Ty Cobb is considered by many to have been the greatest baseball player ever, garnering more votes for his induction in the first batch of players to the Baseball Hall of Fame than any other player, including Babe Ruth. His lifetime batting average of .366 is still the highest among players.
But Cobb was also one of the dirtiest players in an era when baseball was a far more brutal sport than today. Later in life Cobb reportedly converted to Christianity and was anonymously very charitable in his donation of wealth that he earned outside of baseball (he was very successful in the stock market, as an original investor in Coca-Cola and also owning many shares of General Motors).
Later in life, Cobb explained in a handwritten note to a reporter of the Christian Science Monitor:
|“||One run has no value today with the lively ball. Baseball was still baseball when we had the bunt, sacrifice bunt, hit and run, and the squeeze play. The outfield was part of the overall defense, meaning that the outfielders didn't play so deep that they had to relay the ball to an infielder to set up a play at the plate.||”|
Charges of racism
Since Cobb's death, his image has been tarnished in part by biographer Al Stump, with charges of racism and violence both on- and off-field. As more historians dig into Cobb's life, these charges are turning out to be false.
- The first group of inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame were Ty Cobb (who received the most votes), Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner.
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- Five myths about Ty Cobb