The first time I was aware of Ty Cobb was when I was playing MicroLeague Baseball on my Apple //e way back when. On the AL All-Time Greats team, the guy with the best average was sitting on the bench. It was an outfielder, named Cobb, with an average of .420. He immediately became a starter for me, and I was hooked, even though I knew nothing else about him, other than that in one season he put up some phenomenal numbers.
After learning only the most basic information about Cobb, I was more or less satisfied. But one day (quite magically, really. It must have been fate), I stumbled across a copy of Gene Schoor's bio in the parking lot of the high school on my way home from school. I read it and immediately and became fascinated with this person amazing in so many ways. Although Cobb himself hated the book, it was nevertheless a decent introduction, as long as facts weren't as important as legend.
My desire to learn more was fed when my brother bought Ty Cobb by Charles Alexander for me. This biography is very well written and extremely comprehensive. It cleared up many of the gray areas surrounding Cobb legends and got me interested in further research on Cobb.
It led me to the Boston Public Library and eventually to SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, of which I am now a member. I began to delve into primary sources as well as articles written during Cobb's lifetime in Time and Life.
My next stop was his autobiography, My Life in Baseball: The True Record, written with help from Al Stump. This book seemed like the ramblings of an old man looking back on the greatness and turmoil of his life, but provided insights into his character not available elsewhere.
Then there was Ty Cobb: His Tumultuous Life and Times by Richard Bak. He adds many photographs to the study of Ty Cobb that I had never seen before. All but three of the images in this site have been taken from Bak's book. (The early studio portrait and the Cobb-Speaker images are from his autobiography, and the plaque is from a postcard from Cooperstown.)
Then I saw the movie. When I read an article about the movie in the Boston Globe about a month or so before its release, it said that it would be among the greatest all-time sports movies, and that it would be released in late 1994 to be considered for Oscars in 1995. The predictions failed to come true, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
After the movie, of course, I read the book on which it was based, Cobb: A Biography, by Al Stump. This book make me feel terribly sorry for "Stumpy" for having to put up with Cobb at the very end of his life, but at the same time made me extremely jealous for being able to spend time with Cobb.
The most recent step on my journey through the life of Ty Cobb was my
visit to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in the spring of 1996.
There I was finally able to see that plaque, the very first one in the Hall of Fame. He may have been a mean person (to say
the very least), but he earned that spot in Cooperstown. I hope that this site has helped give you a better appreciation for the man, the myth, and the legend.
| Home | | Family | | Skills | | Relationships | | Aftermath |