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Ty Cobb, Class Act

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Great stuff.

Except for the part about Cobb entering the stands to beat a man who had lost his fingers in a printing press.

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  • UberMitch

    In center field, a fly ball dropped on Leinhauser’s head, but he stayed in the game.

    It’s a tragic failure of player safety that outfielders are not equipped with some kind of mechanism for arresting the fall of fly balls.

    • rea

      While such a safety mechanism has been invented, it doesn’t do Cobb’s fellow Tigers much good

      • Miguel Olivo’s greatest contribution as a Mariner right there.

        • mark f

          The local MLB-unaffiliated independent team just signed the 47-year-old Jose Canseco for the season. I’m hoping at least one line drive bounces off his head and goes over the fence for a homer.

        • proverbialleadballoon

          how the wsox convinced the mariners to trade sweaty freddy garcia for him, greater minds than mine can only know.

          • That was such a horrible trade for Seattle. Of course, Jeremy Reed flopping was the biggest problem.

            • A horrible trade? The Mariners? Never!

              • bobbyp

                It’s our specialty.

  • Stag Party Palin

    If you recall Angels in the Outfield (the 1951 version) it included a cameo by Ty Cobb, interviewed about the angels. He was so nice and cheerful and friendly. He didn’t spike the interviewer even once!

    • proverbialleadballoon

      would have been a lot cooler if he was in the 1994 version. zombie ty cobb and tony danza, we’re talking acadamy awards here. nobel prize even.

      • Bill Murray

        zombie Ty Cobb still had to be careful of what he ate. For instance Tony Danza would provide little if any substance

    • efgoldman

      He was so nice and cheerful and friendly. He didn’t spike the interviewer even once!

      If the interviewer had been black, though…

  • timb

    I have always heard that the insult about Cobb was that he was a “n____r lover,” which was infuriating to the racist Georgian. After all, RUMOR has it, he nearly choked to death a African-American groundskeeper who offered to shake his hand.

    • timb

      Sorry, it was the groundskeeper’s wife he tried to strangle

      http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6784662/ty-cobb-detroit

    • Richard Hershberger

      My understanding (and, full disclosure, I’m not sure as I think about it what my source is) is that the insult was a suggestion that Cobb’s ancestry was not purely caucasian. This also is given to explain his teammates’ support. Cobb was no more popular on his own team than anywhere else, but the others agreed that there were some insults no white man could be expected to endure.

      • timb

        Yeah, I think that’s right.

  • KadeKo

    Tangent: It wasn’t mentioned in the link, but has anyone besides antique car geeks elsewise known about the Chalmers automobile if it weren’t for the famed 1911 batting race?

  • c u n d gulag

    NEWSFLASH!
    Cobb was a mean-ass MFer with a hair-trigger temper (he was a hell of a ballplayer, though).

    As a person, he had a low self-esteem, and at the same time, had an overinflated sense of self.
    He was a cruel SOB, and a racist.

    Nowaday’s, Cobb would have just finished his 2nd term as a Republican Governor of a Southern state, and Mitt would be giving his concession speech to him.
    The only question about his candidacy would be, is Cobb sufficiently Christian?
    We can all rest assured he would hate Obama enough.

    • Richard Hershberger

      My amateur pop-psych diagnosis is narcissistic personality disorder. He was everyone (or at least every white’s) best friend until the first time someone disagreed with him on anything.

      He was also, as you note, a great ballplayer. I don’t mean midling great. I mean any list that doesn’t include him in the top five of all time should be considered suspect. He still holds major career records.

      He also was smart. He ended up a millionaire, which meant something in those days. This was partly based on his salary, which was for a long time the highest in baseball, but he also didn’t squander his money like a lot of ball players, and was a good investor.

      Biography is not usually my favored mode of baseball history, but Cobb was a genuinely fascinating guy.

      • rea

        amateur pop-psych diagnosis

        Cobb’s mother blowing his father’s head off with a shotgun may have some relevance here.

      • sparks

        Why in hell is being financially fortunate considered a sign of high intelligence? I see that crap in bios all the time and it’s often not backed by any other real show of brains.

        • rea

          He was smart enough to invest a lot of money in an obscure company called Coca Cola . . .

          • DrDick

            I think that is called luck. There is a reason they call the stock exchange the “Big Casino.”

          • Richard Hershberger

            He also got in early as an investor in the auto industry. Yes, playing in Detroit undoubtedly made the opportunity more apparent than it might otherwise have been, but he still saw it and took advantage of it.

            By way of comparison, consider Babe Ruth’s financial history.

      • bobbyp

        I heard that when he died he wanted all his money buried with him. Real smart.

  • jim48043

    When Fred Lieb wrote of the incident in The Detroit Tigers (G. P. Putnam’s, 1946), he described the man in the stands as “a press man and a minor politician.” The reader will note that every active Tiger player took Cobb’s side and went on strike. Why is open to anyone’s conjecture a century later. Stories about Cobb (or anyone else, I imagine) often depended upon who told them. For a lengthy treatment of Cobb and some more examples, the reader may enjoy http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?80626-Ty-Cobb-Assorted-Historical-Topics

    Cobb made a lot of money in the stock and commodities markets (while well paid compared to his contemporaries, players of his era were paid much less, even adjusted for inflation). After he retired, he made a number of charitable gifts, including a hospital and many scholarships. Whatever else he may have been, he was not one-dimensional.

    • rea

      And, despite his racism during his playing days, he became a supporter of the intergration of baseball in the 50’s

      • sparks

        So what? Did he support integration from the beginning? Coming on board in the ’50s suggests not. If he came out for it when it was pretty much a fait accompli, it easily could have been a cynical way of polishing a bit of tarnish off his image. It didn’t affect him personally, those people weren’t on the field when he played, which was likely much more important to him.

        • rea

          Uh . . . the 50’s were when baseball integrated. He supported it at the time it was being implemented, and was still controversial.

  • Manju

    Must’ve been the rage caused by the PEDs.

  • NBarnes

    I’m looking forward to the next comment in a baseball thread about how steroids are Teh Wurst Thing EVAR and spoiled the sanctity of the game and Barry Bonds is History’s Greatest Monster.

    • Jonas

      Steroids have unfairly helped today’s ballplayers break records made by the great players of the past, who only had amphetamines to aid their play.

      • timb

        And pitchers with no pitch counts and bullpens without specialists and train travel within a whole two time zones and ballparks the size of thimbles and gloves like pieces of drywall…

        Hell, Halberstam talks of the pitchers of the 40’s being unable to drink water during games, because the geniuses running the teams told the pitchers all that water weight would slow them down. How do hit .406? Hit against a dehydrated guy on the mound for 170 pitches in a wool uniform in Boston on an August afternoon.

  • mark f

    I played baseball at Ty Cobb Little League. While many of the other local leagues are named after players with personal or professional connections to the area, it’s nowhere near Detroit or Cobb’s Georgia hometown. I can only assume that whoever established it admired the man.

  • William Munny Out of Missouri, Killer of Women and Children

    Well, he shoulda armed himself.

    • Different John

      +1.

  • Halloween Jack

    Some fans tried to intervene, but several teammates who had followed Cobb into the grandstand held them off with bats.

    Not just Cobb, then.

    • rea

      The “fan” would probably have been thrown out of the park long before things came to a fight today. That Cobb’s teammates suported him (including some like Sam Crawford who famously did not get along with Cobb) indicates that Cobb’s behaivor was not as far out of line as some modern accounts of the incident suggest.

      • jim48043

        Not too long after the incident, umpires were empowered to order disruptive fans removed.

      • timb

        rea, as a former Pacers fan, I can tell you that no provocation is worth going into the stands for

      • njorl

        That Cobb’s teammates suported him … indicates that Cobb’s behaivor was not as far out of line as some modern accounts of the incident suggest.

        No, it doesn’t do that at all. You’re completely misunderstanding group dynamics. When there are few of “us” and thousands of “them”, you don’t break ranks. It’s why otherwise decent cops will let a fellow officer get away with murder.

  • Dennis

    Ty Cobb: Only athlete ever to be more horrible than Mike Milbury.

  • efgoldman

    Bill James says Cobb literally got away with murder.

  • wengler

    Cobb could never besmirch the hallowed halls of Cooperstown like Bonds.

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