Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb Ty Cobb was the greatest baseball player that has ever lived, he also was the most influential on other baseball players. Who was Ty Cobb and what was his impact throughout the 20s? I propose to show his importance to baseball by giving examples of his determination to get to where he got to as a baseball player. Through the lessons and morals of hard work that his father had taught Ty as a boy, he was able to become a great hard-working baseball player. Although his personal life may not have been good at all, the way he played baseball earned himself a 24 season playing career in the American league, a batting record for runs scored of 2,245, runs batted in of 1,937, a record of 892 stolen bases, and his record of a batting average of .366 has still not been beaten. His record of 96 stolen bases in one season in 1915 was not beaten until 1962.

Most people say Ty Cobb was a jerk, which is partially true, I even agree somewhat, but there was a soft side to Ty, “I was called a radical, a despot, a bad loser, a dirty player, and worse. Some of these words still hurt.” (Cobb, 280) However, no one can deny his ability to play baseball. He took it one step further than anyone else did at that time. He showed that it was not a sport for people who were not rough, or did not want to be hit, or that there was any chance to be hurt somehow. He saw baseball as a great game of intelligence and athleticism.

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When I played baseball I didnt play for fun. To me it wasnt Parcheesi played under parchesi rules. Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. Its no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. Its a contest and everything implies, a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest.

Every man in the game from the minors on up, is not only fighting against the other side, but hes trying to hold onto his own job against those on his own bench whod love to take it away. Why deny this? Why minimize it? Why not boldly admit it? (Cobb, 280) Body: Tyrus Raymond Cobb was born on December 18, 1886 in Royston, Georgia to a fifteen-year-old mother named Amanda Chitwood. Tys father, William Herschel Cobb, was 23. They were married in 1883. William bought a 100-acre farm to supplement what he got for teaching school. This is where Ty grew up and where his father taught him the values of hard work and intensity.

When Tys father saw that Ty was good at farming and did not mind working, the two grew closer. Baseball was played very different then, from the way it is played now. “It was as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch” (Cobb, 42) Ty spent a lot of his time playing baseball although his father disapproved. He says he started playing because he loved the competition, the battle of muscle and wits. When Ty was younger, he used to wind yarn around a small ball and make himself a baseball, then for the price of a few errands would find a leather maker that would make a cover for the ball.

He played cow pasture baseball when he was 11 and 12 but had no ambition to make a career out of playing baseball. “..The new kid in town who owned a hittable ball could overcome social obstacles faster than a boy who didnt.” (Cobb, 17) When Ty was not working on the farm with his father, he was playing baseball. William didnt like Ty playing baseball; he thought that Ty would become an alcoholic and a womanizer like the stereotype of baseball Stevenson, 4 players back then. When Ty was 17, he went to his father for permission to go try out for the South Atlantic League team in Augusta. William hesitated, but let Ty go so he could find that he didnt really want to be a baseball player, and would come back to be a doctor, lawyer, or military man. This is what he said to Ty, “Youve chosen. So be it, son.

Get it out of your system, and let us hear from you.” (Cobb, 45) William sent Ty off with six checks for $15 each and wished him luck. An early sign that Ty was to become a professional baseball player was how hard he played. “I was a man who saw no point in losing, if I could win.” (Cobb, 280) He would play every chance he got, practicing his hitting skills, and keeping in shape by working on the farm back home. One thing that he developed while playing “town ball” is the way he held the baseball bat. He would choke up on the bat more than anyone else, creating his own style of hitting and playing. After playing for the South Atlantic team for a while, he broke into his professional career playing for the Detroit Tigers in 1905 at the age of 18. There he would stay for his full 24-season playing career.

In 1921 after the manager Hugh Jennings retired, Ty Cobb became the Detroit Tigers manager, but he kept playing and directed his team from the outfield. While playing for Augusta, he was bought for the Detroit Tigers for $700 thanks to manager Bill Armour. He made his first major league Stevenson, 5 appearance on August 30, 1905 playing center field. On his first turn at bat he hit a game-winning double off of Jack Chesbro, one of the leading pitchers of that time. In 1907, he got his first three records out of over 90 after Bill Armour retired and Ty became a regular outfielder.

In 1911, Ty got his highest batting average of his career of .420. (Kossuth, online) Ty also was famous for not only his physical abilities at baseball but also his psychological playing. He was the first baseball player to study the psychology of pitchers. He practiced the “war of nerves” method of getting on base. “I always try to keep the other team on their toes, so they wont know where the ball is going, my attack is directed at the third baseman, I try to worry him” (Current Biography 1951, 112) Usually people saying anything about Ty did not bother him, like about the way he played.

Although in 1912 he went into the stands and administered “physical punishment” on an abusive and cruel spectator, who turned out to have no hands. For this, he was given and indefinite banishment from baseball. The ban only lasted 10 days. Detroit “regulars” went on strike and refused to play without him. Mostly because of weak pitching, the Tigers dropped to seventh place in 1921.

In 1922, he managed his team to third. In addition, in 1923 he got them to second. This was the best he did and in 1926, after Stevenson, 6 the Tigers dropped to sixth place when manager George Moriarty replaced him. (Current Biography 1951, 112 Ty finished out his career with Connie Macks Philadelphia Athletics, for when he played two seasons. When he retired at the end of 1928, he had played in 3,033 professional games, more than anyone else on record.

When the first balloting for the Baseball Hall of Fame took place in 1936, Ty Cobb received more votes than Babe Ruth. Ty Cobb was the first plaque to be placed in the gallery of baseball immortals at Cooperstown, New York. He retired with 4,191 major league hits. As a memorial to his parents, Ty donated $100,000 in 1948 for the erection of a modern hospital in his hometown. (Current Biography 1951, 113) On July 17, 1961, a month after checking himself into Emory Hospital, with a paper bag filled with around $1 million dollars and his Lugar pistol, he died in his sleep.

Although most of his family did not like him, they did go to see him in his final days. In his will he took a quarter of his $11 million dollars and donated it to the Cobb Educational Fund, and the rest to his children and grandchildren. If Ty Cobb had left an effect on society, it would have been one of mixed feelings. Angry, sad, lonely, hard working, caring, and pleased with how his life had turned out. People interpret things that he did differently, he had a temper, but he is not the only one in the world with one. In 1996 Stevenson, 7 a band called Soundgarden wrote a song about the famous Ty Cobb, It is an angry song and one of their only songs where there is any swearing in the lyrics, so the effect that the band saw of him was probably not good, but Im sure they saw, like most people should, that he was an overall good person deep down, though it was rarely shown.

In the last words of his autobiography Ty writes; Edgar Guest, one of my favorite poets, wrote: For man must live his life on earth, Where hate and sin and wrong abound. Tis here the soul must prove its worth, Tis here the strength of it is found, And he had justified his birth Who plants one rose on barren ground. I sit on a Georgia hill, or by a shimmering California Mountain lake, and am happy. The pain that may attack my flash is eased in so many ways. I commune often with my God. I ask him to guide me in all my decisions.

Every young fellow should do the same. It will leave him strong, confident, and able to fight for what he clearly sees is right. The book I once believed that I never would write is finished. End of game, inning, and time at bat. (Cobb, 282) Bibliography Stump, Al, Cobb, Ty.

My Life in Baseball-The True Record. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1961 Rothe, Anna, ed. “Ty Cobb” Current Biography. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1951. “Ty: The Early Years.” (Online) Available Http://wso.williams.edu/~jkossuth/cobb/youth.htm, 2/8/2000.

“Aggressive play defined Ty Cobb.” (Online) available http://augustachronicle.com/history/cobb.html, 2/8/2000. Encyclopedia Britannica online. “Cobb, Ty.” (Online) available http://search.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=24925&sctn=1, 2/8/2000.


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