have the data of my detective. I called a meeting of the directors of my league. My own illness and the pressure of their business delayed the meeting until Sept. 9, 1926. We met in a prominent Chicago club. We wanted secrecy, not because it meant anything to us but because we felt we should protect Cobb and Speaker as much as we could. They had done a lot for baseball. We had to let them out, but we saw no reason for bringing embarrassment upon their families. We wanted to be decent about it. The directors voted to turn the results of the Leonard investigation over to Landis. We did that in compliment to him, not to pass the buck. We had acted. We thought he ought to know about it.

    When Landis released that testimony and those letters, I was amazed. I couldn't fathom his motive. The only thing I could see behind that move was a desire for personal publicity. I'll tell him that when I take the witness stand. The American League is a business. It is a semi-public business to be sure, and we try to keep faith with the public. Certainly we had the right to let two employees go if we felt that they had violated a trust.

    But Landis had no right to release the Leonard charges. He had taken no part in the ousting of the two men. It was purely a league, not an inter-league matter, and there was nothing to be gained by telling the world that we felt Cobb and Speaker had made mistakes which made them unwelcome employees. When I take the stand Monday I may tell the whole story of my relationship with the Judge. If he wants to know when I lost faith in him I'll tell him this. When the Black Sox scandal broke the American League voted to prosecute the crooked players. Landis received the job. After several months had passed I asked him what he was doing, and he replied: 'Nothing'. I took the case away from him, prosecuted it with the funds of the American League and never asked him for help. I had decided he didn't want to cooperate. My second break with Landis came over a financial matter. I do not care to discuss it now, but I will tell about it Monday, if he wants him to. This statement of mine probably means a new fight with Landis. But he has chosen to make the public think the American League passed the buck to him on the Speaker and Cobb case. That's not true, and I don't intend to let the public keep on thinking that way.

    Johnson also said that his observations of the Cleveland club showed that players as late as 1925 were continually betting on horse racing during the baseball season. One report, Johnson said, details the story of a pool by the players that netted a profit of $4,200. We have no objections to players attending horse races," Johnson said. "We do object to them betting on races while they are supposed to be giving their best efforts to the baseball games." End of press conference. (New York Times, Jan. 18, 1927, pp. 18, "Johnson Accepts Landis Challenge")

    And more self-contradictory, convoluted, hypocritical garbage has not been seen in this part of the world until recently. And if good luck holds . . .

    Bottom line. Johnson was perfectly willing to sacrifice 2 of America's heroes due to appearances. Well, America wasn't, and let him know in no uncertain terms!

    All throughout the country, since the first announcements were made, support for the 2 players came from every spectrum of the BB community.
    On Dec. 23, Dan Howley went on record with this statement. "I would stake my life on Cobb's integrity, and the same goes for Tris Speaker. Dan had been a coach with the Tigers from 1919-22, & room mates with Dutch Leonard on the road for 2 years.

    President Navin also showed himself to not be up to handling anything but bookkeeping with aplomb or finesse. He actually came out and stated that the reason for his releasing of Cobb as player and manager was due to his bad managing of the team, and that 11 Tigers had come to him and asked to be traded. Sports writers were taken aback at this news. One said that if that were the case, there were a few other managers that were due to be publicly hung in a town square. Detroit President Frank Joseph Navin's handling of the whole affair smacked of such Machiavellian machinations of such epic proportions, that's it's a wonder that the Tigers' fans allowed him to continue to own the team, so crude was his incompetence. President Navin may have been many things. A competent keeper of books & records. Raised frugality in investing in his team to an artistic high. But as an adept, adroit manager of a difficult human situation, he was lost, out to sea, over his head, and out of his sedentary element. His bumbling, unctuous, supercilious, pedantic, crude manner of conducting this tricky, delicate circumstance left him bewildered, annoyed and at a loss as what to do.

    I also have 4 CDs of the Glory of their Times. The CDs give many little tid-bits, such as this discourse on the Cobb/Speaker/Leonard affair, which never made it into the book, incredibly! One of the men interviewed was Joe Wood, who gave good inside details. He burns Leonard pretty good. When interviewer Lawrence Ritter tells him about Ty coming clean in his autobiography, Woods acts very surprised. Here is what he has to say, I'm transcribing the tape here;

    Ritter: "The other book I read was a biography by, uh, Ty Cobb, and at the end of the book, he has a whole section, and it was all news to me, on some mess-up, with him, you, and Tris Speaker & Dutch Leonard. Would you tell me what that was all about?

    Wood: "I will. I'm not going to tell you details, because I wouldn't tell you too much about this thing because it stinks. When Dutch Leonard got through in Detroit, Cobb was manager. And for that reason he had a gripe against Cobb, and then he wanted Speaker to take him on over in Cleveland, & Spoke wouldn't take him on. For that reason he got sore at both of them. Well, in '20, there was a dispute over some betting, & in order to get even, Leonard claimed this & that, and so on, and, there was a bet placed on the ballgame, but it wasn't against our club, it was on our club. I was the guy who bet the . . . I had charge of the money. Well, I handled this through a gate tender, in Detroit, who contacted the bookies, and the money was bet, the money was collected, & this little son-of-a-gun come down, I know him very well, this gate tender, & brought this money down to the train as we were leaving Detroit, and I gave him, after keeping equal splits, for 3 fellas, I gave him, the extra money, which amounted to about $30. or $40. bucks, for placing the bet. This was just the same as betting on a prize fight or anything else. We bet on ourselves. There was nothing crooked about it on our part.

    Ritter: "How often did teams bet on themselves?

    Wood: "Never! Never, that's the only bet I ever made in my life. And just because someone else wanted to bet on it & I handled the money. But this thing in '20 (Black Sox scandal), it wasn't exactly on the up & up, I have to admit that. Because I knew from what Cicotte had told me in Cleveland that the White Sox didn't dare win. But I didn't know through a couple of other fellas on the Detroit ballclub that they weren't going to play their heads off trying to beat us. I'm not saying that they were going to lay down and give us the game, (garbled).

    Well anyhow, I knew that the White Sox didn't dare win that year. And this got back to Landis, and he had a letter that I had written, and, uh, Landis called me over to New York says, 'You write that letter', I said I sure did, there was my name on it, and Leonard had black-mailed Navin in Detroit for so much for that letter, and he still kept copies of it, & then he went ahead and tried to black-mail, I don't know how the hell he, small amount of money somebody out there, by going after Cobb & spilling this whole story. Which was true. I was at a World Series, with Landis down in NY & he says, I know Landis very well, Judge says, 'We gonna have any trouble over this thing, Joe', I said 'I don't think so'. 'You let me know and if ya do, I'll come make a trip up to New Haven.'

    Ritter: "What was the letter you wrote?"

    Wood: "Leonard. Here he kept this letter that I had written him, after I got home here one winter, I wrote him, out in Fresno, a letter, same as I write to my brother, I trusted him, I wrote him this letter, he kept it & cashed in on it. I understand he got $12-15,000. the 1st from Navin in Detroit, then they closed it for awhile and came out with it again. And he kept the letter through all of that.

    Ritter: "The letter had that much dynamite in it?"

    Wood: "Yeah. The letter quoted me the amount of money was bet, his share was enclosed in the letter. I loaned that son-of-a-bitch $200. to buy his 1st motor-cycle in Boston when he 1st joined us. And he made the crack that he didn't mind what he was doing to Cobb and Speaker but he hated to hurt Woodie. But never the less he did it. That dirty little son-of-a bitch of a Leonard. He died a millionaire, but he died young (60). A great little pitcher too. But he was a 1st class . . . crook.

    Ritter: "How did Speaker & Cobb get involved on it?

    Wood: "Cobb & Speaker put up some of this money to make the bet. And Leonard broadcast this thing, because Cobb let him go, and Speaker wouldn't take him on.

    Ritter: "Is it for this reason that both Cobb and Speaker left their jobs at Cleveland & Detroit?

    Wood: "Yeah, yeah. But they didn't get out of baseball. They went to the Athletics. I'd like to see what Cobb had to say about it, because (garbled). They got together with an attorney in Detroit, my greatest friend, Spoke & Cobb, and they got a bunch of stuff written up, type-written & deposited in a vault in a bank in Cleveland, & if they'd a chased Cobb & Speaker outta baseball this would'a all come out.

    Ritter: "Cobb has a whole chapter on it. He doesn't hide it at all.
    Wood: "Well, he didn't hide some of it. But he doesn't tell it as it was, I'll bet you a million dollars. I don't think Cobb could afford that to tell the story. Cause I know the story. I never told that to a soul in my life. I haven't even told it to my . . . brother. Well I didn't tell you anything that wasn't straight & on the level, I'll tell you that. That's one reason why this thing did really hurt me. It's the first and only accusation in my life that I ever had against me, that I know of."

    So that's Joe Wood talking to Lawrence Stanley Ritter, famed author of The Glory of Their Times, 1966. This interview was taken on October 1, 1965.

    Larry Ritter passed away Feb. 15, 2004, at the age of 84, at his Manhattan apt. after a series of strokes. I had corresponded with him once. He said Babe Ruth was the Greatest Player. He only made $35K on the book, because he shared his royalties with those he interviewed.

    Lawrence Stanley Ritter May 23, 1922 - 2004, Feb.15, age 81, Died, NYC; BB author: Main claim to fame - his superb book, "The Glory of Their Times".
    He took the title from the passage in Biblical Ecclesiastics: "All these were honored in their generations and were the glory of their times." Grad. Indiana U. , Doctorate from Wisconsin. Also wrote text for "The Babe: A Life in Pictures", with Mark Rucker (1988).

    After Ty Cobb died in 1961, Lawrence traveled 75,000 around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and interviewed 22 ballplayers from Ty's era. He made only about $35,000 profit from around 360,000 book sales, due to his sharing his royalties with those players he interviewed. He turned the original tapes over to the BB Hall of Fame. They are now available in excerpt form in CD or tape cassette format. Professor of Finance and Economics at NYC for 30 yrs. "I don't like the players, I don't like the umpires, I don't like the owners, but I love the game." Interested in BB since 1931. d. at his Manhattan apt., after a series of strokes.

    What did Joe Wood mean when he said, "Well, he didn't hide some of it. But he doesn't tell it as it was, I'll bet you a million dollars. I don't think Cobb could afford that to tell the story. Cause I know the story. I never told that to a soul in my life."?

    Simply put, here is my interpretation of what Wood referred to. Ty Cobb went to his grave insisting that he had never made the bet. I think he did.
    I believe he lied. And that is what I believe Joe Wood referred to. That Ty did indeed make the bet.

    I sincerely believe that there are some things which people can not find the intestinal fortitude to face up to. OJ will never cop. Bill Clinton lied for a long time.

    There are some things perhaps which Ty couldn't face. Perhaps he felt that the act of betting was so heinous that he believed no one would have forgiven him. Who knows? But I believe he bet, Joe Wood insinuates that too, so that's what I believe happened.

    What do I think Joe Wood meant? I don't think a fix was possible for obvious reasons. Landis had called in both teams, all of them. And grilled them. It was Leonard's word against the word of almost 50 other men. Landis had specifically asked each and every man on both the Tigers and Cleveland if the game was on the up & up and square, and everyone agreed it was. They also were asked if anyone had ever known or heard of a single case where Cobb did anything wrong or suspect. And unbelievably not a single player could think of anything. And Ty had plenty of guys pissed at him.

    Risberg actually went so far as to say that he thought Cobb was the greatest and most honest player in the MLs. Quite a thing to say about an enemy player.

    Upon reflection on Ty and his bet, I realize that that was what he meant when he said in one of the letters. "It was quite a responsibility and I don't care for it again, I can assure you."

    He then tells how he was too late to place the bet. He was even too ashamed to tell Joe Wood! He must have felt such guilt over this one small act, that he suffered guilt pangs the rest of his life.

    He even kept up the cover-up in his book with Stump. Why such undue and unseemly extremes over such a minor act, for which he broke no rules? I think it is answered because he went against his conscious. He was many things unpleasant, but he was not dishonest. His upbringing was southern, which was very much akin to Japan, entirely based on a very middle ages morality based on a perverted, deformed sense of "Honor". They would rather commit suicide rather than lose their "honor". How weirdly feudal. Very, very strange, and it made Cobb look strange by extension.

    For many years, I believed that Ty didn't place the bet. Mostly because Joe Wood said in his letter to Dutch Leonard that Ty had claimed to him (Wood) that he hadn't arrived in time to get his bet placed. So I thought that was convincing. But I've changed my mind based on the following 3 statements, which I don't feel are the statements of a person in the consciousness of innocence.

    1. Ty Cobb - "It was quite a responsibility and I don't care for it again, I can assure you." From Joe Wood's letter to Dutch Leonard.

    2. Joe Wood - "Well, he didn't hide some of it. But he doesn't tell it as it was, I'll bet you a million dollars. I don't think Cobb could afford that to tell the story. Cause I know the story. I never told that to a soul in my life. I haven't even told it to my . . . brother. Joe Wood talking in interview with Lawrence Ritter in 1965.

    3. JG Taylor Spink - "Ty Refuses To Discuss Incident - From time to time, this old canard has come up in print. It did a few years ago. I wrote Ty and asked him for comment. "Taylor, even to the most wonderful friend I have in the world, which you are," he wrote, "my lips are still sealed on this matter. This is an honor thing with me," he went on. "It is just too distasteful to talk about. I think it is too late now to stir up things. Most of the people involved are now dead. It almost killed me to suffer such dishonor in a game which I loved so much and to which I think I gave so much. I admit the whole thing rankles me and I talk too much. Some day I'll tell the story which has some twists which would intrigue even your reportorial heart, but not now."

    That was enough for me. I never pressed the issue. Had Ty maintained his health, I'm sure he would have talked, but even then, he was going downhill. That letter, written Dec. 27, 1958, was in wavering handwriting. (end of quote by JG Taylor Spink) (Sporting News, Dec. 20, 1961, pp. 12, column 5)
    Ty was also inaccurate in that not all had died. In '58, Leonard & Wood were still alive. Ban Johnson, Landis, Navin & Speaker had passed.

    So the above are the reasons I've changed my mind as to whether Ty bet on the game. Ty's quote, Wood was his great friend, Spink was more like his brother than his best friend. Ty's quote is just not compatible with that of someone who was merely a non-participating conduit of information. Joe Wood's quote, 4 yrs. after Ty died, indicates that something was hidden. Wood did say that Ty put up money.

    Ty's refusal to confide in JG Taylor Spink, his best friend, bears a word or two. Who was Spink to Ty? Spink had inherited The Sporting News in 1914, after his father, Charles Claude Spink died. In 1914, Ty bestrode the Baseball firmament, like a bejeweled, Oriental conqueror. An unstoppable force. Like a Terminator, who's breached the outer defense perimeter.

    So when Taylor Spink became the owner & editor-in-chief, of Sporting News, oh, how Cobb strode & conquered. And it is always to your advantage to be on the inside track, and hopefully an intimate friend, of the best player in the Land. And this Spink set out to do with Ty.

    And to the best player of a sport, it is also to your great advantage, to have as your allies, and hopefully your own best buddies, those best-positioned strategically to help your career. And this, Taylor Spink, obviously was. His newspaper was the most influential, all-important sports newspaper that ever existed. Especially so, for Baseball. Which it billed itself as "The Bible of the Sport". Taylor Spink considered his good friend, Ty Cobb, to be the best & greatest ballplayer who ever lived, as almost all of his generation did.

    Babe Ruth? Spink, like the rest of his peers, considered the Babe to be the sport's greatest slugger, and it's most powerful drawing card, but a specialist, even considering his pitching. Never to be compared to Ty Cobb as an all-around complete player.

    And down through the decades, the 30's, 40's, 50's, JG Taylor Spink looked out for his friend, Ty's interests in TSN. Always keeping his name in the news. Twice having Harry Salsinger, doing 15-20 part retrospectives on Ty's career. Always interviewing players from the 1800's to 1930's. Always asking for their all-time teams. Always finishing the interviews with, "Who's your greatest player?" Which was the approved, historically correct way to conduct an interview.

    Thanks to him, we have all that great historical content. We'd be much the poorer, if not for JG Taylor Spink's phenomenal work. So when Ty refused an accommodation to his closest friend in the world, in the most private of all communicadi, the mail, one must wonder why. What was he afraid of? His friend, although a newsman, a publisher, would never have betrayed him, or given him up to his enemies.

    And yet Cob held back. Couldn't bring himself to reveal his innermost thoughts to his virtual brother. And this speaks volumes, as to his pain, and his guilt. He could have merely lied to cover up. Yet, his personal code forbade his lying to his closest friend & ally in all the world. He still just couldn't bring himself to face his over-whelming sense of guilt at having done such a minor wrong. As he saw it. To those who are his enemies, & attack him as unprincipled. Look at his guilt at betting on a game a single time in his life.
    Correction. He claimed to Judge Landis that he bet on one of the 1919 World Series games. And lost. His usual business acumen cannot be faulted in that particular case!! So this is one of the main reasons, I've come to believe, right or wrong, that Ty did indeed bet on that game in question.

    In Summation:
    Spink's quote in 1961, was only a yr. before his own death. He referred to a 1958 letter. I find it odd, if Ty didn't bet, why he felt so uncomfortable, almost 40 yrs. later, confiding in his very best friend, during private correspondence, almost to a brother, that he didn't place a bet. That is just strange, if he were non-participating. Even though there had been no rule against it, Ty's sense of integrity was so highly-principled, that I believed that he suffered great guilt & angst over this minor incident.

    His southern upbringing was so based on feudal honor, like Japan's, that he must have felt that he might have brought dishonor to his family name, which he took so seriously. His personal code was so self-condemning whenever he went against his conscious, that he never forgave himself, and believed that no one else should have either. Strange are the ways of feudal honor & morality. And then again, possibly he didn't bet, and simply suffered like hell, upon being accused of being dishonorable. Anything is possible, but I feel the preponderance of the scant evidence points more strongly to the former possibility.

    Although originally I had not intended to include some of the sub-plots, I've decided to add on what I had, for the sake of full disclosure.

    Meanwhile, over in Detroit, idiot Navin was similarly covering himself in ludicrosity. As soon as Cobb was restored to his teams list, he instantly gave him his release and declared him a free agent. Between them, Navin and Johnson made so many half-ass crazy comments it's hard to believe.
    Navin came out with, "I fired him, not because I thought he did anything wrong or dishonest, but because he failed as a manager. He couldn't win and during the year 11 of our players came to me and asked to be traded because of him."

    What nerve!!! Navin had made only 2 sizable investments in the team since '21. Cobb was playing with 6th and 7th place material and coming in 2nd once, 3rd twice in his 6 yrs. managing. The lying sack of hypocritical fresh manure!! Cobb couldn't win with an owner who sand-bagged him. After the '24 season, Ty's 4th, where he brought the Tigers in 3rd, 6 games back, after having been in the thick of it all year, no less an authority than Christy Mathewson, named a all star team for the year, A and B. And he named Ty Cobb as the manager of the B team. As well he should, for Ty's warriors had beaten Ruppert's Yankees, 13-9 on the year. And Babe had had one of his very finest seasons and won the league MVP.

    So, Navin was speaking through his anus, as usual for him. Cobb had done his job, and did it with almost no help from his management. Why he was fired was probably his $50K per annum. After Ty's firing, whenever those 2 would pass each other in a corridor, they'd each snarl, "I made you rich!" at each other. And the comment was much more credible coming from Ty, than vica versa.

    As for Johnson, NY Times sports writer John Kieran wrote this on Jan. 22, 1927. "The AL owners tried a muzzle on Johnson and it didn't fit. This time they may try a catapult."

    So, if no bet was laid, where's the case? Frankly, I believe that Ty DID lay down a bet, and was smart enough to lie to Joe Wood. Either way, he broke no rule and there was simply no legal case against him. I, however, do hold him responsible for doing an immoral, reprehensible, and cheesy act. I think he did wrong, and shouldn't have. But ban him from the game? For a single asinine, ignorant error of judgment? After a lifetime of desperately honest labor? Is someone insane? He made a error of judgment, and boy did he pay through the nose. More than he ever deserved.

    Landis had heard for 30 days from all across America. The baseball public was so solidly behind Cobb and Speaker, that I feel Landis felt, he had no choice. High-handed & arbitrary though he was, he wasn't stupid. And he realized that there was no legal basis on which to expel either super-star. Not that he needed one. He was the Czar. But he also had his finger to the wind of BB's public opinion. And it was in no way, shape or form, divided. It was rock solid across the board - Pro-players. But most of all, he was intensely aware of there having been no BB rule against betting. And Joe Wood's letter claimed that Cobb had claimed he didn't bet. And the letter states that Wood believed him. That right there was enough to exonerate Cobb in a court of law, in a possible defamation case against BB. So, legal thinking Landis didn't fear much, but one of the few things he would have feared is losing a court case for huge bucks. For a former judge, that would have been the ultimate humiliation.

    His evidence stunk. It would have been a case of one man's word against the word of not only Cobb & Speaker, but the entire teams of Detroit &
    Cleveland. The accuser had huge motive to lie, and the defendants were hugely popular BB royalty of the highest caliber. All in all, a real legal dog of a losing case. Landis saw the writing on the wall. And then there was the sweet prospect of letting Johnson remember his place on BB's totem pole.

    If in terms of arbitrary, authoritarian arrogance, if Johnson was Attila, Landis was Genghis Khan. And one was preparing to show the BB world who was at the top of BB's food chain. If there were to be any summary executions at the grand old ballpark, the Judge wanted all to realize that he was perfectly competent to hire the firing squad and offer the last cigarettes. And Johnson had dared to presume he had the chops to expel two of Landis' favorite stars without his permission or approval. And set him (Landis) up for an extremely humiliating court loss. So I can't imagine the Judge appreciating being put in that horrible, legally compromising position. And he was soon to let Ban know
    who sat atop the BB food chain. He would soon have BB's 2nd in line in the power-brokering food chain for an after-dinner mint.

    He had no good evidence, he heard BB's public weigh in behind the stars, and he himself happened to have liked them very much. And he also knew that they didn't have to be innocent to sue BB. All they needed was no LEGAL case against them. Landis knew very well that Cobb was not Joe Jackson. He wouldn't go meekly into the NIght. He'd rage, rage against the dying of the Light! And more importantly, he'd sue the hell out of the Light!

    After he was cleared by Judge Landis, Ty signed with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, after generous offers from the Giants, Senators, Dodgers, and the Browns. McGraw offered $60,000 for 2 seasons and threw in a private hotel room on the road. Clark Griffith offered $50,000 "just to show up at his park and appear on the field when I felt like it." and also to match any other offer, & threw in a $10,000. signing bonus. Phil Ball of the Browns, with his new manager, Dan Howley, Ty's friend and former coach, offered around $30,000. Even Jack Dunn, of the Baltimore International Club offered around $25,000. If Ty had wondered if he had marketability, these offers surely put his anxieties to rest. John J. McGraw's offer, after a lifetime of antagonism, represented one of the finest compliments of Cobb's life.

    As it turned out, Ty signed with Connie Mack for an unprecedented amount. Salary = $40,000, signing bonus = $30,000. Spring exhibition games receipts = $15,000. Special bonus if A's won the pennant = $20,000. As it turned out, the A's came in 2nd to the '27 Yankees by 19 games. But Mack was so pleased with Ty's contribution to the team, that he gave Ty the $20,000. anyway, and he announced that later in his 1950 auto-biography, pp. and he never regretted it.

    As well he shouldn't have. Ty recorded the 5th highest BA in the league, just above Babe Ruth, and 2nd highest on the team, 5th OBP in the league, and 3rd in SB. So Ty's $105,000 total package of '27 remained the MLs record until exceeded so many long years later, by Ted Williams in 1958. And showing why he was the smartest ballplayer ever, Ty insisted in keeping his package confidential, knowing that if word got out, Babe Ruth would have demanded and gotten more from his owner, Jake Ruppert. Ruth never heard, didn't ask, and hence Ty got another record. Proving that sometimes discretion is wisest.

    Bill Burgess
    Another article on whether or not Cobb/Speaker bet/fixed that game is given below:

    Access provided by George Mason University

    [Access article in PDF]
    The Cobb-Speaker Scandal
    Exonerated but Probably Guilty
    Lowell L. Blaisdell
    In 2002-2003 David Nathan's Say It Is So: A Cultural History of the Black Sox Scandal appeared. It illustrates anew how much and for how long the 1919 "fixed" World Series scandal has dogged baseball.1 In the same vein Pete Rose's disbarment from the Hall of Fame continues to be a topic of major interest to fans. 2 Another scandal—the 1926-27 Ty Cobb-Tris Speaker one—warrants examining in relation to the Black Sox and Rose cases. However, the denouement in the Cobb-Speaker instance differed quite markedly from the other two. In the latter, full exposure of the scandal's circumstances led to the principals' full exclusion from baseball. In the former, the key figures emerged unpunished.3

    Cobb's and Speaker's alleged misdeed consisted of being leading participants in the fixing of the Cleveland-Detroit game played on September 25, 1919. Regrettably, the circumstantial evidence indicates that the encounter—a 9-5 Detroit victory—was, as their accuser Dutch Leonard insisted, most likely a prearranged Motor City triumph.

    The Cobb-Speaker affair had several important facets. One is the particular playing environment of September 25, 1919. By this date the American League had long since established itself as a second major circuit, and so-called "modern" baseball, with its two-leagues format, had evolved its rules and customs. Within this framework one headache that beset the game's owners was that there were occasional signs or hints that games of questionable integrity were played and that players of doubtful loyalty were tolerated.4

    The owners were reluctant to turn to the law to punish suspects. The Major Leagues were effectively a cartel or monopoly. 5 The players had no opportunity to negotiate salaries outside the confines of the two leagues. This, along with the Reserve Clause, gave the magnates the advantage in salary negotiations with the players. However, fearful that both the cartel and the player contracts might be challenged if they went to court on the issue of corrupt performance, [End Page 54] the owners shied away from this potential avenue for solving the problem.

    Equally, the law itself made it difficult to prosecute game fixers. Errors and misjudgments are commonplace in games. How can anyone say for certain that either is the result of nefarious intentions rather than inferior performance or impetuous play? When the Black Sox scandal was finally exposed, the White Sox' opponents—the Cincinnati Reds players—were astounded to learn that the series had been thrown. 6

    With this peculiarity of baseball as an occupation, it was to the advantage of a culprit to lie his way through the charge that he had helped his team lose. Brazen deceit usually was sufficient to ensure that the matter would be dropped or that, at worst, the player would be traded. If, however, his superiors hailed him before some sort of baseball tribunal, his appearance with his lawyer threatening suit made his reinstatement a virtual certainty.7 Hal Chase, baseball's most corrupt player ever, is a striking case in point. Despite the long series of scrapes in which he became involved, the most he ever conceded was betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds, but only to win. Otherwise his standard practice was to admit to nothing. Instances of player banishment occurred only in the comparatively rare cases in which accused parties confessed or left telltale tracks too obvious to be denied.8

    The Black Sox scandal illustrates these tendencies especially well. When suspicion directed at several of the players became very strong, owner Charles Comiskey's lawyer advised him against prosecution. In his semiclassic Eight Men Out, Eliot Asinof describes the type of advice Alfred Austrian offered: "Without firsthand confessions, how could they amass evidence at all? Hearsay, of course was inadmissible.... For who was about to talk? Certainly not the gamblers with their closed mouth traditions. Why would anyone want to incriminate himself?" 9

    Whatever brought the players to confess? It was not ill conscience. Only when the semioutsider Billy Maharg, a disgruntled betting loser, revealed the story did three or four of the players then—and only then—admit their complicity.10 Similarly, in the lesser cases preceding the Black Sox scandal, it was all to the advantage of a suspect to lie his way out of his predicament.

    The Mysterious Disappearance
    That only full confessions would suffice became abundantly clear in the 1921 trial of the Black Sox. By that time, to the defense's great convenience, the players' grand jury confessions had mysteriously disappeared. Although eventually the judge decided that the defendants had made their confessions voluntarily, [End Page 55] enough doubt had been created about their authenticity that the defendants benefited. Thus when the "Clean Sox" gave their testimony, the defense lawyers openly dared them to state their views as to whether their teammates had thrown the World Series games. The prosecution, afraid that some of its own best witnesses could do no more than express their opinions, objected. The trial judge sustained. 11

    In 1919 the circumstances for chicanery were strong. Unease permeated the Major League scene, especially in the American League. In the Junior Circuit during midseason, the New York Yankees acquired the irascible but valuable Carl Mays by means of an injunction. League president Ban Johnson and rival pennant contenders Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago deeply resented the Yankees' resort to the courts as the means to upgrade their pitching.12

    Player morale was also especially low in 1919. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, the owners feared that few fans would return to the ballparks. Accordingly, they shortened the season by 10 percent and cut most players' salaries proportionally.When fans did return enmasse at once, the owners did not restore the pay cuts. 13 Partly to assuage the players' wrath, in midseason the owners decided to grant second- and third-place Þnishers a small share in the World Series revenues.14 Despite the owners' minor concessions concerning World Series shares, player discontent remained. The general dissatisfaction may have tempted a few to indulge in a little game shading as a salary supplement. Certainly it heightened their inclination at the end of the season to wind up games as expeditiously as possible. There long had been an occasional indulgence in season-ending, meaningless games among going-nowhere teams, simply to play them out as entertainment or amusement.15 Signs of this practice were especially noticeable at the close of the 1919 season. Such was the atmosphere within which the September 25 game took place.

    Suddenly for fandom, on December 22, 1926, in the middle of winter seven years later, the box score of this seemingly utterly insignificant game appeared in the sports sections of all the major newspapers across the country.16 This was simply the most obvious artifact of the second, or Landis, aspect of the Cobb-Speaker case. It was the articles accompanying the box score that launched the "scandal" facet of the affair, although in actuality it had been unfolding since the summer.

    Dutch Leonard
    Back in that summer former pitcher Hubert (Dutch) Leonard had visited several American League executives—most notably, league president Ban Johnson—to recount a tale of the September 25, 1919, game having been set up for [End Page 56] a Detroit triumph. Leonard claimed that Cobb and Speaker, along with himself and one-time pitching ace and later part-time outfielder Joe Wood, had chanced to meet under the stands after the September 24 game. There they agreed that Detroit would win the next day and to bet a large sum of money on the result.17 To support his story Leonard submitted letters that he had received from Cobb and Wood not long after the September 25 game. These letters made evident that Leonard and Wood had bet on the game and perhaps implied that more than betting had been involved. 18

    American League executives led by Ban Johnson found Leonard's story and his letters convincing. Although both stars flatly denied Leonard's charges, on September 9 the American League Board of Directors secretly agreed to expel Speaker and Cobb from the league's ranks. Johnson then met with them. He convinced the two, in exchange for Leonard's charges being kept secret, to accept unannounced involuntary retirement. The American League forwarded the gist of its findings to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for his consideration.19

    Landis's handling of the problem determined the ultimate outcome. What convinced him to become involved was not the information that the American League provided him but Cobb and Speaker's request for clarification of their status.20 Since privately the American League had made the players' expulsion very clear, the stars' query amounted to seeking a reexamination of their case.

    Endowed by ownership with absolute power, Landis, in dealing with players suspected of game tampering, established his own rules from case to case. His method in the Cobb-Speaker one did, however, resemble somewhat his handling of the Jimmy O'Connell scandal two years earlier. In both the commissioner fixed on the testimony of those directly involved as decisive and relied on little else.21

    The commissioner initiated his investigation with a trip to Leonard's home in California. On October 29 Landis obtained the accuser's testimony. Both then and later, the ex-pitcher refused to return to the East to present his arguments. He likely feared that the tigerish Cobb would do him physical injury. Cobb, Speaker, and Wood—Wood was out of baseball but desired to support the other two—wanted to confront their accuser face to face. In addition to his fear of Cobb, Leonard may have realized that in any verbal confrontation, he would be bound to be the loser, since three denouncing one as a liar would have a much greater impact than the reverse. At any rate Leonard's adamancy caused Landis to place little faith in his word.22

    In his testimony Leonard furnished some details on the September 24 under-the-stands meeting that he insisted had occurred. He claimed that [End Page 57] Speaker had mentioned Cleveland's second-place position was secure and that Leonard need not worry about the game the next day because Detroit would win it. Since this was going to be the case, the four decided to bet on the game. Cobb was to put up $2,000, Leonard $1,500, and Wood and Speaker each $1,000. Such sums amounted to roughly 10percent of the average player's annual salary. 23 The bets agreed upon, the four split up. Since Leonard had pitched that day, he considered the season over for him. Later he left by train.24

    In taking Leonard's testimony Landis did not raise several important questions regarding Speaker. As Cleveland's playing manager why would Speaker do anything but try to beat Detroit? Had the question been asked, Leonard's answer would have been that Speaker wanted to do a favor for him as his former teammate. He, Wood, and Speaker had been friends since their days as teammates on the Red Sox several years before. 25

    Another obvious question should have been to ask Leonard to explain his actions in the aftermath of his bet. Among gambling people it is common knowledge that of all the team sports, betting on an individual baseball game is the most risky. Leonard had departed after giving Wood a check for $1,500.26 Anyone else who had made so large a wager would have been on hand for the September 25 game, watching every pitch with an acute state of jitters. Yet so unconcerned was the Tiger pitcher that he did not even stay on for the game. Why was he so confident that he could leave without a worry? Leonard's answer would have had to be that, since Speaker had plainly indicated Detroit would win, he could leave without a care. Third, while Leonard could tell from Wood's letter that Cobb had not bet on the game, how had he learned that Speaker had not? Had he ascertained Speaker's reason for not doing so?

    After returning to Chicago, Landis took the testimony of the other principals on November 29. The group comprised Cobb, Speaker, Wood—by then Yale's baseball coach—and Fred West, a ballpark employee who had placed Leonard's and Wood's bets for them. West's testimony meant little. He verified that he had handled the bet-making process. More broadly as the Detroit players' errand runner, he supported Cobb, Speaker, and Wood.27

    Landis showed a surprising lack of perspicacity in the questions he asked and of curiosity in the ones that he did not. He focused primarily on gambling. While at the time the owners severely frowned on player betting, it was not contractually forbidden. Though the betting on this game certainly was a serious matter, whether or not the game had been Þxed was an even more pressing question. Obviously any such indulgence was absolutely prohibited. Yet, given the emphasis the commissioner placed on gambling, he thought otherwise.

    Landis seemed to regard his questioning of Cobb as more important than his queries to Speaker. Possibly because neither letter contained a reference to [End Page 58] the Cleveland great, Landis felt that this omission made his role less significant. Yet surely as the manager of the team alleged to have thrown the game, Speaker's actions should have been minutely examined.

    Cobb's Vague Answers
    In querying Cobb, his questioner—much to the witness's exasperation—pursued him at length concerning the ramifications of his letter to Leonard. Cobb denied that any meeting of the quartet had occurred after the September 24 game. However, a reader of the two letters—and especially Wood's—could gather that Leonard was close enough to the others that his intention of betting a large amount had to be explained. Consequently, Cobb admitted that he and the pitcher had met but only because Leonard had asked him to find a go-between to handle the hurler's bet. Cobb referred him to West, and that concluded their conversation. Several of Cobb's answers were vague or evasive, but his interrogator did not press him. At one point Cobb stated not only that had he avoided betting but that he did not even intend to bet. Though Cobb's own letter contradicted this assertion, Landis gave no sign that he realized it.28

    Landis seemed uninformed about many aspects of the case. Commenting on Detroit's position in the standings at the time of the game, Cobb opined that the Tigers had been running third. Landis's response was "Yes, that is the indication. I don't remember the details." 29 In fact, on the morning of September 25, Detroit was in fourth, but pressing close to the Yankees in third. 30 This detail made the game significant to the Tigers and the standings.

    In questioning Speaker, Landis made his only reference to the game accounts, and this solely with regard to a minor aspect. The commissioner remarked that one of the newspapers commented on the brevity of the clash—only an hour and six minutes.31 Although this was noticeably short, it was not strikingly so when compared to several other games that week. 32 The commissioner asked Speaker to explain why it had been so brief. The Cleveland manager stated that his players were anxious to return to Cleveland that evening rather than stay overnight in Detroit. They had played quickly in order to make a 6:00 or 6:30 train back to Cleveland.33 Even though the game did not start until 3:00 P.M., it would seem that they could have played a two-hour game and still have made the train. Landis, however, did not point this out. More important, even if the Cleveland players wanted to hurry along, why did the Detroiters—for whom playing carefully would have been in order—so readily cooperate?

    During Speaker's testimony, the box score of the questionable game received [End Page 59] some attention. A 9-5 Detroit triumph did not on its face reveal anything suspicious. On any given day a fourth-place team can defeat a second-place one. Speaker, noting that he hit two triples and a single while Cobb had made only a single in five tries, made an interesting point. If the game had been fixed, he claimed, Cobb should have hit well while he did poorly. This certainly seemed plausible, and Landis appeared to accept it as such. Speaker also pointed out that Wood had not played. If there were skullduggery afoot, would not one of the conspirators be sure to play in order to help the fix along?34

    Wood's testimony confirmed Speaker's and Cobb's statements. Wood conceded that he and Leonard had met and that, in partnership with Leonard, he had bet on the game. This had involved only Wood and Leonard, not the other two. There had been a third participant, but Wood refused to divulge his name other than to say that it was not Speaker. Wood also claimed that since he knew he would not play, he felt free in betting on Detroit.35

    On this note testimony ended. Landis failed to ask Wood several potentially entangling questions. For instance, did Wood have any conscience pangs in betting against his own team? Was it not outrageously suspicious for a player to try to bet $1,000 that his own team would lose? Did he do so very often? If seldom, why then did he choose to bet on this particular game?

    Meanwhile, rumors flew as to why such scintillating stars should retire so suddenly, unceremoniously, and quietly.36 The increasing gossip virtually compelled Landis, with Cobb's and Speaker's approval, to release the results of his investigation on December 21. This move infuriated Ban Johnson. Making the evidence public undercut his solution to the Cobb-Speaker problem. 37

    The information that the press received added up to the testimony of the five principals counting West, the letters to Leonard from Cobb and Wood, and the box score.38 A careful reader would find in Speaker's testimony Landis's references to the game descriptions. However—significantly—the accounts themselves were not included. Also, in releasing his data, Landis did not hold a press conference, at which his methods could have been queried.

    Once the newspapers became a factor, the case acquired a public dimension and "scandal" became the reigning word. Fans tend to identify with stars in trouble, as the Rose case has made evident. In the Cobb-Speaker example matters were made worse by the public reaction to the accuser. Dutch Leonard happened to be a particularly cantankerous, obstreperous person. He offended almost everybody: opposing batters who regarded him as a "beanballer"; umpires who saw him as a ball-and-strikes whiner; his own pitching teammates, to whom he was a shirker; each manager because he would leave the team whenever he felt so inclined; and owners who were outraged by what they viewed as his exorbitant salary demands.39 Somehow, however, until 1925 he had succeeded in retaining the friendship of Speaker and Wood. [End Page 60]

    Lurking in the Shadows
    In 1925 Leonard's intense dislike of Cobb turned to hate. In that season Cobb, his manager since 1921, forced him to pitch with a sore arm, thus ruining what remained of his pitching skills. 40 To get even with Cobb, Leonard then revealed in 1926 what he knew of the September 25, 1919, game, hoping to ruin what Cobb had left of his career, just as the manager had done to him. Leonard's way of doing it struck the public as especially dubious and underhanded. It looked as if Leonard, lurking in the shadows, had stalked Cobb for seven years until at last opportunity had presented itself. In the words of well-known sports columnist Francis J. Powers, Dutch Leonard was the sports personality most "cordially hated by the American public."41 Leonard's personality and reputation deflected attention from the central issue: was he or was he not telling the truth?

    While fan attachment to the accused and revulsion against the accuser grew rapidly, Landis made no effort to supplement the information he had gathered.42 He did not, for instance, release the game descriptions. Nor, when press reports suggested the availability of other relevant data, did he follow them up. Had he done so, the direction in which the case was heading may have changed fundamentally.

    Had Landis released the game accounts in full, the press reaction would have been valuable to assess. At first sight the game reports seem to suggest that the September 25 encounter resembled the usually harmless end of the season, play-for-fun game. With few fans in attendance, players would typically change their defensive positions, make ridiculous plays, or run the bases recklessly. If a batter needed to improve his average, an easy out might be allowed to drop for a hit. Apparently the Cleveland Press saw the game in this light. Rather than offer even a brief game account, it printed the box score only, under the caption "This Doesn't Matter"—as indeed, for the Indians, it did not. 43

    The Detroit Free Press correspondent saw the game in a similar light: "Everybody took a shot at the first ball pitched or if he didn't the guilty one was regarded as a criminal." 44 Another reporter offered a different shading: with "nothing at stake, Pitchers Boland and Myers did not appear to exert themselves and the batsmen hit the apple to unfrequented portions of the park."45

    Since, for the Detroit players, something was at stake, why did the Indians' Elmer Meyers serve up easy pitches to the Detroit batters? Even more, since it was important for the Tigers to keep Indian scoring at a minimum, why was the Detroit pitcher doing likewise?

    One of the reporters, judging from the enigmatic way he phrased a sentence, may have had a tip on what was taking place. An oddity of the game was that, [End Page 61] although it was a high-scoring one, neither side scored more than 2 runs in one inning. Remarking on this the scribe wondered whether there "must have been a rule that neither team would score more than two runs in an inning." 46

    The Detroit News reporter most clearly perceived what was unfolding: "The Indians are safely in second place. Therefore when they saw the contest going against them, they kindly encouraged Detroit batters to improve their clubbing records." Further, "Cleveland batters didn't care much whether it won or lost and the Tigers catching the visitors in that mood smashed their way to the top and held the advantage to the finish."47

    Batting Practice Pitches
    In this charade, Indian batters also benefited from batting practice pitches, but only after Detroit had racked up a 4-run lead in the first two innings: "In the fourth inning for instance Elmer Smith of Cleveland tried to bunt to third base. The ball rolled foul. Bobby Jones moved far back on the turf. Boland grooved one and Smith beat out a bunt that Jones could have gargled had he been playing in." Similarly, "Graney is notoriously a right field hitter. Chick Shorten backed up clear to the right field screen. Graney rapped a fly that Shorten could have caught flat-footed had he been in position. Chick ran in languidly on it and it fell for two bases." 48 In this connection it is noteworthy that the 2 triples that Speaker clouted were hit in the fifth and seventh, not in the first and third.

    Why would Detroit players hand cheap hits to the Indian swingers? Cleveland batters such as Smith and Graney would not have gained much from another hit or two.49 What else could it have been, then, than return for a favor rendered?

    That this was indeed the case emerges most tellingly in the Press correspondent's description of Bernie Boland's relationship to Speaker: "Tris Speaker displayed a gratitude to Boland, who had presented the Cleveland manager earlier in the game with two triples. Boland hit to deep center. By running across the field and heading the drive off, Tris could have caught it or at least held it to a single. But instead he ran with the ball and it rolled away for three bases." 50 Why would Speaker, widely regarded as baseball's premier defensive outfielder, allow Boland a gift triple? 51 And why had Boland earlier "presented" Speaker, an excellent hitter, with a pair of triples? What reason could it possibly have been other than gratitude to the Cleveland manager for a gift of something else? In light of the standings what could it have been other than repayment by a Tiger representative for an effortless addition to the Detroit win column? [End Page 62]

    A further comment by the Detroit News columnist negated Speaker's argument that his hitting well while Cobb did poorly demonstrated the authenticity of the game. The reason Cobb had an off day at the plate was that, largely disliked by the players on other teams, Myers bore down on him: he "was the only man who was not assisted towards a boost in his batting. Myers and the Cleveland fielders figured Ty didn't need any hits so they worked hard on him every time he came up." 52 Thus the box score was deceiving in that it created the impression of legitimate play by showing the leading hitter of the losers doing well and the best on the winners as hitting pallidly.

    Ignoring Suspicious Signs
    In addition to ignoring these suspicious signs in the game accounts, Landis ignored additional evidence that appeared after his December 21 press release. Three of the leads seemed important enough to require reopening the investigation. On December 21 Ernest S. Barnard, president of the Cleveland club, declared, "There is conclusive evidence to prove there was something wrong with the game in question." 53 However, that a Major League executive who was president of one of the clubs involved would say that there was "conclusive" proof that something was amiss did not suffice to order a meeting so that Barnard could explain himself.

    The second item related to Bernie Boland, the Detroit pitcher in the by this time infamous game. A number of the Detroit players and former players had emerged to volunteer their recollections. As always in the absence of immediate direct evidence of misconduct, all except Boland, who fudged slightly, assured the public that the September 25 game had been fairly contested. Several directly defended Speaker and Cobb. 54

    Of this group Boland was an unusually voluble representative. He let it be known that if there were anything wrong that day, he had nothing to do with it. As for how he dealt with Speaker as batter, he did not ease up on him, much less toss soft ones to him to hit for triples. 55 Boland privately probably felt that the newspaper accounts describing him as having "grooved" pitches, as not having "exerted him" himself, and as having "presented" Speaker with two triples lay buried in the papers' morgues.

    Though as a retiree Boland was beyond Landis's demands, oddly the commissioner had the opportunity to pursue him regarding these statements. As a spinoff from the Cobb-Speaker controversy, another old rumor concerning questionable player integrity resurfaced in January 1927 to harass Landis. It had to do with a 1917 Labor Day weekend back-to-back set of doubleheaders between the Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. The Detroit players performed [End Page 63] abysmally, thereby contributing to a 4-game White Sox sweep. This created the suspicion of chicanery. Landis held hearings at which many of the participants testified. As usual, all denied any subterfuge. One who volunteered to testify—and who, incidentally, had pitched very poorly in his one appearance against the White Sox—was Bernie Boland.56 Though the opportunity was at hand, Landis did not raise the issue of the 1919 game with him. Thus the contradiction between his 1926 version of how he had pitched and the actual immediately postgame descriptions of his performance went unnoticed.

    Four Significant Rules
    Incidentally, Landis resolved the 1917 Chicago-Detroit series dispute by deciding that the games had been untainted. Having done so, he strongly recommended that the Committee of the Major and Minor Leagues adopt four signi Þcant rules: first, old scandals should have a statute of limitations attached to them. Second, the growing tendency for one team to promise a reward to another for playing especially hard against a third club should be strictly forbidden. Third, a player who bet on a game should be suspended for a year. Fourth, anyone who bet against his own team should be permanently expelled from baseball. 57 While the second of the recommendations applied to the White SoxÐTigers series, the others related to the Cobb-Speaker case. It is noteworthy that some six decades later it was the gambling violations that Pete Rose violated with compulsory recklessness. Thus, in a sense, the very rules that the Cobb-Speaker case inspired, Rose had occasion to break.

    The third news piece with a Cobb-Speaker focus had stunning implications. One of the reasons Leonard's version of what had occurred in the 1919 game found such few believers was the absence of an independent agent who could testify under oath as to the validity of his assertions. In George Barres, scoreboard operator and public address announcer at Navin Field in Detroit, there surfaced one who was willing to substantiate Leonard's charge of a fixed game. While admitting that his dislike of Cobb underlay his offer to make a statement, he declared his willingness to give sworn testimony as to what he knew.58

    Stating first that this was the only game played at the Detroit park of which he was aware that had not been fairly contested, he had no doubt that the September 25 one was not.

    Nearly every player on the [Detroit] Club knew that Cleveland was going to throw that game.... Chick Shorten [the outfielder who had let Graney's fly drop for a double] gave me $60 to bet on Detroit about 2 o'clock that afternoon. He told me to make a bet myself, too, because Cleveland is going to throw the game! I placed the bet with a bookie downtown and bet $20 myself at 4 to 5.[End Page 64]

    Doc Ayers, pitcher, and Ben Dyer, third baseman for Detroit were in on the bet I placed for Shorten that day. Ayers told me to keep quiet about it.59

    Though Barres's revelation was in the most influential newspaper in the very city in which Landis maintained his office, there is no indication that Landis sought to obtain a sworn statement from the ballpark employee.60

    Two weeks after his decision concerning the Detroit-Chicago series, Landis, on January 27, 1927, issued his statement exonerating superstars Cobb and Speaker. If they desired to resume playing, they were to remain in the American League, but each would have to join a club other than the club with which he had been long associated. Other than this minor inconvenience, they had emerged unscathed.61

    Numerous commentators have pointed out the most likely reasons for Landis's chosen course. For one, the crisis enabled Landis to land a decisive blow against his persistent enemy Ban Johnson. By exonerating the accused and ruling that they must stay in the American League, he entirely reversed his rival's solution to the problem.

    Second, here was a case that had emerged suddenly seven years after the time appropriate for its airing. That it had come to life was for no better reason than one person's grudge against another. Unlike the Black Sox scandal, in which a World Series had been sold out, this one resulted in nothing worse than some players making a few hundred dollars off the game. The probable motive of the chief suspect amounted to nothing more than a hasty decision to do a friend a favor. Fortunately, the game in question had ended up devoid of significance. 62 Why not stretch justice by freeing the accused in return for what they had contributed to baseball in other aspects?

    Thus, third, in the broader interests of the national game, was baseball's future not better served through exoneration rather than expulsion?63 It surely represented a better solution than Ban Johnson's ukase.

    But to return to the underlying question, why did Landis forgo conducting a thorough investigation? It would have been the most honest thing to do. What would have been the result had he questioned the witnesses much more vigorously, confronted them with the game descriptions, and sought out the testimony of Bernard and Barres? He would have emerged with a reasonably convincing commonsense case of circumstantial but not legally assured body of evidence, demonstrating that the accused were guilty as their enemy had charged.

    And what would the data have included? Landis's only unchallengeable evidence consisted of the Wood and Cobb letters that arouse suspicion but are inconclusive. As for the leads that the commissioner overlooked, their import would have been to increase the verbal testimony to the disadvantage of the [End Page 65] appellants. However, Cobb's and Speaker's many teammates would have neutralized this effect by means of their own testimony favorable to the defendants. The game descriptions look very compromising, but a capable defense attorney could explain them away as nothing more than accounts of an "entertainment" game. Given this likely scenario, what if Cobb and Speaker had sued baseball? 64 Cobb in particular threatened to reveal much more dirty linen if he were not reinstated.

    Commentators have always had difficulty in fathoming Landis's thought processes in his expulsion or exoneration decisions. In this instance his long experience as a federal judge may have convinced him of the difficulty of obtaining convictions in instances of fraud when written evidence and confessions are lacking. If Landis had confirmed Ban Johnson's banishment decree, it could have led to continuing litigation without much hope of success. Moreover, it may easily have resulted in a huge loss in prestige for himself as commissioner and for baseball. As for a middling solution, such as the imposition of a fine and penalty for each—but greater for Speaker—it would have invited litigation to an equal degree. Besides, the commissioner had invariably followed an exoneration or expulsion solution to such problems.

    To sum up, unless all the indicators, the clues, and the hints are misleading, Cobb and Speaker, though exonerated, were probably guilty. By exonerating the famous pair, Landis continued an injustice inflicted on Buck Weaver and one or two others. They had prior knowledge of the Black Sox fix. For this, they were expelled for life. For the same offense, Cobb and Speaker received absolution.

    The Cobb-Speaker affair leaves in its wake two disconcerting ironies. One is that it was very likely not the despised Leonard who was the dissembler, but the two stars so admired by the fans. Second, just as the players more than likely arranged the game's outcome, so too did the commissioner see to it that his investigation came out the popular way and not its dangerous opposite. Such thoughts could cause a person of meditative disposition to redouble his ruminations on the riddle of the human condition.

    Lowell L. Blaisdell is emeritus professor of history at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He has published articles in SABR's Baseball Research Journal and guest lectured in and advised the teachers of the "Baseball: A Mirror on American History" course at Texas Tech. A lifelong Cubs fan, he approaches each new season with extreme caution that is the result of many decades of disappointments.
    1. David Nathan, Saying It's So: A Cultural History of the Black Sox Scandal (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003).

    2. See especially James Reston Jr., The Lives of Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti: Collision at Home Plate (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991).

    3. The guilt of Cobb and Speaker has long been debated. Contemporary sportswriters Fred Lieb and Grantland Rice judged them guilty. See Fred Lieb, Baseball As I [End Page 66] Have Known It (New York: Grossett and Dunlap, 1977), pp.61-63. Not surprisingly Rice chose poetry to convey his view, in his famous ditty "We Ain't Gonna Steal No More." See Grantland Rice, New York Herald Tribune, December 22, 1926, quoted in William A. Harper, How You Played the Game: The Life of Grantland Rice (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999), pp.424, 572.

    Also of note, J. G. Taylor Spink, editor of The Sporting News, offered a summary of the case but withheld judgment as to guilt or innocence. See J. G. Taylor Spink, Judge Landis and 25 Years of Baseball (St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1974), pp.135-57, which Lieb may have ghostwritten. On the other hand a later sportswriter, Bob Broeg, long the St. Louis Post Dispatch's leading baseball commentator, felt that the evidence against the duo ran so thin as to make it a near insult to confront them. Column in The Sporting News, May12, 1973, in Dutch Leonard file, National Baseball Hall of Fame archives, Cooperstown NY. Historians have divided, with Cobb biographer Al Stump and Mark Alvarez implying guilt, while Cobb biographer Charles C. Alexander, Judge Landis biographer David Pietrusza, and Daniel Ginsburg, author of a leading study of gambling, lean toward acquittal; Eugene C. Murdock, historian and Ban Johnson biographer, holds a neutral stance. Al Stump, Cobb (Chapel Hill NC: Algonquin, 1994), pp.370-84; Mark Alvarez, The National Pastime: A Review of Baseball History, vol.13 (Cleveland OH: Society for American Baseball Research, 1994), pp.21-28; Charles C. Alexander, Our Game: An American Baseball History (New York: Henry Holt, 1991), pp.144-45; David Pietrusza, Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (South Bend IN: Diamond Communications, 1998), pp.285-311; Daniel E. Ginsburg, The Fix Is In: A History of Baseball Gambling and Game Fixing Scandals (Jefferson NC: McFarland, 1995), pp.198-208, especially p.206; Eugene C. Murdock, Ban Johnson: Czar of Baseball (Westport CT: Greenwood, 1982), pp.215-18. Another implier of guilt is Clark Nardinelli, "Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the Art of Cartel Enforcement," in Baseball History: An Annual of Original Baseball Research (Westport CT: Meckler Books, 1989), pp.103-15, especially p.110.

    4. For an excellent overview of the gambling-fixing problem in pre-Black Sox days, see Harold Seymour, Baseball: The Golden Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp.275-310.

    5. Nardinelli, "Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis."

    6. Eliot Asinof, Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963), pp.206-7.

    7. As an example, see Lowell L. Blaisdell, "Trouble and Jack Taylor," National Pastime (1996): pp.132-36, especially p.135.

    8. Martin D. Kohart, "Saint Matty and the Prince of Darkness," National Pastime (2000): pp.124-32, especially p.128; Joseph E. King, "Hal Chase," Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Baseball (Westport CT: Greenwood, 1987), pp.89-90. An instance of career-ruining honesty is the Jimmy O'Connell case. See Lowell L. Blaisdell, [End Page 67] "Mystery and Tragedy: The O'Connell-Doland Scandal," Baseball Research Journal 2 (1982): 44-49.

    9. Asinof, Eight Men Out, p.128.

    10. Three players admitted their guilt before a grand jury and one in the press. Asinof, Eight Men Out, pp.168-69, 170-74, 175-81, 184-88, 189-92.

    11. Asinof, Eight Men Out, pp.257, 260, 263-65.

    12. Seymour, Baseball: The Golden Age, pp.264-68.

    13. Seymour, Baseball: The Golden Age, p.255; Bill Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965), p.256.

    14. New York Times, July18 and 30, 1919.

    15. Mark K. Judge, Damn Senators: My Grandfather and the Story of Washington's Only World Championship (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2003), p.38, offers a description of a typical end-of-season farcical game, as does Dennis De Valeria and Jeane Burke De Valeria, Honus Wagner (New York: Henry Holt, 1995), p.105.

    16. New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many others. Copies of the Cobb and Wood letters and box score referenced here are from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 21 and 22, 1926.

    17. New York Times, December 22, 1926; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 26, 1926.

    18. New York Times, December 22, 1926; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 26, 1926.

    19. Murdock, Ban Johnson, pp.216-17; Spink, Judge Landis, pp.135-41.

    20. Spink, Judge Landis, p.155.

    21. In the O'Connell case Landis's resistance to broadening his investigation produced a great deal of criticism, but it did not recur in the Cobb-Speaker one. Pietrusza, Judge and Jury, pp.270-71, 274, 276-79.

    22. New York Times, January 28, 1927; Spink, Judge Landis, p.156; Lieb, Baseball As I Have Known It, p.62.

    23. Robert F. Burke, Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), p.243; Robert F. Burke, Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball since 1921 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), pp.16, 23.

    24. Testimony, New York Times, December 22, 1926; Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1926.

    25. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 13, 1927.

    26. New York Times, December 22, 1926.

    27. New York Times, December 22, 1926.

    28. New York Times, December 22, 1926.

    29. New York Times, December 22, 1926.

    30. New York Times, September 25, 1919.

    31. Landis's exact words were: "Now, in one of the newspaper accounts of that game, the statement was made that the game was played in an hour and six minutes." [End Page 68] Clearly, the commissioner had read the press descriptions. Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1926.

    32. In the last ten days of the 1919 season, in the National League, the Cubs defeated the Phillies, 3-1, in fifty-eight minutes, on September 21; the Dodgers defeated the Reds, 3-1, also on September 21, in fifty-five minutes, and in the first game of a final-day doubleheader, on September 29, the Giants defeated the Phillies, 6-1, in a record fifty-one minutes. On September 28 Boston crushed Brooklyn, 14-6, in what was described as a "comedy" game. New York Times, September 22, 29, and 30, 1919.

    33. Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1919. Speaker's entire testimony is not so easy to find. Even the New York Times offered only a synopsis of it. The Tribune gave the testimony of all the attestants in full.

    34. Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1919.

    35. Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1919.

    36. New York Times, November 30, 1926, commenting on Speaker's resignation as manager, reported that "in the opinion of local baseball men, there is more to the resignation than meets the eye." Other such observations appeared elsewhere.

    37. Pietrusza, Judge and Jury, pp.293, 302-4.

    38. Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1926.

    39. Various clippings in Dutch Leonard file, Baseball Hall of Fame, Coopers- town NY.

    40. Various clippings in Dutch Leonard file, Baseball Hall of Fame, Coopers- town NY.

    41. Quoted in the New York Times, January 6, 1927.

    42. Pietrusza, Judge and Jury, pp.294-95, offers examples of support from prominent figures and fans. One poll showed the fans at 1,430 to 41 in their favor.

    43. Cleveland Press, September 26, 1919.

    44. Detroit Free Press, September 26, 1919.

    45. Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 26, 1919.

    46. Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 26, 1919.

    47. Detroit News, September 26, 1919.

    48. Detroit News, September 26, 1919.

    49. That year Smith hit .278 and Graney .234. John Thorn and Pete Palmer, eds., Total Baseball (New York: Warner Books, 1989), pp.1459, 1143.

    50. Detroit News, September 26, 1919.

    51. As for Boland's batting skill, he had a career .138 batting average. In 1919, with the help of the free triple, he hit 108. The Baseball Encyclopedia (New York: Macmillan, 1979), p.1590.

    52. Detroit News, September 26, 1919.

    53. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 22, 1926. The newspapers at the time asserted that the American League had much more evidence relating to Cobb and Speaker than [End Page 69] it had offered to Landis. As an example see the Chicago Tribune, January 13, 1927. However, no one has ever found such evidence in the league's archives.

    54. New York Times, December 22, 1926; The Sporting News, December 30, 1926.

    55. Stump, Cobb, pp.373-74, quoting the Detroit News, December 27, 1926; New York Times, December 23, 1926.

    56. Chicago Tribune, January 2-7, 1927; New York Times, January 6, 1927.

    57. New York Times, January 13, 1927.

    58. Chicago Tribune, December 24, 1926, quoting a news item out of Detroit.

    59. Chicago Tribune, December 24, 1926.

    60. It is barely possibly that Barres did speak to Landis. A single source (Lieb, Baseball As I Have Known It, p.62) has a sentence saying that when, on November 29, Landis took the testimony of Cobb, Speaker, Wood, and West, "several employees of the Detroit club... were supposedly there." If so, Barres's words went unheeded.

    61. New York Times, January 28, 1927.

    62. Actually, it is possible that the game was not insignificant. It may have led to a quid pro quo a year later. After the Black Sox scandal broke, Major League owners employed private detectives to ferret out other suspect games. One that raised doubts was the Cleveland-Detroit 4-game, season-ending series of the 1920 season. Detroit won the first and last games but lost the important middle two. Cleveland won the first of these 10-3. It clinched at least a pennant for them. Detroit made 4 errors. The next day Cleveland triumphed 10-1. This one clinched the pennant for them. Detroit fielded poorly again, and the starting pitcher gave up 5 walks. Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook, p.296; New York Times, October 1-4, 1920.

    63. The summary paragraphs represent a synthesis of the views expressed by the authors cited most frequently among the secondary sources in the notes.

    64. In the Black Sox scandal, the bulk of the prosecution evidence necessarily went no further than duly sworn verbal assertions, but these did not suffice. The defense won an acquittal for all the defendants quite easily. The defense lawyers did not have to urge their clients to testify, and they did not. Since their grand jury confessions were widely known to the public, to have done so would have been awkward to say the least. Asinof, Eight Men Out, pp.244-57, 265-72.

    (Table of contents for TC General Thread.
    Page 1 - Leonard/Cobb/Speaker/Wood Affair(Message 1); Joe Wood transcript (Message 1); Gehringer's wife's letter (19); Buck Ewing (8); John B. Sheridan / catcher/SS/Chase / J.Collins, Herman Long (9); Sheridan/player's value (10); BB concensus', Old/Modern Advantages (12); Cobb/Wagner/Hornsby/Ruth's hitting stats (13); ElHalo/TC's 6 TPR (15)

    Page 2 - Changes In History I Would Have Made (32); Greatest Pitching Seasons (37); 10 Greatest Pitching Seasons (38); Babe: 1918-19 (39); Greatest Offensive Seasons (40); Rose/R.Jackson (44); Top 5 All-Time All-Positions (46); Cobb/Mays, Cobb's Power Case (47); Reggie Jackson (48);

    Page 3 - Mathewson/Grove (51); Ruth/Williams As Hitters Only (55); Bigger, Stronger, Faster Isn't Everything (56); Most Feared Hitters (58); All time teams of (Cobb, Mack, Foster, McGraw, Rice) (59); Pittsburgh Courier Negro L. A & B teams (60); Best Guys Not in the H of F (61); Ty's Case, Ty also did well/Ruth's Lack of 12 Skills (62); Black Ink Leaders, Single Seasons (63); Great Cobb Moments (65); My Best Current All-Around Players (66); SO ratios (Cobb, Jackson, Collins, Sisler, Hornsby) (67); Cobb/Ruth never be resolved (69); Cobb/Ruth (Cobb did well also), how many yrs. his records lasted, 12 skills Ruth lacked, couldn't steal worth a damn (70); Deadball sluggers/Modern slugger's Walks With Respect to era/ RBIs With Respect to era (71); The Babe: A Personal Glimpse (72); Long Bulova post/Bingay/BR Hitting 1915-19/Contact/Sluggers-20's, 20's hitters didn't adjust (73);

    Page 4 - Babe/Pitchers (76); Cobb's % of L. BA (79); Judge Landis (81); Southern Boys (82); Cobb supporter's tribute quotes (84, 85, 86, 90); (125); Public Ledger poll/Duncan (88); McGraw's letters (87); Harry Hooper on TC running (89); TC Lost Support as Greatest, 1906 season (96); McGraw's Views on Pitching Batteries (97); 1984Tigers/PumpsieGreen's Kind Words of Support (134);

    Page 5 - 10 Greatest PP NL Ever Produced / 10 Greatest PP AL ever Produced(101); Your Best All-Time OF Ever (104); Your Greatest Pitching Staffs Ever (118); Your Best All-Around IF Ever (119); Greatest Right-Handed Hitters / Best DP Combos / Best Ride-Side IF Ever (127)

    Page 6 - Most Devastating Death In BB Ever (Spink) (128); Cobb Had a Good Side (130); Ty/Babe (135); Drummers / Beatle's Buried Treasures / Rolling Stones' Buried Treasures (142);

    Page 7 - Ty/Babe Defense (157); Babe's decline phase (159); Historical Defensive CFs (162); ElHalo/RMB: TC's TPR RMB's Cobb's GG analysis (164); Sluggers who kept Rel. BA. Up (166); Chase's supporter's / Sisler's supports (171); Cobb's HRs with runners on (69.2%) (202);

    Did Cobb Once Kill a Man / How Racist Was Ty? / Leo Durocher / Hip / Did Cobb's Team Mates Hate Him? (186) Baker incident / Cobb's will (187); Cobb GG analysis (185, 190);

    Page 10 - TC go for HRs (203); DiMag / Here comes God (213); Miller Huggins all time team (222); All Positions Form Chart, incl. pitchers / relievers (225); A Word on Wagner, Honus/Babe, Off/D. Combo, Wagner Over Mays, Ruth / Mays, Cobb/Wagner, Lloyd/Wagner, "Bullet Joe" Rogan, Joe Williams, J. Gibson, B. Mackey, Gibson/Mackey, John Lloyd, black profiles (231);

    Page 10 - BR questions (239); Ty's Decline Phase (246)

    Page 11 - TC estimated SO rates, based on curve 248);

    Page 12 - TC's racism/US Pres. slave-holding (270, 272, 276); Cobb/Williams (281)
    Page 13 - ElHalo/Catcher24's walks analysis re:eras; (My pre-'20/post '20 Era Walk totals for certain, select sluggers) (295)

    Page 13 - TC's Most Fervent Suporters (302); Rogers Loved TC (305); Historical polls/surveys (306);Sisler's All-Time Team analysis (312); Nomasusko's positive feedback (314); McPhail/Babe (319); Sports Writers (321);

    Page 14 - Bill James' Negro L./pre-1900 Top 100 (327); Urban Shocker (328); Sisler's power (349); Ruth/Cobb - How long their records lasted? (337); Form chart for all 8 positions (342); Imapotato form chart (343); RMB's Lange, McAleer OF analysis (348); Pennock (335);

    Page 15 - My 3 eras catcher's Form Chart (352); Lange/McAleer (355); only hitting Catchers? (352); 1920 hitters didn't adjust (364); Lange (367); Sad Story of Martin Bergen (368); McAleer/Archer/Bennett (370); Best Sports Writers died since 1988 (375); Sporting News (376);

    Page 16 - DiMaggio quote:1969/Cobb high up there (378); Joe Falls (392); Bill/Leecemark Top 20 1B (393); Sisler's 1931 all time team analysis (409); 1B chit-chat;

    Page 18 - My Top 10 BB moments (414); Torez71 - A game TC/BR (416); Reference Sheet (421); Voices From the Great Black Baseball Leagues (423); Negro L. lists (425);

    Page 18 - Talent Pools; Bullet Joe Rogan (445); Long Smokey Joe Williams post (446); Am I Too Invested in TC (449)

    Page 19 - OFs Defensive stats chart (452); Integration - who integreated what team (460); Crawford on Wagner/TC (465); Sheridan - Jennings, Long, catchers D. (466); Ty/Granny Rice (475);

    Page 20 - Mack/McGraw grew/evolved (476); 17 of Cobb's Concensus' Big Ballers on their all time teams (479); My Top 10 pitchers seasons (483);My Top SS (484); My Top LF, CF, RF (485); My Top 3B (486); My Top 2B (487); My Top 1B (488); My Top Catchers, Final tally for Top 10 Catchers (489); Gibson/Mackay/Lloyd (490); Fever's individuals Top 5 Players (491); Fever's Top 10 by Position (500)

    Page 21 - TC/Larry Brown/racism Cobb/BB's pensions (502); BB's popularity (504); Ty/Babe's 2 colorful OF D. (505); Mantle/Stengel/Lieb/Lopez (507); Fastest pitch (522); Steroids (523);

    Page 22 - 1933 # newspapers per city (529); Write-Ups: Richter, Foster, Phelon (535); Which Leagues' Stars Glitter More? (536); 3 Ty Groups (545); Ty's Fielding (550).

    Page 23 - Backward Flight/Joe D's Defense (552); 8 Fever voters Top 100 (554); 1927 Yankees pitchers (557); Greatest WS pitchers (558); (Weak Sisters, 1927 Yankees/1929 Athletics) (560); Ottawa Citizen: Koozma Tarasoff (568); Certain, limited Ty topics - defense, arm, managing (572); Top 20 Managers, McGraw/Mack, Top 10 Smartest Hitters, Top 10 Sluggers, Top 10 All-Around Hitter After Ruth (573);

    Page 24 - Joseph Durso (576); Brett/Mathew, Kaline/Clemente (579); Most Lethal Lineup Possible (580); Changes in BB affecting society 581); Greatest Defensive CFers (584); Page 25 -

    Page 26 -

    Page 27 -

    Page 28 - TC's yearly Relative BA% (680);

    Page 29 -

    Page 31 -

    Page 32 - Candidates For Best Peak (782)

    1. Hall of Fame: How to Revive Its Relavancy. - Dec. 5, 2003 - 37
    2. Defensive All-Time Team - December 10, 2003 - 312
    3. Wagner Still #1. Is A-Rod pulling on Him? - Dec. 21, 2003 - 20
    4. Speed Down to 1B - Jan. 2, 2004 - 11 posts
    5. Most Feared 1-2 Punch - January 16, 2004 - 70
    6. Did Babe Ruth Really "Win" 7 Pennants & 5 WS for his Team? - Feb. 23, 2004 - 23
    7. Ty Cobb General Thread - February 27, 2004 - 670
    8. All-Time All-Star Team, A & B - March 2, 2004 - 180
    9. DiMaggio/Speaker: March 28, 2004 - 12
    10. Smartest Pitcher Ever: April 24, 2004 - 29
    11. Which League's Stars Glitter the Most? - June 1, 2004 - 16
    12. Who Was the Greatest Player With the Shortest Career? - June 27, 2004 - 38
    13. Why Isn't Urban Shocker In the Hall? - July 3, 2004 - 12
    14. All time Black Team, A & B - July 3, 2004 - 9
    15. Was Bert Blydeven a Famer? July 15, 2004 - 11
    16. Your Worst Hall of Famers? - July 15, 2004 - 32
    17. Poll: Best Fastball/Curveball combo? - July 31, 2004 - 2
    18. Clash of the Teams - August 4, 2004 - 70
    19. How Good Was Pie? - August 14, 2004 - 231
    20. The Triple Threat - August 19, 2004 - 23
    21. How Good Was Traynor? - August 21, 2004 - 19
    22. Hall of Fame: Honorable Mention: September 4, 2004 - 152
    23. Top 20 2B - October 11, 2004 - 55
    24. All-Time AL Team vs. All-Time NL Team - December 17, 2004 - 52
    25. Mainstream All-Time Team - December 24, 2004 - 27
    26. Your Most Lethal Line-Up Ever - January 2, 2005 - 59
    27. Your Top 20 Managers - January 2, 2005 - 28
    28. Best Left Side of IF Ever - January 18, 2005 - 33
    29. Best DP Combo Ever - January 28, 2005 - 11
    30. Best Right Side of IF Ever - January 29, 2005 - 8
    31. Best All-Around IF Ever - February 2, 2005 - 9
    32. Best All-Around OF Ever - February 2, 2005 - 17
    33. Greatest Position Players Ever Produced by the NL - Feb. 3, 2005 - 38
    34. Greatest Pitching Staff - February 3, 2005 - 11
    35. Greatest Position Players Ever Produced by the AL - February 4, 2005 - 16
    36. John McGraw's Views on Pitchers/Batteries - February 7, 2005 - 7
    37. Johnny Kling and the Cubs - February 9, 2005 - 11
    38. Cool Stats - February 15, 2005 - 6
    39. Wow! - March 1, 2005 - 43
    40. Pete Rose/Reggie Jackson - March 3, 2005 - 24
    41. Check the Players You Feel Are Great - March 5, 2005 - 9
    42. Who Are We? I'd Really Like To Know - March 23, 2005 - 92
    43. Was Reggie Jackson a Great Player? - March 28, 2005 - 235
    44. Which Player Do You Feel Were Great? - March 28, 2005 - 57
    45. Negro League Player Profiles - March 30, 2005 - 6
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-13-2005, 07:58 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by csh19792001
    "I'm one of those people who doesn't believe a strikeout is really any worse than a groundout"

    Halo- for your own edification-

    That article's all well and good, but it doesn't prove any point. It talks about the stigma against strikeouts going away, and how it should be back, but it doesn't offer any objective evidence about the awful qualities of the strikeout. He talks about how some power hitters used to have low strikeout rates, but he doesn't offer any proof of why it's bad that hitters do now. Sure, you can't have a sacrifice fly or a runner moved over on a strikeout, but you most certainly can get on base on a strikeout, something you absolutely CAN NOT DO on a flyout or a groundout. And you can't hit into a double play on a strikeout. Until I see some statistical evidence to the contrary, I'm going to believe you've got a wash there.

    Now, I've heard people argue that "at least when you put a ball in play, there's a chance of a fielder committing an error." That's undoubtedly true, but it's completely irrelevant to this discussion. If the fielder commits an error on a ground ball, and you get on base, then nobody's out... and, by definition, a groundout has not occurred. So, when you get a groundout, or a flyout, or a strikeout, the result is the same. You're out. Except on a strikout, you're not posing the risk of forcing the guys you already have on base into forceouts for double plays and triple plays.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam,


    • #3
      Originally posted by RuthMayBond
      SHOW me where I ALLEGEDLY said this

      LOL. I thought this one odd of you, esp. knowing what you know in statistics. It was in your post, and since you put everything in bold, and Bill has a way of answering the other person's question (potential response) before they make it (and then people quoting that, and so on) it gets more and more abstruse.

      My fault, RMB. I apologize. As a result of the hurlyburly, I thought you were speaking in your post, when it turns out you were quoting him.

      Why do you put everything in bold like that? I dont see anyone else who does that.

      (Bill - That's just lame and you well know it! Babe was taking walks, while Sisler was swinging at bad balls. He just wanted to hit the ball. Sizzler was known as impatient, and he should have had more plate discipline.)

      I don't think a guy should have more plate discipline if he is hitting .400 with 230 hits a year and extreemly LOW strikeout totals. I could be wrong, but I doubt it in this instance.


      • #4
        Originally posted by csh19792001
        His SLG and OBP were through the roof, because he was Ruth (greatest slugger and HR hitter), because he was playing at the Polo Grounds, were he slugged 200 pts higher than he did on the road, and because pitchers walked him incessantly.

        And as to the walks- This is largely because they had never faced a HR hitter before, didnt know how to deal with him, and realized he was fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths, and COULD be disposed of (via walks) as opposed to a guy like Cobb, with whom the trouble was ONLY BEGINNING when you put him on first.
        Um... what?

        Since you're talking about the Polo Grounds, I must assume you're talking about 1920-22, the only years Ruth played in the Polo Grounds.

        So you say Ruth was "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths" then? Again, I say... Um... what?

        In 1920, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases. He was second to Wally Pipp in triples (Ruth had 12, Pipp had 14). In 1921, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases AGAIN, and also led the Yankees in triples (tied with Bob Meusel at 16). In 1922, Ruth was injured for a good amount of time, so his stolen bases were down, but he still hit 8 triples, good for third on the team.

        So, I ask again... how was Ruth "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths"?
        "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

        Sean McAdam,


        • #5
          Originally posted by ElHalo
          That article's all well and good, but it doesn't prove any point. It talks about the stigma against strikeouts going away, and how it should be back, but it doesn't offer any objective evidence about the awful qualities of the strikeout. He talks about how some power hitters used to have low strikeout rates, but he doesn't offer any proof of why it's bad that hitters do now. Sure, you can't have a sacrifice fly or a runner moved over on a strikeout, but you most certainly can get on base on a strikeout, something you absolutely CAN NOT DO on a flyout or a groundout. And you can't hit into a double play on a strikeout. Until I see some statistical evidence to the contrary, I'm going to believe you've got a wash there.

          Now, I've heard people argue that "at least when you put a ball in play, there's a chance of a fielder committing an error." That's undoubtedly true, but it's completely irrelevant to this discussion. If the fielder commits an error on a ground ball, and you get on base, then nobody's out... and, by definition, a groundout has not occurred. So, when you get a groundout, or a flyout, or a strikeout, the result is the same. You're out. Except on a strikout, you're not posing the risk of forcing the guys you already have on base into forceouts for double plays and triple plays.
          A Strikeout: The Cruelest Out of All

          by Harold Friend

          "There is nothing worse than a strikeout. A strikeout is not just another out. It is an out that is a completely wasted at bat for the offensive team. Almost nothing positive can occur when a batter strikes out, and the few good things that can happen are so rare in today’s game that they can virtually be discounted.

          A strikeout can help the offensive team if the batter reaches base safely after striking out. With fewer than two outs and first base unoccupied, or with two outs and first base occupied, a strikeout victim can reach first safely if the catcher misses the third strike and beats a throw to first base. Baserunners can advance at their own risk if a third strike gets by the catcher. That just about summarizes the good things that can happen when a batter strikes out, with one exception.

          There is an instance in which a strikeout can be as good as a base on balls. When the batter has two strikes and the next pitch is clearly wild and going to get by the catcher, an alert batter can intentionally swing at the pitch, knowing he will strike out, but also realizing that he will stand an excellent chance of reaching first base.

          Almost none of today’s players ever attempts such a play. The reason players give is that it will break their rhythm for future plate appearances, and that is a valid point. But there are times when there is a dire need to get something going offensively, and paradoxically, it can be a strikeout.

          When a batter strikes out, runners do not advance and runs do not score. A strike out eats up an out. That’s it. Even a double play can be better than a strikeout, and depending on the situation, can actually be productive.

          In 1962, the Yankees and Giants split the first six games of the World Series. The seventh game at Candlestick Park was a scoreless pitching duel between the Yankees’ Ralph Terry and the Giants’ Jack Sanford until the Yankees came to bat in the top of the fifth inning. Bill Skowron singled, Clete Boyer singled, and pitcher Ralph Terry drew a base a ball.

          It was a great opportunity for the Yankees to break the game open, but leadoff man Tony Kubek grounded into a double play, scoring Skowron. That was it. There was no more scoring. The only run of the game, and the run that was the margin of victory for the Yankees to win the World Championship, scored as the result of a double play.

          Double plays kill rallies, but at least the ball is in play. Kubek made contact and hit the ball well, but it was hit to the fielder. A batter can’t direct the flight of the ball. But striking out is failure, because contact is not made."


          "Today, it is a different game. Some sportscasters and former baseball players have stated that “an out is an out” and a strikeout is simply another way of a batter being retired. Many players also subscribe to the false belief that a strikeout is no worse than any other type of out. Do they really believe that a strikeout is just as good as a fly ball to the outfield when there is one out and a runner on third? Would the arbitrator at a salary hearing agree with the concept that “an out is an out?

          New York Mets broadcasters Tom Seaver and Gary Thorne discussed whether or not McGwire, with all the strikeouts, was helping St. Louis. Thorne felt that McGwire was a detriment because if he didn’t hit a home run, he would do nothing to start a rally, continue a rally, or move a runner along. His strikeouts had killed many rallies.

          Seaver agreed, but put in the disclaimer that McGwire’s home runs helped the team, and he concluded that McGwire was more of a positive than a negative. Home runs are good. Implicit in the discussion was the fact that no out is worse than a strikeout.

          Scoring runs is important and wins games, but preventing the other team from scoring runs is even more important. Pitching and defense, not home runs, win championships. Players who strike out simply strengthen their opponents pitching and defense and ruin their team’s offense. A strikeout is the worst play in baseball."

          I'm presenting you with logic and expecting you to use your intuitive baseball knowledge to understand this. It should be self-implicit and self revealed from all your years of watching baseball. Again, do I have stats to show how much worse? No, because stats arent applicable here.

          Most of the time, a strikeout is the worst out that can happen, and the most selfish.


          • #6
            Originally posted by RuthMayBond
            I put my quotes inside what I quote so I don't have to keep bolding and un-bolding. So you CAUGHT Burgess, the guy on YOUR side? Justice is served
            yeah, i nabbed Bill!!

            i know how much he supports Gorgeous George, so it surprises me that he would say it.


            • #7
              Originally posted by ElHalo
              Um... what?

              Since you're talking about the Polo Grounds, I must assume you're talking about 1920-22, the only years Ruth played in the Polo Grounds.

              So you say Ruth was "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths" then? Again, I say... Um... what?

              In 1920, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases. He was second to Wally Pipp in triples (Ruth had 12, Pipp had 14). In 1921, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases AGAIN, and also led the Yankees in triples (tied with Bob Meusel at 16). In 1922, Ruth was injured for a good amount of time, so his stolen bases were down, but he still hit 8 triples, good for third on the team.

              So, I ask again... how was Ruth "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths"?
              Yes- 20-22, because we were talking about him in comparison to Sisler.

              Perhaps I've overstated it on "fairly slow", but I don't think so. Maybe people can tell me that is untrue. The other two assumptions seem to hold.

              1. Marshall Smelsler "The Life That Ruth Built" pgs. 340-41. (On the 26' World Series debacle, due to Ruth's incompetence. A microcosm of a career.

              2. 123 stolen bases, lifetime, and 117 CS.

              3. Reading quotes from contemporaries about Ruth's baserunning various places, such as Bill's files. He was better than one would expect from someone so heavy, but still far from good.

              4. On "fat" and also on "farily slow"- seeing film of him and him running, and reading about him weighing close to 250 at various points in his career (Robert Creamer).


              • #8
                Originally posted by csh19792001

                I'm presenting you with logic and expecting you to use your intuitive baseball knowledge to understand this. It should be self-implicit and self revealed from all your years of watching baseball. Again, do I have stats to show how much worse? No, because stats arent applicable here.

                Most of the time, a strikeout is the worst out that can happen, and the most selfish.

                I read the article. I just didn't agree with it.

                I've watched baseball for many years, yes. And yes, there are times, in close games with less than two outs and a guy on third, that I'm praying for just a popout.

                But there are just as many times, when a guy's taken a weak swing at a pitch and sailed a lazy chopper to short, starting an inning ending double play, that I've wished they would have just taken the third strike.

                Sorry, but until I see some kind of statistical evidence showing me that productive groundouts/flyouts are more prevalent than double/triple plays and advancing to first on dropped third strikes, I'll continue to believe that one is just as good as the other.
                "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                Sean McAdam,


                • #9
                  Originally posted by csh19792001
                  I'm presenting you with logic and expecting you to use your intuitive baseball knowledge to understand this. It should be self-implicit and self revealed from all your years of watching baseball. Again, do I have stats to show how much worse? No, because stats arent applicable here.

                  Most of the time, a strikeout is the worst out that can happen, and the most selfish.
                  It seems as if this argument is just wrong. Check out this article


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by csh19792001
                    Yes- 20-22, because we were talking about him in comparison to Sisler.

                    Perhaps I've overstated it on "fairly slow", but I don't think so. Maybe people can tell me that is untrue. The other two assumptions seem to hold.

                    1. Marshall Smelsler "The Life That Ruth Built" pgs. 340-41. (On the 26' World Series debacle, due to Ruth's incompetence. A microcosm of a career.

                    2. 123 stolen bases, lifetime, and 117 CS.

                    3. Reading quotes from contemporaries about Ruth's baserunning various places, such as Bill's files. He was better than one would expect from someone so heavy, but still far from good.

                    4. On "fat" and also on "farily slow"- seeing film of him and him running, and reading about him weighing close to 250 at various points in his career (Robert Creamer).
                    Well, he's listed at 6'2" and 215"... which doesn't really seem all that fat to me. And as far as him weighing close to 250... Roger Clemens weighs close to 250, but I don't think anyone would really call him "fat."... Sure, Ruth was overweight at times, but he was never a David Wells.

                    And as for the SB's... he had a career SB% of 51. Not great, sure. Let's look at the league numbers (that we have CS' for...). I'll start with 1920... the CS numbers are shady before then.

                    1920: 51.5%
                    1921: 55.6%
                    1922: 56.9%
                    1923: 55.0%
                    1924: 56.3%

                    You get the idea. The SB% numbers hovered right around 55%... meaning that Ruth was below average, but hardly incompetent, at basestealing.
                    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                    Sean McAdam,


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ElHalo
                      Well, he's listed at 6'2" and 215"... which doesn't really seem all that fat to me. And as far as him weighing close to 250... Roger Clemens weighs close to 250, but I don't think anyone would really call him "fat."... Sure, Ruth was overweight at times, but he was never a David Wells.

                      And as for the SB's... he had a career SB% of 51. Not great, sure. Let's look at the league numbers (that we have CS' for...). I'll start with 1920... the CS numbers are shady before then.

                      1920: 51.5%
                      1921: 55.6%
                      1922: 56.9%
                      1923: 55.0%
                      1924: 56.3%

                      You get the idea. The SB% numbers hovered right around 55%... meaning that Ruth was below average, but hardly incompetent, at basestealing.
                      Where did you get the league numbers? What are they for Babe's career, vs. his career pct? Interesting stuff.

                      Two things seriously missing are strikeouts and CS. They had to go back and figure out RBI's before the 20's, even!!

                      I don't put hardly any stock in the listed weights- they have Frank Howard at 255- when everyone agrees that he was closer to 280, at surely more at the end of his career. They have Cobb at 175, when in his prime he was never under 190. They have Mo Vaughn at 230 and Fielder at 240- both of which, you and I know to be ridiculous.

                      Their listings for Mantle and Gehrig seem to be way off, too.

                      I'm getting the weight info from just seeing pics of the Babe (and some film, esp from 25' on), and from what I read in the Smesler and Creamer biopics. Clemens is a fitness fanatic, btw. He is famous for his hellish, 3 hour workouts. He doesn't have a huge belly, like Ruth did, esp. (look at pics of him on the 27 and 28 Yanks). I think Clemens was always just built like a football player- just husky. They babe (according to Smesler), was 185 when he came up. He grew fat early. I don't think Clemens ever weighed under 220. He's put on weight as he has gone on, to be sure.

                      So Babe was never really obese, like Wells or Fielder, (or the guys that played him in the movies ), but he was pretty close at times, from what I've seen. Certainly a far, far cry from a somebody with great speed.
                      Last edited by csh19792001; 04-05-2004, 03:17 PM.


                      • #12
               has SB and CS numbers for each league for each year... once you have those, it's pretty easy to calculate SB% (SB / (SB + CS)).

                        And yeah, admittedly, Ruth was a pretty hefty guy... but then again, so am I, so maybe I have a soft spot for him.

                        But yeah, while Ruth was probably heavier and more out of shape than a lot of other ballplayers... he was also a far, far cry from John Goodman, which is the image a lot of people have of the Babe (i.e., an obese, lumbering oaf).
                        "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                        Sean McAdam,


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by [email protected]

                          I do appreciate anyone who rates Ty well. But I also asked ElHalo how he comes to his conclusions. Which makes me curious, as stats place Cobb in 2nd at the worst.
                          It kind of got buried, Mr. Burgess, but if you check the post at the top of the 4th page in this thread, I explained why I put Hornsby, Williams, Mays, and Gehrig ahead of Cobb. Ruth... well, I figure you know those reasons.
                          "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                          Sean McAdam,


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ElHalo
                   has SB and CS numbers for each league for each year... once you have those, it's pretty easy to calculate SB% (SB / (SB + CS)).

                            And yeah, admittedly, Ruth was a pretty hefty guy... but then again, so am I, so maybe I have a soft spot for him.

                            But yeah, while Ruth was probably heavier and more out of shape than a lot of other ballplayers... he was also a far, far cry from John Goodman, which is the image a lot of people have of the Babe (i.e., an obese, lumbering oaf).

                            Oh, for sure. The movies are a joke. Even if he was fat, you dont have all those XBHits without being able to run fairly well.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bf-lurker
                              It seems as if this argument is just wrong. Check out this article
                              Interesting scatterplots.

                              However, this disproves none of the points in the Harold Friend article. This is on a MACRO level, or team wise.

                              I'm talking micro level (eliminating many, many extraneous (potentially confounding) variables) In other words, what we are talking about here is in individual instances, and most plausible scenarios show (by logic) that a K is worse than a hit-out far more often than not.

                              FROM THE ARTICLE- "Of course, causation is a sticky subject, so try not to misinterpret the above data as "proof" that increased strikeouts cause an improvement in a player's secondary skills. It's just that where one group shows up, often so does the other."

                              And also, it deleteriously effect PRIMARY skills!!! Forget the tenuous link between this and SECONDARY skills.

                              For instance, this does not take into account era differences, where runs per game were higher, creating more at bats, creating more strikeouts (more possibilities)!!! It amalgamates 1950-2000, which is specious and dissmissive.

                              If you abide by this metric, however.... Notice, the distinct negative correlation between K's and BA and K's vs. OBP. Quite detrimental.

                              PURIST perspective objections (the artistic, visceral, NON STATISTICAL side of the game)-

                              Besides, strikeouts are usually boring!!!!!!! Walks are frequently boring. This is antithetical to the original intent of the game- to put the ball in play, make contact, and make things happen. The reason a K is an embarrasment is because it is a selfish failure and the worst out one can make. You arent giving anything a chance. Very little good can come of it.

                              Last edited by csh19792001; 04-05-2004, 08:28 PM.


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