Tyrus Raymond Cobb: The Player and The Guy
Tyrus Raymond Cobb is probably the most well-rounded baseball player of all time. He is also the meanest. He was a clear racist, a dirty ballplayer, rude, a bully and would do anything to win.
Cobb once said "When I began playing the game, baseball was about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch, I was like a steel spring with a growing and dangerous flaw in it. If it was a wound too tight or has the slightest weak point, the spring will fly apart, then its done for."
Teammate Davy Jones (not the Pirate) said when Cobb was in a slump, he was the worst guy to talk to in the world.
But on to Cobb's playing career.
As a rookie, he was a loudmouth and quickly earned a reputation as a mean guy. He hit just .240 and had one homer and 16 RBI. He came back the next year to drive in 34 and hit .316. Cobb was an expert on the bases.
He knew exactly how long it would take an outfielder to throw the ball into third. Thus, he knew when he would be able to go from first to third on a single or when not to. His intelligence on the bases earned him 891 steals, standing until 1977, until broken by Lou Brock.
In 1907, he began a string of batting titles by hitting .350 and never hit below .323 for the rest of his career, lasting 22 years. In 1908, Cobb got married.
In 1908, the Tigers were actually going to trade Cobb to the Cleveland Indians for Elmer Flick. Flick was also a Hall of Famer, but he was not Ty Cobb.
The Tigers decided not to trade him, and it was definitely a smart decision. Cobb won the batting title and Flick was already aging while Cobb was 21 and a true rising star.
In 1909, Cobb solidified his label as the dirtiest ballplayer. The Tigers were playing the A's and Cobb was on second. Sam Crawford walked and Cobb sprinted to third. Frank Baker got the ball in plenty of time to tag Cobb. Cobb dodged the tag and scraped Baker with his cleats on the arm and Baker bled.
In 1911, Cobb batted .400 for the first of three times, hitting .420! His 248 hits were a record and he was easily the American League MVP.
In 1912, he struggled, hitting just .409 and got into a bad fight. He was being heckled by a fan. He let his anger get the best of him and beat the guy up. He was suspended right away.
In 1914, he sat out the first two months after getting in a fight with a butchers clerk. He managed to hit .368, getting another batting title. Cobb hit .369 the next year and led the league, the ninth time in a row. He didn't win in 1916, but won in 1917, 1918 and 1919.
Cobb got in a huge fight with an umpire in 1921. After Cobb was called out after attempting to steal second base, Cobb went crazy. Cobb got into a fight with him after the game, splitting the ump's left eyebrow and wrestled him to the ground-in front of his son.
He played from 1922 to 1928 and performed very well. He had RBI totals of 99, 88, 78, 102, 62, 93 and 40. His averages didn't dip very much, either: .401, .340, .338, .378, .339, .353 and .323.
Cobb was the first guy elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936. He was also the first millionaire in baseball. Cobb died in 1961 because of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Cobb finished his incredible career with 117 home runs, 1937 RBI and a .366 average, highest for anyone with 2,500 at bats.
Cobb didn't settle for second. Ironically, he might not be the best player of all time. He is certainly the best well rounded along with shortstop Honus Wagner.
Cobb is the biggest jerk in sports history and will always be remembered for that and his play.
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