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Ty Cobb General Thread

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  • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
    There's a great article on page 38 of the latest SABR Baseball Research Journal titled: "Was Ty Cobb a Power Hitter?" written by Roy Brownell. It makes a cogent and compelling case that Cobb was not only an outstanding power hitter, but a great homerun hitter. It also refutes the myopic stance (repeated by several regulars here ad nauseum) that Ty Cobb "Couldn't (or didn't) adapt to the liveball".

    I wondered if anyone here had read it and what their thoughts were.
    Can you post the article here? I'd love to read it!
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


    • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
      Can you post the article here? I'd love to read it!
      I don't have the time to type it out, unfortunately. It's fairly lengthy, and has some nice charts/graphs. Since it's members only, though, I don't think I can find it online. Randy might have the publication, and he can type like nobody's business.

      Does anyone here have issue handy and the time to type it all out?


      • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
        I don't have the time to type it out, unfortunately. It's fairly lengthy, and has some nice charts/graphs. Since it's members only, though, I don't think I can find it online. Randy might have the publication, and he can type like nobody's business.

        Does anyone here have issue handy and the time to type it all out?
        If you can scan it you can upload it or send the scanned copy to me and I'll type it out. Anything for my fellow BBFers.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


        • Okay I read the article and think some things got over-stated. Ty Cobb could be considered a "great" home run hitter for his time. He was one of a small handful of players that ended up with over 100 homers for their career. One thing though is that before 1919 there was just 10 players over 100 homers for their career all had done obviously before the 1920's era. At that point Cobb had 67 homers. Just 10 years later there was 28 total players with over 100 homers, and George Sisler and three others would go over 100 the next year. By 1939 there was 65 players with over 100 and by the next year another 5 would go over. In all likelihood if the rule changes don't happen Ty Cobb doesn't hit over 100 homers. Now obviously that doesn't mean he wasn't a slugger but the point is that the author was pointing out the fact that Ty Cobb in his day would have had similar totals of other big "sluggers", the problem is that none of them that he is getting compared to got to play in the 1920's. Of course though I should mention that we run into another problem in that Ty Cobb's era actually had lower home run rates then the 19th century homer rates (see David Vincents article in same BRJ).

          Second part is that he mentions that the view that a huge chunk of Ty Cobb's homers were inside the park homers but that to say that takes away from his slugger tag is false. He states some reasons why and I don't really disagree with those reasons but I think again he over-states the case. He tries to pin the dissenting opinion on the view that people are saying that Cobb's ITPHR were solely the product of speed. That isn't true, obiviously Cobb's homers were not solely the product of speed. You definitely have to hit the ball at least hard and sometimes far (on the fly) to get a ITPHR but to pin the other side solely on speed is wrong. Yes you have to hit it hard but you also have to have speed to get home. So while it might very well not be 100% because of speed it certainly could be 50% because of speed.

          The second reason argued is that the parks were mammoth and there were hits that would have been homers in a smaller park. Again no doubt but again I disagree with this kind of all or nothing type reasoning. yes there would have been ITPHR that would have gone over a wall if they were closer but it is also true that there would have been less ITPHR because of shorter distances and it is also true that there would probably be some more outs as well.

          Another thing he argues about is that uses Cobb's placement in the leader board as proof that he was a home run hitter in his day. But he fails to mention that when the leader is only hitting 9 homers or so practically everybody is in the leaderboard. One windy day, one good day at say the Baker Bowl, or one rainy sloppy day in Washington, could instantly cement your place on the leaderboard for the whole year.

          Finally he uses triples and doubles to further point out Cobb's power yet at the same time he completely neglects one facet of Cobb's game that helped make him great, and that his sheer determination to go as far as possible all the time.

          In the end though I don't disagree with what Ty Cobb himself said. He said that he was confident that in a good year he could hit 20 to 30 homers, and that it should be noted was with Ty believing he would have to change his game to get to that total.

          At the end of the article he says that Cobb could have hit with power like Brett and Musial, and again I think that would not be an unreasonable expectation (with me shading closer to Brett in the homer department). But I don't think anyone would think Ty Cobb was a "slugger" or really a power hitter.


          • Here's a great video that I ran across as I was looking through the Sports Illustrated vault. It was made by Wesley Fricks. It has outstanding video clips that I've never seen before.

            Check it out.

            "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

            Rogers Hornsby, 1961


            • Great video! The song is totally lame, though.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


              • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                Great video! The song is totally lame, though.
                Agreed. 80ish rock ballad? ick.

                Eye Of The Tiger, anyone?

                That would be trite, though. I like this guy's rendition:

                Ty Cobb Set to Johnny Cash


                • Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 22:25:46 -0400
                  Subject: New Ty Cobb Biography

                  I have just published another book on Ty Cobb. This one is a really exciting
                  biography of Ty Cobb written by H. G. Salsinger in 1951, titled "Which was
                  Greatest: Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth?" It contains 120 pages in 5.5 X 8.5 inch
                  format, with a Dedication, a Foreword and Afterword by the Editor, as well
                  as a short biography of the author. It is reprinted with permission from The
                  Sporting News.

                  There is also a poem on Ty Cobb, a takeoff on E. L. Thayer's famous "Casey
                  at the Bat." This poem was written by Salsinger after Ty Cobb's greatest
                  career game in 1907, and has not been seen in print since the original
                  publication. And, the book contains more than 25 photos from Ty Cobb's life
                  and career.

                  Here is the description from the back cover of the book:

                  "In 1942, The Sporting News surveyed over one hundred former baseball stars
                  and managers and asked: "Who do you consider the Greatest Baseball Player of all Time? Why?" Ty Cobb won the poll by an overwhelming 59 percent. Babe Ruth was third with only 11 percent, 6 points behind Honus Wagner. The tide
                  soon turned toward Ruth, however, as he bested Cobb with 256 to 116 votes as the "Greatest of All Time" in a Sports Writers Poll of 1950.

                  That same year, no doubt to voice his disagreement with his sportswriting
                  colleagues, H. G Salsinger, the renowned Sports Editor of the Detroit News,
                  wrote a biographical series on Ty Cobb for The Sporting News. This series
                  covered every aspect of the Ty Cobb's life and career in 22 separate
                  chapters that were published over several weeks. Salsinger chose the title
                  "Which was Greatest: Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth?" - capitalizing on the public
                  controversy over who was the "Greatest" to draw attention to his biography.

                  Salsinger's biography of Ty Cobb is reprinted here for the first time since
                  1951. The first chapter addresses the Cobb versus Ruth question, making
                  Salsinger's well thought out argument for Cobb as "The Greatest."
                  remaining chapters present an in-depth view of Ty Cobb - the player and the
                  man - that H. G. Salsinger developed while watching, analyzing and reporting
                  during Cobb's entire baseball career. Unlike all of the other Cobb
                  biographies since 1950, this work was written by an author who knew Cobb
                  well, who understood him, who analyzed him and who actually saw him play. No biography written since has this unique and much needed perspective."

                  If you would like a copy of this book, which sells for $14.95 plus $3.95
                  shipping, please contact me at


                  • Ty Cobb Was Not A Racist, Modern Writers Failed Him

                    By Wesley Fricks

                    August 2, 2008

                    Tyrus Raymond Cobb was by far the greatest player in Major League Baseball history but very few write about his personal side - the side that has been buried beneath the weight of time. Cobb died on the afternoon of July 17th, 1961. It was at that point when dime store writers finally had their way with Cobb and his legacy as the great player and personality in the game.

                    Today I would like to share with you some things that have been misinterpreted by these writers down through the generations. The one that stands out most is the assault that writers of today have placed on Cobb's relationship with blacks and minorities. I will carefully explain the truth and let you come to your on conclusion.

                    As I have recognized a need to present facts about Ty's relationships with blacks, I have decide to write a story that displays Ty Cobb’s support for blacks and other minorities. It is important to provide facts supporting the reality that the negative publicity came after Ty Cobb died in 1961. I also enclosed several articles, but interestingly, one that I found where his son, Jim Cobb, made the exact same assessment in 1977.

                    My readers. if you were to research the facts, you’ll find that Mr. Cobb was different than he is portrayed in the eye of the modern public. He was rich with popularity and writers back then could always count on his name to generate interest in their newspaper.

                    Mr. Cobb was a charitably natured man who actually was soft for the minority, whether the minority was someone who had different colored skin, or handicapped, or someone who was less fortunate, or even someone who was small in size. He would always tell the little fellow who was standing in the back and could not get close to come to the front. He wanted to make sure they got a chance too.

                    In the late 1920’s, Ty Cobb leased a hunting preserve with over 12,000 acres in MaGruder, Georgia, and built a house on it for a black man named Uncle Bob Robinson and his family to live there.

                    In place of the rent, they would make sure no intruders trespassed on the property. Anytime Cobb and his friends were hunting on the land this fellow, by his own choice, would always hunt along beside Ty. At times, he would entertain the guest with his story telling.

                    After a long day of hunting they would gather around a campfire and talk baseball or whatever came to mind. On this particular day, Cobb had bagged twelve birds and had not missed a one as Mr. Cobb was a crack shot. Mr. Robinson told the story to Tris Speaker and the others, “Yeah, Mr. COBB had a bad day today.” "What do you mean, Cobb bagged twelve birds and didn’t miss,” said Speaker. “Yeah, but he near ‘bout missed one,” recounted Mr. Robinson.

                    Present day authors have distorted Cobb’s reputation to a point of the ridiculous. For example, in the book “COBB” that the movie “COBB” was based on tried to show that COBB hosted orgies and drinking parties. I have the contract agreement on the land and it clearly states that there was to be “absolutely NO alcohol on the premises.”

                    This was at Major League Baseball’s Brunswick, Georgia retreat. It was called “Dover Hall Club” and Ty Cobb was 1/16 part owner of the 2,500 acre hunting and fishing camp. The MLB magnates owned it from the early 1910s until the late 1930s. Cobb was the only player of the sixteen investors who bought into the $1,000 stock-leasing plan.

                    Mr. Cobb was in financial straits in the spring of 1906, but by the end of 1907 he had worked and saved his money. He began investing it in real estate in Georgia. In 1908, he bought 15 acres in Toccoa, Georgia and built and remodeled some of the nicest little homes in a predominately black neighborhood. He named the subdivision “Booker T. Washington Heights,” and financed these homes to these residents for a minimal amount.
                    He owned the property until 1940 and he turned it over to his son, Herschel Cobb, to assist him with starting him a Coca-Cola franchise in Idaho. One transaction sold a lot (#22) to J. H. Johnson for only $42.50 in 1909. It was a relatively good price even for that era. There were 109 lots in Booker T. Washington Heights.

                    I hear a great deal about Cobb’s racism in the present, especially on the Internet, but no one ever does or has actually have provided factual or even specifics about their racial allegations. If Cobb had been a racist, some newspaperman would have made remarks about the specifics in some way.

                    I have over 40,000 newspaper articles, and NOT one article makes any correlation to Ty Cobb being a racist. All the evidence demonstrate Cobb’s support for the advancement of colored people, and yet, there is NO evidence that give any indication that Mr. Cobb made any movement toward oppressing the black population.

                    Contrary, when Jackie Robinson entered into the Major Leagues, it began a slow process of allowing blacks to began entering into every league in the country. When the Dallas club of the Texas League was considering allowing blacks to enter, Cobb was there to bat for them.

                    Ty Cobb, Fiery Diamond Star, Favors Negroes In Baseball

                    Independent Journal - January 29th, 1952

                    MENLOPARK (AP) Tyrus Raymond Cobb, fiery old time star of the diamond, stepped up to the plate today to clout a verbal home run in favor of Negroes in baseball.

                    Himself a native of the Deep South, Cobb voiced approval of the recent decision of the Dallas club to use Negro players if they came up to Texas league caliber.

                    The old Georgia Peach of Detroit Tigers fame was a fighter from the word go during his brilliant playing career. He neither asked for nor gave quarter in 24 tumultuous years in the American League. Time has mellowed the one time firebrand and he views the sport in the pleasant role of a country squire. He spoke emphatically on the subject of Negroes in baseball, however.

                    "Certainly it is O.K. for them to play," he said, "I see no reason in the world why we shouldn't compete with colored athletes as long as they conduct themselves with politeness and gentility. Let me say also that no white man has the right to be less of a gentleman than a colored man, in my book that goes not only for baseball but in all walks of life.”

                    "I like them, (Negro race) personally. When I was little I had a colored mammy. I played with colored children."

                    Referring again to last week's developments in the Texas league, Cobb declared, "It was bound to come." He meant the breaking down of Baseball's racial barriers in the old south.

                    Cobb expressed the belief Negroes eventually would be playing in every league in the country. He concluded with: "Why not, as long as they comport themselves like gentlemen?"

                    Ty Cobb did have an altercation with at least four African-Americans during his lifetime, but I have all the documents from these incidents, and in every case, the problem can be traced back to an action, unrelated to racism, that was committed by Cobb himself, the black person, or a third party, that caused the issue to escalate into an altercation. I am not going to discourse tediously on who was at fault in either of the incidents because I only want to exhibit that there was a reason that the incidents happened that had nothing to do with color. And I must mention that Cobb’s incidents with whites far exceed the number of occurrences with the blacks.

                    Ty Cobb was not a racist, he did not sharpen his spikes to slash other players just to steal a base, he did not kill a man in Detroit as alleged by recent nickel writers, and he did not live the life of a bigot. Contrary to those myths, Ty Cobb exerted a kindness toward blacks. One of his fondest memories of his youth was being taught how to swim by a black laborer named Uncle Ezra. Ezra would get young Ty to cling to his neck and wade out into the middle of the river or stream. At this point, Ty would be released and forced to swim back to the riverbank.

                    Blacks lived in Cobb’s house behind his home on Williams Street there in Augusta. Cobb employed blacks the whole time he lived on the “Hill”. Emaline Cosey lived with and worked for Ty Cobb in 1920.

                    Jimmy Laniergrew up in Augusta with one of Ty Cobb’s sons. Jimmy has told a story many times about him and Herschel going to the Rialto Theatre in downtown Augusta to see one of them 'shoot’em up' movies. “We came out of the theatre and Mr. Cobb, like a father, was waiting on the other side of the road,” claimed Lanier.

                    “As we were getting into the car, Mr. Cobb overheard the owner of a nearby restaurant explaining to a man dressed in shabby clothes how to get to the Linwood Hospital – a veterans hospital. Mr. Cobb interrupts and says, ‘Son, I’ll take you there.’

                    “The man stood on the running board of Mr. Cobb’s La Salle coupe, and they were talking back and forth, and this man was a veteran of World War I. When they pulled up to the gate at the Linwood Hospital, I saw Mr. Cobb hand this man a $20 bill. Herschel was looking off at somewhere else, but I saw what Mr. Cobb done. It was incidents like this that never made it to the press,” concluded Lanier.

                    Friends, I believe that one of Mr. Cobb’s problems was that he never looked for credit for anything that he done. He could never boast of his philanthropic nature that would put celebrities like Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio riding on the crest of publicity. And two, he never refuted accusation against him publicly.

                    If someone alleged that he had spiked another player intentionally, he gave an explanation only to the person or people that it mattered to most, like owner of the Tigers or President of the American League, but very seldom to the press. If he would have stood up and said to people, “You are wrong” or “That is not true,” maybe these present day authors would have had less room to reinvent his reputation to their own liking.

                    Ty Cobb was a close associate to the 2nd Commissioner of baseball, Albert B. “Happy” Chandler, who was head of the baseball realm when Jackie Robinson entered into Major League baseball. Cobb was a big supporter of Chandler. In a press interview on August 30tth, 1950, Cobb shared his support for Chandler, “So far, Chandler has lived up to everything that I thought he could do as a commissioner. To me, every one of his decisions have been fair.” The article goes on explaining Cobb’s support for “Happy.” Three years later, he was elected to serve as member of the Board of Trustees of the Cobb Educational Foundation.

                    The Foundation contributed $2,800.00 in scholarships the first year. Fifty years later the annual grants have reached well over a $500,000 dollars. As of July 2003, the Foundation has provided scholarships to 6,876 students, equaling $9,743,000 dollars.

                    Thanks to his charitable nature, Ty Cobb has made it possible for thousands of students of Georgia to achieve a higher mark in education. There is no limit to what this Foundation can provide to future students who truly want an education. One thing is certain, it is bound to generate a winning team of students in this great state of Georgia.

                    And as I mention frequently, I could go on forever talking about great things that Mr. Cobb did to enrich the lives of other people. He did this without any expectations from the recipient or others who witnessed his philanthropic deeds.

                    In an interview in the mid 1950s, Mr. Cobb made this statement, “You’ve ask me about this Cobb Educational Fund, and now I’m going to have to answer it. I do not wish to be eulogized for what I have done. I’m proud of it, yes. This Educational Fund has given me the greatest possible happiness and pleasure, and maybe when I’m gone we’ll have some real great men developed out of the Cobb Educational Foundation.”

                    The Ty Cobb Healthcare Systems, Inc provide jobs to thousands of healthcare professionals in northeast Georgia, and I know personally, a young black fellow that I went to school with who works for the healthcare system and has made a huge impact on the community. He got his start at the Cobb Memorial Hospital and now is a providing much leadership in the direction of the city.

                    Ty Cobb’s father was a Georgia State Senator from the 31st District who voted against a bill introduced and approved by the Senate that allowed taxes deriving only from black properties to finance the black schools. This was in 1900.

                    He stated in the Atlanta Constitution that the “Negroes had done, and were doing a good deal for the up building of the state, and I am in favor of allowing them money for education.” He believed that the race should be protected from class legislation.

                    In 1950, Cobb dedicated the new hospital in Royston, Georgia to provide medical attention to the region. In Dr. J. B. Gilbert, Cobb found one of the finest African-American doctors to serve the black population, and this was before desegregation. Dr. Gilbert also serviced white patients and later became Chief of Staff at the Cobb Memorial Hospital. Dr. Gilbert’s daughter remembers Ty Cobb visiting the home when she was just a young lady. Cobb signed baseballs for all three of Dr. Gilbert’s grandchildren.

                    In 1953, Cobb established the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation to give scholarships to needy students in Georgia. Hundreds and hundreds of young black students have become a beneficiary of this educational fund.

                    Alec Rivers was a black employee of Cobb for 18 years and named his first-born Ty Cobb Rivers, “Even if it would have been a gal, Ah would have named her the same,” Rivers relayed to his friends in an interview with The Detroit News. Rivers served as Cobb’s batboy, chauffeur, general handyman, and was an avid supporter of the famed “Georgia Peach.”

                    After 22 seasons with Detroit, Cobb joined the Philadelphia Athletics to finish out his twenty-four year career. Rivers followed Cobb, “I wasn’t exactly against the Tigers, but I still had to be for Mr. Ty.”

                    Ty Cobb’s racist reputation came only after he had died in 1961. Racial reform should not be fought at the expense of a man who helped make Baseball a great sport for colored people to enjoy too.

                    Cobb loved Augusta! He did not just live there for a while – it was his home. He raised all of his children there. He lived at 2425 William Street in the Summerville district. He held common and preferred stock in the Augusta Chronicle. He sold Hawkeye trucks there in the Augusta area.

                    He was president and principle owner of the Ty Cobb Tire Co. on Broad Street. He owned the Ty Cobb Beverage Co. who had their office at 313 in the Leonard Building. He was one of three principle owners in the City Bank of Thomson. He hunted and fished in all parts of the Augusta area and even down the Savannah River. He was on the Board of Directors of the First National Bank in Lavonia, Georgia for all his professional life.

                    He coached and umpired some at the Richmond County YMCA and in the Nehi League. He entered his girls into beauty pageants, horse shows and musical recitals. He helped the city authorities host outside guests. When a large group of Philadelphia businessmen came to Augusta, Cobb participated in a first-of-its-kind aeroplane golf tournament for the visiting spectators. Cobb owned a great deal of property in the city.

                    One piece of land was 444.72 acres south of Spirit Creek and the Augusta Orphan Asylum. Mr. Cobb owned the properties on the east side of Tuttle, between Fenwick and Jenkins Streets, corner of Broad and Seventh(McIntosh), ten acres, five miles out on old Milledgeville Rd., two lots on the corner of Druid Park and Gwinnett Street, southwest corner of Twiggs andBoyd’s Alley containing five lots, four lots close to the corner of Phillip Street and Walton Way and Cobb's Augusta property list goes on and on. Looking over the Richmond County Court documents, it appears to me that in some cases Cobb loaned money to help prevent foreclosure on some of the properties.

                    He lived adjacent to a dentist that started the South Atlantic League back up after it shutdown during the depression. Eugene Wilder worked as secretary to the Mayor of Augusta for many years, and was an admirer of Cobb’s. When Cobb entered the United States Army in 1918, he left Dr. Wilder instructions and money he had set aside for his famous prize dog, 'Cobb’s Hall', in case he failed to return from the war. Cobb served as a Captain in the Chemical Warfare Division over in France at the close of the war.

                    Cobb also became part owner of the Augusta Tourists in 1922. The team name was later changed to Augusta Tygers to honor Cobb. He developed many young athletes into strong competitors.

                    He managed the Detroit Tigers from 1921-1926, and during that time, a Detroit batter won the batting title 4 out of 6 years. He was a great teacher, and loved to devote his time to helping others advance.

                    Ty Cobb was always concerned about the advancement of the city of Augusta. He was always striving to promote and stimulate the city’s economy. He donated his vehicle to the fire station to be auctioned off.

                    He owned numerous businesses in Augusta and drew people of every nature to the city. He once hosted the sole owner of the Diamond Tire Company who came down from up north. There were a couple of Presidents of the United States that COBB became acquainted with on the streets of Augusta.

                    In closing, I just want to say that all these little things add up to give us plenty of reason to say that Cobb deserves being memorialized with the facts.

                    I was involved recently with the naming of the Augusta Stadium and the race issue was brought forward. "But I can’t sit and allow people to say such negative remarks such as 'Cobb was a racist' without at least trying to educate the public on the absolute truth," I told several of the Augusta Commissioners.

                    I recommended the stadium be named “COBB MEMORIAL STADIUM,” or something that would commemorate the great Georgia athlete. “GEORGIA PEACH STADIUM” may have been a happier medium that could have satisfied both sides of the debate.

                    At any rate, my position is only to educate and pass on the information that is sometimes forgotten or unknown. I hope that I have provided you with enough information that it may give you a different perspective on who Ty Cobb really was.

                    This is only a speck in the sand of the material that I possess on this great athlete. I would be happy to assist anyone, in any capacity, to tell the factual story about the game's most prolific hitter.

                    I hope that the reader has been enlightened and receptive to this information, and I hope that it will assist them in the reconstruction of his or her opinion of Ty Cobb. I want to leave you with words straight from Ty Cobb’s own quote.

                    “I like them, personally. When I was little I had a colored Mammy. I played with colored children.”
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-03-2008, 12:15 AM.


                    • By the way it looks like former poster Wesley Frick simply plagiarized Bill Burgess' work and then past it off as his own.


                      • Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                        By the way it looks like former poster Wesley Frick simply plagiarized Bill Burgess' work and then past it off as his own.
                        The difference is that Bill acknowledges that Cobb did have overt racist views, shown by several incidents, at least as young man.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                        • See if this works:

                          How can I post articles directly here instead of attaching them?
                          Attached Files


                          • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                            See if this works:

                            How can I post articles directly here instead of attaching them?

                            Save them as a bmp or jpg then you have to load them onto another site.

                            Unfortunately NYT has a copyright protection on their work so you can't copy and paste them easily. You used to be able to so perhaps if you have an older version of Adobe reader it is still possible. I believe nowadays you have to save the file to disk then copy to clipboard and then paster to a paint program. Kind of silly but that is I believe the quickest way.
                            Last edited by Ubiquitous; 08-08-2008, 09:38 PM.


                            • Or you can add it as an attachment if you convert it.
                              Attached Files


                              • My gosh there is some great stuff on the NY Times site: