The 1920s are considered by many observers as being "The Golden Era" of American sports.
One of the reasons was because of all the icons who were active in those days, like football's Red Grange and hockey's Howie Morenz, to name just two. The Tigers' Ty Cobb was certainly part of that discussion as well.
But Cobb was 39 years old, and despite his fine season of 1925 at the plate, it was impossible not to wonder about how much longer he would play. And as the 1926 season moved along, those questions became even more intensified.
On the other side of the age spectrum, the Tigers welcomed 23-year-old Charlie Gehringer as their everyday second baseman.
Heinie Manush was healthy and was again an everyday outfielder, this time playing in center. Despite Al Wingo's great year in 1925, he was relegated back to the bench; his spot in left was taken by emerging Bob Fothergill, a .300+ hitter every year he played for the Tigers, starting in 1922. Manush was not only healthy, he was great---capturing the AL batting crown with a .378 BA. At least the Tigers were good at having guys lead the league in hitting!
On the mound, a pleasant surprise was rookie Sam Gibson, who won 12 games. On the other side of that age spectrum was Hooks Dauss, who turned 37 during the season and who was fading.
1926 wasn't a terrific season for the Tigers, but it wasn't awful. But it was bad enough to extend their pennant-less streak to 17 years. They again hung around the .500 mark for much of the summer, never threatening for the pennant.
And Cobb, old and ailing, only played in 79 games in 1926. He managed just 233 at-bats and a pedestrian (for him) .339 BA. He was way more manager than he was player at this point. His 40th birthday was on the horizon. A great career looked to be over with.
The Tigers rode in at 79-75, again over .500 but again not nearly good enough to make noise in the American League.
Finally, in November, the great Ty Cobb hung up his sharpened spikes, ending a brilliant, Hall of Fame career.
Or did he?By GregEno
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- Al Wingo, Bob Fothergill, Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, Heinie Manush, Hooks Dauss, Sam Gibson, Ty Cobb