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Ty Cobb/Assorted Historical Topics

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  • Ty Cobb/Assorted Historical Topics

    Welcome to the Ty Cobb/Assorted Historical Topics. This is a non-posting thread. I ask that no one post anything here. I will use this as a warehouse to store 2 pages of Ty Cobb Historical stuff, as well as 8 other pages of other assorted historical stuff.

    In recognition that everyone has a right to discuss anything at all on Fever, I will start a Ty Cobb Discussion Thread,, so that anyone with a reaction to things here, can challenge, discuss, battle all they like. Might be a good place with which to conduct our future Cobb/Ruth wars.

    I will also provide an index to the articles/subjects.

    So I would appreciate it if no one posts on this thread. I want to use this to preserve certain, select past posts of mine. I hope anyone with any reactions there, could merely reference the post number from here, with a brief quote, and then we can fight it out there. Thanks, my brothers.
    Page 1.

    1. Table of Contents
    2. Did Ty Cobb Once Kill a Man?
    3. How Racist Was Ty? (Includes Wesley Fricks' rebuttal.)
    4. Did Ty Cobb's Team Mates Hate Him?
    5. Did Leo Durocher Once Give Ty Cobb the Hip?; Did Ty and Ted Williams have a falling out, over their choice of an All-Time Second Baseman?
    6. Was Ty A Good Manager?
    7. Did Ty Cobb Once Fix A Game? (The Leonard/Cobb/Speaker/Wood Affair), with Joe Wood transcript
    8. Supplemental article to Leonard/Cobb/Speaker/Wood Affair
    9. Ty Cobb Taking Extra Bases Went Uncredited
    10. The Claude Lueker Incident
    11. The Wonderful, Sterling Character of Ty Cobb
    12. Charlie Gehringer's Opinion On Cobb, Gehringer's wife's letter
    13. Ty's Decline Phase; Ty's Grey Ink; Ty/Honus Before/After 30; Ty/Honus Comparison; Did Ty Age Well? Comparison Chart with Speaker/Collins/Wheat 1921-27;
    14. Ty's craftiness
    15. Cobb/Mays, Cobb's Power Case; Ty/Willie: Power; Twenty Career Inside the Park Home Runs; Outside-the-Park HRs; Tape Measure shots
    16. Ty scores from 1B
    17. Cobb/Hornsby: 2 Fan's Letters;
    18. Ty Picks the Greatest Players Since He Retired: Williams, Musial, Mantle
    19. Bulletin From Wesley Frick, on Cobb believing in God, Jesus.
    20. How Well Could Ty Teach Hitting?
    21. Re: Connie Mack, on his decision to play Cobb/Speaker in 1927/1928
    22. Baseball's Greatest Player? - 1932 poll of Mack, McGraw, McCarthy, W. Johnson, G. Street, McKechnie, Gleason, W. Robinson, J. Burke, D. Howley, B. Harris, B. Shotten.
    23. Harry Hooper on Ty
    24. Cool Ty 1939 Interview;
    25. Sporting News' Poll/Survey, April 4, 1942

    Page 2.

    26. Defense of "Cobb's Consensus", 17 of Cobb's Supporters Select Big Ballers on Their All-Time Teams; Cobb's Consensus: Bill, Jim & Mark Debate, Mack/McGraw grew/evolved ; Cobb's Consensus; List all 250; Sporting News Famous, April 2, 1942 Poll/Survey on "Who Was the Greatest Player To Ever Play the Game, and Why?"
    27. Ty's SO Rates- Created Curve
    28. Cobb's Defense: Historical OF Defensive stats chart
    29. Ty/Babe: Colorful Defense
    30. 2 Ty Quotes - his will
    31. Joe DiMaggio & the Georgia Peach: "Here Comes God", "Just too much", Backward Flight.
    32. Ty's Most Fervent Supporters; Too Invested in Cobb?
    33. Rogers Loved Ty
    34. ElHalo/RMB on Ty's TPR; RMB on Ty's GG.
    35. Koozma Tarssoff Story: Ty's Good Side
    36. Clarifying Some Fine Points on Ty - Defense, Arm, Managing
    37. Ty's Good Side; Cobb's Efforts for Pension Fund For Retired Players; Some of Ty's Investments; Cobb's Will & Ty's Children; Ty's Trophies Ty's Dad; Ty's 1920 season of injury; Carl Mays on Ty
    38. Ty/Racism: 2 Negro Leaguers, Larry Duncan/Bobby Robinson speak well of Ty; Ty's Racism/US President's Slave-Holding; Hot Fire w/Roy Hobbs
    39. Black Ink, Cobb's yearly Black Ink
    40. Walks/RBIs With Respect to ERA, Deadball sluggers/Modern sluggers
    41. SO ratios (Cobb, Jackson, Collins, Wheat, Wagner, Roush, Sisler, Hornsby, Ruth)
    42. Form Chart: All Positions, Relievers; My Top 50 Position Players:
    43. My All-Time All-Star Teams, A & B
    44. My All-Time All-Star Defensive Teams, A & B
    45. My All-Time All-Star Black Teams, A & B
    46. My Top 20 Managers, supplemental Mack/McGraw
    47. My Top 20 Catchers
    48. My Top 20 1B
    49. My Top 20 2B
    50. My Top 20 SS - My Top 20 Sluggers

    Page 3.

    51. My Top 20 3B
    52. My Top 20 LF
    53. My Top 20 CF
    54. My Top 20 RF
    55. Fever's Top 10, All Positions, My Top 5, All positions, 24 members Top Players, 8 members Top 50.
    56. Significant Baseball Events
    57. Changes In History I Would Have Made & RuthMayBond's reactions to them.
    58. Some Cool Letters From Yesteryear
    59. Pitchers defense. very brief
    60. Bill Bradley/Harry Edwards: Chancellor/Bill Burgess
    61. How Baseball Impacts Society
    62. Fever's Consensus'; Modern Advantages/Old Time Advantages
    63. Baseball's Popularity; No Sunday-BB "Blue Laws"
    64. Most Devastating Death in Baseball
    65. Number of Newspapers in 1933 per city
    66. Judge Landis/Hitting Stats
    Cobb, Wagner, Hornsby, Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio, Speaker, Lajoie, Musial, Collins, Crawford, J. Jackson, Wheat, Roush, Foxx, Clemente, Schmidt, Yaz, Anson, Bonds, B. Williams, Kiner, Killebrew, Rose, Gwynn, Kaline, Greenberg, Waner, R. Jackson, Boggs, Gehringer, Brouthers, Delahanty, Simmons, Mize, Brett, F. Robinson, Ashburn, Sisler, Snider, Banks, Molitor, Keeler, Bench, Terry, Henderson.
    67. My Top 10 Pitching Seasons; Greatest Pitching Seasons;
    Some of the Greatest Hitting Seasons Ever; Most Impressive Hitting/Pitching Peaks
    68. Best World Series Pitchers
    69. Good Sports Writers Who Have Died Since 1988
    70. Negro League teams; Jim Albright/Bill Burgess
    71. Joe Falls; Joseph Paul Durso; Bob Broeg
    72. Caught Stealing - 1912
    73. Introducing Bill Lange
    74. Introducing Martin Bergen: Sad Story of Martin Bergen
    75. Introducing Jimmie McAleer

    Page 4.

    76. Introducing Buck Ewing
    77. Introducing George Sisler, Sisler's 1931 All-Time Team analysis; 1B duties
    78. Introducing Jimmie Archer
    79. Introducing Charlie Bennett
    80. Introducing Dummy Hoy
    81. Introducing Herman Long
    82. Introducing Ned Williamson
    83. MLs Ethnic Breakdown
    84. John J. McGraw: Cheat?; Hal Chase quote
    85. Urban Shocker: Hall Worthy?
    86. Old-Timers Can Laud Modern Players; Harry Hooper/Ty Cobb
    87. Introducing Frances C. Richter, John B. Foster, Bill A. Phelon
    88. The Babe: A Personal Glimpse
    89. Babe/pitchers; Babe Pitching to Ty; Walter Johnson pitching to Ty Cobb
    90. Babe Ruth's Decline Phase
    91. The Babe: 1918-1919: Wow!; Dave Kent & I debate Babe's pre-Yankee hitting. I estimate Babe's 1919 homers.
    92. Larry MacPhail, GM of the Dodgers
    93. Williams/Yaz: Ruth/Williams: As Hitters
    94. Bench/Morgan: 1975-1976
    95. Negro Leagues: My proposed Hall candidates; Already enshrined; 1952 Pittsburgh Courier poll/survey; Bill James' 12 Negro Leaguers; NL profiles
    96. 1952 Pittsburgh Courier 31 person poll/survey of Negro League A & B teams
    97. Introducing "Smokey Joe" Williams
    98. Introducing John Henry "Pop" Lloyd; Wagner/Lloyd
    99. Introducing Wilbur "Bullet Joe" Rogan
    100. Introducing Joshua "Josh" Gibson

    Page 5.

    101. Introducing James Raleigh Clarence "Biz" Mackey
    102. Herb Pennock
    103. Integrated Teams, Who Integrated What Teams?
    104. Hank Aaron; Aaron/Gehrig
    105. Hornsby/Gehrig
    106. Hornsby/Morgan: Alex Rodriguez/Joe Morgan
    107. Reggie Jackson: Rose/Jackson
    108. Mathewson/Grove
    109. Bigger, Stronger, Faster Isn't Everything
    110. Most Feared Hitters
    111. All-Time Teams: Cobb, Mack, John B. Foster, McGraw, Granny Rice
    112. Best Guys Not in the Hall of Fame
    113. My 10 Best Current All-Around Players w/Honorable Mentions
    114. Southern Boys
    115. Some Cool Letters
    116. McGraw's Views on Pitchers/Catchers
    117. 10 Greatest Position Players Ever Produced by the NL/AL
    118. Your Best All-Around OF Ever; Greatest OF Arm Ever
    119. Your Greatest Pitching Staffs
    120. Your Best All-Around Infield Ever
    121. Your Best Right-Side Infield Ever
    122. Greatest Right-Handed Hitter of All Time
    123. Best Double Play Combo Ever
    124. 1984 Tigers/Pumpsie Green
    125. Guest Book: Who Are We?

    Page 6.

    126. Drummers Rap; Rolling Stones/Beatles
    127. Leading Slugging: Relative BA: Those Sluggers Who Kept Their BA Up
    128. Chase/Sisler supporters
    129. A Word On Wagner: Honus/Babe; Greatest Offensive/Defensive Combo; Wagner Over Mays; Cobb/Wagner; Wagner/Lloyd; The Triple Thread, Best Hitter/Fielder/Runner; Partial Cases.
    130. Miller Huggins' All-Time Team
    131. Dueling Definitions
    132. Mickey Mantle: Passed over by Stengel, Lopez, Lieb; Pete (Pjf) on Mickey Mantle.
    133. Steroids: The Wrong Message
    134. Which League's Stars Glitter the Most?
    135. Useful, Helpful Websites
    136. Weak Sisters: Lack of League Competitive Balance Early Days; 1927 NY Yankee pitchers/1929 Philadelphia Athletics pitchers
    137. My Top 10 All-Around Hitters, After Babe Ruth
    138. My Smartest Hitters
    139. My 10 Top Sluggers
    140. Brett/Mathews: Kaline/Clemente
    141. Your Most Lethal Lineup Possible
    142. Keeler/Thompson
    143. John B. Sheridan: On Wagner, Jennings, Long, catcher/Chase / J.Collins; Herman Long's Case;
    144. John B. Sheridan: On Relative Value of a Player
    145. Relative Averages Leaders
    146. 1960's Stars vs. 1990 Stars
    147. Clemente's Case; Clemente/F. Robinson; Kaline/Clemente.
    148. Hall of Fame: Defensive Honorable Mentions
    149. 3 Slimeball Scumbags: Landis, B. Johnson, Comiskey
    150. AG2004's Notes on Pre-1900 Players

    Page 7.

    151. SABR Matt's/Jeffrey James' (RuthMayBond) OF Gold Gloves Selections
    152. Jeffrey James' (RuthMayBond) Catchers Gold Gloves
    153. Billy Cox's Sporting News Obituary
    154. In The Wake Of The News
    155. Thumbnail sketches of some of my favorite players; Player Profiles: Zack Wheat, Babe Dahlen, Goose Goslin, Jim O'Rourke
    156. Cap Anson's Interviews
    157. Mathew Souder's PCA GG Awards
    158. Gehrig/Foxx: Intangibles
    159. Baseball Magazine issues for Researchers; (Young, Joss, Cobb, Matty, Wagner, Collins, W.Johnson, Alexander, Crawford, J. Jackson, Speaker, Ruth, Sisler, Heilmann, Hornsby)
    160. Jeffrey James Critiques My More Glaring Minority Opinions; Chris also, leecemark also;
    161. Relative Stats: courtesy Dave Kent
    162. Charleston/Mays
    163. Win Shares Defensive Rankings by letter grade
    164. Francis C. Richter on Babe Ruth
    165. Fastest Pitch
    166. Jeffrey James PCA analysis
    167. Case of the Lackluster Stat Record; My Strategy/Tactics For Promoting BB-Fever
    168. Matt Souders PCA results
    169. US HS Runners

    170. Mantle/Speaker
    171. Rafael Palmeiro
    172. Greatest Players of the 19th Century
    173. Babe/Honus Supporters
    174. Federal League jumpers
    175. Bill James' Flip-Flops, 1988-2001

    Page 8.

    176. Judge Kenesaw Landis
    177. Hornsby/Morgan
    178. Greatest, Most Famous Sports Writers
    179. Player Salaries
    180. Gene Carney/Black Sox; 13 questions of jury
    181. Reference Sheet
    182. Historical Poll/Surveys
    183. Links To Bill Burgess' Work
    184. Sporting News; SABR; Paper of Record; My library
    185. Join dates of senior Fever members; Oldest/Youngest
    186. Hear the Voices of the Hall of Fame Dedication, July 13, 1939
    187. A Word on Defense
    188. Chris the Younger's Player Evaluations
    190. Ty on Joe DiMaggio Retired Too Soon
    190. Take Me Out to the BallPark, by Josh Leventhal, 2000.
    191. Ty on "Has the Lively Ball Been Good For Baseball?"

    193. ML Attendance Records
    194. SABR Research Journals, Home/Away Breakdowns. Defensive Chart
    195. Ty Hurt His Arm
    196. Joe Jackson/Richie Allen comparison; Cobb's/Mays' rivals Relative stats.
    197. Lists of books upcoming, and seeking good book reviews.
    197. The Path Less Taken
    198. Most Mainstream Teams, according to modern consensus.
    199. Highest Yearly Salary of the Old Days:
    200. 500 HR Club SO ratios

    Page 9 & 10.

    Ty Cobb Photo Gallery.

    Page 11.

    252. Most Versatile Baseball Players
    253. Wesley Fricks' article on Ty Cobb Was Not a Racist.
    254. The Demise of American Icon Institutions:
    255. Examples of sports honoring their early stars, and exceptions to the theory of 'talent pools'.
    256. History of Jews in Baseball
    257. Baseball Stadium books
    260. My Personal Library
    261. Cobb vs. Yankees
    262. Careers Ended Prematurely: Careers which cause the most angst/pain for interruptions.
    263. Are the Non-Players in the Hall of Fame the Right Ones?
    264. Bill's Research Needs
    265. The Greatest Hitters, with chart
    266. Babe's Critics
    267. Experts I give the most credibility to.
    268. Pre-30 Hitting: OPS+/PA; Post 30 Hitting: OPS/PA; Pre-30 Pitcher: ERA+/Innings; Post-30 Pitcher: ERA+/Innings
    269. Home/Away Breakdown Splits
    270. Good Hitters with Most/Least Power
    271. All-Time Greatest Fielders
    272. How Old-School Are You? My impressions on where baseball went wrong.
    273. The Branding of the New York Yankees
    274. Comparison: 1920-38 and 1993-present sluggers.
    275. Deeper reasons behind the Fight against Baseball Integration

    Page 12 & 13.---Peer Opinions on whether or not Ty played clean or dirty.---35

    1. Joe Sewell
    2. Joe Wood
    3. Eddie Collins
    4. Roger Peckenpaugh
    5. Jimmie Dykes
    6. George McBride
    7. Tris Speaker
    8. Walter Johnson
    9. Sam Crawford
    10. Branch Rickey
    11. Connie Mack
    12. Rogers Hornsby
    13. Ray Fisher
    14. Heinie Beckendorf
    15. Jimmy Austin
    16. Buck Weaver
    17. Del Baker
    18. Ray Schalk
    19. Red Faber
    20. Harry Salsinger
    21. Bill Wambsganss
    22. Red Corriden
    23. Charles Comiskey
    24. Jake Morse

    Page 13.

    25. Hughie Jennings
    26. Bozeman Bulger
    27. James Gould
    28. Charles Conlon
    29. Frank Walker
    30. Everett Scott
    31. Billy Evans
    32. Stoney McLinn
    33. Burt Shotton
    34. Wally Schang
    35. George Burns

    Page 14---Peer quotes on who considered Ty their friend or personally liked him.---75

    1. Connie Mack
    2. Tris Speaker
    3. Eddie Collins
    4. Walter Johnson
    5. George Sisler
    6. Mickey Cochrane
    7. Taylor Spink
    8. Harry Salsinger
    9. John B. Sheridan
    10. Al Simmons
    11. Ray Schalk
    12. Clyde Milan
    13. Joe Sewell
    14. Joe Wood
    15. Ted Lyons
    16. Harry Heilmann
    17. Rogers Hornsby
    18. Fred Haney
    19. Jimmie Dykes
    20. Casey Stengel
    21. George Weiss
    22. Billy Wambsganss
    23. Rodger Pippen
    24. Fred Lieb

    Page 15.

    25. Eddie Wells
    26. Larry Woodall
    27. Stoney McLinn
    28. Bozeman Bulger
    29. Grantland Rice
    30. C. William Duncan
    31. Al Horowitz; AKA Horwits
    32. Ferdinand Lane
    33. Ring Lardner
    34. Cy Young
    35. Stan Coveleski
    36. Lefty O'Doul
    37. Bill Cissell
    38. Oscar Vitt
    39. Frank Baker
    40. Bill Terry
    41. Doc Cramer
    42. Del Baker
    43. George Stallings
    44. Ed Batchelor
    45. Honus Wagner
    46. Al Schacht
    47. Bill Guthrie
    48. Cy Perkins
    49. Johnny Evers

    [B[Page 16.[/B]

    50. Red Ormsby
    51. Willis Johnson
    52. Ray Hayworth
    53. Dan Howley
    54. Joe Cronin
    55. Ed Bang
    55. Charlie (Bossman) Schmidt
    56. Tom Yawkey
    57. Wilbur Wood
    58. Jack McDonald
    59. Dr. Stewart D. Brown
    60. Ted Williams
    61. Frank Walker
    62. Bert Cole
    63. Sid Keener
    64. Harry Hooper
    65. Whitey Witt
    66. Frank Graham
    67. Joe DiMaggio
    68. Horace Stoneham
    69. Jack Barry
    70. Ed Walsh
    71. Joe Jackson
    72. Paul Kerr
    73. Art McGinley
    74. Gabby Street
    75. Wally Schang

    Page 17.---Peer opinions as to Ty's fielding.---21

    1. Tris Speaker
    2. Harry Hooper
    3. Joe Wood
    4. Eddie Collins
    5. George Sisler
    6. Connie Mack
    7. George Moriarty
    8. Charles Comiskey
    9. John B. Foster
    10. John B. Sheridan
    11. Bill Phelon
    12. Ferdinand Lane
    13. Joe Sewell
    14. Jack Kofoed
    15. Ban Johnson
    16. Hugh Fullerton
    17. Rogers Hornsby
    18. Max Bishop
    19. Billy Wambsganss
    20. Stan Coveleski
    21. Babe Ruth

    Page 18.---Page opinions as to Ty's managing abilities.---15

    1. Fred Haney
    2. Dan Howley
    3. Christy Mathewson
    4. Bert Cole
    5. Rip Collins
    6. Earl Whitehill
    7. Larry Woodall
    8. Lu Blue
    9. John Bogart
    10. Harry Heilmann
    11. Babe Herman
    12. Heinie Manush
    13. Charlie Gehringer
    14. William McGeehan
    15. Francis Richter

    God, Love Rock and Roll
    I found the articles on Cobb's controversies, pp. 1, to be good, incisive expostions, and honest work.
    I found the articles on his controversies, pp. 1, to be attempts to coverup/white-wash his problems.
    Though honest and well-intentioned, I find the articles to be too sympathetic. Let's him off too easily.
    I found the other Cobb analysis on pages 1-2 to be quite excellent. Best I've seen on this player.
    I found the Cobb photos on pages 9-10 to be excellent. Best Cobb gallery I've seen yet.
    I found the Cobb gallery, pages 9-10 to be good, but I've seen better elsewhere.
    I found the 35 quotes that Cobb played clean, pages 12-13, to be enlightening. Improved my opinion of him.
    Found the 35 quotes that he played clean, a coverup. Believe contrary oppinions exist that you didn't find. My opinion hasn't changed.
    Found 74 quotes that he had friends, pp. 14-16, surprised me. Improved my opinion of him.
    Found 74 quotes that he had friends, pp. 14-16, were far too few. Doesn't improve my opinion of him.
    Found 21 quotes of his defense, pp. 17, surprised me. Improved my opinion of him.
    Found 21 quotes of his defense, pp. 17, too few/weak. Doesn't improve my opinion of him.
    Found 15 quotes of his managing, pp. 18, surprised me. Improved my opinion of him.
    Found 15 quotes of his managing, pp. 18, too few/weak. Doesn't improve my opinion of him.
    Found your assorted historical topics, pp. 2-11, amazing, educational and highly entertaining. Thanks!
    Found your historical topics, pp. 2-11, strange, disjointed and highly prejudiced. Much work, little value. Keep it up, you might yet stumble on something of value.
    Found your assorted historical topics somewhere in the middle of the above 2 opinions. Some fantastic, others interesting, but not that valuable.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-06-2012, 11:08 AM.

  • #2
    Did Ty Cobb Once Kill a Man?

    One of the more familiar questions one runs into now & again, is "Did Ty Cobb once kill a man?" But, not being one to shirk a tough question or issue, I'd like to address it here.

    Did Ty kill that mugger on the night of August 12, 1912?

    On the night of August 12, 1912, Ty & his wife left their home at 103 Commonwealth in Detroit & headed south on Trumbull, on their way to the train depot. Ty had a ballgame in Syracuse the next day, and they were in their Chalmers auto. As they approached Temple (formerly Bagg) Street, they slowed down at the intersection, when 3 men appeared from behind the building at the corner of Trumbull & Bagg. Cobb related that they were partly under the influence of liquor & spoke a foreign language. They jumped onto the running boards of the Chalmers vehicle, ordering Cobb to stop the car. They demanded money. Cobb stopped the car and got out & began to argue with the men. They demanded money again & all lunged at Cobb. In the days that followed, Ty gave out slightly different versions of events, but all have him getting the best of the 3 assailants. In none of the versions found in the newspapers, do we read of Ty chasing anyone. We read only that they fled.

    Chicago Daily Tribune, August 13, 1912, pp. 11.
    "Robbers Recognize Victim"
    In contrast to the version that Ty gave Al Stump, the Chicago Daily Tribune's account, dated August 13, 1912, pp. 11, we read this. "Robbers Recognize Victim" - Cobb tonight ridiculed a report that the three men who assaulted him were enemies who in a spirit of revenge attempted to main him. He declared the trio were in an ugly mood and apparently stopped him with the idea of robbery. Two of the men recognized him shortly after the trouble began and upon learning the identity of their victim attempted to stop the fight. Cobb said he knocked the third man down when the latter persisted in the attack, and it was after this that the man he struck cut him in the back. "All the men apologized to me and the one I whipped got down on his knees trying to square things," said Cobb.

    Syracuse, Aug. 12, 1912; carried by NY Times, Aug. 13, 1912, pp. 6.
    Ty's account of the incident was slightly different to the Syracuse newspaper, dated Aug. 12, and carried by the New York Times on Aug.13, 1912, pp. 6. "for the knife cut my coat and made a slight wound in my shoulder. This frightened the men and they ran off, and Mrs. Cobb & I continued to the station. I didn't mention it to (Hughie) Jennings and didn't think anything more about it."

    Now this is quite a departure from the story he gave out the next day. His story went from the assailants fleeing, to they all apologized, one on his knees. All that evolution in only 1 day! From panicked/ran version to kissey-face.

    But in no case did Ty mention any chases. Perhaps for good reason. Or perhaps, 47 yrs. later, his assumption of the robes of an avenging righteous super-hero, felt more dramatically fitting to him. Mrs. Cobb's statements also lack any chase scenarios.

    Whatever the truth of the matter, his version in 1959 to Al Stump had evolved into quite a more dramatic finish. Here it is.

    Ty Cobb, by Alvin Stump, Sept., 1961, pp. 136.
    He beat them off, & they ran. He caught one and "left him in worse condition than he arrived in". He caught the other and used the sight at the end of the barrel of the Belgian Luger as a blade and here's what Al Stump wrote on pp. 136, of his first Cobb book, (Sept., 1961). 'Leaving him unconscious, I drove on to the depot'. Later, a news story datelined Detroit told how the men had appeared at a doctor's office, for repairs." So that is what Cobb's autobiography stated. That he hadn't murdered anyone in self-defense or otherwise.

    Ty Cobb, by Al Stump, 1994, pp. 212.By 1994, Al Stump's version, in his own TC bio, pp. 212, had evolved to this. "like a blade and the butt end as well, he slashed away until the man's face was faceless. Left him there, not breathing, in his own rotten blood." "Cobb believed he killed this mugger. A few days later a press report told of an unidentified body found off Trumbull in an alley."

    So, we are left with 2 conflicting stories.

    The National Pastime, 1996, pp. 25-28, "Ty Cobb Did Not Commit Murder, by Doug Roberts. (SABR publication)
    In 1996, writing for the SABR publication, The National Pastime, on pp. 25-28, "Ty Cobb Did Not Commit Murder", Doug Roberts tells of his own personal research into this issue. Doug was a lawyer, who specialized in forensics, was into criminal law, and had started his career as a prosecutor. So to satisfy his own curiosity, he plunged into his research.

    To make a long article shorter, Doug went to Detroit, to the Detroit Medical Examiner's office, and sat and reviewed all the autopsy records on microfilm for August and September, 1912. They also visited the archives where the coroner's files for that year were stored. The records included name, location, age, cause. They contained no victim even remotely resembling a man dying of blunt trauma to the skull. The examination of the Medical Examiner's records occurred in Jan. 1994. He also reviewed all the Detroit newspapers for the weeks following the mugging, specially looking for that press report.

    After two days of painstaking microfilm viewing, he could find no mention in any of the Detroit papers of such a discovery. So Doug Roberts concludes that in the absence of a body, no homicide can be just assumed, even if an incensed man brags, in a state of intoxication, that he killed someone. Drunk men are known to blow steam & smoke.

    So, the above is the material we have to work with. But I have more. My own inner logic. If Cobb had killed one of the muggers, let's use our intelligence. After Cobb had departed, would not the muggers have sought each other out, and re-grouped, and retired to a safe place to collectively lick their wounds? Yes? Is that not the logical behavior? If not immediately, then a while later? And wouldn't they have discovered the dead corpse of their companion? And reported it to the authorities as a homicide. Even if one is committing a crime, others are not entitled to kill, unless in self-defense, which technically, was not in this case. Once they started running, his self-defense case ended.

    So I think it unlikely that the man actually died. It's more likely, given the evidence we have, that Cobb might have mistaken a man who was breathing very shallowly, to not be breathing. And it's possible, that if he thought he might have killed someone, with his wife waiting back at the car, his fear may have caused him to not stick around too long to make sure, and just get the hell out of there. And when he told Stump he killed him, Stump says that, "a drunken Cobb claimed". So is it possible that he only believed he killed someone, and in a drunken state, made a drunken boast?

    But to me, if someone had just tried to kill me & my wife, they were not the "good guys", and Cobb the "bad guy". Being cut an inch deep and 6 inches long could put a person into an ugly state. Some people might be thrown into an hysterical, crazed state. Others a vengeful, avenging state. Not all are the same under stress. Mitigating circumstances.

    In his 1996 National Pastime article, Doug Roberts goes on to provide us with the following further information as to motive. "Although Ty had told the Syracuse Journal reporter that the attack was anonymous and unexpected, it appears to have been anything but."

    Evidence he uncovered in the Cooperstown's Ty Cobb file and from the Detroit newspaper accounts of the incident strongly suggested that Ty was attacked for specific reason. Also that he knew why it happened, and that he knew who had arranged it.

    Several days before the stabbing incident, Ty had gotten into an argument with a newsboy named "Scabby" over a craps game in the Detroit clubhouse. Ty gave the youth a beating, and his attack several days later was in retaliation by Scabby's gang friends for the beating which he had administered on the youth. Apparently, after the mugging, Ty met the newsboy alone again and gave him a beating.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-03-2012, 04:11 PM.


    • #3
      How Racist Was Ty?

      Ever since I read Ty's autobiography by Al Stump, as a 10 yr. old kid, in 1961, Ty has absolutely fascinated me. He has been my primary research subject ever since. I have unlimited admiration for him and like quite a lot of others, much affection and even love for him. Many might find my last remark puzzling, given his terrible press, and scathing PR. Much of his bad press rises from Ty's "dark side". And the media hasn't helped. They have made Ty Cobb a poster boy for a great athlete who had a terrible attitude. But most of their attacks are based on both ignorance of his good side, and over-blown distortions of his dark side. As a researcher, I have endeavored to dig as best I can, into the many controversies, which surrounded this most misunderstood of athletic greats. When I began, I made myself 2 promises. One to bring brutal honesty to the subject. And two, to also bring uncompromising love and compassion, which I feel can go hand-in-hand. There is no contradiction. Hopefully, both can be blended. This is the 1 topic, which gives me the least joy and most discomfort. Still, writers shouldn't duck the tough ones. Let the chips fall where they may.

      I believe that a person is seldom born a hate-filled person or racist. People tend to take on the prejudices and hang-ups of their parents and surroundings. It's a learned or acquired response. And to that extent, Ty tried far too little to rise above turn-of-the-century Georgia. It's possible that Georgia was one of the more racist places in the country at that time. Georgia was hard hit by the Civil War, due to Sherman's siege of Atlanta (not far from Cobb's origins) and Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea". The Union army "lived off the land", meaning they plundered, burned, stole, looted, destroyed and otherwise disrespected the property and rights of civilians, rightly assuming they supported and abetted the war effort.

      Typically, the wronged southerners, unable to take out their pain, outrage and hatred on soldiers, probably scape-goated & vented their rage on innocent, helpless blacks. So it's easy to see how they fought carpetbaggers and scalawags with segregation, prejudice, Jim Crow laws, lynchings and the KKK. How does that impact on a white kid growing up in that conflicted place? It would have taken a stubborn, love-filled, heart-centered kid to overcome that much pain & hate. It'd be very interesting to hear anything about how his parents felt towards blacks.

      Mr. 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. This seems to indicate that if Ty's father had been a raging racist, he'd have voted for it.

      It is worth noting that Ty did evolve in midlife towards a more politically correct posture. Probably partly due to public relations, but I feel that he bowed to social pressure less than many others, unless he also felt that it was the right thing to doing the 1st place.

      Of course, I realize how this sounds like the worst white-washing, apologist, rationalizing sop. But I'm sick of over-playing Ty's internal demons. He was very much a product of his times and surroundings. Do all black kids overcome the ghetto? It's a lot to ask, yet most do. One of Ty's problems was that he never allowed his good deeds to be made public. When he was asked in 1952 if he felt blacks should be allowed into baseball, he said yes, very emphatically. He praised the play of Willie Mays.

      We almost never hear about the racism of Baseball's 1st Commissioner, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, who was named after a Civil War battle in Georgia. He was sworn into office on November 12, 1920, and until his death on Nov. 17, 1944, he was in full & complete cooperation with the 16 owners of the ball teams. He knowingly looked away, while the 16 owners conspired to not allow black ballplayers to enter into the ranks of professional baseball. At any level. Supposedly, even at a meeting of the owners in 1946, they voted, 15-1 to not allow blacks into baseball. Only Branch Rickey dissented. Significantly, Rickey felt it necessarily to wait until after Landis was dead to sign Jackie Robinson.

      Landis died November 25, 1944; Rickey met with Robinson on August 28, 1945; Rickey signed Jackie to integrate the white minor leagues for 1946, at the Toronto club, and integrated the white MLs, opening day, 1947. Can anyone imagine that within 12 moths of Landis' death, that wheels were set in motion to integrate the MLs, was a coincidence?

      Up until then, 2 of the most tenacious sports writers to rail & lobby against the ML ban against blacks, were:

      1. Wendell Smith, June 27, 1914 - November 26, 1972, of Pittsburgh black newspapers.

      2. Samuel Harold (Sam) Lacy, October 23, 1903 - May 8, 2003, of Washington and Baltimore black newspapers.

      These 2 heroes should be written up as having a lot to do with helping baseball integrate. One hardly ever hears about these 2 extremely gracious and yet tenacious gentlemen.

      An overdue idea would be to give some acknowledgment to 2 gutsy, heroic sports writers who fought their whole lives to tear down baseball's despicable White Wall Of Hatred.

      Landis used his office to keep blacks out of baseball. Because of that one stand, I strongly feel Landis needs to be kicked out of the Hall of Fame. Ty's foundation for scholarships never discriminated against blacks, nor did his hospital. So why single out Ty?

      On Sunday, January 22 , 1950, Cobb dedicated a new hospital in Royston, Ga., to provide medical attention to the region. In Dr. J.B. Gilbert, Mr. Cobb found one of the finest African-American doctors to serve the black population. Before desegregation, Dr. Gilbert also serviced white patients and later became chief of staff at Cobb Memorial Hospital. Dr. Stewart D. Brown would supervise the facility.

      In 1945, Ty had decided that, as a memorial to his parents, he would make possible a modern hospital for the people of his hometown, Royston, GA. He contributed $100,000., the federal government kicked in another $72K, and the people of Royston raised $38K locally. It had 25 beds, and is today, still modern, and located in a predominantly black area, which it serves without prejudice. It had been disclosed on Nov. 16, 1949, that Ty had donated the $100,000. to finance the hospital.

      On November 27, 1953, Mr. Cobb established the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation to give scholarships to needy students in Georgia. Hundreds and hundreds of young black students have become beneficiaries of this educational fund. When Ty Cobb died, July 17, 1961, and his will was announced, it was learned that he had willed 25% of his estate to his scholarship educational fund that he had established 8 yrs. before. Although the terms of his will were not disclosed at that time, it was later learned that his estate was valued at $10m. worth of stock in General Motors, and $2m. worth of stock in Coca-Cola , estimating his worth at over $12.m. So, it could be estimated that he left around $2.5m. to his college scholarship foundation for needy Georgian college kids. He had stipulated that in order to qualify for it, the child had to finish his 1st yr. unassisted, to demonstrate tenacity and ambition.

      In 1952, the following sidebar appeared in the Sporting News.
      The Georgia Peach Bats for Negroes
      --Tells How Colored Fans Can Help --
      San Francisco, Calif.---Ty Cobb, a native of Georgia said last week he held no prejudice whatever to the of in any sport, professional or amateur. "Anyone who qualifies as a gentleman is qualified anywhere said Cobb, "regardless of his color, and the Negro should be accepted and not grudgingly but wholeheartedly. "The Negro has a right to compete in sports and who is to say they have not? They have been competing notably in football, track, and baseball and I think they are to be complimented for their gentle conduct both on the field, and, as far as I know, off the field. "I think the Negro has the right to compete in sports in every section of the country as long as his deportment is genteel and unchallengeable. "All Negroes in baseball, which is of course the game I notice the most have up to date qualified not only as to their deportment but their ability. No trouble has been encountered. "I think it is also an obligation Negro fans in the stands to conduct themselves in such a manner as not to place the participation of colored athletes in a controversial position. They can help considerably to the process of absorbing Negro athletes in sports." Jack McDonald
      (Sporting News, Wednesday, February 6, 1952, pp. 4, column 4.)

      Now, to be honest, when I saw the dateline of the piece, I rolled my eyes. 1952 sounded way too late to endorse black athletes into sports. So I felt the piece had no real value. But then I noticed on the same page, other articles, which showed that sports integration was not as far along in Feb., 1952, as I had believed.
      Other articles on that page read:
      Texas Owners Okay Use of Negroes--If Capable Enough
      Dallas' Kick Burnett Takes Lead in Paving Way for Lifting of the Color Line

      Cards Only All-White Club in N. L. First Division in '51
      3 Fla. Int. clubs may use Negro players
      Dallas Plan: to Use Negroes "not surprising" to Rickey
      Two Brooklyn Flags Since Club Added Negro Players

      So, the Sporting News ran race articles on pages 3-4, of that issue. And those articles showed beyond any doubt, that Ty Cobb had endorsed blacks into baseball, when the issue was anything but settled. And that endorsement, an emphatic one, showed that Ty might have been behind the racial curve of the progressive southerners. But he was right on time, for him and his fellow progressive conservatives.

      May I enter a plea for some sensible perspective here. Ty Cobb has often been held up as an example of a virulent racist. Unfairly. True, he was ignorant enough to have a big mouth, and used the n_ word, to his discredit, but Speaker, Hornsby and millions of other Americans did too, especially in the southern parts of the US, as well as millions of ignorant, racist northerners.

      But, let's be fearless here. Washington and Jefferson owned other Americans. Jefferson wrote that "All men are created equal." After his wife died, he consorted with her half-sister, Sally Hemmings, who was half-black, and his inherited enslaved person. Although he promised her freedom, when he died, he couldn't honor his promise. Why? Because Mr. Jefferson couldn't wean himself off his self-indulgent favorite things. Fine wine, books, scientific instruments. His toys. So, when he was going to die, if he freed his slaves, his own white kids wouldn't have been able to live like rich kids.

      Madison & Monroe and 12 other US presidents also owned other people, but Ty Cobb never owned anyone. He was just raised in a racist environment & didn't rise above it until his peers did. So the next time one slings the ugly label of racist at him, first sling it at Washington & Jefferson & the others who opposed slavery in principle, but defended it as a "necessary evil". But one they couldn't bring themselves to stop profiting from others misery. He gets the terrible press, while they get streets, high schools, Mt. Rushmore, and buildings named after them. Where's our common sense, our sense of balance, our sense of fair perspective & justice?

      Presidents, baseball commissioners, BB team owners all either owned their fellow Americans or black-balled them from sports. And yet they escape the searching spotlight of racial scrutiny. A great baseball player mouths off with ignorant, ill-advised remarks, and he gets demonized in the national press for many decades. Are we a fair society? Mt. Rushmore or demonized warlock? I'm not nominating Ty for Rushmore. But warlock? I think not. Why can't we, as a culture not find a sensible, enlightened, middle ground for flawed heroes? Are we bereft of all nuance?

      Some black players from the old Negro leagues, when writing their memoirs, wrote that Cobb would sometimes go to their games, and go down into their dugout, and talked ball with their players. One former black leaguer wrote that he displayed no bad attitude or racially superior snobbery in talking to them. He spoke as one ball-player to another.

      And here is that evidence on the other side of the aisle.
      1926 - Larry Brown, the great defensive Negro League catcher, 1919-1949, tells of a story about Ty. He says that while he was a member of the Detroit Stars in 1926, he went to Havana, Cuba to play ball there that winter. He says that Ty was there and that he threw Ty out 5 times in succession. After the game, he alleges that Ty offered to try to introduce him to the MLs and pass him off as a Cuban. Brown says he passed on the idea, due to the fact that he was so very well known all around the US as a member of the Detroit Stars. But this story is insisted on by Larry Brown himself. (Voices From The Great Black Baseball Leagues, by John Holway, 1975, pp. 207-209)

      1929 - Negro League infielder Bobby Robinson, claims that while he was a member of the Negro League team, the Detroit Stars, 1929-31, Ty once paid them a visit, and sat next to him on the bench, and talked baseball the whole time. Here's the quote from the book.
      "Former semipro and Negro League infielder Bobby Robinson (1916-44) told the author [Nick C. Wilson] that on one occasion he was surprised by a visit from Ty Cobb. He remembered that Cobb came to watch a game played by the Negro League Detroit Stars in the 1920s. Before the game was over Cobb had migrated down in to the Stars' dugout and sat next to Robinson, talking baseball the entire time. Robinson recalled that there wasn't a hint of prejudice in Cobb's attitude that day. They were just two ballplayers sharing stories." (Voices from the Pastime: Oral Histories of Surviving Major Leaguers, Negro Leaguers, Cuban Leaguers and Writers; 1920–1934, Nick C. Wilson, 2000, pp. 113.)

      Alexander George Washington Rivers was a black employee of Mr. Cobb's for 18 years and named his first-born Ty Cobb Rivers. "Even if it would have been a gal, I would have named her the same," Mr. Rivers said in an interview with The Detroit News.

      Let's take a look at some of the incidents in Ty's career, which are oft referred to, to "prove" his racist credentials.

      April 16, 1907, Warren Park, Augusta, GA, grounds keeper "Bungy" Davis, clapped Ty on the back as if to say, good going. Ty took this innocent gesture wrongly, feeling that a black person shouldn't be so familiar. So Ty slapped him, chased him into the shed where the equipment was stored, and when Bungy's wife came to his assistance, yelling, "Stop! Don't hurt Bungy!", Ty began choking her for trying to help her husband. But then the other Tigers arrived to intervene, and catcher Charlie Schmidt stopped him and beat Ty up, rightfully so. This incident is most definitely racist to its core.

      June 6, 1908, Detroit, MI, black manual laborer, Fred E. Collins, is laying sticky black asphalt. Ty, leaving the Hotel Pontchartrain, and starting to cross Woodward Ave. Just then, upon hearing a car from behind, Ty leaped to the side, to avoid being run over. But he landed in the workman's freshly poured asphalt, who apparently hadn't seen the vehicle's close call. Heated words were exchanged, and Ty punched him on the chin, knocking Fred down into the asphalt. A lively fight ensued. Several of Fred's fellow worker friends rushed to help him. Bill Couglin went to aid Cobb. Cobb wanted to fight everyone, but Bill persuaded him to depart, since several hundred onlookers had assembled. Fred demanded $100. or court action. June 9, 1908, Ty appeared in municipal court, on an assault & battery charge. Ty pleaded not guilty, Judge Edward Jeffries found him guilty, but suspended his sentence. Cobb ended up paying $75. to avoid being dragged into civil court. Ty's quote: "I didn't do anything more to him than my self-respect would make me do. He insulted me, and I wouldn't stand that from any man." Yes, racist.

      September 3, 1909, Hotel Euclid, Cleveland, OH; night watchman George Stanfield became enbroiled in an altercation with Ty. Mr. Stanfield had his night stick. Cobb pulled a knife, November 22, 1909, Cleveland trial. Detroit's attorneys knocked the charges down to assault/battery, Cobb pleaded guilty, got $100.fine & costs. Definitely racist.

      June 20, 1914, Detroit, MI, local butcher William L. Carpenter; Mrs. Cobb joined Ty in Detroit. Bought .20 oz. of perch down the street from local butcher. Got home, she & her cook felt it was spoiled, returned fish to shop. Proprietor insisted his fish was fresh when it left the shop. Mrs. Cobb felt offended her word wasn't accepted. Told Ty. He called shop, proprietor apologized, Ty returned to shop to get fresh fish. The spat was almost finished when the shopkeeper's 20 yr. old black assistant Harold Harding intervened. Mr. Harding brandished a meat cleaver, Cobb brandished a pistol, hit Harding over head several times. They scuffled, a glass display case shattered, and police arrived and took Cobb to jail. Police patrol wagon carted Cobb off to jail. Police kept Cobb overnight, released next morning. Pleaded guilty, paid $50. fine. It isn't clear if Carpenter was black, Harding was his brother-in-law. Cobb suffered broken right thumb. Was out of action for several weeks. He felt so disgraced for his pistol-brandishing that he considered jumping to the Federal League. Carpenter's quote: "The easy thing would be to drop the whole matter, but I feel it my duty to the public to see that this wild man is halted in his mad career. If he is allowed to go into a man's place of business and threaten him with a revolver, and not suffer for it, there is no telling what he will do next. If I could have gotten the revolver away from him, Cobb would have had to settle with me on the spot. I am sorry my young brother-in-law interfered, for it was a case for the police to handle, but the "kid" would have licked that big ball player if the fight had been allowed to go on. Most professional ball players are gentlemen." Very possibly racist with Harold Harding.

      November 10 - December 6, 1910, Havana, Cuba; He reluctantly joined other Tigers, playing a set of games with the black Cubans, who were joined by black American stars. Initially, Cobb didn't want to go. But when the Cuban promoters offered an additional $1,000. bonus, plus travel expenses, he said, "I decided to break my own rule for a few games." Money talked louder than racism with Ty, when the money was right.

      The Detroit Tigers had visited Cuba in post-season 1909 to play ball against the best Cuba had to offer. Strengthened by US black stars, the Cubans bested the Tigers 8 games to 4. The Tigers had went down there without Cobb, Crawford, Donovan, Summers, Delahanty and Donnie Bush. In 1910, the Tigers would return better fortified. This time, Crawford, Mullin and all the starting Tiger pitchers went along. Plus O'Leary, Willet, Moriarty, T. Jones, Casey, Stanage, McIntyre, Schaefer went along. Mullen also managed. Cobb promised to join them. The Cubans were joined again by black US stars, Bruce Petway, Pete Hill, Grant Johnson and Pop Lloyd, sometimes called the black Honus Wagner.

      Cobb dilly-dallied in Key West before he arrived in Havana, on Nov. 26, by which time, the Tigers had gone 3-3-1 with the black ballplayers. With Cobb they finished, 7-4-1. In the last game, Mendez fanned Ty once, Ty got a single, and Petway threw him out at 2nd when he tried to steal. For 5 games, Ty went 7 x 19= .370. Crawford hit .360 in 12 games, and Lloyd hit .500, Johnson .412, and Petway .390, all against top ML pitching.

      As a side note, the Phil. Athletics followed the Tigers to Havana and played the exact same teams and went 4-6 against them. In 1911, the Cubans won another series from the Phil. Phillies, before John McGraw's Giants became the 1st ML team to beat the Cubans convincingly, winning 9-3. Billy Evans felt the climate had lots to do it. Billy had went with the Tigers, and had umpired the games. He felt the 90 degree heat had sapped the strength of the Tigers.

      Ty said he wouldn't play ball against blacks again, after those games, because he struck out once, against their black pitcher, Jose Mendez, & looked bad. But that was not really because of color, but he couldn't deal with looking bad or being shown up by anyone. If he was such a racist, he wouldn't have went to Cuba to play in the 1st place.

      Ty was not above using crude racial slurs if he thought it threw someone off their game. He liked to needle Babe Ruth by calling him a "n-----." Just because he knew it bothered Babe. Not racist.

      April 25, 1919 - Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit, MI - Miss Ada Morris was working as a chambermaid at the Hotel, when she claims that Mr. Cobb called her a "******". When she took offense at this slur, and flared back and sassed him, Mr. Cobb knocked her down, kicked her in the stomach, and knocked her down the stairs. She had sustained a broken rib and had been hospitalized until at least June 1, 1919. She filed a law suit for $10,000. This story was carried in the Chicago Defender, and also appeared in the Baltimore Afro-American, on the front page. This incident was mentioned in "The Golden Age, by Harold Seymour, 1971, pp. 110.

      The hotel's manager protested and ordered Cobb to leave the place. The story was suppressed by the newspapers, but years later Harold Seymour was moved to track down the details for his book, Baseball: The Golden Age. Seymour's research showed that the press had finessed Xdollar lawsuit, the incident, and that because of Cobb's prominence the woman was quietly paid off in exchange for her dropping a ten-thousand dollar lawsuit. The incident is very credible and is definitely racist.

      July, 1953, at the All-Time Game, Ty declared, "That boy Campanella needs only a couple more years at his present pace to become the all time catcher in my book . . . excellent receiver, fine in handling pitchers, smart, dynamite with the stick (bat), and an expert in plays at the plate." (Baltimore Afro-American, Tuesday, February 2, 1954, page 15, column 1, "From A to Z, with Sam Lacy")

      1953 - While entertaining a 12 yr. old visitor, at his home in Atherton, CA, Ty made these remarks. Pointing to a photo of Tris Speaker, "That is Tris Speaker. Don't let anyone tell you I was not a good fielder; I was. But I could not compare to this man. Nor could anyone. The closest I have seen to him are the DiMaggio boys, [I assume he meant Joe and Dom] and the Negro who played for the Giants but is now in the Army. [Mays?] But Speaker is the best." (In the Shadow of the Babe: Interviews with Baseball Players Who Played With or Against Babe Ruth,
      by Brent Kelley, 1995, pp. 10)

      Before his death in 1961, Ty declared, "Mays is the only man in baseball, I'd pay to see play." (Baltimore Afro-American, Saturday, August 20, 1966, pp. 18, column 5. "New Wave of Expletives greet Mays' homer feat, by Sam Lacy)

      In the interests of full disclosure, I feel obligated to mention even the unsubstantiated reports. You can judge for yourself the credibility of such reports.

      A paragraph later, Stump writes this. (Davey) Jones believed that most blacks of Detroit hated Cobb, but, under the eye of the white community, kept their feelings to themselves. I believe that this supposition on Jones' part would have been unable to confirm one way or another, short of a popularity poll of Detroit's blacks at that time.

      In his great piece, entitled "Ty Cobb Did Not Commit Murder", published in the National Pastime, 1996, pp. 25-28, on pp. 25, Doug asserts this; Atlanta Constitution writer Howell Foreman told of Cobb's penchant for beating up the local blacks in Carnesville, Georgia---just for the sport of it. I've never heard of this charge before, and can find no corroborating material to substantiate it.

      How racist was Ty? Garden variety, IMHO. And here's why I think that. I believe he just wanted to be like the others, to blend in. I don't think he thought about it too much, one way or the other. I just don't think he cared, at all. Real born racists never grow or change, cause they don't want to. Theirs is inborn and nasty. Others are racist just to go along, and be mainstream in the culture they're born to. I think Cobb was that way. Racially, he wasn't an alpha, nor a liberal. He was simply mainstream to his beginnings. He was loyal to that Georgian thermometer, because he believed in it and trusted it. And that allowed him to open up and grow. Always with a watchful eye on the social curve, mind you, lest he get ahead of it. But he desired to stay In The Middle - the social, racial center of Georgia. As Georgia and the South changed and grew, so Ty also made his adjustments.

      So, I feel that Ty simply wanted to be like those he knew & loved in old Georgia. Racially, he wanted to be like those people, and he trusted their instincts. He wanted racially to be perceived like them, no better, not worse.

      Ty Cobb, Fiery Diamond Star, Favors Negroes In Baseball
      Independent Journal - January 29th, 1952

      MENLO PARK (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 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 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," continued Cobb.

      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 deport themselves like gentlemen?"

      Now, it is a reasonable question for intelligent people to ask, "Bill. How can you still believe that Ty Cobb was simply a "garden variety" racist, when you yourself have shown by these examples, that he showed such unbridled hostility, animosity and violence? How could he demonstrate such hatred and out-of-control behavior, when people of color where concerned? Doesn't that show profound racial conflicts?

      And these are apt, reasonable questions. And ones that I feel honor-bound to give my best, most profound answers, to the best of my beliefs. And here they are. I feel that only some of Cobb's incidents were truly racial in nature, and others would have happened even if whites had been involved. I feel that Bungy and Stansfield were racist incidents and wouldn't have happened if whites were involved, while Collins, Harding and the Cuban baseball teams were not racist, and would have happened anyway. In other words, he was acting out wounded ego, as much as racial discord. He would have acted towards white persons who wounded his ego with his same ridiculous sense of "being insulted", as when he felt insulted by black people. His warped, twisted, sick, medieval sense of honor under laid many of his run-ins with both blacks & whites.

      But there's more. While it does look as if one would by necessity, be a raging racist, if he had a record like Ty's, I can easily show that for every incident Cobb had with a black person, he had 2-3 others with a white person. He beat up a white heckler in the stands, had a fierce fight with umpire Billy Evans, a man who would be calling balls & strikes on him for the next 7 yrs.!!!, he had many fights with his own white teammates, Schmidt, Moriarty, McIntyre, etc. But the most loathsome act I ever read about Ty came in a most shocking context. Far from the playing field. When Ty's oldest son, Ty Jr., goofed off while in college, Ty flew to the East Coast, went up to his son's room, removed a big, black bull-whip from his bag, and proceeded to bull-whip his very own son. For goofing off. That is the most heinous act that I'm aware Ty committed. Any man capable of that kind of act, is capable of behaving towards black people as if it were racially motivated. And understand me here. I'm not advocating that Ty wasn't a racist. Merely a racist who mirrored his origins. Which is not an acceptable excuse. No, not at all. But still far from the poster boy for racial virulence which he's now made out to be. And by those relative standards, Ty Cobb was a garden variety racist, who grew with the others, and who allied himself with blacks, in their long-term, historical quest to lock in their niche in BB in 1952, and built 2 long-term institutions to perpetually assist many blacks to better themselves educationally & serve their long-term interests in their medical needs. His record is far from good, but also far from the poster boy of racism that he's depicted as. How many acts of kindness to blacks he did & hid, we'll never know.
      Wesley Fricks rebutted my article nicely:

      TY COBB Was Not A Racist!



      February 19, 2006

      Dear Friends:

      As I have recognized a need to present facts about Ty's relationships with blacks, I have enclosed some material that advocates TY COBB’s support for blacks and other minorities. This is 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 friends, 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 could always count on his name to generate interest in their newspaper. Mr. Cobb was a charitable 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 COBB. 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 (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

      MENLO PARK (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 deport 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, not related to racism, that was committed by COBB himself, the black person, or a third party, that cause 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 Lanier grew 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 Theater in downtown Augusta to see one of them shoot’em up movies. “We came out of the theater 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 th, 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, and 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.

      TY COBB set more records in baseball than any other player. He was the first player inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1936. He was the most celebrated athlete in baseball’s history.

      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 (See photo below). 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.

      Alexander George Washington 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 racial 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 guest. 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 and Boyd’s Alley containing five lots; four lots close to the corner of Phillip Street and Walton Way; and the COBB’s 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 Tourist 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 a stadium. Especially from his home city, a place that he helped to make a wonderful place to live and work. If the people of Augusta do not want COBB’s name on the Olmstead Stadium, that's up to them – I don’t live there. But I can’t sit an 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 would hope that if there is this much of an issue in naming the stadium, period, then it might be apprehended that there is a greater force that is calling us to name the facility “COBB MEMORIAL STADIUM,” or something that would commemorate the great Georgia athlete. “GEORGIA PEACH STADIUM” may be a happy medium that would satisfy 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. I have enclosed different passages and material that you can read and see more aspects of TY COBB and his legacy. This is only a speck in the sand of the material that I possess on this great athlete. I would be happy to assist you or your colleagues in any capacity should that be your desire. I hope that you will be enlightened and receptive to this information, and I hope that it will assist everyone in the reconstruction of his or her opinion of TY COBB. I want to leave you with words straight from TY COBB’s own personality, “I like them, personally. When I was little I had a colored Mammy. I played with colored children.”

      Wesley Fricks
      TY COBB Historian

      I hope you all will address whatever Ty questions to him that I couldn't address to your satisfaction. He is also familiar with the deadball era of baseball.
      Wesley's Biography:

      John Wesley Fricks was born in Atlanta February 3, 1971 and moved to Royston, Georgia in 1974. He grew up on COBB St., one block away from the old COBB home place.

      He got involved on the ground floor of the creation of the TY COBB Museum in January 1998. Wesley worked six months with Museum Director and Planning and Development Committee to establish this memorial to baseball’s most celebrated athlete. He was slated to be the Keynote Speaker at the opening ceremonies on July 17th until Phil Neikro’s services was secured. It was the year Neikro was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

      He continued to work with the new Committee established, the TY COBB Advisory Committee, to continue to upgrade and enhance the material inside the Museum. Just last year, the TY COBB Educational Foundation was celebrating fifty years of giving scholarships to needy Georgia students. They were interested in getting a display in our Museum. Wesley was asked to work with a team to provide this outlet for the TCEF to get some exposure. He was asked to write a video script with only three days to get it done. He scored and scored big with his creation of the TCEF DVD video that is a wonderful addition to the Museum.

      Wesley was the keynote speaker at the Museum’s October 2003 unveiling of the TCEF display. He also designed the baseball card that was released on the same day. His contribution to the TY COBB Museum has been tireless and energetic.

      Wesley has been a pillar of strength for TY COBB’s legacy over the last decade, participating in baseball symposiums, television shows, and was even asked by Major League Baseball Productions for an interview at Turner Field in Atlanta to be on Baseball’s All-Century Team video in 1999. He was interviewed again at Turner Field in 2002 for Turner South’s Liars & Legends show that featured TY COBB.

      Wesley has continued to do follow up with people from all over the country who contact the Museum for various purposes. His professionalism and knowledge of Ty Cobb baseball during that era has made a significant impact on what we do here at the Museum.

      TY COBB Museum

      October 5, 1949, greeting Don Newcombe, Dodger P,
      before Game 1 of the 1949 World Series
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-03-2012, 04:32 PM.


      • #4
        One of the things that one runs into in baseball discussion groups is that Ty Cobb never had a friend in baseball. This perception is so common that it manifests itself in many ways.

        "His own team mates all hated him. He couldn't get along with anybody. He was just a jerk. He was a vicious psycho. Etc., etc., etc. So I thought I'd try to remove some of the distortions and present a more positive, balanced presentation of the story. Hope you can dig it.

        Did All of Ty Cobb's Team Mates Hate Him?
        One of the accepted axioms of Ty Cobb's public persona is that all his baseball team mates hated him. One runs into this "truth" constantly. This perceived "truth" is so universally accepted that few, if any, take the trouble to investigate further. And while there is a lot of "truth" in that belief, there is also a very interesting, deeper story interwoven with it, that bears a re-telling. As usual, there are 2 sides, and often more, to every story. And also, as usual, the truth is often more interesting, than the sloppily-cobbled together distortions.

        Let's go slow. When Ty arrived in Detroit on August 30, 1905, he was 18 yrs., 8 months old. He was 6'1, 160 lbs., optimistic, eager to please. It had only been 3 weeks, since his mother had accidentally killed his father, on August 9, 1905. So, his emotional balance was precarious, to say the least. Since it was understood that he was only called up as a temporary replacement for injured OF, Jimmy Barrett, Ty wasn't seen as threatening anyone else's job. He only got into 41 games, and hit .240. in 39 games in CF, 2 in LF. Looked to all as if he was simply just another one of thousands of undistinguished rookies, who would not be seen or heard from again. So, 1905 passed without incident, nor harassment.

        That winter, the Tigers sent Barrett to the Reds, acquired OF Davey Jones, and extended an invitation to young Cobb to attend their spring training tryouts. That meant that he'd have to compete with Crawford, Jones and McIntyre for an OF slot. And that was where his problems began.

        When Ty arrived at spring training, March 9, 1906, at Augusta, GA, he was not looking for any trouble, but neither was he in any frame of mind to take anything off of anyone else, seasoned vet or not.

        If Ty could have seen what the season held for him, he'd have wanted to turn around & boarded the train back to Royston. But that option wasn't one he could exercise. His father's unexpected death had left the family in dire straights.

        At the age of 18, the responsibilities of the family fell squarely on his shoulders. He had to stay on the Tigers, make the team, and start sending payments back home. His mother was in real jeopardy of losing the family homestead. All through 1906, his 1st full season, it was 1 incident after another. The pro-McIntyre clique intended to deny him a starting slot.

        They may have felt that their initial "pranks" were innocent. Little did they know of Ty's family situation, the circumstances of his father's death, and of his steely resolve to fight them to a standstill at every point along the line. His enemies no doubt believed that he'd defer to older players, accept their grossly ignorant abuse with the same forced laughing it off, that other rookies did when hazed out of the MLs. Man, were they wrong.

        The ring-leaders of the anti-Cobb clique were:

        Matty McIntyre: He joined the Tigers in 1904, was 26 in 1906, and had some allies. Let go in 1910, due to problems with Ty.
        Twilight Ed Killian: He was McIntyre's room mate, was 30 yrs. old and a pitcher. Tigers let him go in 1910 due to his problems with Ty.
        Ed Siever: Was 29 yrs. old in 1906, let go in 1908, due to his problems with Cobb.
        Sam Crawford: He was a team leader. What he did, influenced the whole team.
        George Moriarty: Another of the toughest of the league. With Detroit, 1909-15.
        Charlie Schmidt: Fought Ty 3 times. With Detroit, 1906-11.

        At first, it started with throwing wet wads of newspaper at him from behind, then smashing the crowns out of his hats. They'd lock him out of the hotel shower, and make him wait in the hall, shivering. They'd put cow turds in his shoes, nail his shoes to the clubhouse floor. When they sawed his home-made ash bats in two, it hurt him deeply. He had spent a lot of time boning those bats. But when he would snarl back, challenge them to fist-fight him, they escalated into fights. They goated their catcher, Bossman Charlie Schmidt into fighting Ty. It got so out of hand, that the young Ty started carrying a pistol for self-protection.

        Schmidt had the reputation of being the toughest guy in the league. He had sparred with Jack Johnson, who later became the world's heavy-weight champion, drove spikes into the clubhouse floor with only his bare hands. He weighed over 200 lbs.

        Ty arrived in Augusta, GA, for spring training, 1906, on March 9, but on Friday afternoon, March 30, Ty boarded a train for Lavonia, GA to attend his mother's murder trial. Late the next afternoon, the all male jury found his mother not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Ty spent a few days with his mother and rejoined the Tigers in Birmingham, AL, April 7, 1906.

        Right after that, he developed a bad case of tonsillitis, and had his tonsils removed, without anesthetic, by a physician who the next year, was committed to an insane asylum. Then back to his team.

        Few rookies have ever had to endure the severity of the hazing Cobb did in 1906. The harassment and fighting among Cobb, Killian, Siever and McIntyre continued unabated. Ty finally took to carrying a pistol out of fear of further beatings. One day that summer, he was timed with a stopwatch at 100 yds. His 10 flat sprint in uniform and BB cleats, wasn't bad, considering the world record of 9.6 of world record holder Dan Kelly's in track shorts, track spikes, and specialized training.

        His BA plunged from .348 in late June, to .318 in mid-July. Suddenly, he disappeared from the Detroit lineup. Not even his team mates were told of his whereabouts. He had been sent back to a sanitarium in the suburbs of Detroit. He had suffered a nervous breakdown. So the Detroit management had sent him there to rest and recover from the hazing of his team. He was out of the lineup from July 18, 1906 to September 3, 1906, 44 days. Which proves that even Cobb had a threshold of tolerance for stress.

        And even throughout that hellish rookie season of 1906, Cobb still led his team in BA. with .318. The rest of the season, Cobb still had the 3 ringleaders of McIntyre, Killian, and Siever to contend with. And throughout the seasons of 1907-10, Ty still had conflicted relations with his team mates. They didn't like him and he became comfortable as a loner. He was friends with Wild Bill Donovan and Davey Jones.

        I don't intend to paint a picture of Ty as a totally innocent saint. Once he attacked a grounds-keeper who merely clapped him on the back. Ty assaulted him, strangled him and when his wife tried to get him off the grounds keeper, he turned on her and strangled her. The team heard the commotion and came running. Schmidt pulled Ty off the poor man and beat the hell out of him. And manager Jennings considered trading Ty for Elmer Flick, but nothing came of it. So Ty didn't always have "clean hands" either. But not normally. It is plain to me, that Ty was taking out on an innocent bystander what he would have liked to take out on McIntyre, Killian, and Siever.

        Ty's troubles with his team mates culminated with an incident at the end of the 1910 season. When it seemed as if Lajoie had won the BA., 8 of Ty's team mates sent a congratulatory telegram to Lajoie for winning the BA title. That hurt Ty deeply, but he covered up by saying, "That was to be expected." Supposedly, McIntyre, Crawford, Jones, Bush, and Schmidt signed the telegram. They did not deny it.

        That telegram to Lajoie was an unnecessary, snide, cheap shot at Ty. But that mean-spirited gesture, around October 1, 1910, was followed by another gesture only 5 weeks later, of a different kind. In early November, the Detroit Tigers received an invitation to visit Havana, Cuba, for a 12 games series of games. The Tigers had gone there the previous November, 1909, and lost 4-8 to the Havana black team, which was strengthened by a few US black superstars of the Negro L. The Tigers had lost before, and this time asked Cobb to join them, so they could win their series this time. So, those mean-spirited Tigers of 5 wks. ago, now were asking Cobb for a favor.

        Although Ty initially refused on racial grounds, he relented when the Cuban promoters added a $1,000. bonus for him. "The money was right, so I broke my own rule for a few games." Ty went down there, but missed the 1st 5 games. When he arrived, the Tigers were 3-3-1 with the blacks. With Ty, they finished the series at 7-4-1. With Ty, they did 4-1.

        Ty never tried to even the score for the Lajoie telegram. He let it pass, and kept trying to help his team win. He concentrated on getting his hits, runs and winning games. His incidents with his team mates dropped and they eventually came to see him in another, different, better light. They saw he was helping them win, with every sinew, drop of blood, fiber of his being. The team had gotten rid of Ty's tormentors along the way. They had let go of both McIntyre & Killian in 1910, Siever in 1908, and Schmidt in 1911. So that no doubt helped team cohesion / morale. The anti-Ty clique, without its ringleaders, quietly subsided. So things can and often do heal with time.

        For one thing, Ty had so achieved superstar status, that to continue to haze him would no longer work on a fully-grown, matured player, like it would on a skinny, isolated 19 yr. old. It was a bizarre incident a year and a half later which would put an end to all team disharmony. So 1911 and the first part of 1912 passed, without further major incidents between Ty and his team mates. And they couldn't help but see that there were no limits to how earnestly he was trying to assist the team to reach the top, and its attending World Series payouts.

        One day at Hilltop Park, NY, May 15, 1912, Ty's team showed him just how far they had come in terms of respecting him. This one day, a heckling fan went WAY too far with respect to player abuse. He and Ty had known each other in GA, and disliked each other even then. This fan, Claude Lueker, had dogged Ty whenever the Tigers visited the New York Highlanders. He had a foghorn voice and could be heard above the roar of the crowd. And he made no bows to discretion this day. At 1st, Ty shouted back into the crowd, then tried to avoid the heckler. He requested the park ushers and security to remove the offending violator, but they refused, citing they had no idea who it was. Ty tried not coming in to the dugout if he wasn't going to bat. But when he had to come in, it started over again.

        All this time, it gave Ty's team mates a unique, rare chance to see how Ty was trying his honest best to deal with his oppressor. It HAD to let them ponder how they too had treated him in the past. And now, they saw how he was being systematically persecuted. They saw how he tried to keep his cool. Tried to work through the system and asked the ushers to do their jobs, and how he had absented himself to the extent he could. And how he was being hurt and couldn't properly defend himself.

        It might even have reminded them of their old mean-spirited telegram, and how he had not fought back, had allowed it to pass uncommented on. And even had went with them to Cuba to help them win their series. But most of all, they had seen how he had never spared himself in his quest to help his team to the very best of his ability, of which they knew to be supreme. So, acting as one, they now shifted into gear to support their team mate.

        Sam Crawford, always a team leader, was the man they all looked to to take their cues. And on this day, to his credit, Sam led the way.

        Taking their cues from Sam, they all went up to Ty and told him that whatever he decided to do, they would back him up, come what may. And now, Crawford, always their team leader, led the way. The team saw how Crawford went up to Ty, and told him, "If you don't stand up for yourself, and your family, we won't think much of you. Do what you must. We're here behind you every step of the way."

        Well, you can imagine how that put steel in his veins. Steeled by his team's support, the next time the heckler cut lose with his racial profanity, Cobb hopped the railing, sprinted up the grandstand, and seeing Lueker, beat the living snot out of his sad ass. And when he did, the other fans cheered. Ty went back down the steps towards his dugout to find his team mates, brandishing bats, lining the field, in case any fans charged the field.

        That one incident was so shocking to Ty that he couldn't quite fathom that his team had backed him to the hilt. When he was suspended they struck. That astonished Ty even more. And touched him in a way that he never thought would happen. That was their way of telling him that they'd changed their attitude towards him, and appreciated his contributions to team winning.

        That incident went a long way towards unifying a previously divided team. And gave Ban Johnson a chance to clean up the abuse of players. Park security was tightened up so that offending fans of the future would be escorted out of the park. Tossing glass soda bottles would no longer be tolerated either. An ump had be hit in the head on one occasion. Heckling is one thing, and is a traditional part of the sport. But profanity, drunkenness, and racial slurs were off limits. So it led to a healthy result.

        Boss Schmidt died in 1932 as one of Ty's close friends. They even wept a few times to remember how it'd been. Grew to love each other.

        Wild Bill Donovan: Was always one of Ty's friends. Died: December 9, 1923, Forsyth, NY.
        Matty McIntyre: Died in 1920, never having made his peace with Cobb or shaking hands.
        Twilight Ed Killian: Wrote Ty one day yrs. after his career ended. Worked in Studebaker plant in Detroit & hoped there might be enough left in his old arm to pick up a few bucks in an industrial league. "Gee, it's been tough for me. If I had a pair of shoes and a glove, I could make this team and it would help."
        "Ed," Ty wrote back, "present yourself at the Spalding's sports good store in Detroit and order the best--anything you need. I'll phone them and make sure your order is filled. I hope you win every game." So Ty was able to bury the hatchet with one of his old antagonists.

        Ed Killian: Died July 18, 1928 in Detroit, MI, age 52, cancer
        ED Siever: Died: February 4, 1920, Detroit, MI, age 43, tuberculosis
        Matty McIntyre: Died: April 2, 1920, Detroit, MI, age 40, tuberculosis
        Charlie Schmidt: Died: November 14, 1932, Clarksville, AR, age 52, intestinal disorder.
        Bill Donovan: Died: December 9, 1923, Forsyth, NY, age 47, train wreck.
        George Moriarty: Died: April 8, 1964, Miami, FL, age 80.

        Strangely, it looks as if most of Ty's former hazers died very early in life.
        So ends an explanation for Ty's relations with his early team mates. Part I.

        Part 2.

        Later in his career, Ty was made the manager of his team, and that brought a whole new chapter to his relations with his team mates. Mostly, his problems arose from his inability to communicate with his pitchers. As a CF/ manager, he'd trot in from CF to confer with his pitchers, and man would they hate that. So would the fans, since it slowed up the game. But he didn't know any other way.

        There were of course those who did get along with Ty and supported him throughout. Fred Haney, his little 2nd basemen was one such player.

        Fred Haney - 1929 " I personally know of many attempts Cobb made to help players out -- veterans who were slipping both professionally and financially, -- but, in each case the player coached by some of the soreheads, would be warned off. On one occasion, Cobb offered to invest $3,000. for a player about to be waived out of the league. The player wanted to accept the generous offer, but some other player, among them one who has since come to disrepute, advised him strongly against it, and he took their advice, only to be sorry later. This talk about his not being for his players was pure bunk, There was nothing he didn't try to do to make everyone happy. As I said, there were those who just wouldn't or couldn't see anything good in Ty. He had his share of battles, on and off the diamond, did Ty, but, in all of them, he was a square shooter and a square fighter." (Sporting News, April 25, 1929)

        Fred Haney - 1961 - "Ty Cobb was a great manager. He took a bunch of punks and finished third in 1922, second in '23 and third in '24, when he should have been deep in the second division. He was a wonderful fellow to play for --if you hustled and did your best all the time. He was very demanding, but quick to give you a pat on the back, too. (Sporting News, Nov. 8, 1961, pp. 10, column 3)

        Bert Cole - 1970 - But, As Cole says, he got along better with Cobb than most. He discounts the stories about Cobb's being penurious, mean and selfish. "Cobb wasn't inherently mean or really stingy. He was just fanatical about winning. When we won, nothing was too good for us. There was steak for everybody. When we lost, he wouldn't even give you conversation . . .

        When I broke in, he and Harry Heilmann were having a helluva race for the batting title, and suddenly Harry went into a month-long slump. "Ty had Harry off in the corner of the park everyday for hours before each game trying to figure out ways to break him out of that slump. Well, Ty was a tremendous batting instructor, and he pulled Harry out of it." That was the year Heilmann hit .394, Cobb .389, and Heilmann took the batting title.

        Frank Baker - 1961 - "The burning desire to excel. That was Ty Cobb, the greatest ball player who ever lived." Upset by a magazine writer's (Alvin Stump) bitter presentation of Cobb's last days, Baker wanted to go on record that "there wasn't a mean bone in Ty's body." Cobb had a fiery temper, sure. And there was that overpowering urge to win that brought him into violent contact with opponents and sometimes teammates.

        But always there was an underlying decency that quickly brought praise and kind words after he had chewed you out. That even prompted him to help recruits quietly in a day and time in baseball when they got little assistance in winning away jobs from old regulars. There'll never be another Cobb, Anybody who saw him or knew him will agree with that." (Sporting News, Jan. 10, 1962, pp. 14, column 4)

        Harry Heilmann, (Ty's teammate, '16-26), AL OF, 1914-29; (Cinc. coach, '32), (Detroit announcer, '33-50)
        1939 - "Unquestionably, the greatest ball player who ever lived - by far. And he would have been a great banker, an outstanding industrialist, a famous general, or a potent figure in any field he chose. No other man I've ever known had Ty Cobb's frenzy for excellence, his self-discipline of his tremendous application. I call him the best friend I ever had in baseball." (Washington Post, June 12,1939, pp. 19, "This Morning With Shirley Povich")

        Rip Collins - 1929 - Ty's teammate, 1920-26; AL P, 1920-27, 29-31
        1929 - "Ty Cobb and I are supposed to be enemies. That might have been true once; but it's not true now. We've had our share of differences, I'll admit. There were times when I couldn't even see Ty's face through the red haze that sprung up between us. I hated to work for him, and I am frank
        to say I wouldn't like to work for him now. But working for Ty and recognizing his good points on another ball club are two different things. . .

        There's a pretty general impression, I think, that Cobb was not an able manager. It is true he never won a pennant. But now that I'm no longer with the club, I'll go on record that if Connie Mack had managed the Tigers, with John McGraw for his coach and Joe McCarthy for his bat boy, he wouldn't have done any better than Ty. . . Cobb was not a failure as a manager. He was not a bad manager. In many ways he was a brilliant manager.

        He knew more baseball than anybody I ever saw. And chain lightning was no faster than the working of Ty's mind. He was always a fighter and he had a fighting ball club. that's what the public wants. He was as full of tricks as a coyote is full of fleas. they weren't parlor tricks, either. Ty was out to win ball games. . . Ty was a great coach. I doubt if his equal has ever lived. . . he did as well, with the material they gave him, as anybody could have done. So why call him a bad manager?. . . Ty never had a good pitching staff. His outfield was bad defensively), and his infield was worse. As a fielding combination, the Tigers were like an old sieve. But how those boys could hit and score runs? Ty coached them and he kept them on their toes.

        They were about as dangerous a team to stop as the New York Yankees. As for pennants, it makes little difference how many runs you score, as long as the other fellow scores more. But I haven't noticed many pennants waving from that old flag pole at Detroit since they gave Ty the gate. He drove the boys up as high as second place one year. They haven't roosted in that berth since. So why not give Ty his due? Why saddle him with a failure that was not his, or blame him for something that nobody could help? Ty is entitled to get sore at that kind of criticism. Frankly, I don't blame him." (Baseball Magazine, April, 1930, pp. 493)

        Ty Cobb was supremely successful as a baseball player. He achieved supreme financial success after his career ended. It has been said that he who laughs last, laughs best. If there is any relationship between admiration and affection, Ty was successful there. Ty was called the best by the following of his team mates.

        Ty's Detroit teammates who called him the Greatest.
        Hughie Jennings, ML SS,1B, 1891-1902 Detroit manager, 1907-20, Giants coach,'21-25
        "Wild Bill" Donovan, (Ty's teammate, '05-12, 18); NL P ( 1898-02),; AL P ('03-12, 15-16, 18) NL man. 1921, AL man. '15-17, Det. c '18, Player's L. ump. 03, 06
        Red Corriden, (Ty's teammate, 1912); AL SS, (1910, 12); NL SS,1913-15; White Sox manager, 1950; NL coach, 1932-46, AL coach, 1947-48, 50
        Ralph Works, (Ty's teammate,'09-11); AL P, 1909-12, NL P, 1912-13
        Oscar Vitt, (Ty's teammate, '12-18, 21); AL 3B (1912-21), Cleveland. manager (1938-40)
        Jack Coombs, (Ty's coach, 1920); AL P, 1906-14, Detroit coach, 1920
        Ed Ainsmith, (Ty's teammate,1919-21)
        John Bogart, Detroit P, 1920
        George Cutshaw, (Ty's teammate, 1922-23); NL 2B, 1912-21, Tigers 2B, 22-23
        Johhny Bassler, (Ty's teammate, '21-26); AL catcher, 1913-14, '21-27
        Charlie Gehringer, (Ty's teammate, 1924-26); Detroit 2B, (1924-42), Det. coach,('42), Det. GM & VP, (1951-59)
        Donie Bush, (Ty's teammate, '08-21); AL SS, 1908-23, AL manager, 1923, 27-31, 33
        George Moriarty, (AL 3B, 1906-17) AL ump (1917-41, except for Detroit manager,1927-28)
        Johnny Neun, (Ty's teammate, 1925-26); Yankee coach (1944-46), Yankee manager (1946), Reds manager (1947-48); NL 1B (1930-31), Reds manager (1947-48
        George Henry Burns, (Ty's teammate 1914-17); AL 1B, 1914-29
        Harry Heilmann, (Ty's teammate, '16-26), AL OF, 1914-29; (Cinc. coach, '32), (Detroit announcer, '33-50)
        Eddie Wells, (Ty's teammate, 1923-26); Det. P, 1923-27, Yankees P, 1929-32, Browns P, 1933-34
        Bert Cole, (Ty's teammate, 1921-25); AL P, 1921-1925, 27
        Heinie Manush, (Ty's teammate, 1923-26); AL OF ('23-36), NL OF ('37-39)
        Del Baker, (Ty's teammate,1914-16); Detroit catcher, 1914-16; Detroit manager 1936-42, Det. coach, 1933-38; Cleveland coach, 1943-44; Red Sox coach , 1945-48, 53-60
        Dan Howley, (Ty's coach,1919, '21-22); Browns' manager, 1927-29; Phillies catcher, 191
        Fred Haney, (Ty's teammate,1922-25); AL 3B,2B, 1922-27, NL 3B, 1927,29; Browns manager, 1939-41; Pirates manager, 1953-55; Braves manager, 1956-59
        George McBride, (Ty's teammate,1925-26) AL 3B ('08-20), NL 3B ('05-06); Wash. manager ('21), Det. coach ('25-26, 29)
        Ira Thomas, (Ty's teammate, 1908); AL catcher, 1906-15; Phil. A's coach, 1925-28

        Ty's Athletics teammates who called him the Greatest.
        Mickey Cochrane, (Ty's teammate,1927-28); AL catcher (1925-38); Detroit Manager, (1934-38), A's coach (1950), Detroit VP (1961-62); Yankee scout (1955), Detroit scout (1960)
        Al Simmons, (Ty's teammate,1927-28) AL OF, 1924-41, 43-44
        Bing Miller, (Ty's teammate, 1928) AL OF, 1921-36, AL coach, 1937-53
        Max Bishop, (Ty's teammate, 1927-28) AL 2B, 1924-35; (Ty's teammate, 1927-28)
        Eddie Collins, (Ty's teammate,1927-28)
        Tris Speaker, (Ty's teammate,28) (AL OF,07-28)(
        Kid Gleason, (Ty coach, 1927-28) NL pitcher (1888-11,exc.,'01-02); AL coach ('12-17, 26-32, exc.15), AL manager, '19-23) NL 88-11,exc.01-02
        Connie Mack, (Ty's manager,1927-28) NL catcher (1886-96) Philadelphia Athletics' manager, 1901-50
        ------------------------------------------------------------Did Ty Cobb Have Any Friends in Baseball?
        Every once in a while, one comes across the assertion that Ty Cobb didn't have a friend in baseball. That everyone either hated him, disliked him or avoided him. While he did have people who didn't like him, when you're at the top of your professsion, you will have friends. And Ty Cobb was no different. He had lots of friends, both in the player ranks, and the sports writers, and elsewhere.

        Some of those who called him their friend or made no secret that they liked him were: Connie Mack, Tris Speaker, Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson, Ray Schalk, George Sisler, Rogers Hornsby, Casey Stengel, Mickey Cochrane, Harry Heilmann, Clyde Milan, Ted Lyons, Joe Sewell, Joe Wood, Frank Baker, Oscar Vitt, Billy Wambsganss, Al Simmons, Fred Haney, Jimmy Dykes, Eddie Wells, Larry Woodall, Stan Coveleski, Lefty O'Doul, Bill Cissell, Bill Terry, Doc Cramer, Del Baker, Cy Perkins, Johnny Evers, Ray Hayworth, Dan Howley, Frank Walker, Bert Cole.

        One thing that Ty noticed was good ball-playing. When he respected you, he often went out of his way to befriend you. Especially if you happened to hail from below the Mason-Dixie Line. It was noticeable that he went out of his way to befriend good Southern ballplayers -- Speaker, Joe Jackson, Hornsby, Milan, Lyons, Sewell, Gabby Street, and Muddy Ruel.
        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-14-2012, 09:28 AM.


        • #5
          Did Leo Durocher Once Give Ty Cobb the Hip?

          In 1928, there appeared a book, named "Babe Ruth's Own Baseball Book", by Babe Ruth. From the title, one would presume that none other than the famous Babe Ruth had written that book. But subsequent research has shown that the over-whelming circumstantial evidence appears to show that the actual author of that book was none other than Ford Frick, the later Commissioner of Baseball, and formerly a NY baseball writer, personal friend, and huge fan of Babe Ruth.

          One of the minor anecdotes from this book involves Leo Durocher and Ty Cobb. Although the record books don't show it, at the end of the '26 and '27 seasons, Durocher was called up to sit in the Yankees dugout, although he got into no games, hence receives no credit for being on the Yankees for either year. Leo was a slick-fielding, but puny hitting shortstop. In the book, Ford Frick purports that once, in 1928, as Ty Cobb was rounding 2nd base, headed for third, that Leo was adept enough to have given Ty the "hip", knocking Ty down, and allowing Ty to be an easy out. So we must bear in mind that the alleged incident is being claimed by Ford Frick, and not the Babe.

          Ty, in his 1961 autobiography, by Al Stump, always denied this incident happened. Here is what Ty had to say about this alleged incident. "the same goes for the much-circulated account of how Leo Durocher knocked me sprawling when I rounded second base. As it's peddled, Durocher said, "that'll hold you, you old goat!" Leo gets all kinds of credit for having slyly slammed a hip into me and put me flat on my face.

          He never saw the day he could do it. In 1928, when this play supposedly happened, I knew a few too many tricks to be caught by some skinny infielder's hip. What makes the lie all the more obvious is that the story has me out on the play. Had Durocher clipped me, I'd have been entitled to the next base on interference. (My Life in Baseball - the True Record; Ty Cobb with Al Stump, Sept., 1961, pp. 142)

          The story finally got relegated to the trash can, by none other than Leo himself. Here is his edition of the alleged incident. "Many stories have been written about the "fight" I had with Ty Cobb the first time I ever played against him, and I always read them with great interest because no fight ever took place. What happened was that Cobb, who was just finishing out his career on Connie Mack's Athletics, was on first base, and Tris Speaker, who was also finishing out his career in Philadelphia, hit a line drive through the pitcher's box. I dove for the ball, got my glove on it and slowed it down enough so that it stopped in short centerfield just off the dirt. While I was scrambling after it I happened to get in Cobb's way -- accidentally, of course -- forcing him to pull up just enough so that I was able to throw him out at third to end the inning.

          Now, in those days, the Yankee dugout was behind third base - not first base as it is now and as I'm passing Cobb on the way in, he says to me, "You get in my way again, you fresh busher, and I'll step on your face."

          I hadn't said a word to Cobb, and I still didn't. Hell, this is Ty Cobb. But Ruth, who was coming in from left field, wanted to know what Cobb had said. "Well, kid," Ruth said - he called everybody kid - "the next time he comes to bat call him a pennypincher."

          I'd never heard that word before, but just from the way everybody on the bench started to laugh I had a pretty good idea what it meant. What I didn't know was that Cobb had a reputation for being a very tight man with a dollar and had been ready to fight at the drop of a "pennypincher" for years.

          Well, naturally, I can't wait for him to get up again so I can go to work on him and, holy cow, he turns in the batter's box, pointing his finger, and the umpire has to restrain him. Now, the game is over and the umpires don't care any more. Both clubs have to use the third-base dugout to get to the locker room, and Cobb races over to cut me off. He's out to kill me and I'm looking for a place to run because I am not about to tangle with Mr. Cobb. Finally, Babe came running in and put his arm around Cobb, and he's kind of grinning at him and settling him down.

          "Now what are you going to do? You don't want to hit the kid, do you?" And while Babe has his attention - boom - I'm up the stairs like a halfback and into the locker room." (Nice Guys Finish Last, by Leo Durocher, 1975, pp. 48-50)
          Did Ty and Ted Williams have a falling out, over their choice of an All-Time Second Baseman?

          In his book, Cobb, 1994, author Alvin Stump claimed that Ty and Ted had a falling out due to a disagreement over their choice of the Second Baseman on an All-time Team. Stump claimed that this happed in Scottsdale, AZ, in 1960. Ty was visiting Ted in Ted's final spring training. Ted chose Rogers Hornsby, while Ty preferred Eddie Mathews. According to Stump, Ty was supposed to have said, "I cross him off."

          But Ted himself disputes this account of Stumps. In his book, 'Hit List', 1995, Ted has this to say about Stump's account. "The guy who wrote that I had a falling-out with him is full of it. We were good friends, and remained on good terms right up until the time of his death. We got along very well, and he was always very nice to me."
          In support of Ted's claim that he and Ty were tight, right up until Ty's death, here are 3 shots I found in Sports Illustrated new search engine, showing them on March 18, 1960. All 3 shots were taken on this occasion. This is about 16 months before Ty died.

          March 18, 1960: Spring Training of Ted's final year. And 16 months before Ty died.

          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-09-2009, 07:19 PM.


          • #6
            Was Ty Cobb a Good Manager?

            Was Ty Cobb a failure as a manager? By the end of baseball's '26 season, the word had went out that he was. But was it true? Was the verdict fair or well-considered? We shall see what the evidence shows. First of all, what kind of team did Ty inherit?

            The 1920 Tigers finished 7th in the final standings, 6th in batting, 5th in fielding. They were dispirited. Hughie Jennings, their manager, was burned-out, alcoholic, depressed, and deeply weary to his bones. He wanted out, but was not pushed out.

            In 1920, as the live ball was reinvigorating the careers of Speaker, Collins, Jackson, and Wheat, Ty incurred one of his few serious injuries. During a game on June 6, while chasing a fly ball in right center, Ty collided with his right-fielder, Ira Flagstead, and sprained his left knee so badly, he was out action till July 31, save a couple of games.

            In 1921 Ty started with a team of youngsters and veterans. He had chosen to sweep out anyone who he felt wouldn't fight hard & give their all. Ty took each player and worked with them on their hitting, base running, and fielding.

            Pitchers were different. Ty knew nothing of how to help them, except to school them on WHAT to pitch hitters, but not HOW. A glance at the chart below shows that the '21 Tigers went from a .396 winning percentage to .464, an improvement. Fairness begs that every manager deserves a year to rebuild a broken team. In '21, thanks to Ty's coaching, they improved their hitting from 95% of the league average to 108% of the league ave. In plain talk, they hit .316 as a team!!! An AL record that still stands!!!

            They added 50 points to their collective batting average. Not just happenstance. Ty can easily be called the greatest batting coach baseball ever saw. His gift of teaching hitting rivals his own hitting and base running as one of baseball's supreme achievements. His most apt pupil, Harry Heilmann, went from .309 to .394 in one year!! The rest were less dramatic but still amazing. Infielder Fred Haney, later a manager, was a rookie who hit .352 in 81 games (75 for 213, .439 on-base ave.) Further, the Tigers slipped to 7th in fielding. A problem that was to plague the team all 6 of Ty's years as manager. Though they climbed to 6th place, they finished 27 games out of 1st. Ty contributed a .389 BA.

            In 1922, the Tigers continued to make dramatic progress. Their winning % was .513. So now they were playing .500 ball, which they continued to do while Ty was at the helm. Also, happily, Ty's traveling batting circus was a major gate attraction across AL fields. They were now the #2 draw in the AL behind the Yankees. They finished in 3rd place, 15 games out of 1st. Detroit had fallen in love with the Tigers again, and Ty was widely toasted as a miracle worker. Ty kicked in a .401 BA.

            They were 2nd in hitting, 3rd in fielding, second in attendance. They were now fighting full-throttle, and the team became an important profit-making property. Ty was making his boss a much richer man. And the team achieved all this despite Harry Heilmann breaking his collarbone in late August taking him out for the season. That did not help the team whatever. In acknowledgment, Ty had a 3 yr. contract('21-23) at $35K, 2nd only to Ruth.

            Dan Howley: "One has to work under Cobb to understand him," said Howley. "As a manager, he was a revelation to me. Cobb has played the outfield all of his life, yet it was uncanny how he could instruct men to play every position on the ball field. There isn't the slightest detail of any department of baseball that he isn't master of. . . I have no personal motive for boosting Cobb," continued the New England Irishman. "I no longer work for the Detroit club: in fact, I took the Toronto job against Cobb's wishes. But I honestly believe Cobb is the greatest manager in baseball. Give him a little more time with that Detroit team and see what he does with it. He advanced it from seventh to third in two years and next season he will make things exceedingly interesting for the Yanks." (Sporting News, February 15, 1923)

            A sign of how well the Tigers were coming along in their hitting, was that during spring training, they chose not to carry a wonderful hitting young OF, named Floyd "Babe" Herman. So they cut him. He'd later make good as a "Daffiness" boy under "Uncle" Wilbert Robinson. He hit .390 in 1930.

            In 1923, the Tigers jumped again to a winning % of .539, and finished 2nd. They finished 2nd in hitting, 4th in fielding, 2nd in attendance and absolutely no one was calling Ty a failure as a manager. He received nothing but kudos and bouquets for his fighting, scrapping team of wonders. It was not unusual for a team to go to Detroit and find their entire outfield hitting near .400. But their slowness afoot in the gardens didn't help their cause. Ty was slowing up, Heilmann never had speed. And speed afoot is not a thing that can be taught.

            In 1924, the Tigers had their best year while Ty guided their fortunes. They finished 3rd in the standings, 1st in hitting, 3rd in fielding, and 2nd in attendance. They went over a million in attendance for the 1st time in their history.

            For the second year in a row, they outdrew the NY Giants, who enjoyed a much bigger market. The Tigers were in the thick of the pennant race, when on August 13, star 1st baseman, Lu Blue, twisted his knee, when caught between 3rd base and home plate and was gone for the season. They finished only 6 games out of 1st. This was Ty's only real chance to actually win a pennant. They fought all the way to the end, but with Blue out, they couldn't overcome the loss. Still, they were out-hustling, out-fighting, and out-scrapping better teams.

            In other words, because of a fighting leader, who didn't know the meaning of the word quit, they were playing ball over their heads. Ty strode the length of his dugout, exhorting his fighters, "Fire Up! Fire Up!" He never relaxed & let games take their course.

            And all of this, in spite of the fact that not only was Blue injured in late August, but Heilmann hit 59 points lower than he did in '23 due to illness, Fothergill labored under a similar handicap and SS Topper Rigney had illness & injury all season.

            So, to take stock, Ty managed for only 6 seasons. After 4 of them, balldom's community had formed a solid consensus that Ty had been a raging success as a dugout commander. In recognition of this established fact, his boss gave him a raise to $38K for '24, and a dramatic $50K for '25-'26. Huge figures for that moment. So admired was Ty as a manager by the end of 1924, that Christy Mathewson chose him as manager of his B team, when he picked an All-America team, A & B for Colliers (Oct.11,'24).

            In 1925, the Tigers slipped to 4th in the standings, 16.5 g out, 3rd in batting, 3rd in fielding, 3rd in attendance. Ty contributed a .378 BA. Despite their slippage in '25 & '26, they still out-drew the Giants, even while the Giants finished 1st in '23, '24 and 2nd in '25.

            For 1926, the Tigers finally recalled Charlie Gehringer from their farm club, when their regular 2nd basemen got hurt and he played the full season. Ty made a serious error of judgment when he forbade pitcher Carl Hubbell to throw his best pitch, the screwball. Boy did Ty blow it on that one. One of his worst judgments ever. Maybe his worst. But when Cobb left the Detroit organization, they still owned Carl. It was Ty's successor, George Moriarty, who let Carl go. But with Carl not throwing his best pitch, the screwball, under Ty's orders, he wasn't impressing anyone. At least not until he recovered his confidence to start throwing the screwball again. Cobb believed it would hurt Hubbell's arm. It did, but not before he had a Hall of Fame career. That winter of 1925-26, Detroit was given 1st refusal on Paul Waner of the SF Seals, for $45,000. Navin passed.

            Their problem was not in their manager or their hitting. The problem was on their mound, their defense & the competition. They had fine defense at first, Lu Blue, & catching, Johnny Bassler, both onboard since '21, and at second base with Charlie Gehringer(for '26).

            On March 1, 1926, Ty had eye surgery at the Wilmer Eye Clinic, part of John Hopkins U. medical complex in Baltimore, MD. A film had encroached on his vision, and he spent until March 13, 1926 in the hospital. He claimed it had impaired his vision the previous season, yet still hit .378.

            In 1926, the Tigers had a major crises on May 26, when their ace catcher, Johnny Bassler, twisted his ankle & was out of the lineup until around August 1. Detroit couldn't find anyone adequate to replace him. Clyde Manion caught 75 games but hit .199! Ray Hayworth was rushed up from their Toronto farm club overnight to Chicago, where the Tigers were playing the White Sox. He got into 12 games and hit .273.

            In a July, 1927 Baseball Magazine article, where he was interviewed by Ferdinand C. Lane, Ty states, "I stand upon my record," says Cobb. "In the seasons when I was manager, there never was a time when two or three clubs in the circuit were not more powerful or better balanced than the Detroit team. Why should I be expected to overcome those two or three more powerful ball clubs? Perhaps if I had been a genius as a manager, I might have done so. But just because I didn't do so, does that make me a failure?. . . My infield was always an experiment. . . "They blame me for last year. When Bassler was laid up, my catching was a joke. I could lay my finger on a dozen different reasons why the club couldn't get going last year, but what's the use? The word has gone out that I'm a failure as a manager, so that's that." ( Baseball Magazine, July, 1927, pp. 339, 341, 373, 374; Was Ty Cobb a Managerial Failure? by F. C. Lane).

            Their pitching was spotty. Most of their pitchers could shine. But they were better on paper. They had George Dauss, Howard Ehmke, Rip Collins, Earl Whitehill, Ken Holloway, Bert Cole, Syl Johnson, Lil Stoner, Dutch Leonard, Herman Pillette, and others. It wasn't that they were bad pitchers. They could all pitch fine ball on occasion, but lacked consistency. They needed expert pitching coaches to assist them in their mechanics and give them guidance. Ty could teach hitting and base running but not pitching. Hence, the lack of coaching hurt them all the time.

            Another critical issue that one must look at is how much a team invests to keep improving. In Ty case, he received little backing from Frank Navin, who always had an excuse not to invest in a good-looking prospect. Detroit had the chance to get Paul Waner and others, but didn't. During the 6 yrs. of Ty's reign, the most expensive player that Navin bought was Al Wingo for $25K, and was a bargain. Navin also spent $35K and players for pitchers Pillette & Syl Johnson.

            Compared to these relatively modest investments, certain other teams were going all out to bolster their clubs. For example, in NY, Jake Ruppert was conducting operations like a mad scientist. He brought almost the entire Red Sox team to NY. Ruppert was serious about his club. In pitchers alone, he raided from Boston: Carl Mays, Herb Pennock, Sam Jones, Waite Hoyt, Joe Bush, Ernie Shore. He also raided shortstop Everett Scott, catcher Wally Schang, left fielder Duffy Lewis. These alone will win you a pennant.

            When the '25 Yankees collapsed to 7th place, Huggins and Barrow discarded 2B Aaron Ward, SS P.Wanninger, and re-assigned catching chores form Benny Bengough. They got 2B Tony Lazerri, SS Mark Koenig, and catcher Pat Collins, and started their '26 spring training with those 3 replacements. While Ty was making do with the scraps from other teams leftovers, Jake Ruppert was just barely beginning to flex his wallet. During Ty's days managing the Tigers, Jake Ruppert armed his Yankee dugout with Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bob Meusel, Earl Combs, Marty Koenig, Joe Dugan, as well as the championship Red Sox team from '15-18. Jake was intent on making his team the envy of Balldom.

            Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia, hardly less earnest activity was in progress to meet the Yankees challenge on even terms. Mack suddenly was spending like Ruppert in an exclusive men's clothing shop. Mack & Ruppert turned the '20's into dueling checkbooks, & neither were bouncing any checks. Over in Philly, Mack was rebuilding & Connie wasn't kidding.

            In '21 he got Eddie Rommel, in '22, Bing Miller & Joe Hauser, '23 Rube Walberg, in '24, he got Al Simmons & Max Bishop. For 1925, he picked up Grove, Cochrane, Foxx, veteran pitcher Jack Quinn. For '26, he got shortstop Billy Wambsganss and vet pitcher Howard Ehmke, whom Ty had discarded after '22. These players proved that Connie wasn't fooling about bringing pennants home. He paid $100K for Grove in 10 installments, $50K for Cochrane( plus $150K invested in Portland team, just to sign Cochrane). These were major moves.

            Back in Detroit, Frank Navin contemplated no such moves during Ty's reign as manager. Both these teams, the 20's Yankees and Phil. A's were only 2 of the teams that Ty's men had to face on the open battlefield. Coping with 2 of the greatest baseball teams of history, is utterly germane to whether Ty was a good manager. To this day, most of the most respected, authoritative baseball minds consider the '29-31 Phil. A's & the '26-28 Yankees as 2 of the very finest baseball teams in all-around balance, that ever played the game. And in addition to these, Ty had to contend with the '21-23 Yankees, and the '25 Senators.

            So, the BB powers in NYC & Philly not only were possessed of deeper pockets, but far more importantly, were possessed of far deeper determination to bring pennants home. They not only out-spent Navin, they buried him completely.

            It wasn't as though the Tigers couldn't find any talent in the 20's. They did. They came up with Lu Blue, Charlie Gehringer, Johnny Bassler. They also found good slugging outfielders, who were sluggish fielders. They already had Heilmann, who Ty turned into a star, and Bobby Veach. They found Heinie Manush, Bob Fothergill, Al Wingo, Ira Flagstead. Due to Ty's specialty as a hitting coach, his teams could compete offensively with anyone. They dominated the Yankees offensively from '22-'25.

            What the Tigers lacked and Ty couldn't teach them was sparkling defensive work & sharp, tight pitching. As a master hitting coach, Ty could tell his pitchers what to throw. But what he couldn't do was get out there on the mound and show them how to throw. How to throw a curve, steady their location. He could program their brain on what pitches and what sequence, but never how to execute. He readily admitted his ignorance of the pitching arts and craft. Baseball in those days lacked the coaching staffs we now take for granted.

            Also Ty's lack of diplomacy and tack didn't help his cause. Touchy Feely wasn't part of his makeup. Hugs from Ty were not in abundance. No. Hugs from Ty were definitely in severely short supply. Exhortations to hustle were everywhere to be found, however, and there Ty was generous beyond belief. He never spared himself in encouraging his fighters to not quit.

            So, was Ty Cobb a failure as a manager? At the end of the day, that will depend on who you ask, and when you ask it. To Ty's critics, Ty was a failure, because they wanted him marginalized. If you asked from 1921-24, he was a surprising success. His record was not subject to criticism. If one is impartial, and examines the plain evidence, and the teams Ty had to face on the open battlefield, you could not help but come to the conclusion, that there was no earthly reason why he should have been expected to beat better teams on a regular basis. That he was able to marshall the forces he had to fight with and did beat better teams, often, but not often enough to win a pennant, is a tribute to his unyielding never-say-die spirit.

            What can one answer to those who accuse Ty Cobb of being a failure as a manager? I say, they are seriously ignorant morons. They don't know how to research the question, or hate Ty Cobb as a person. Either way, they're wrong. Their main criticisms don't hold up under scrutiny. Their charges crumble under careful probing. First, his overly-intense disposition made him temperamentally unsuited to manage or bring out the best in others. While perhaps true to a limited extent, was McGraw's career a permanent refutation of that charge? Was John McGraw less imperious a manager? No. McGraw's critics charge he was verbally abusive, dictatorial, domineering & hateful. Top stars like Frisch and Edd Roush didn't want to play for him. Sound familiar? If McGraw had softened his style, let his players think for themselves and comported himself more benignly, would his results have improved? It doesn't look possible to improve on his record.

            It would seem that the careers of both Connie Mack & Casey Stengel would have proven for all time, that one's record depends on the quality of one's personnel. Yes? That not even genius managing can overcome mediocre teams. Yet, I've never heard Mack or Stengel criticized as "failures" as managers! Why? Think about it! Those two are supreme examples of great managers being unable to overcome mediocre teams, yet no one calls them failures for it! And rightly so!!

            Ty Cobb was given 6 seasons to come up with winning results. He did produce amazing improvements, which all acknowledged for his 1st 4. He had injuries to overcome in his last 2 seasons, plus the Yankees, Athletics & Senators to cope with, who were seriously loaded with better players. So where is baseball justice & fairness? Let's not sucker into historical prejudice or cliched hype!

            To answer the question with finality, "Was Ty Cobb a failure as a Manager?", the answer must be a resounding, emphatic "No. Not at all". What with the teams he had to work with, he produced excellent results. He must be considered a superb manager.

            His only weakness as a manager was his psychological compulsion to take his baseball so seriously that he was too harsh in how he dealt with his players. There is an important difference between being tough & aggressive and verbally abusive. No one ever heard of Connie Mack getting into fist fights in his dugout. And Mack had Grove and Waddell to cope with.

            Ultimately, Ty was a brilliant, inspired, creative and successful manager. So admired was Ty as a manager by the end of '24, that no less an impartial, fair and knowledgeable observer as Christy Mathewson chose him as manager of his B team, when he picked an All-America team, A & B team, for Collier's (Oct. 11, 1924, pp. 9). It was his misfortune to manage at a time when Connie Mack & Jake Ruppert were gearing up to win, were not about to be out-spent, and were not to be denied in assembling better teams. And that's not mentioning the Washington Senators ball club. In the end, genius playing and managing wasn't enough. Not nearly enough.

            It would have taken money and great amounts of it to beat those teams consistently. Yet Ty's warriors DID beat them, over & over. In '24, Ty's warriors beat Ruppert's legions 13-9 for the year, driving themselves to their limit, like the defenders at the Alamo, but the better teams won out in the end. Ty Cobb was one of baseball's most brilliant and successful managers. If you define success as getting the most out of what you have to work with. Just look at the evidence and the competition. It's only fair and Baseball Justice for Truth to finally come out!
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-01-2010, 02:23 PM.


            • #7
              Did Ty Cobb Once Fix a Game? (The Leonard/Cobb/Speaker/Wood Affair)

              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". Please allow me to give my understanding, if you would. You will find no whitewash here.

              Dutch Leonard had been a good pitcher in the AL. Boston, 1913-18, and Detroit, 1919-21, 1924-25. In 1914 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 1925, 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 1913-15 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 September 25, 1919. Detroit won the game 9-5. At the time, Cleveland had clinched 2nd place, and Detroit was in 4th place, close on the heals of the Yankees.

              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 November 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 November 29, 1926, Speaker's resignation was announced, with no explanation given. The baseball 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. He took a trip to Dutch's ranch in Fresno, CA, and took his deposition on October 29, 1926. But later, however, Dutch refused to come back to Chicago, saying people "got bumped off there". This frustrated the Judge greatly, since he respected an accused person's right to confront his accuser.

              So, 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.

              Judge Landis took their testimony at his Chicago office on November 29, 1926. He questioned Ty, Tris, Joe Wood and Fred West, a ballpark attendant who ran errands for the players. The Judge's questioning didn't amount to a grilling. He was not sharp enough to ask the right questions.

              In the meantime, both Ty and Tris had 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 December 21, 1926. What a jolt that was to the baseball community!!

              Dutch 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 1919 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.

              Judge Landis vs. Ban 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's 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 baseball, 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 Cobb 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 1919, 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 baseball 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 League in 1915, he was right about Cobb/Speaker in December, 1926.

              He knew that to hurt them would harm baseball. And he would never have done that unless he believed in his heart that they had done something to truly betray or sell out baseball. Judge Landis "looked past" nothing. It wasn't in his character to protect anyone who betrayed baseball. 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 the game 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 baseball 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. 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' gentleman'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 allegedly 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, January 17, 1927;

              Ban Johnson press conference, January 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. Cobb 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 September 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 me 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, January 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 baseball community.

              And one other thing. Ty had told the Judge to ask each and every player if they had known of or ever heard of anything wrong that he might have done in connection to baseball. And the judge complied! They were all 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. Not a single man had any reason to protect him, cover up for him or do him any favors. If there had been any dirt on him, those men would have had plenty of motive to expose it.

              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 and warped 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.

              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 ludicrously. 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 cites his reason for firing Ty.

              President Navin also showed himself to not be up to handling anything beyond book-keeping with aplomb or finesse. He actually came out and stated that the reason for his releasing of Cobb as a 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, deft 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.

              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!!! What unmitigated gall!!! Navin had made only 2 sizable investments in the team since 1921. Cobb was playing with 6th and 7th place material and coming in 2nd once, 3rd twice in his 6 years of managing. The lying sack of hypocritical fresh manure!! Cobb couldn't win with an owner who sand-bagged him. After the 1924 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 an 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 salary. 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.

              When Ty was exonerated by Judge Landis on January 21, 1927, Navin express pleasure. Here is what he said for publication.
              "I have always considerd Cobb an honest ball player, one who played to win and who gave the best he had at all times. I am glad that he and Speaker were eompletely exonerated. They deserved to be. (Sporting News, February 3, 1927.)

              But he refused to retain him as a Detroit manager or player. He sent Ty this telegram on January 27, 1927.
              "Judge Landis has placed you on the reserve list of the Detroit club. This is to advise you that you are at liberty to do business with any club in the American league where you can get the most advantageous contract. You can also advise clubs doing business with you that your transfer will not cost anything. I have wired the different clubs in the league if interested in securing your services for this year to get in touch with you at your home in Augusta."

              The message to the club owners said:
              "Wish to advise you that if you are interested in securing the services of Tyrus R. Cobb for the coming year to get in touch with him at his home in Augusta, Ga. All that is necessary for you to do is make satisfactory arrangements with him. On advice from Mr. Cobb that he has completed satisfactory arrangements with club named, we will transfer his contract without cost."

              As for Johnson, New York Times sports writer John Kieran wrote this on January 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 savvy 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 baseball'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 baseball 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, and probably win in a possible defamation case against baseball. 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, his case would have had Titanic written all over it. 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 baseball 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 Ban Johnson remember his place on baseball'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 baseball world who was at the top of the baseball 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 game's food chain. He would soon have baseball's 2nd in line in the power-brokering food chain for an after-dinner mint.

              He had no good evidence, he heard baseball'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 baseball. 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 That Good Night. He'd Rage, Rage against the Dying of the Light! And more importantly, he'd sue the hell out of the Light!

              Where they all went wrong was in assuming that a bet could be placed on a game and yet still make absolutely no attempt to pre-arrange the results to fulfill the bet. The 4 betters apparently made a tasteless bet, on the assumption that the Cleveland players were going to break training, go out and drink into the wee hours, and play the following day's game hung over, sleepy and tired.

              Cobb didn't do well but Speaker did very well. Tris got 2 triples and a single and drove an out-fielder to the fence for a long fly-out, but Cobb only got a fly out, 3 ground outs, and a single in 5 times up. There was no dishonesty in the way the game was played, only bad judgment in making a bet.

              There were those who knew Ty and Tris well enough to realize that they were competitive enough not to do anything dishonest on the field, such as trying to fix a game - pre-arrange its results. That would defraud the public. And those people did let their voices be heard in those times of turbulence.

              One such man was Dan Howley. On December 23, 1926, Dan 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.

              Another expression of support came from the Philadelphia Sports Writers association. In a telegram to Cobb, the association said:
              Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 23.--(AP)--"The Philadelphia Sports Writers association desires to express to you and Tris Speaker its utmost confidence in your honesty and integrity. The sporadic outbursts have in no way lowered you from the pedestal as the greatest ball player of all times. We deem it a privilege to invite you as a guest of honor to our annual banquet February 8 at the Hotel Adelphia." The message was signed by the officers of the association, Louis H. Jaffe, president; Robert T. Small, treasurer, and Larry McCrossan, secretary.

              Another man who knew Ty and Tris weighed in. And his opinion was apt because his career was so parallel to those of Ty and Tris. He was Eddie Collins.
              "Some more dirty linen. I don't believe it of Ty and Tris. Anybody who is acquainted with Cobb and Speaker know they are thoroughly honest men and above suspicion. I have known Ty and Tris for many years and will believe nothing that I read or hear that these men have been linked with a crooked angle of the game. These two men have been great assets to baseball. They have played the game fair and square, and this slush which is now being cast at them looks contemptible."

              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.

              Judge Landis exact wording:
              "This is the Cobb-Speaker case. These player have not been nor are they now, found guilty of fixing a ball game. By no decent system of justice could such finding be made."

              He implied that they had bet, when he said that what they had done was inappropriate & reprehensible, but not corrupt. He also ordered that their release by their respective clubs be rescinded and that they be restored to their clubs reserve lists. And so they were, but their clubs immediately gave them both their unconditional releases, thereby making them free agents.

              Interestingly, it was stated by their clubs that they were completely free to negotiate with whatever AL teams they so desired, hinting that they would not be free to negotiate with NL teams. Judge Landis intended for Ban Johnson's words be reversed 100%.

              The wording of his 'verdict' was dictated to him by attorneys representing both Ty and Tris.

              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 he 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 1927 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 autobiography, 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 1927 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.

              Ty Refuses to Discuss incident with Taylor Spink, 1958.
              "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 December 27, 1958, was in wavering handwriting."
              (end of quote by JG Taylor Spink) (Sporting News, December 20, 1961, pp. 12, column 5.)

              Ty was also inaccurate in that not all had died. In 1958, 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 years 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 Cobb 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 year 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 years 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.

              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;

              Joe Wood being interviewed by Larry Ritter: October 1, 1965.

              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 1920, 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 1920 (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 ball club 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 New York & 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 February 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 - February 15, 2004, age 81, Died, NYC; baseball 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." Graduated Indiana University , 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 Baseball 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 years. "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 baseball 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 to killing 2 innocent people. Michael Jackson could never cop to being a pedophile who molested young males. Sonya Harding will never cop to participating in the plan to injure Nancy Kerrigan. Bill Clinton will never cop to his many sexual escapades.

              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.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-30-2010, 04:20 PM.


              • #8
                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 mid season, 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 mid season 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


                • #9
                  Ty Cobb's Taking Extra Bases: Went Uncredited

                  GIVING CREDIT TO BASE RUNNERS, by Joe S. Jackson

                  "When the rules revisers get through wrestling with the problem
                  presented to them by the Cincinnati base hit,"" which they are now "
                  considering , one of the first things that they will take up, in all
                  probability, is the matter of suggestions for changes in, and
                  clarification of those sections of the code that deal with stolen
                  sacks. It is admitted that base running not only is one of the most
                  important departments of the game, in the matter of being a factor in
                  winning, but that it is one of the most attractive to the spectator.

                  Admittedly the greatest gate card in base ball at the present time
                  is Ty Cobb. While he is a wonderful all-around man, the thing
                  principally that spectators go out to see him do is run the bases.
                  There are better fielders than Cobb, and there are a few players,
                  like Jackson, Speaker, Baker, Crawford and others, who are likely to
                  hit the ball farther on any day, and almost as often. But none does
                  the same spectacular work on the paths that Cobb does, and only
                  Milan, the Washington Whirlwind, has pilfered more times in any one
                  American League season. And, which brings us up to the point to be
                  considered: Cobb does not have to make a play that gives him credit
                  for a stolen base to send the crowd home satisfied with a great
                  exhibition of base running. For base stealing is not all there is to
                  running the bases.

                  Admitting the importance of base running from the fan standpoint--and
                  professional base ball is an exhibition with a business end that must
                  not be ignored--and conceding that Cobb is the leader in this special
                  line, we come to a contention that greater recognition should be
                  given to the path speeders, and that the rules for the scoring of
                  stolen bases should be more elastic. Cobb, for instance, made his
                  reputation by such plays as going from first to third on sacrificed
                  bunts by the man next at bat, and coming home from second on infield
                  hits or short outfield singles. In his time he has taken hundreds of
                  extra bases that no other player would have secured, and as a result
                  of being one sack nearer home, has been able to win for his team
                  dozens of games. But there isn't a figure in the record books to
                  show what he did in gaining bases, the taking of which was just as
                  difficult, and required more speed, than the mere stealing of second.

                  It will be recalled that Cobb is one of the two or three men in the
                  American League who have scored from second on sacrifice flies. Now,
                  under the rules, a sacrifice fly goes to the batter when he sends a
                  man home from third because of the flyout. Cobb, by taking two
                  bases, got his team a run that was much needed, helped another
                  batter's record by taking one time off, and set the whole country to
                  talking, thereby making the gate better for the owners at every park
                  that he visited subsequently that season. Yet there is nothing to
                  show how he went from second to third. That base is mentioned,
                  because the sacrifice fly accounts for the rest of the journey, as
                  far as the score book is concerned." (end)
                  (Sporting News, April 10, 1913, by Joe S. Jackson, Detroit News sports writer)
                  So even way back then, in 1913, the Detroit sports writers were
                  realizing just how many bases Ty was winning that would never go into
                  the record book, and feeling just how unjust that was. Bases that
                  only he could have gained. This writer mentions "many hundreds" by

                  I do not know if even today they keep records of taking extra bases.
                  I would assume they do by now, but am not sure. Does anyone on this
                  site know?
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-29-2008, 12:05 PM.


                  • #10
                    THE CLAUDE LUEKER INCIDENT

                    Many people have read that Ty Cobb once went into the stands in New York and beat up a heckling spectator. Which sounds very incriminating and totally unjustifiable. However out-of-control that may sound, there is more to this minor incident that the New York sports writers predictably refused to write about. However, here is one account, by a New York sports writer, named Mack, which gives more light, context and perspective, from the players angle.

                    Inclined To Cobb: New York Sentiment Was With Georgian In Row. (Sporting News, May 23, 1912, page 1, column 3. The article is simply signed by a writer named Mack.)

                    Crowds at Farrell's Park Have Been Ugly and That Fact Influenced Opinion of Decent Element.

                    NEW YORK, N.Y., May 20--Special Correspondence:--

                    For once in their lives at least New York fans have been absorbed in the doing of other players aside from Giants or Yankees--even to the degree of slighting what otherwise would have been momentous happenings at Cincinnati, or keeping tab on the number of games the Highlanders were dropping to the Naps. The Cobb affair and its attendant events has been the one base ball topic. What might or might not happen before peace was again made between the striking Tigers and the American League authorities has caused argument enough to break up long standing friendships and set the whole world of fandom by the ears.

                    It must be said that in the beginning the sympathy was largely with the players of the Detroit team, just as it was with Cobb following the assault he made on a spectator at the Hilltop grounds that started the whole disturbance. But more sober judgment has inclined many to the opinion that the Detroit action was hasty: that the results sought from a player standpoint could have been achieved in a mush better way.

                    President Johnson was in attendance at the game here last Wednesday when Cobb went into the stand and beat up the spectator who, he says, called him vile names. Johnson gave no indication of what action he would take, but the impression was gained that he had a considerable measure of sympathy with the player and that, in the light of certain other happenings at the the American League grounds recently, he was inclined to the view that there could be improvement in the conduct of the crowds there without detracting from the interest in the entertainment.

                    Crowds Have Been at Fault

                    It is a fact that crowds have been misbehaving at Mr. Farrell's park. American League partisans say the bad actors are Polo Ground fans who have brought their methods to the Hilltop with them. However that may be, it does not furnish excuse for failure to curb them. The fusillade of pop bottles that greeted Umpire Silk O'Loughlin recently is mentioned just to show the drift of things.

                    Two sides there are always to any argument. Cobb and the other Detroit players told what led up to the outbreak of the Georgian, when he took matters into his own hands and vaulted into the stand to use his fists on the spectator. The victim of the wrath of Tyrus, whose name is Lueker, and who has some minor part in New York politics, told a different version, of course, and sought to absolve himself, to which Cobb took exception. The fact that the victim happened to be a cripple was mentioned of course, though in fairness to Cobb it must be said that no one intimated his intentions were not just as earnest as if the object of his wrath had been possessed of a good pair of fists.

                    The newspaper boys, who got their information pretty straight, were generally inclined to the view that Cobb had provocation. The fact was not overlooked, either, that a park policeman had stood by throughout the game and permitted the tongue lashing that had been handed out to the players on the visitors' bench and had even shown indifference in the face of protests from more decent spectators about.

                    Probably this phase of the matter was not overlooked by Mr. Johnson. Probably he did not forget it when he interviewed President Farrell later. Probably there will be more pains taken to keep the lid on rowdyism in the New York American League park hereafter.

                    That is New York's part of the now famous Detroit rebellion. The rest of it belongs to the base ball world at large.

                    The indefinite suspension of Cobb by President Johnson, the demand of Cobb's fellow players that he be reinstated at once, their refusal to play Saturday at Philadelphia when Johnson ignored their demand, and their conclusion to "let the law take its course" after having Sunday to cool off is a story that has filled the public prints as a three day sensation. Ban Johnson has again shown himself a big and fearless man and doubtless he will consider all the phases of the affair and further show his bigness by satisfying both players and public . In the final disposition of the case of the mutineers as well as what has since become the minor issue of Cobb's explosion here. Also he will doubtless insist on some stringent regulation of those sort of fans who find joy in abusing players and umpires during games, for it is a sentiment echoed by all that the first principle of the players complaint is eminently correct.

                    To this article, I add this brief piece. (Sporting News, February 27, 1913, pp. 4, by William Arlie Phelon, sports editor for the Cincinnati Times-Star.)

                    Tyrus Cobb may have a rocky session or two when he visits New York this summer. The man he walloped that fateful day on the bleachers has not forgotten or forgiven--I know, because I know him and have talked with him. By the way, but little attention, at the time, was paid to the fact that his famous fracas was only part of an old Southern feud, entirely disconnected with base ball. Long ago Cobb and Claude Lueker, who received the wallops, were Georgia boys, and never harmonized, having many fights and contracting a strong personal enmity. When Cobb, that lively afternoon hopped into the bleachers bent on war, he saw Lueker, and it was quite natural, since he was looking for fight that he would jump on the one man he knew, and knew as an ancient enemy--hence the selection of Lueker as the victim.

                    When Cobb and Lueker lived down South, Lueker was a strong, athletic lad, and Tyrus never knew that he has been crippled by an accident that ruined both his hands. Had Cobb known that his old foe was helpless, he doubtless would have let him alone.

                    Lueker, who is a pleasant, likable fellow, is still plenty sore at Cobb, and has many friends who swear they will yet bounce a brick on Ty's coco. Somebody ought to make peace between them. (End)

                    Another article, which I cannot find, alleges that on August 11, 1913, Ty Cobb & his wife were driving in Detroit and set upon by 3 assailants Ty fought them off, and chased one down an alley and beat him severely with the raised site of his Belgian luger pistol. The article alleges that the muggers were friends of Claude Lueker, whom Cobb had beaten up the previous May, 1912 in New York. Since knives were produced, the assumption is that it was an attempted homicide for the beating he gave Lueker, who had dogged Ty with extreme verbal abuse and racial slurs, whenever the Tigers visited New York to play the Highlanders (Yankees).
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-23-2008, 02:21 PM.


                    • #11
                      The Wonderful, Sterling Character of Ty Cobb.

                      Every once in a while, one comes across an example of how terrible the character Ty Cobb was. Some of the lesser-read modern fans read the stereo-type, read some books/articles, and are too lazy to do their own research. They let it go at that. For the record, Ty Cobb was not only one of the game's greatest players, but one of its greatest persons. A truly GREAT MAN.

                      Some articles cite his racist incidents, and say he was an embarrassment to sports. So, occasionally, I use this shallow drivel to take the opportunity to set the historical record straight. And I think this is one such occasion. Let's begin, shall we?

                      I'll start with his giving Claude Lueker a public beating.

                      The Claude Lueker Incident

                      Claude Lueker naively believed that he could give Ty a public humiliation, in the most severe, racially-sensitive manner. He bellowed out, in public, that Ty's mother had had racial relations with a black man, resulting in her conceiving Ty's sister.

                      Lueker obviously believed that the public setting afforded him protection. But he miscalculated.

                      The South that Ty was raised in, 1890's Georgia, was possibly one of the more racist places in the country at that time. Georgia was hard hit by the Civil War, due to Sherman's siege of Atlanta (not far from Cobb's origins) and Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea". The Union army "lived off the land", meaning they plundered, burned, stole, looted, destroyed and otherwise disrespected the property and rights of civilians, rightly assuming they supported and abetted the war effort.

                      Typically, the wronged southerners, unable to take out their pain, outrage and hatred on soldiers, probably scape-goaded & vented their rage on innocent, helpless blacks. So it's easy to see how they fought carpetbaggers and scalawags with segregation, prejudice, Jim Crow laws, lynchings and the KKK. How does that impact on a white kid growing up in that conflicted place? It would have taken a stubborn, love-filled, heart-centered kid to overcome that much pain & hate.

                      The South was rooted in an 'Honor System' much like Japan. Very feudal. If someone insulted someone, it was taken as an insult on the whole family. And if the insult was extreme enough, or public enough, it required 'satisfaction'. And Lueker's insult was both.

                      In the South, men had been killed for far less provocation. If Lueker had made his insult in a more private setting, it might have called for a pistol duel.

                      As it was, Lueker was quite lucky that he got off with merely being given a thorough and severe beating in public.

                      It wasn't just the racial element, but that it was directed at the center of the Cobb clan, Ty's mother. She was already controversial, having killed Ty's Dad by mistake, mistaking him for an intruder.

                      Ty visited Negro League Games

                      It is interesting that Ty did evolve his racial beliefs rather quickly. In 1910, he had initially refused to play against blacks in Cuba, but relented when the Cuban promoters threw in an extra $1,000. for 'El Supremo'. As he put it at the time, "I broke my own rule because the money was right."

                      By 1920, however, Ty was going to the Negro League games of the Detroit Stars. He'd go down to their dugout and sit with the black ballplayers, and talk baseball with them.

                      Some black players from the old Negro leagues, when writing their memoirs, wrote that Cobb would sometimes go to their games, and go down into their dugout, and talked ball with their players. One former black leaguer wrote that he displayed no bad attitude or racially superior snobbery in talking to them. He spoke as one ball-player to another.

                      And here is that evidence on the other side of the aisle.
                      1926 - Larry Brown, the great defensive Negro League catcher, 1919-1949, tells of a story about Ty. He says that while he was a member of the Detroit Stars in 1926, he went to Havana, Cuba to play ball there that winter. He says that Ty was there and that he threw Ty out 5 times in succession. After the game, he alleges that Ty offered to try to introduce him to the MLs and pass him off as a Cuban. Brown says he passed on the idea, due to the fact that he was so very well known all around the US as a member of the Detroit Stars. But this story is insisted on by Larry Brown himself. (Voices From The Great Black Baseball Leagues, by John Holway, 1975, pp. 207-209)

                      1929 - Negro League infielder Bobby Robinson, claims that while he was a member of the Negro League team, the Detroit Stars, 1929-31, Ty once paid them a visit, and sat next to him on the bench, and talked baseball the whole time. Here's the quote from the book.

                      "Former semipro and Negro League infielder Bobby Robinson (1916-44) told the author (Nick C. Wilson) that on one occasion he was surprised by a visit from Ty Cobb. He remembered that Cobb came to watch a game played by the Negro League Detroit Stars in the 1920s. Before the game was over Cobb had migrated down in to the Stars' dugout and sat next to Robinson, talking baseball the entire time. Robinson recalled that there wasn't a hint of prejudice in Cobb's attitude that day. They were just two ballplayers sharing stories." (Voices from the Pastime: Oral Histories of Surviving Major Leaguers, Negro Leaguers, Cuban Leaguers and Writers; 1920–1934, Nick C. Wilson, 2000, pp. 113)

                      Here we meet the Ty Cobb that his modernist critics never knew.

                      Ty endorsed Blacks Entering Baseball

                      Ty Cobb, Fiery Diamond Star, Favors Negroes In Baseball
                      Independent Journal - January 29th, 1952

                      MENLO PARK (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 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 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," continued Cobb.

                      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.

                      A few weeks later, he was quoted again on the same subject.

                      In 1952, the following sidebar appeared in the Sporting News.
                      The Georgia Peach Bats for Negroes
                      --Tells How Colored Fans Can Help --
                      San Francisco, Calif.---Ty Cobb, a native of Georgia said last week he held no prejudice whatever to the of in any sport, professional or amateur. "Anyone who qualifies as a gentleman is qualified anywhere said Cobb, "regardless of his color, and the Negro should be accepted and not grudgingly but wholeheartedly. "The Negro has a right to compete in sports and who is to say they have not? They have been competing notably in football, track, and baseball and I think they are to be complimented for their gentle conduct both on the field, and, as far as I know, off the field. "I think the Negro has the right to compete in sports in every section of the country as long as his deportment is genteel and unchallengeable. "All Negroes in baseball, which is of course the game I notice the most have up to date qualified not only as to their deportment but their ability. No trouble has been encountered. "I think it is also an obligation Negro fans in the stands to conduct themselves in such a manner as not to place the participation of colored athletes in a controversial position. They can help considerably to the process of absorbing Negro athletes in sports." Jack McDonald
                      (Sporting News, Wednesday, February 6, 1952, pp. 4, column 4)

                      Now, to be honest, when I saw the dateline of the piece, I rolled my eyes. 1952 sounded way too late to endorse black athletes into sports. So I felt the piece had no real value. But then I noticed on the same page, other articles, which showed that sports integration was not as far along in Feb., 1952, as I had believed.
                      Other articles on that page read:
                      Texas Owners Okay Use of Negroes--If Capable Enough
                      Dallas' Kick Burnett Takes Lead in Paving Way for Lifting of the Color Line

                      Cards Only All-White Club in N. L. First Division in '51
                      3 Fla. Int. clubs may use Negro players
                      Dallas Plan: to Use Negroes "not surprising" to Rickey
                      Two Brooklyn Flags Since Club Added Negro Players

                      So, the Sporting News ran race articles on pages 3-4, of that issue. And those articles showed beyond any doubt, that Ty Cobb had endorsed blacks into baseball, when the issue was anything but settled. And that endorsement, an emphatic one, showed that Ty might have been behind the racial curve of the progressive southerners. But he was right on time, for him and his fellow progressive conservatives.

                      There are many other aspects to Ty's Good Side.

                      Ty enlisted in WWI, believing he was ending his career.

                      He also enlisted in the military for WWI, went to France, and took part in chemical warfare drills, which went awry. War ended before he got to see combat action.

                      Ty believed when he enlisted that he was ending his baseball career. He had put his financial affairs in order, and assumed he'd be gone for several years. He believed that when he got back, he'd be too old and rusty to resume his sports career. But he also felt that even though he qualified for a deferment, he couldn't escape his duty, when others were being killed.

                      Supported old ballplayers in their old age

                      Cobb was also the greatest humanitarian baseball ever produced. He supported several dozen old ballplayers until they died, and then supported their widows.

                      Supported the Hall of Fame

                      He also supported the Hall of Fame with many visits to welcome new inductees.

                      He lobbied hard behind the scenes with Taylor Spink to get Crawford/Heilmann elected to the Hall of Fame.

                      Throughout the years, he wrote many ML ballplayers who he liked to encourage them to not retire, to keep on trying, adding his own playing tips.

                      Whenever rival players approached him for playing assistance, he never turned them away. O'Doul, Terry, Fonseca, Stengel & Wambsgnasses are just a few of those he helped.

                      Fought like a demon to get Pension Fund for old ballplayers

                      He also fought like a demon to get BB to pick up the check on a pension fund for the old time ballplayers. But he lost that battle. But he fought like a madman to get it done. Wrote hundreds of letters, phone calls, telegrams, etc. I think you need to dig deeper. The modern hospital which he subsidized in a black area, and the College Scholarship Program which he founded are both still active, assisting hundreds of poor Georgians get medical care/college educations. The good he left has far outlived the nasty & viscous verbal abuse he inflicted, IMHO.

                      Organized baseball was going through with it's debate on whether or not to establish a Pension Fund for Retired Players.

                      Ty fought long and hard for his peers not getting the shaft. When ML baseball finally made it's decision, it was such a cruel mockery of justice.

                      They established a pension ONLY for the players who had retired in the last 10 yrs. No one before 1945 or so ever got a dime out of Organized baseball via a "pension".

                      Since Cobb had been carrying about a dozen players anomalously by sending out monthly checks via 3rd parties, he felt that Organized ML Baseball has sold out those who had built the sport. Which they had.

                      At the time, there were countless older players such as Pete Alexander, Cochrane, Walsh, and so many others, to whom even small monthly checks would have been a heaven-sent god-send. But no, rich sport baseball turned it's back and told those older players to DROP DEAD, and WHEN YOU ARRIVE THERE, GO RIGHT TO HELL AND BURN!

                      So, all those old guys stay poor, broke and out of luck. In the 50's, even a monthly check of $100. would have saved them and gotten them through.

                      Cobb wrote countless letters to Taylor Spink, who then used Sporting News to put the pressure on the Commissioner's Office, and all the owners. They called, wrote and lobbied, but there is only so much 2 committed men can do.

                      Cobb wasn't a hypocrite. He backed up his efforts with his money. Spink might have kicked in a few bucks himself to help some guys. They were both in that position. Others like Babe Herman, Dutch Leonard were also real rich and could have afforded to help others, but to have an organized pension plan required all 16 owners, setting up a system, where money would be sent out to those with the required time played.

                      Just thought some might be interested in how Mr. Cobb fought hard for the interests of his fellow players, behind the scenes and for which nobody knew and for which he got no credit. And for the record. . . He continued to mail out those dozens of checks, until the day he died.

                      And for the record, also, Ty was extremely cheap. It took a lot of principle for him to give away so much money. He did it without credit, in many cases, through third parties.


                      On Sunday, January 22 , 1950, Cobb dedicated a new hospital in Royston, Ga., to provide medical attention to the region. In Dr. J.B.. Gilbert, Mr. Cobb found one of the finest African-American doctors to serve the black population. Before desegregation, Dr. Gilbert also serviced white patients and later became chief of staff at Cobb Memorial Hospital. Dr. Stewart D. Brown would supervise the facility.

                      In 1945, Ty had decided that, as a memorial to his parents, he would make possible a modern hospital for the people of his hometown, Royston, GA. He contributed $100,000., the federal government kicked in another $72K, and the people of Royston raised $38K locally. It had 25 beds, and is today, still modern, and located in a predominantly black area, which it serves without prejudice. It had been disclosed on Nov. 16, 1949, that Ty had donated the $100,000. to finance the hospital.

                      Scholarship Fund

                      On November 27, 1953, Mr. Cobb established the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation to give scholarships to needy students in Georgia. Hundreds and hundreds of young black students have become beneficiaries of this educational fund. When Ty Cobb died, July 17, 1961, and his will was announced, it was learned that he had willed 25% of his estate to his scholarship educational fund that he had established 8 yrs. before. Although the terms of his will were not disclosed at that time, it was later learned that his estate was valued at $10m. worth of stock in General Motors, and $2m. worth of stock in Coca-Cola , estimating his worth at over $12.m. So, it could be estimated that he left around $2.5m. to his college scholarship foundation for needy Georgian college kids. He had stipulated that in order to qualify for it, the child had to finish his 1st yr. unassisted, to demonstrate tenacity and ambition.

                      Ty's Will

                      When Ty died in July, 1961, he worth wasn't disclosed at first. Ty left 3/4 of his estate to his 3 surviving kids. His estate was estimated at around $12.m. $10m from General Motors, and $2.m from Coca Cola. So we cam estimate that each kid got around $4m., before Uncle Sam got his bite.

                      According to his will, he gave 1/4 of his value to his education scholarship, and 75% of his estate to his 3 surviving children and their kids.

                      He left 1/4 of his estate to his Georgia Educational Scholarship Foundation. Many poor Georgia kids have been put through college and it's still going strong, as is his hospital.
                      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-23-2008, 02:22 PM.


                      • #12
                        Charlie Gehringer's wife, Josephine, letter to Bill Burgess concerning Charlie's view of Ty.

                        Dear Bill-

                        In Charlie's opinion, he said Ty Cobb was the best all around player. He was manager of the Detroit Tigers at one time and took a liking to him and gave him hitting instructions.

                        He always said he played in the best era, 30 & 40 with players hitting .300 or better.

                        He played against Ted Williams, Ruth, Gehrig and Lefty Grove who were great, but Cobb was more superior.

                        Mrs. G.

                        (2004 personal letter that Charlie's widow, Josephine, wrote me, in response to my letter of inquiry. Did Charlie ever express who he thought was the best baseball player?)
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-23-2008, 02:11 PM.


                        • #13

                          I thought we'd start off with a few obligatory, traditional stats:


                          Cobb, home----.370-------.438-------.515
                          Cobb, away----.363-------.428-------.510

                          Wagner, home--.335-------.378-------.480
                          Wagner, away--.320-------.355-------.452

                          When it comes to longevity, we don't have to analyze deeply. Ty lasted longer as a top player and had more of everything. Rate stats would not be fair to Honus however. His time period, 1901-10, featured the deadest ball on record, and Honus had the longest fences on record. His ballpark up to 1908 had foul lines 400 feet out.

                          When it comes to peer opinions, Ty takes the honors, hands down. 298 prominent BB figures chose Ty, 36 chose Honus. Here is a listing of their respective supporters.
                          Cobb, Ruth, Wagner Supporters: 298 Ty supporters, 39 Babe supporters, 36 Honus supporters.---Cobb Consensus

                          1. Honus was the greatest all-around fielder baseball has yet produced, IMHO.
                          But he was never considered the final word at SS defense, and was always considered below Herman Long, Bobby Wallace, Glenn Wright and Ozzie Smith, strictly for SS D. But better than them in over-all D.

                          2. Ty was always considered more than a little better at the plate, and on the bags. On the bags, Cobb was supreme, the best BB has yet produced, with no apologies to Hamilton, Carey, Brock, Henderson or Wills. The Supreme disrupter, above Lange or J. Robinson.

                          3. The NL was stronger than the AL until around 1908, and Wagner sustained a higher level of league dominance from the age of 33-37, and also 41 than did Ty Cobb.

                          4. Cobb dominated his league from the age of 24-31 better than did Hans, and also from the age of 38-40. I'm basing this assertion on their respective relative slugging averages.

                          5. Cobb had a more dramatic psychological effect on his opposition, but Wagner had a better harmonizing effect in the clubhouse.

                          6. From the historical record, many, many more great players would have rathered to have Cobb on board than Honus, including Collins, Speaker, Sisler, Mack, Simmons, Cochrane, Grove, etc. People who had seen him up close and personal, and been on teams with him. My files have many who had seen Wagner for an extended time, knew what he could do, and called Cobb better, in VERY direct terms. I can provided some cool quotes, if requested.

                          Overall, Ty's superiority on the bags, and at the plate, more than compensates for any deficit a fantastic SS can create afield, over a very, very good CF, the best base-runner, and a considerably better hitter.

                          And Wagner would be the 2nd player I'd pick in a draft. Walter Johnson my 3rd. Buck Ewing my 4th. It would just kill me to NOT have all 4 on my team.
                          Historical Awards Wons:

                          It's true that Cobb only played from 1905-28, but history has judged him in direct competition with all players from 1870's till now. His "competition" was everyone.

                          Ty won 3 amazing competitive polls/surveys in 1931, 1936, 1942.

                          1931 --- Cobb 55 points, Wagner 38 points, Ruth 17 points, Lajoie 13, Collins 12, Keeler 7, Simmons 6, Speaker 4, Joe Jackson 3, Sisler 3, Klein 3, Hornsby 2, Parent 2, Ferguson, Chase & Terry = 1 point. -- 1931 Poll, conducted by the Philadelphia Public Ledger, C. William Duncan. July, 1933;

                          (Voters: Connie Mack, John McGraw, Clark Griffith, Wilbert Robinson, Dan Howley, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Bill McKechnie, Kid Gleason, Walter Johnson, Jim Burke, Gabby Street. Tabulation went thusly: 1st place vote = 5 points, 2nd place = 4 votes, 3rd place = 3 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 1st place = 1 point.
                          1936 --- Original Hall of Fame vote, Feb. 2, 1936, votes counted at the Commissioner's office in Chicago, IL. 226 Total Voters;

                          Cobb 222, Wagner 215, Ruth 215, Mathewson 205, Johnson 189, Lajoie 146, Speaker 133, Young 111, Hornsby 105, Cochrane 80, Sisler 77, E. Collins 60, J. Collins 58, Alexander 55, Gehrig 51 --
                          1942 --- Sporting News, April 2, 1942, 102 former players, managers.

                          Cobb 60, Wagner 17, Ruth 11, Hornsby 2, 10 players received 1 vote each: Delahanty, Gehrig, Speaker, DiMaggio, Ott, Sisler, E. Collins, Johnson, Mathewson, Jerry Denny.
                          It wasn't until 1950, that Babe won his very first poll/survey ever.
                          1950 Associated Press poll, Feb. 4, 1950, NYC ---

                          Ruth 253, Cobb 116, Gehrig 8, W. Johnson 7, DiMaggio 5, Wagner 2, Mathewson 2.
                          Ty's Decline Phase: Longevity Case:

                          You're hitting where it hurts, in TC's decline phase, but that's alright. Yes, Mr. Cobb was dominant up to 1919, due to the ball favored his particular speed/brains type style. But while he couldn't dominate after 1919, he continued to be one of the top 3-5 players in the league, after Ruth, Sisler, Heilmann.

                          Let me see if I can cobble an argument together in his defense. What is throwing you off-track Adam, is that you're obviously looking at Ty's page in the record book and seeing no bold-faced black numbers jumping at you after the age of 32. But what that book doesn't show is 2nds or 3rds, which would be relevant to the discussion. If you could see those 2nds and 3rds, which show he did keep pace somewhat with the league in '21, '22 and 25, you might have seen the numbers below.

                          1921----2nd (BA, OBP, TPR), 3rd (SLG), 4th (SB, T), 5th (R), 7th (EBH), 8th (H, TB), 9th (D, HR, RBI)
                          1922-----2nd (H, BA, OBP, D, T), 4th (TPR), 6th (SLG, RBI, EBH), 7th (R),
                          1923-----6th (D), 8th (BA, H), 9th (OBP, R)
                          1924-----2nd (R), 3rd (BA, H), 4th (TB, SB), 5th (W), 7th (T), 8th (TB, D), 9th (OBP)
                          1925-----2nd (OBP), 3rd (SLG), 4th (BA), 5th (TPR), 7th (T, EBH), 8th (RBI)
                          1926-----6th (BA)
                          1927-----3rd (SB), 5th (BA, OBP), 6th (R), 10th (RBI)
                          1928-----6th (BA)

                          Other stats:
                          Times on base: 9th in '21, 3rd in '22, 8th in '23, 2nd in '24, 6th in '27. Baseball Reference gives many other exotic stats which are less sexy so I don't feel like posting stuff like OPS, adj. OPS, Runs Created, Power/Speed Number, At Bat per SO.

                          So, even without league-leading black ink, he did hobble around with top 5 grey ink. He had had a debilitating injury in 1920, resulting from an OF collision, and missed a huge number of games in 1920.

                          He was made manager of his team in 1921, and we know from his interviews that that was where the lion's share of his attention went. He also benched himself quite often to play his other OFers, Veach, Manush, Wingo, Fothergill, and Flagstad. He saw his future in managing, and he had also lost around 2 steps getting down to 1st.

                          So those are the valid reasons he couldn't dominate the league anymore.
                          1. He had aged and slowed down.
                          2. The game wasn't designed to favor his type style anymore.
                          3. He was focusing on managing.
                          4. He was giving himself less playing time to develop his young talent. (Something Rose would have done well to emulate.)
                          5. He was still one of the top 5 premier players in the league, though not the intimidating dominator of yesteryear.
                          Ty's Grey Ink after 30:

                          1920 - 04 points
                          1921 - 21
                          1922 - 22
                          1923 - 12
                          1924 - 19
                          1925 - 12
                          1926 - 04
                          1927 - 13
                          1928 - 28
                          200 Grey Ink points (almost half of his career "grey ink" total.)
                          % of League BA.

                          1906 - 126% - 6th place
                          1907 - 141% - 1st place
                          1908 - 135% - 1st place
                          1909 - 154% - 1st place
                          1910 - 158% - 1st place
                          1911 - 153% - 1st place
                          1912 - 154% - 1st place
                          1913 - 151% - 1st place
                          1914 - 148% - 1st place
                          1915 - 148% - 1st place
                          1916 - 155% - 2nd place
                          1917 - 154% - 1st place
                          1918 - 150% - 1st place
                          1919 - 143% - 1st place
                          1920 - 117% - 10th place
                          1921 - 133% - 2nd place
                          1922 - 140% - 2nd place
                          1923 - 120% - 8th place
                          1924 - 116% - 11th place
                          1925 - 129% - 4th place
                          1926 - 120% - 11th place
                          1927 - 125% - 5th place
                          1928 - 114% - 13th place
                          OnBase Ave.

                          SLG. AVE.
                          Ty's MVP's Post-1920, According to Mathew Sounder's PCA stat system:
                          1920 - 24 (Ruth)
                          1921 - 6 (Ruth)
                          1922 - 5 (K. Williams)
                          1923 - 14 (Ruth)
                          1924 - 7 (Ruth)
                          1925 - 5 (Simmons)
                          1926 - 66 (Ruth)
                          1927 - 13 (Gehrig)
                          How Ty/Honus did before/after the age of 30:
                           Relative Slg. Ave.
                          1906--1.18--age 19
                          1911--1.64-----------1898--1.16--age 24
                          ------------------------------------Decline phase, age 30
                          ---------------------1917--0.86 - 74 games
                          Did Ty Cobb Age Well?

                          A comparison of Ty with Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins and Zach Wheat, 1921-1927.
                          EC--106--375--129-32--4---1--66--62--62---8-1.20-----1.15-137---1 -0.1
                          ZW--111--411--119-31--2---5--68--35--21--14-1.01-----1.03--99--10 -0.8
                          EC---95--226---76-12--1---1--55--15--56---9-1.12----0.97-140--00 -0.1
                          ZW---88--247---80-12--1---1--34--38--18---5-1.08----0.93--95---7 -0.7
                          So, let's summarize:
                          Hitting: Cobb, by a statistically significant lead.
                          Running: Cobb, was the greatest ever.
                          Defense/Positional Adjustment: Wagner, by a very wide margin.
                          Longevity: Cobb
                          Awards: Cobb. Buries Honus
                          League Quality: Cobb, by a slight margin
                          Pitching toughness: Cobb, by a large margin
                          Psychological Effect on Opponents: Cobb
                          Harmonizing effect on team: Wagner
                          Peers Opinions: Cobb buries Wagner
                          Inspiration of team mates: Cobb, by a slight margin
                          Ballpark disadvantage: Wagner by a wide margin

                          When matched against Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner has barely a leg to stand on.
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-28-2008, 08:26 AM.


                          • #14
                            I am very gratified that you enjoy the inside side of the old game, Hellborn. You are encouraging me to share more of TC's bag of tricks. Here are just a few.

                            1. In support of that, here is one Cobb tactic. He played in an era where the sleeves of the uniform often came down to their wrists. He'd crowd the plate, knowing full well that this would compel unwary pitchers to come inside to drive him back off the plate. And when they did, he'd contrive to let that pitch hit that baggy sleeve, thereby giving him a free pass to 1B! And even if it didn't hit his sleeve, it would put the pitcher behind in the count.

                            2. He also coached his players to do the same, knowing that even if the ball failed to hit the baggy sleeve, it would put the pitcher in the hole.

                            3. The game after Carl Mays hit/killed Ray Chapman, and the Yankees were to play the Tigers, Cobb called the Tigers together before the game and told them words to this effect.

                            "Listen, boys. We know one thing for sure today. Mays will not be pitching us inside. So, crowd the plate until your toes are touching the plate. That will tempt Mays past his tolerance thresh-hold. When he comes inside, let the ball hit you, but pretend you're trying to avoid getting hit. And if the ball nicks you, throw yourself to the ground and writhe in agony.

                            That should throw Mays into trauma." The Tigers did that all game.

                            On another play, as Ty was sliding towards 3B, the ball beat him to the bag, but popped out of the fielder's glove, towards Ty. Any other runner would have gladly slid to the base, glad of their lucky break. Not Cobb.

                            Seeing the ball pop out of the fielder's glove, and the player lunging to get it, Ty contorted his slide and slid for the ball too! Ty got their first, and by a flick of his toe, kicked the ball hard towards the 3B dugout! He then slid into 3B, and popped back up and sprinted home! Talk about instant thinking and reflexes!

                            The opposing manager was Branch Rickey, and he argued long and hard with the umps that Cobb had made an interference. But the umps couldn't believe that it was pre-meditated. They believed it was an accident. Cobb scoring was allowed! Branch was furious.

                            Another trick was to sucker base runners into thinking, as an OFer, you couldn't reach a ball, thereby tempting them to go for the next base, only to suddenly reach the ball and double them up. Here is one such story.
                            Hugh S. Fullerton in Golfer tells of a remarkable play in base running-yet one not remarkable for Cobb, for, as a friend remarked, "He pulls that stuff all the time.

                            "Mr. Fullerton describes Cobb in a game in Detroit some years ago. "Late in the game, he made a play which opened my eyes. A runner was on second base when a short fly was hit over second into center. Cobb could have handled it without an effort. The second baseman or shortstop could have caught it, but it would have required a fast start. Cobb claimed the catch the instant the ball was hit. "Instead of starting for it at top speed he leaped forward, seemed to hesitate, started slowly and half stopped. Bush, who evidently knew the system, started out hard as if to try to catch the ball. Cobb yelled something. Bush stopped and backed up. The ball was falling and Cobb was still lagging. It looked fifty to one the ball would fall safe. The runner on second thought he saw the ball falling, thought Cobb didn't have a chance to make the catch and he leaped toward third. As he did so Cobb sprang forward with a wonderful sprint, made a desperate shoe-string catch, came up with the ball and tossed it to second, doubling the runner off the bag. He had made a play where there was none--had deliberately plotted to deceive the runner into believing the ball would fall safe, and had risked making a desperate catch to get the chance for a double play." (NL Spalding Baseball Guide, date uncertain)
                            And Ty wasn't merely brainy on the field either. Here is an example of how much self-control he had, and how he made it work to his advantage.

                            In 1927, due to a scandal involving Ty and Speaker, both were made free agents. This provoked a bidding war for their services. Connie Mack offered Ty a fortune to go to Philadelphia, to help his young squad. Paid him about $105K in salary and bonuses.

                            Ty was savvy enough to know that if they released the amount to the press, that Babe Ruth would be annoyed at not being the highest paid player. So, both Connie/Ty kept the details secret. Ty fully realized that Babe would have gone to Yank owner, Jake Ruppert and demanded more than Connie paid Ty. And gotten it. No question.

                            But because Babe never knew how much Ty got, he didn't do that. Ty waited until after Babe retired, and then told the story, which was corroborated in Connie Mack's autobiography! Talk about savvy, crafty thinking! He was like Odysseus (Ulysses).

                            Glad you enjoy my little stories, Hellborn. Keep on encouraging me, and this could go on all day!
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-26-2008, 06:48 PM.


                            • #15
                              *SO were not documented until 1913. I had to re-construct a curve based on his SO totals post 1913. I added 301 SOs to his totals to give him an estimated 658 career SOs.

                              ------Blck Ink---Gry Ink--Hall/Fame Stand.-OPS+--Hll/Fme Monitor---Win Shares----TPR

                              Now, the subjective human interpretation. Ty simply buried Willie in league leads, as shown by black/grey inks. To those who counter with Cobb's league being much weaker competitively, I give this rebuttal.

                              Yes, TC's peers were not up to Willie's. Ty crushed an inferior league, while Willie did quite well indeed with the amazing level of the 1950's. This was evidenced by Willie's remarkable grey ink score. But there are some subtleties involved here.

                              It's true that Cobb only played from 1905-28, but history has judged him in direct competition with all players from 1870's till now. His "competition" was everyone.

                              Ty won 3 amazing competitive polls/surveys in 1931, 1936, 1942.

                              1931 --- Cobb 55 points, Wagner 38 points, Ruth 17 points, Lajoie 13, Collins 12, Keeler 7, Simmons 6, Speaker 4, Joe Jackson 3, Sisler 3, Klein 3, Hornsby 2, Parent 2, Ferguson, Chase & Terry = 1 point. -- 1931 Poll, conducted by the Philadelphia Public Ledger, C. William Duncan. July, 1933;
                              (Voters: Connie Mack, John McGraw, Clark Griffith, Wilbert Robinson, Dan Howley, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Bill McKechnie, Kid Gleason, Walter Johnson, Jim Burke, Gabby Street. Tabulation went thusly: 1st place vote = 5 points, 2nd place = 4 votes, 3rd place = 3 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 1st place = 1 point.
                              1936 --- Original Hall of Fame vote, Feb. 2, 1936, votes counted at the Commissioner's office in Chicago, IL. 226 Total Voters; Cobb 222, Wagner 215, Ruth 215, Mathewson 205, Johnson 189, Lajoie 146, Speaker 133, Young 111, Hornsby 105, Cochrane 80, Sisler 77, E. Collins 60, J. Collins 58, Alexander 55, Gehrig 51 --
                              1942 --- Sporting News, April 2, 1942, 102 former players, managers. Cobb 60, Wagner 17, Ruth 11, Hornsby 2, 10 players received 1 vote each: Delahanty, Gehrig, Speaker, DiMaggio, Ott, Sisler, E. Collins, Johnson, Mathewson, Jerry Denny.
                              It wasn't until 1950, that Babe won his very first poll/survey ever.
                              1950 Associated Press poll, Feb. 4, 1950, NYC --- Ruth 253, Cobb 116, Gehrig 8, W. Johnson 7, DiMaggio 5, Wagner 2, Mathewson 2.

                              One can see at a glance the huge abyss between the polls of 1942 and 1950. The difference is obviously, that the voters in 1942 had all seen whom they were asked to evaluate, while the 1950 sports writers, for the most part, had not seen either Ruth or Cobb, and definitely not Wagner.

                              So the issue of league strength, while valid, does not seem out of proportion. Cobb is expected to crush those bums, and does so admirably. His quest for league leads was not conducted against the masses, but the elite top end.

                              Ty's rivals - Tris Speaker, Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, George Sisler, Frank Baker, Nap Lajoie, Sam Crawford, Babe Ruth, Harry Heilmann, Bobby Veach, Ken Williams, Joe Sewell, Sam Rice, Bob Fothergill, Baby Doll Jacobson, Bucky Harris, Jimmy Dykes, Tillie Walker, Johnny Bassler, Al Wingo, Bob Fothergill, were not competitively inferior to Willie's elite top end.

                              At the end of Ty's tenure, he had to contend with Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Joe Hauser, Tony Lazerri, Bob Meusel, Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane, Bing Miller, Leon "Goose" Goslin, Heinie Manush, Charlie Gehringer, Lew Fonseca.
                              And the level of pitching that Cobb had to cope with was not inferior to that which Willie had to deal with.

                              Ty's pitchers: W. Johnson, Eddie Cicotte, Carl Mays, Doc White, Nick Altrock, Babe Ruth, Urban Shocker, Ed Walsh, Rube Waddell, Cy Young, Addie Joss, Herb Pennock, Sam Jones, Dutch Leonard, Jack Coombs, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Joe Wood, Jack Chesbro, Jim Bagby, Bullet Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Red Faber, Bob Shawkey, Ray Caldwell, Ray Collins, George Mogridge, Earl Hamilton, George Uhle, Stan Coveleskie. Later on he faced Eddie Rommel, Red Ruffing, Ted Lyons, and even Lefty Grove for 2 seasons.

                              Willie's rivals: Aaron, Clemente, Musial, Frank Robinson, Banks, Snider, Ralph Kiner, Big Klu, Eddie Mathews, Wally Moon, Vada Pinson, Tommy Davis, Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, Junior Gilliam, Dick Groat, Red Schoendienst, Gil Hodges, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, J. Robinson, Campanella, Ashburn, and later, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Billy Williams, Felippe Alou, Willie Stargell, Richie Allen, Tony Perez.

                              He also had to face Spahn, Robin Roberts, Roy Face, Lew Burdette, Curt Simmons, Harvey Haddix, Johnny Antonelli, Vern Law, Bob Purkey, Billy Pierce, Johnny Podres, Joe Nuxhall, Don Newcombe, Koufax, Ron Perranoski, Bob Gibson, Bob Veale, Dick Ellsworth, Jim Maloney, Don Drysdale, Chris Short, Jim Bunning, Bob Friend, Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Ferguson Jenkins, Jim Palmer, Milt Pappas, Jerry Koosman, Dock Ellis.

                              Peak: I give them a draw.
                              Longevity: I give Ty a slight edge.
                              Arm: I give Willie a slight edge over the early Ty, and a big edge over the later Ty.
                              Range: I give Willie a big advantage.
                              Ave.: Ty, as the world's best ave. hitter, buries Willie.
                              Power: Ty, with 8 SLG titles, and 5 others in the top 3, with 5 times in the top 3 in HRs, Ty cleans Willie's clock nicely. Plus his Rel. SLG tops Willie's.
                              Running: Not only does Ty bury Willie in SB, but does even better as a base-runner. Most disruptive runner ever.
                              Intangibles: Ty was the living model of the smartest players ever. Collins, Sisler, Hornsby, Cochrane, Simmons, and many others. They all enjoyed watching Ty, and watched him like a hawk, to learn how to execute all the subtleties.

                              My overall summary. Ty, by a landslide.
                              Cobb's Power Case:

                              When Cobb retired following the '28 season, he held the ML records for:
                              G, AB, BA, Hits, Runs, RBIs, TB, SB, steals of Home, EBHs, singles, runs produced. He was second in: doubles, triples, extra bases on hits. A collection truly Ruthian, or should I say Cobbian.

                              Overall, Ty set more records than the Babe, or anyone else, 90. His records lasted the longest. 30 still stand. Using traditional stats, Ty led his league more often than anyone else, I think around 60.

                              Today 75 yrs later, he is STILL:

                              1st: BA, Relative BA, Runs Produced
                              2nd: hits, runs, triples, OF assists, OF DPs,
                              3rd: Relative OBA for this century
                              4th: SB, G, AB, doubles, triples, OF putouts
                              8th: OBA unadjusted, extra bases,

                              But there's more. Mr. Cobb hung up these impressive achievements.

                              HRs - top 3 in the league - 5 times, won 1
                              RBIs - top 3 in the league - 7 times, won 4
                              TBs - top 3 in the league - 10 times, won 6
                              SLG. - top 3 in the league - 14 times, won 8

                              Looked at from another angle, Mr. Cobb led his league in the following years, in the following categories.

                              1907---BA, SLG, TB, RBI, H, OPS, OPS+, BR+,
                              1908---BA, SLG, TB, RBI, H, D, T, OPS, OPS+, BR+,
                              1909---BA, OBP, SLG, TB, RBI, R, H, HR, OPS, OPS+, BR+, SB,
                              1910---BA, OBP, SLG, R, OPS, OPS+,
                              1911---BA, SLG, R, H, D, T, RBI, SB, OPS, TB, OPS+, EBH,
                              1912---BA, SLG, H, OPS, OPS+, BR+, SB,
                              1915---BA, OBP, TB, R, H, OPS, OPS+, BR+, SB, SBR,
                              1917---BA, OBP, H, D, T, SLG, SB, OPS, TB, EBH, OPS+,
                              1918---BA, OBP, T, OPS, OPS+, BR+,

                              My most impressive stat is that Ty came in the top 3 in SLG. ave. 14 times! He won 8. That is a record that I don't think Willie can compete with. Willie's power case cannot withstand that level of firepower!
                              Willie came in the top 3 in SLG. 8 times, and won 5.

                              Willie's peers tougher in power? Oh really?

                              Ty's peers: Ruth, Lajoie, Joe Jackson, Crawford, Speaker, Frank Baker, Sisler, Harry Heilmann, Bobby Veach, Bob Meusel, Ken Williams, Bob Fothergill, Leon "Goose" Goslin, Tillie Walker.

                              Willie's peers: Aaron, Clemente, Musial, Frank Robinson, Banks, Snider, Ralph Kiner, Big Klu, Eddie Mathews, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, J. Robinson, Campanella.
                              It is well-known that Babe hit more HRs than whole teams. But just to make a point, I'm going to get the Total Baseball out and make a few points of my own.

                              1907 - Cobb HRs, 5--------White Sox HRs, 5
                              1908 - Cobb HRs, 4--------White Sox HRs, 3
                              1909 - Cobb HRs, 9--------White Sox HRs, 4, Senators HRs, 9, Indians/Browns, 10
                              1910 - Cobb HRs, 8-------White Sox-7, Indians/Senators-9
                              1917 - Cobb HRs, 6--------Senators, 4
                              1918 - Cobb HRs, 3--------Senators, 4

                              So, Cobb was a deadball power hitter who was hitting as many as "whole teams".
                              Why didn't Ty dominate the 20's? Too old, too distracted with keeping a team on point. He got old. I am referring to a 20-30 yr. Cobb, with a live ball. He would combine a better glove, better running, better stealing, better BA, and his own power to offer more value than Babe on the field.

                              And today, who would draw more fans? Not Babe. Seen it all before. Been there, done that. But a trash-talking Dixie Cracker? They'd turn out in twice the numbers just to hear him nail Piazza/IRod. Fans like drama. And who'd be more dramatic today? A lunging Babe trying to get around on 100 mph heat? Or a crazed lunatic with a big mouth, going down to break up the DP, or breaking for home from 3rd? I know who I'd rather see!
                              Some of our members have brought up the issue of Cobb not adjusting well to the new offensive climate of the 20's. Two members have brought up the names of Ken Williams and Cy Williams.
                              So I looked into this a little and the results were revealing. I must come to the conclusion that the ballparks were a factor, to a much greater degree than we've realized before. The more lively ball was allowing fly outs to now reach the stands. Of course, both Williams were no doubt trying out their new power swings, but I'll let the following numbers speak for themselves.

                              Year--------Ken Williams----------Ty Cobb

                              The above chart shows K.Williams at Sportsman's Park, and Ty at Navin Field.
                              Sportsman's Park in that era featured a RF foul line of 310-315 feet, with a right-center distance of 354 feet. CF was 422 feet. Ken hit left-handed.

                              Navin Field featured a RF foul line of 370 feet, CF 467 feet. Ty hit left.

                              Cy Williams was a Phil. Phillie who played in Baker Bowl. It featured a RF foul line of 272 feet, right center power alley was only 300 feet, and CF was 408 feet. Cy hit left-handed.

                              For his career, Ken Williams hit 142 home HRs, and 54 away HRs, while Cobb hit 36 home HRs, and 81 away HRs. Park effects can be very important.
                              Ty/Willie: Power

                              Willie's Home Run Record:



                              Ty's Home Run Record:



                              Willie 14 times came in the top 10 in HRs. Ty did that 11 times. Obviously, Ty hurt himself in the 20's, when he chose not to go for HRs, when others did. Still, Willie came in his top 3, 8 times, Ty 5 times, when he was not even trying for homers.

                              Ty Cobb has by far the highest percentage of home runs with runners on base (81) out of his career total (117)--69.2%? The only one who comes close is 19th century slugger Sam Thompson, at 65.9%. After these guys, the next best figures almost all fall in the mid-50% range.
                              And on.
                              Twenty Career Inside the Park Home Runs
                              1. Sam Crawford --------- 51  of 97 (52%)
                              2. Tommy Leach ---------- 49  of 63 (77%)
                              3. Ty Cobb -------------- 46  of 117(39%)
                              4. Honus Wagner---------- 41  of 101(40%)
                              5. Tris Speaker --------- 37  of 117(31%)
                              6. Jake Daubert --------- 33  of 56 (58%)
                              7. Chief Wilson --------- 31  of 59 (52%)
                              8. Rogers Hornsby ------- 30  of 301(10%)
                              9. Willie Keeler -------- 30  of 33 (90%)
                              10. Edd Roush ----------- 30  of 68 (44%)
                              11. Max Carey ----------- 28  of 70 (40%)
                              12. Ed Konetchy --------- 28  of 74 (37%)
                              13. Jesse Burkett ------- 27  of 75 (36%)
                              14. Zack Wheat ---------- 25  of 132(19%)
                              15. Hal Chase ----------- 24  of 57 (42%)
                              16. Fred Clarke --------- 23  of 67 (34%)
                              17. Earle Combs --------- 23  of 58 (39%)
                              18. Rabbit Maranville --- 22  of 28 (78%)
                              19. Ginger Beaumont ----- 21  of 39 (53%)
                              20. Sherry Magee -------- 21  of 83 (25%)
                              21. Sam Rice ------------ 21  of 34 (61%)
                              22. Cy Seymour ---------- 21  of 52 (40%)
                              23. George Sisler ------- 20  of 102(19%)
                              Relative BA------------Relative SLG.-------OPS
                              Year-----BA	L.BA+   *Rel.BA	
                              1905 - .240	.249	096.4
                              1906 - .316	.259	122.0
                              1907 - .350	.257	136.2
                              1908 - .324	.250	129.6
                              1909 - .377	.257	146.7
                              1910 - .383	.258	148.4
                              1911 - .420	.287	146.3
                              1912 - .409	.269	152.0
                              1913 - .390	.263	148.3
                              1914 - .368	.260	141.5
                              1915 - .369	.261	141.4
                              1916 - .371	.261	142.1
                              1917 - .383	.255	150.2
                              1918 - .382	.256	149.2
                              1919 - .384	.274	140.1
                              1920 - .334	.289	115.6
                              1921 - .389	.298	130.5
                              1922 - .401	.289	138.8
                              1923 - .340	.288	118.1
                              1924 - .338	.297	113.8
                              1925 - .378	.298	126.8
                              1926 - .339	.291	116.5
                              1927 - .357	.300	119.0
                              1928 - .323	.292	110.6
                              Ty's relative BA stat.

                              1906 - 126% - 6th place
                              1907 - 141% - 1st place
                              1908 - 135% - 1st place
                              1909 - 154% - 1st place
                              1910 - 158% - 1st place
                              1911 - 153% - 1st place
                              1912 - 154% - 1st place
                              1913 - 151% - 1st place
                              1914 - 148% - 1st place
                              1915 - 148% - 1st place
                              1916 - 155% - 2nd place
                              1917 - 154% - 1st place
                              1918 - 150% - 1st place
                              1919 - 143% - 1st place
                              1920 - 117% - 10th place
                              1921 - 133% - 2nd place
                              1922 - 140% - 2nd place
                              1923 - 120% - 8th place
                              1924 - 116% - 11th place
                              1925 - 129% - 4th place
                              1926 - 120% - 11th place
                              1927 - 125% - 5th place
                              1928 - 114% - 13th place
                              Here are some of Ty's numbers for "OUTSIDE the park" homers.

                              In Ty's day, his RF was 370, and his CF was 467. When Tiger Stadium closed in 1999, RF was 325, and CF was 440. Might not seem like a long distance of difference. But those 45/27 feet would have allowed a lot of HRs. In Ty's day, many of his long shots fell in for doubles, triples, IP HRs, and long flyouts.

                              Here are some of Ty's numbers for "OUTSIDE the park" homers.

                              1907 - 3rd in league.
                              1911 - 3rd in league.
                              1912 - 2nd in league.
                              1917 - 10th in league.
                              1925 - 11th in league. In 1925, all his homers were "over the fence".

                              In 1912, his 6 "over the fence" homers were a team record until the live ball.
                              He also led his team or came in second in "over the fence" homers 7 times.
                              Now, I've alluded several times to Ty hitting long homers.

                              On May 30, 1907, Ty hit a HR off Addie Joss in Cleveland's League Park, which went over the RF screen. The fence was 400 feet out, and topped by a 45 foot screen. Ty's shot blasted over that screen. With 2 outs and no one on in the 3rd.

                              On June 25, 1912, he did it again. Way over that screen. With the score tied at 4-2, in favor of the home team in the Detroit 6th, with Donie Bush on base.

                              On June 6, 1915, he hit the longest HR ever at the Polo Grounds. It cleared the RF bleachers, in the 8th inning with Ossie Vitt on base.

                              On June 8, 1917, at Boston, he blasted a pitch deep into the CF stands, where only Babe Ruth hit it later. Came in the 4th inning with Pep Young aboard. Possibly the longest in his career.

                              On June 30, 1917, at St. Louis Sportsman's Park, Ty blasted perhaps the longest shot of his career. It was estimated to go 500 feet, over the RF bleachers. It was a 5th inning Grand slam, which won the game.

                              On August 26, 1918, he blasted a monster clear out of Fenway, which landed in a brewery, across the street, supposedly splattering the beer. It came in the 6th inning, with Donie Bush aboard.

                              So I hope this gives some context to an amazingly versatile hitter.

                              So, these are just a few of the gems that this remarkable ahtlete was able to compile.

                              Hope these few pearls illuminate a point that I think you've been missing. There were many more points that you brought out that I could have addressed, but I think this will do for now.
                              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-15-2010, 08:44 AM.


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