Ty Cobb, Major League Baseball 19051928
"Ty Cobb, the greatest of ballplayers and an absolute shit," is the way Hemingway once put it. Correct on both points, Papa swore off his onetime friend after he witnessed the Georgia Peachpit decking a hunting guide for taking them down the wrong trail.
Cobb's legacy as a bully near matches his extraordinary statistical accomplishments. Highlights include battering a roommate over bathtub use, scores of serious punch-outs with teammates, a savage beating of an umpire ("I fight to kill," Cobb said at the time), an attack in the stands on a handicapped heckler, and the legendary sharpening of his spikes the better to slash opposing infielders while sliding. Bucky Harris recalled Cobb's warning after a hard tag: "Do that again, and I'll cut you up for stitches."
However typical of its day, Cobb's record as a racist is particularly nasty. Selected lowlights:
In 1926, Cobb was implicated (with Tris Speaker) in a game-fixing scheme from seven years earlier. Threatening to reveal further "crookedness," Cobb was ultimately let off by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In his autobio, Cobb bragged that Landis's verdict was "dictated to him by attorneys representing Speaker and myself."
Cobb, all-around bad guy and alleged game-fixer, was the first player ever inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. Pete Rose, gambler and breaker of Cobb's most exalted record, total hits, can't make it in. Go figure.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- We Found the Most Fascinating (and Depressing) Site on the Internet
Sun., Nov. 29, 10:00am
Sun., Nov. 29, 12:00pm
Sun., Nov. 29, 1:00pm
Sun., Nov. 29, 6:00pm
- This Brooklyn Local is Making a Web Series about Growing Weed
- New York City's Food Pantries Are Struggling to Keep Up With a Growing Demand For Meals