- OF, 2B, 1B, 3B, P
- The Georgia Peach
- December 18, 1886
- 6' 1"
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-30-1905 with DET
- Allstar Selections:
- 1909 TC, 1911 MVP
- Hall of Fame:
Radio Interview with Ty Cobb
In 24 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers, Ty Cobb compiled a .367 batting average, the highest in the history of the game. He was the all-time leader in runs scored for more than 70 years, and in hits for nearly 60 years. In 1936, Cobb became the first man inducted into the Hall of Fame, earning 222 out of a possible 226 votes, more than Babe Ruth, Nap Lajoie, Walter Johnson, or Honus Wagner. Cobb blazed and battled a path through baseball, retiring with more records than any other player. He was raised by a demanding father who named his son after the Lebanon city of Tyre, which showed tremendous courage in repelling the armies of Alexander the Great.
There were no uniform numbers in Cobb's era. When the Tigers played their final game at the corner of Michigan and Trumball in 1999, every starter wore the uniform number of a Detroit legend. Center fielder Gabe Kapler wore a jersey without a number, in honor of Cobb. That jersey is in the Hall of Fame.
"He did everything except steal first base. And I think he even did that in the dead of night." — Rube Bressler "He played as if he had brains in his feet." — Branch Rickey "Every time at-bat for him was a crusade, and that’s why he’s off in a circle by himself." — Charlie Gehringer
"I find little comfort in the popular Cobb as a spike-slashing demon of the diamond with a wide streak of cruelty in his nature. The fights and feuds I was in have been steadily slanted to put me in the wrong." "Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men….a struggle for supremacy, survival of the fittest."
1904-1905: Augusta Tourists (South Atlantic League) 1904: Anniston (Alabama-Texas-Louisiana League)
Bing Miller, who had actually been around a while, but lost his starting job when Mack signed Cobb and Speaker in 1927-1928. Miller was a fine player, batting .311 for his career.
Cobb's finest efforts came in his seventh season. That year, he set career highs in runs (147), hits (248), doubles (47), triples (24), RBI (127), average (.420) and slugging percentage (.621). He led the AL in each category, as he also did with 83 stolen bases. He missed the Triple Crown by three homers as Frank "Home Run" Baker led with 11. He also set a then AL record with a 40-game hitting streak which helped him edge Shoeless Joe Jackson for the batting title. Over the course of the season Cobb struck out swinging just two times. The numbers overshadowed Cobb's combative personality and won him the first ever MVP, then called the Chalmers Award.
Ty Cobb became the first ball player to star in a movie, a drama written by Grantland Rice called Somewhere in Georgia.
Playing in Detroit, the growing "Motor City" most of his career, Ty Cobb enjoyed fine cars. He even raced automobiles in the early 1910s, before he was asked to halt the dangerous practice by Tigers ownership.
Though Cobb was never formally a coach in the big leagues, he did visit spring training nearly every year after his retirement. He would show up, put on a uniform, which would get bigger every year as his mid-section grew, and pose for the media with whichever budding hitting star was on that team. Cobb enjoyed sending letters to players to give them batting tips. He wrote such letters to Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Pete Reiser, Ben Chapman, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron, to name a few.
After the gambling scandal that nearly ruined Cobb's reputation, Ty was asked to leave the Detroit Tigers as player /manager following the '26 season. He successfully fought to clear his name, and then retired to his home in Augusta, Georgia. But in February, Connie Mack made a much-publicized visit to Cobb and convinced the veteran to play one more season with his Philadelphia A's. Cobb signed for $40,000 with the option for a $30,000 bonus should the A's attendance rise above a certain level. Cobb was attracted by the prospect of proving himself after the gambling accusations. He also liked the notion of playing on a winning ball club.
Baserunning and batting eye.
Cobb had no weakness on a ball field.
Collected his 3,000th hit on August 19, 1921; his 4,000th hit on July 19, 1927, against the Tigers, as a mamber of the Philadelphia A's.
Six times in his career, Cobb reached base and proceeded to steal second, third and home. The first time he did it was in 1907, the final time was in 1924... On May 5, 1925, Cobb blasted three homers, a double and two singles in one game, for a then-record 16 total bases. The next day he hit two more homers.
There wasn't a way to get Cobb out consistently. However, if we look at the numbers, the pitchers who gave Cobb the most trouble were junkballers with peculiar or deceptive deliveries. It's probably true to say that when pitchers faced Ty Cobb when the spitter was still legal, they put more goop on the ball, dirtier the ball with more licorice and tobacco, and resorted to the goofiest deliveries they could muster.
Cobb was a large man for his era, standing over 6-feet, one-inch tall and weighing around 190 pounds in his prime. He had light hair, which at times was described as blonde or even a light shade of orange. In his later years his hair receded. He had intense eyes and a toothy grin, which he flashed readily but never on the diamond. He was descibed as handsome and was very popular with female fans in Detroit and in his native Georgia.
It's well chronicled that Cobb never won a World Series, though he played in three Fall Classics, all as a young man, prior to his peak as a player. His teams were competitive however: in his 19 seasons as a regular, the teams he played on were 1542-1331, a .537 winning percentage... No player in baseball history drove in more teammates than did Cobb. When you subtract home runs from RBI, you have the number of teammates batted in (TBI), Cobb leads all-time with 1,843.
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- 1936 Hall of Fame, 3000 hit club, AL MVP 1911, Babe Ruth, Batting title, Casey Stengel, Connie Mack, Detroit Tigers, George Sisler, Hall of Fame, Hilltop Park, MVP, Mickey Cochrane, Nap Lajoie, Nap Rucker, New York Highlanders, Philadelphia Athletics, Ray Schalk, Sam Crawford, Shirley Povich, The Georgia Peach, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb