Satan or misunderstood saint? If you asked Ty Cobb, he’d say the latter.
Recent years have seen a repair and reconstruction of the reputation of Tyrus Raymond Cobb, previously one of the most despised and derided players in the history of baseball. A few celebrated biographies have lately shown the peachier side of The Georgia Peach, and the exposure of Cobb’s ghost writer and original character assassinator, Al Stump, as a fraud and a thief have helped to clear Cobb’s name. Now, in his many fights it seems Cobb was a victim; his high-spiked slides were done in self-defense; his bigotry was typical of a man of his southern upbringing, and in any case eclipsed by his many charitable endeavors.
The truth, of course, is somewhere in between, but My Life in Baseball: The True Record, published only months before his death, provides a colorful account of the great player’s youth, career, and years as world-class curmudgeon, right from the horse’s mouth.
•Ty the teenager, relentlessly and cruelly hazed by his resentful teammates;
•The young man who endured the horrific death of his father, whom he idolized, at the hand of his mother.
•The star player conspired against by opponents;
•The reluctant manager, tormented by a dishonest, skinflint owner;
•The savvy investor who got rich and hobnobbed with presidents and CEOs;
•The King of the Small Ball Era, tormentor of Babe Ruth, his disdain for home run swingers dripping from the book’s pages
My Life in Baseball is an eloquent accounting of many of the most famous events in Ty Cobb’s life, as well as a fascinating inside look at the early days of baseball. It is eloquently written and covers in great depth many of the most famous episodes and facets of Cobb’s life and career.
The book even provides numerous chuckles, even if inadvertently, as the elderly Cobb repeatedly trashes modern-day (1960) ballplayers as being soft and coddled for using huge nets for gloves, missing games for broken bones, and not being able to pitch 400 innings in a season like the manly men of his era.
The story goes that Cobb was at a game in the 1950s criticizing the lax play of contemporary ballplayers. “I could hit .300 if I played today.” “.300?” came the reply. “That’s not so great.” “Yeah, but I’m 65 years old,” responded Cobb.