Ty Cobb


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Alright guys, this section has been active lately, and I've got new members that knowa a lot about the sport. So I'll be starting new threads about some of the greatest players that have played the game, and we will discuss about him, what was so great about him, and what has impressed you the most about him. I want this to be done properly, I don't want crappy short messages, if you don't know nothing about the certain player, then you can reply asking questions about him, but I don't want replies saying this guy is overrated and stuff, if you do think he's overrated then state why. I will delete any messages that I feel isn't appropriate for these threads. The third player that I have chosen is Ty Cobb.


Tyrus Raymond Cobb is one of the best players of all time, he set over 90 records while he was playing and he still holds some records today. He has a .366 career batting average, which is the highest of any players. He's second all time in career hits with 4,191, he also had 2,245 career runs. He has 12 career batting titles.

Cobb's legacy as an athlete has sometimes been overshadowed by his surly temperament, allegedly severe racism, and aggressive reputation, which was described by the Detroit Free Press as "daring to the point of dementia."

I am sure that you guys already know what I just mentioned, but can you eloborate on his career, his temperament, racism and his aggressive reputation?


I'm sure most of us have heard the story about how he sharpened his spikes and supposedly tried to end peoples careers. However, I was watching a Tigers game on ESPN a month or so ago and Ernie Harwell was in the booth with Morgan and Miller and he said that when he interviewed Cobb that he wasn't brash or arrogant or mean or anything, and that he was very nice and polite.

Anyways, he broke into the game very, very young, he was 18 in his first season, in which he played in 41 games, and hit .240, not bad for a kid fresh outta high school. He led the league in just about every stat category at least once except for BB's, even homeruns with 9 in 1909, and won the MVP 1911. He even pitched a few times and has a career ERA of 3.60.

Easily a top 5 player of all time.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
I also heard that he use to end people's career with his spikes, when he used to steal bases he made sure to slide with his spikes pointing at the second or third baseman. Speaking of stealing bases he was good at it, especially stealing at home, he stole home 54 times, which is incredible, and he stole 96 bases in 1915. He also bated .420 in 1911 which is simply amazing.

Now we all know that he had a great career, but I want to know more about him, what was he like outside of baseball, I heard so much bad stuff about him, and I want to know what you guys know.


Staff member
I thought I read something like his mom killed his dad or something like that when he first started playing. Can anybody verify that point?


I also heard that he use to end people's career with his spikes, when he used to steal bases he made sure to slide with his spikes pointing at the second or third baseman. Speaking of stealing bases he was good at it, especially stealing at home, he stole home 54 times, which is incredible, and he stole 96 bases in 1915. He also bated .420 in 1911 which is simply amazing.

Now we all know that he had a great career, but I want to know more about him, what was he like outside of baseball, I heard so much bad stuff about him, and I want to know what you guys know.

wow, I never knew much about cobb (way before my time) but I find that stealing home stat to be simply amazing.
I also heard that he use to end people's career with his spikes, when he used to steal bases he made sure to slide with his spikes pointing at the second or third baseman. Speaking of stealing bases he was good at it, especially stealing at home, he stole home 54 times, which is incredible, and he stole 96 bases in 1915. He also bated .420 in 1911 which is simply amazing.

Now we all know that he had a great career, but I want to know more about him, what was he like outside of baseball, I heard so much bad stuff about him, and I want to know what you guys know.
First, Cobb never ended any player's career by spiking them. He only intentionally spiked a baseman 1-2 times in his career.

Second, there are some huge myths about Cobb, the first one being that he was a racist. A good friend of mine by the name of Bill Burgess has done massive research on Cobb, and Cobb historian Wesley Fricks wrote this letter to him:

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 Theatre in downtown Augusta to see one of them shoot’em up movies. “We came out of the theatre and Mr. Cobb, like a father, was waiting on the other side of the road,” claimed Lanier. “As we were getting into the car, Mr. Cobb overheard the owner of a nearby restaurant explaining to a man dressed in shabby clothes how to get to the Linwood Hospital – a veterans hospital. Mr. Cobb interrupts and says, ‘Son, I’ll take you there.’

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

Friends, I believe that one of Mr. Cobb’s problems was that he never looked for credit for anything that he done. He could never boast of his philanthropic nature that would put celebrities like Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio riding on the crest of publicity. And two, he never refuted accusation against him publicly. If someone alleged that he had spiked another player intentionally, he gave an explanation only to the person or people that it mattered to most, like owner of the Tigers or President of the American League, but very seldom to the press. If he would have stood up and said to people, “You are wrong” or “That is not true,” maybe these present day authors would have had less room to reinvent his reputation to their own liking.

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

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

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

And as I mention frequently, I could go on forever talking about great things that Mr. COBB did to enrich the lives of other people. He did this without any expectations from the recipient or others who witnessed his philanthropic deeds. In an interview in the mid 1950s, Mr. COBB made this statement, “You’ve ask me about this Cobb Educational Fund, and now I’m going to have to answer it. I do not wish to be eulogized for what I have done. I’m proud of it, yes. This Educational Fund has given me the greatest possible happiness and pleasure, and maybe when I’m gone we’ll have some real great men developed out of the Cobb Educational Foundation.”

The TY COBB Healthcare Systems, Inc provide jobs to thousands of healthcare professionals in northeast Georgia, and I know personally, 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 thought I read something like his mom killed his dad or something like that when he first started playing. Can anybody verify that point?
In 1905, Ty Cobb, the young rookie who was rapped way to tightly emotionally, recieved word that his mother had killed his father. According to numerous reports, Mrs. Cobb was cheating on Mr. Cobb, and Mr. Cobb knew it. So, that fateful night, Mrs. Cobb invited over her lover, thinking Mr. Cobb was away. Mr. Cobb was actually hiding in the backyard, and quitley climbed up to the window of the bedroom where Mrs. Cobb and her lover were. Mrs. Cobb saw him at the window, grabbed two pistols from under the bed, and shot Mr. Cobb twice, killing him. When asked about it, Mrs. Cobb said she "thought Mr. Cobb was just a common thief breaking into the house".


Ty Cobb was not a man I would want to spend a lot of time with. His personality left a lot to be desired.
But as a ballplayer, he was one of the best. He hit safely 36.6% of the time. Most players don't do that over a season. He did it over a career of 24 seasons. He still has many records.
Ty Cobb was one of the greatest players that ever lived.


Ty Cobb was every bad thing you've heard about him, and worse. Read the bio "Cobb," by Al Stump, on which the Tommy Lee Jones movie was based. Stump lived in a hellish world of paranoia and mortal danger with Cobb during Cobb's crazed final year or two of life, and was rewarded by having Cobb tell him his life's story as only Cobb could have perceived it. The tale was one of a man bubbling over with resentments, a man whose hatred of the human race was cast in stone during his childhood, and who spent the rest of his life "paying the [email protected] back."

Cobb was gratuitously violent on the field and homicidally violent off it. He carried a loaded firearm on his person, including in the clubhouse. He was racist to a far, far greater degree than the average American, or even the average Southerner, who was born in 1886. He was a terrible father and a worse husband. Like his father, he was also a child molester at heart. Daddy married Mommy when she was 12. Cobb married his poor wife when she was only slightly older, and was irritiated that her father insisted they wait until his child bride finish secondary school (and fill out her girlish frame) before bearing him any children.

Also, Cobb developed a twisted interest in Claire Merritt--who was the daughter of his father's attorney, and who later became famous as Claire Merritt Hodgson RUTH--in the middle of 1908, shortly before Claire's 11th birthday. Cobb would later depravedly tell Stump things got "very interesting" between him and Claire for awhile. I don't even want to contemplate what that means in the context of an adult man and a 10-year-old girl....

It is no wonder Cobb's mother blew his father away with that shotgun, then tried to pass it off as an accidental shooting (of both barrels) of a perceived burglar. The wonder is that "Charlie" Cobb, Ty's poor wife, didn't follow suit.

Cobb committed numerous felonious assaults off the field, many based on his pathological hatred of African-Americans. One such attack caused him to have to take a lengthy, circuitous route to the 1909 World Series in Pittsburgh--to the Tigers' detriment--since he couldn't go through Ohio at that time without being arrested on felony charges.

He played for his own statistical glory, often to his team's harm. He was an atrocious player-manager whose players, to a man, hated his guts. He was arguably the greatest MLB player of the first half of the past century--I have him 2nd to Ruth in that regard, and 3rd overall--yet his funeral drew only 2 former MLB players, both of whom he'd given financial support to in their waning years of life. Babe Ruth's funeral, by contrast, was of the sort normally reserved for a popular king. The disparity was no coincidence.

Cobb scored over 2,200 runs and, more impressive to me, drove in over 1,900 despite being openly contemptuous of HR hitting. Wretched personality and all, he is one of the greatest players who ever lived, and the only two Dead Ball Era players who can even challenge him in greatness are Tris Speaker and Honus Wagner. After extensive reading, including 2 Cobb bios and 1 bio each of Speaker and Wagner, I've concluded Cobb was the best player of the 3... despite the havoc he wrought on his teams and the damage that havoc did to their chances of winning.

But to claim Cobb wasn't that bad a guy, and wasn't particularly racist? Right. And George W. Bush is one of the most intelligent, far-sighted, fundamentally decent people ever to sit in the White House.

The man was a monster, pure and simple. No unbiased review of the facts supports any other conclusion, and Mr. Burgess, with whom I'm familiar, is about as capable of being unbiased regarding Cobb as I am regarding Dubya (i.e., not at all).

Most important, unlike some of baseball's other foulest personalities--Ted Williams, Tris Speaker, Lefty Grove, etc.--Cobb's despicable personality hurt his teams, and not just a little bit. It is no coincidence that, despite having another great hitter in his lineup (first Sam Crawford, then later Harry Heilmann), Cobb's teams never won a World Series. In fact, they never got to one after his 23rd birthday.

But don't take my word for any of this. Do what I did. Read the two scholarly bios that are out there--Stump's and Charles Alexander's. Alexander isn't as harsh on Cobb-the-person as Stump was, largely because he's relying on anecdotal evidence and didn't spend a large chunk of his life with the psychopath, but even Alexander's book depicts a man who was vicious, unprincipled, obsessed with his individual success and universally detested. Stump's book, which goes into far greater detail, spells it all out. And mind you, Stump indicates he thinks Cobb was probably the game's greatest player, and credits as true the claim Cobb once announced in advance his intention to play for HR's in the bandbox St. Louis played in and then hit 5 HR's in 2 games, so you can hardly discredit Stump as someone who was out to do a hatchet job on The Georgia Piece.

The facts about Cobb speak for themselves. He was a rotten, vicious person, a rabid racist and a terrible teammate. It is no fluke that the only 2 MLB players who attended his funeral, the great Mickey Cochrane and the greatly overrated Ray Schalk, were men whose allegiance he had bought.

Read Stump's book. It's 420 pages long, meticulously detailed, filled with source citations, as fair as one can be to that particular subject, and it's all you'll need to know about Cobb--both as a player and as a person. If you're not up to reading that lengthy a book on a long-dead player, send me a P.M. and I'll send you copies of the extensive passages from the book, and discussions of the book, which I've written elsewhere.

It wasn't all a grand conspiracy. Otherwise likeable guys like Heilmann, Crawford and Charlie Gehringer weren't all involved in some sinister conspiracy to torture poor Ty Cobb or vilify him without reason. He was a despicable, homicidal, pathologically hate-filled monster, and the late Al Stump, who served a lengthy sentence as Cobb's confidante and companion, has laid it all out in black and white. The truth is all there, for anyone who chooses to read it.


Registered Member
Like his father, he was also a child molester at heart. Daddy married Mommy when she was 12. Cobb married his poor wife when she was only slightly older.

Also, Cobb developed a twisted interest in Claire Merritt--who was the daughter of his father's attorney, and who later became famous as Claire Merritt Hodgson RUTH--in the middle of 1908, shortly before Claire's 11th birthday. Cobb would later depravedly tell Stump things got "very interesting" between him and Claire for awhile. I don't even want to contemplate what that means in the context of an adult man and a 10-year-old girl....

First, though I don't care for it, do not condone it girls marrying at the age of 12 or 15 was not that uncommon in the deep South in Ty Cobb's time. Cobb's marriage lasted 39 years so it must have had it's merits in this case, also 5 children. Remember Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his 13 year old cousin in the late 1950s. This is not carried on in the South today to the degree it was done in Ty's time

Claire was born in September of 1900. She would have just turned 8 years old when you make the claim that Cobb told Stump things got very interesting. Pure nonsense, what man in his right mind would tell of this taking place between him and an 8 year old.......... even if one did do so, didn't happen in this case.

You have your story mixed up. Cobb did say that things got "very interesting'' but he was speaking of a relationship with Claire when she was teenager and already a model.

Not Mr. Nice Guy but certainly not a child molester as you label him.


First, though I don't care for it, do not condone it girls marrying at the age of 12 or 15 was not that uncommon in the deep South in Ty Cobb's time. Cobb's marriage lasted 39 years so it must have had it's merits in this case, also 5 children. Remember Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his 13 year old cousin in the late 1950s. This is not carried on in the South today to the degree it was done in Ty's time

Claire was born in September of 1900. She would have just turned 8 years old when you make the claim that Cobb told Stump things got very interesting. Pure nonsense, what man in his right mind would tell of this taking place between him and an 8 year old.......... even if one did do so, didn't happen in this case.

You have your story mixed up. Cobb did say that things got "very interesting'' but he was speaking of a relationship with Claire when she was teenager and already a model.

Not Mr. Nice Guy but certainly not a child molester as you label him.
Wrong on pretty much all counts, and shouting doesn't make you any less so.

As for the fact having sex with children was considered OK in the South back then, so what? Certain things are considered OK in prisons--and I mean forcible things, not consensual ones--but that doesn't make them any less depraved. And the sordid, sickening truth about Jerry Lee Lewis doesn't make the truth about Cobb any less awful.

Cobb had the hots for his eventual wife when she still had a girl's frame, before she had begun to fill out and was in any physical condition to bear a child. Cobb's reaction to this fact? He was irritated that her father insisted Cobb wait until she was a ripe old 17 to start bearing kids.

As for Claire, you are simply wrong.

Claire gave her date of birth as 1900, but was actually born in 1897. And Cobb specifically told Al Stump, "I met a girl named Claire Hodgson, and for awhile it got interesting." (Stump, "Cobb," p. 159.) But she was Claire Merritt (her maiden name) at the time, and, as I said, she knew Cobb because her father was his father's attorney. Since Cobb married poor Charlie in August of 1908, and since Claire turned 11 in September of that year, this makes her 10 years old at the time.

Your version of events, I guess, has him encountering Claire by pure chance years later, when she was married to Mr. Hodgson and carrying on with Ruth. Too bad the available information shows otherwise. (One atrocious trivia book even reports that Cobb married Hodgson before Ruth did, which is about as good a reason as you could fathom not to buy a trivia book.)

Your remark about the length of Cobb's marriage is breathtaking in its naivete. Ever heard of people who stay in hellish marriages? READ STUMP'S BOOK! (My turn to shout.) He was an atrocious husband and father, one who had no affection to give and didn't even really spend much time pretending otherwise.

Here's a copy of a post I made elsewhere, replete with quotes from Stump, about Cobb the father and Cobb the husband:

TY COBB, the father & the person
[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica]As a rookie, Cobb had the s--- beaten out of him by a skilled pugilist who played for the Tigers. But as his maniacal mental state worsened with the years, he became the kind of nutcase that almost nobody wants to fight. Here is Al Stump's account of what was, by far, baseball's worst example of umpire abuse:

"There was no bending to him, no mellowing with age. Perhaps pressure from Ruth made him only the more Draconian [extremely harsh and punitive]. Yankee OF Ping Bodie told of an incident showing Cobb as incurably out of control. During the warm-up before a Detroit game, Bodie left his bat on the sideline. Cobb tripped over it. He grabbed the bat in a rage and threw it into the stands, which, luckily, were not occupied. Bodie had witnesses who heard Cobb call him a `dirty damned wop.'

"In one of his worst flareups, he made the notorious statement of `I fight to kill.' In every dugout it was known that the Georgian did not like Billy Evans, a respected American League umpire since 1906. Feelings heated up in 1919 and thereafter, when Cobb questioned many of Evans' ball-strike counts. He jawed away until Evans drew a line in the dirt; if his critic stepped over it, he would be... ejected. Along came a late-season game with the Washington Nationals in which Cobb was twice called out on close base-stealing attempts. Evans, a former semipro boxer and Cornell University athlete, made the second of these decisions. He left after the final out for the umpires' dressing room. Close behind him came Cobb, his face mottled. He banged on the door, cursing and yelling, `Come out of there or I'll come in and get you!'

"Evans, emerging, was heard to say, `Take it easy.' His hands were out in a peacemaking gesture. But Cobb demanded a fight and Evans obliged him. They met under the stands and players stopped dressing to watch. Walter Johnson of the Nationals tried to stop it and failed. As reported by Rogers Hornsby in his autobiographical `My War With Baseball,' Evans asked Cobb how he wanted to fight. `No rules,' was the reply. `I fight to kill.'

"For forty-five minutes [!], the two punched and gouged it out. Evans was badly cut at the outset and had his nose broken. An orthodox fighter, he found himself up against blows below the belt, rabbit punches, and knee kicks. Evans had Cobb down at one point. They rolled in the dirt, both bleeding. Cobb's 11-year-old son, Tyrus Junior, allowed to watch [!!], danced about, crying, `Hit him harder, Daddy! Hit him harder!.'

"Hornsby called it as vicious a scrap as had happened. Cobb pounded the umpire's head into hard ground. He was still pounding away when players and groundskeepers mercifully broke it up. Evans was carried off to see a doctor. Observers felt that had the brawl continued, Evans could have been gravely hurt, perhaps had his skull fractured."

Cobb had married a younger woman... a girl, actually. Apparently she was allowed to postpone doing her marital duties--and what fun those must have been!--until she was a little older, because they had no kids at first. Then Charlie Cobb [her common name] bore several children. But she was always a sickly woman.

After the 1923 season, Cobb came home to find Charlie ill. Stump writes:

"At home in Augusta, he found Charlie still sickly. That condition would linger through what remained of their marriage. Father stayed at home for several weeks before leaving on one more big-game hunt. One of his daughters, the late Shirley Cobb Beckwith, who died at 80 in 1991, said in remembrance, `Mr. Cobb would line up us children like soldiers, review our school grades and piano playing--then be gone for months. We never knew him except as a great man. We were afraid of him--afraid of his awful temper.'"

Stump likewise reports as follows about Cobb's actions beginning in 1929, when his MLB career was finally over:

"All along Cobb had professed that relief from pressure and finding time for a normal family life were his goals. That autumn, his children hoped to enjoy their father's company [I doubt this assumption is valid], perhaps to travel with him from their home on William Street in Augusta to places they had never seen. Sticking to his promise, Cobb sailed for Japan in October aboard the SS President Jefferson with his wife and three young Cobbs--Herschel, Beverly and James Howell. The trouble was that almost everywhere they traveled, Cobb had been booked by promoters to hold baseball clinics for the Nipponese. The hosts were eager to learn the game. And time-consuming clinics made the tours less a matter of shared fun and sightseeing than a method for selling Father's name. He was paid one thousand dollars each for staging 15 instructional sessions from Tokyo to Nagoya and Kobe. In Kobe, someone stole his uniform from his hotel room, added proof of his popularity in the Orient.

"Upon the family's return to Georgia, he was not to be seen at home for a time, while his prize bird dogs were competing in field trials in two states. And after that, the jaunting paterfamilias [father of the family] scheduled a European hunting tour extending from Scotland to Germany to Spain. Cobb's children would not be coming along."

What a guy....

And as for the absolute, unutterable, disgraceful lie that Cobb wasn't a racist, here's some more stuff I've written based on--and quoting from--Stump's book:

[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica]Excerpts from Stump:

"That June [of 1908], Cobb's built-in prejudice against blacks again had surfaced, this time ending him up in a court of law as the defendant. He was leaving the Pontchartrain Hotel in June when a streetwalker who was spreading fresh asphalt shouted at him for walking too close to the gooey stuff. A bit spilled on Cobb's trouser cuff. A discussion over this led to Cobb knocking the black worker, one Fred Collins, on his back. Collins' head was injured. Forty-eight hours later Cobb faced a judge on assault and battery charges. Although handed only a suspended sentence, he was ordered to pay Collins $75 to cover court costs or face a damage suit. Cobb's testimony that Collins had been out of line and had spoken insultingly to him was good enough reason for Judge Edward Jeffries--a Tiger fan--to hand down no more than a suspension without a fine.

"At the same Pontchartrain, as reported by the Chicago Defender, an early news organ for blacks, Cobb had kicked a chambermaid in the stomach and knocked her down some stairs because she flared back when he called her `n*gger.' 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 reseach showed that the press had finessed [interesting word choice by Stump] the incident, and that because of Cobb's prominence the woman was quietly paid off in exchange for her dropping a $10,000 lawsuit.

"In his racial prejudice, Cobb, at age twenty-two [actually, still 21], was far from alone. Almost all players and executives of the majors, whatever their point of origin, supported the policy of excluding blacks.... Cobb, however, stood out in the viciousness of his hatred; repeatedly he turned violent on streets and in other public places.

"`I'm sure he would have gone to New York in a big trade,' his teammate, Davy Jones, once said, `but New York was too racially mixed to afford him.' Jones believed that most blacks of Detroit hated Cobb, but, under the eye of the white community, kept their feelings to themselves."

Here's an excerpt about Cobb's racism and more:

"There had not been too much that was humorous about the three-year period of Cobb's career that followed the 1909 World Series defeat. One insurgent act followed another. He made it easy, almost routine, for the press outside of Detroit to demonize him, as when reporting on the day when several cops were needed to wrestle him down after Cobb charged into the bleachers to assault an abusive fan. In a Detroit hotel dining room, he slapped the face of one more black, a waiter who served him the wrong order. Meanwhile, the Tigers of three straight World Series appearances fell to third place and second, and then to sixth, sixth, fourth, second, third, fourth and seventh....

"Renewed discord among the Tigers was blamed for their falling off in 1910. In Cobb's earlier Detroit experience, the bad feelings had been over attempts to maneuver him off the team. Now it was the opposite: how to live with his favored status. Matty McIntyre, Sam Crawford, Davy Jones and other regulars criticized [Manager] Hughie Jennings for not lowering the boom on `his pet,' who reported for spring training camp on whatever date he wished... and who required, and received, the only private hotel quarters provided team members when on the road."

Another excerpt:

"In 1909, a band of Tigers had traveled to Cuba, where they lost eight of twelve exhibitions against a startlingly competent lineup--an ethnic mix of African, Spanish, Yucatec, Jamaican and other bloodlines--but without Cobb, who declined to join the party. He swore he would never step onto a field against nonwhites.

"On the agreed November 1910 date, he failed to appear in Havana, angering Cubans and leaving everybody guessing. Cobb leisurely went fishing off south Florida until he felt like boarding a steamer out of Key West.... Before his debut at a packed Havana park, Cobb was introduced to John `Pop' Lloyd [a.k.a., "The Black Honus Wagner"], an infielder rated by U.S. professionals who had seen him as equal to just about anyone in the majors. Lloyd was one of the few shortstops who could go deep into the hole and while sprinting toward the left-field stands throw across his body to first for outs. Meeting Lloyd, Cobb pointedly didn't shake hands. One photo of their meeting survives; Cobb's hands are in his pockets.

"In his first game, [Cobb] hit a pair of singles and a home run.... [But in] a total of five Cuban games, Cobb averaged .370. He was outshone by Lloyd, who batted .500. Local reporters asked Cobb when their countrymen would be admitted to top `Yanqui' leagues. He waved away the question."

And more on Cobb's frothing-at-the-mouth racism:

[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica]A particularly appalling excerpt from Stump:

"Before dinner, Charlie Cobb [wife], having joined her husband in Detroit, complained that a butcher down the street had acted insultingly to her when she returned some fish she felt was spoiled, her cook concurring. Cobb, excusing himself to [Senators owner Clark] Griffith, phoned the butcher and called him a series of names. Then he pocketed a revolver he always kept handy and took off for Carpenter's Meat Market....

"The Georgia Peach entered.... He waved a loaded .32 revolver and declared, `Somebody has insulted my wife.' The hassle turned out to be over a purchase of 20 cents worth of perch.

"A meat worker, Howard Harding, who was Carpenter's wife's brother, tried to protect the proprietor and finally the pair went outside. Cobb handed his revolver to one bystander, his hat to an other, and proceeded to brutally beat up the youngster.

"... After a police paddy wagon arrived to handcuff and remove a screaming Cobb to jail, court testimony would establish that he had forced the butcher to phone Mrs. Cobb and apologize, and meanwhile smashed glassed-in meat displays and wrecked some furniture. Harding, who was black, had brandished a meat cleaver in defense of the shop. Furthermore, before Cobb and Harding moved outside to the street, Cobb had fought indoors with him, hitting him over the head at least three times with the gun's butt. Harding was bleeding even before they went outside.

"He hadn't fired a shot--which was all that saved the Georgian from a prison sentence. On a possible assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charge, he spent the night in jail. The cell was `flea-ridden,' he complained, unfit for a dog.

"Griffith, a deacon of the American League, left Detroit hastily. Assistant butcher Harding decided not to take legal action. He told Bethune Station police that he was amazed by the berserk attack, but since it was Ty Cobb he would settle for an apology to himself and to Carpenter, repair of shop damages, and payment of his doctor's bill. Detroit team attorneys were alleged around town to have quieted the victim by paying him something like $1,000, as they had done to resolve other eruptions by their client. It was a cheap settlement; Cobb's 1909 Cleveland knifing of a detective had cost Detroit ten times that much.


"Discussing Carpenter v. Cobb in his old age, Cobb remarked, `I had some good contadcts at magistrate's court.' He was fined a paltry fifty dollars, with the warning that if he caused more such trouble he would be heavily penalized. As the judge may or may not have known, this was [Cobb's] fifth known assault on a black person, three of them coming inside Detroit jurisdiction."

Later, in discussing Cobb's head games with the hated younger phenom, Babe Ruth, Stump writes as follows:

"In repeated ways over the years, he displayed his distaste for and jealousy of Ruth's flamboyant rise. In the 1924 off-season, Ruth was invited to Dover Hall in Brunswick, Georgia, a rich man's hunting spa long patronized by Cobb. The mistake of housing the two in the same tent was made. Cobb openly objected to the campmaster. `I'm not living with any n*ggers,' he announced. Cobb left camp and did not return for several years. Ruth stayed on, possibly unaware of the intended insult. Ballplayers who had seen the Babe's pale body in the showers knew that despite his flattish nose and rather thick lips, he was German-American. Still, rumor circulated among white supremacists, and Cobb's words were quoted. During Tiger-Yankee matches, [Cobb] would call Ruth `n*gger,' `ape,' `polecat,' and so on, as he sauntered past the New York dugout, holding his nose....

"Jimmie Reese, who had been a coach with the California Angels and was once Ruth's roommate on the Yankees, said of the Dover Hall affair, `It was just like Cobb to call Ruth a black man. Because back then, it hurt a fellow. Cobb was no good in the opinion of almost everyone in the league.'"

Nope. Ty Cobb wasn't a racist. No way. Everybody born in 1886 did the above sort of things. Calling him a virulent, mad-dog racist is just part of a vicious campaign to slur a great patriot of the South and tar a fine man. Yessirree.

Cobb apologists need to own up to the truth about this guy. He was a maniacal racist, far over and above what came with being a Southerner born in the 1880's. He was also a just-plain-maniac, and from the moment he first started packing that gun in the Tigers' clubhouse as a young player, everyone stayed out of his way because they knew there was no limit to what he was capable of. Years later, when he said he would "kill" Dutch Leonard if Leonard told Commissioner Landis the story about Cobb's and Speaker's allegedly fixing games for runner-up money, Lenoard knew damned good and well that "kill" meant exactly what it said, coming from Cobb, so he went strangely mute.

If the above events, which are all very well documented, don't bear prove that Cobb was a racist, a sociopath and a dangerous monster, then you're not listening with an open mind and you might as well be watching Fox "News."

For myself, I was upset at the way ESPN only ranked Cobb #20 among 20th Century sportsfigures, putting Aaron, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson (!!!!) ahead of him. (Note: They said early on that their rankings were based solely on on-field feats. How Robinson rates ahead of Cobb is a feat worthy of a Cobb apologist's flair for jesuitical legerdemain.) As I've said, I rate Cobb as the #3 player of all time, and while I do have Willie Mays ahead of him, it's not by much and I'm open to the possibility I'm wrong.

But these efforts to make Cobb into something other than a mad-dog racist, a homicidal lunatic and a sexual predator are almost like Holocaust denial. Shout as loud as you want with your bold-faced print. It won't make your claims any less :censored: .