Ty Cobb: Through the Eyes of an Atlanta Batboy, Part III

Wesley FricksAnalyst IAugust 12, 2008

            Featuring Georgia Native, Ty Cobb's Batboy, Jimmy F. Lanier

                         "And that was the last time I saw Mr. Cobb alive."



                                August 12, 2008 - Atlanta, Georgia

Jimmy Lanier grew up to be a close friend to the legendary Ty Cobb and remembers his last visit with the great "Georgia Peach" in an Atlanta hospital. He has a passion for speaking of his unique and personal friendship with Georgia's most famous native son.


Most of Ty Cobb's ailments were revealed in the fall of 1959. Ty was in and out of hospitals every month. Jimmy visited the Emory Hospital many times to visit his close friend, but on this last visit, Lanier wanted to drive Mr. Cobb around in the sunshine.


But when Jimmy arrived, he found Mr. Cobb was heavily sedated. He was weak and had only had a day or two to live. He had taken a turn for the worst.


He asked the Cobb children and their mother if he could go in and see Mr. Cobb. They said he was under heavy medication and wouldn’t recognize you.


Jimmy replied, “Can I just go look?” And they said, “All right, go in.”


“As I looked at Mr. Cobb, I guess I began to cry a little bit. His hand was on the side of the bed. His eyes were closed. He always called me Jimmy-my-boy."


"And I got down, and I said, 'Mr. Cobb, this is Jimmy.' And I detected the corners of his mouth turn just a little bit. And I held his hand, it was limp, he was weak. He couldn’t shake my hand," said Lanier as he fought back the tears. 


"And I held it, and I squeezed it just a tiny little bit, and he responded very weakly. And that was the last time I saw Mr. Cobb alive. It was my last visit with him,” recalls Lanier, his face filled with emotions.


The great Ty Cobb was pronounced dead at 1:18 PM on Monday, July 17, 1961.


The funeral procession traveled the 28 miles of Georgia countryside from the funeral home in Cornelia to the cemetery in Royston. Farmers stopped their tractors and mules in the fields and children stopped peddling their bicycles along the highway.


Even the nurses watched form the windows of the Cobb Memorial Hospital as the session passed slowly by heading closer into town.


They drove past the land Ty Cobb plowed as a young lad. They passed through the center of town and by the old telephone exchange where Professor Cobb once printed the local paper.


Then they neared the Rose Hill Cemetery, where he was greeted by 200 Little League boys who lined the road off the main highway in the form of an honor guard.


Ty Cobb was home at last. To rest on the land near where his father had raised crops and sent Ty and his brother and sister to school.


A place that has always served as a home plate for Ty’s destination in life.  


His one-time Detroit Tigers' batboy and close friend, Jimmy Lanier, humbly requests, “GOD bless the memory of Tyrus Cobb!!”


The End