Was Ty Cobb the greatest of all-time?

15 05 2008

I was doing some research this morning when I stumbled across some Ty Cobb information. I am ashamed to say that I do not know much about the guy and never had a chance to see the Tommy Lee film, “Cobb”. What I find amazing are his career numbers. The most amazing record he still holds today is highest career batting average (.347). He also had an astonishing THREE seasons where he hit .400 or better. By the time he retired he held the record for most hits, runs, and stolen bases. He won 12 batting titles, captured the mythical Triple Crown in 1909, was the M.V.P in 1912, drove in over 100 runners 7 times, and had 200 hits or more in a season 9 times.

It’s sad to see some great original vintage cards of his selling on eBay for thousands of dollars less than an above-average Bowman Chrome Superfractor. What has our hobby come to?


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12 responses

15 05 2008
Joe

I keep hearing that today’s player’s are better. And they face more mediocre pitchers. In parks designed for hitters to flourish. Yet when was the last time someone hit .400?
Cobb was not the greatest of all time but in the top 5. Until someone puts up the Bambino’s pitching and hitting statistics he remains on top. Statistically.

15 05 2008
Charlie

A member of the Hall of Fame’s charter class of ’36, the Georgia Peach was more the Georgia Lemon — a mean-spirited, violent, racist misanthrope who attacked a groundskeeper and the man’s wife in 1907, got suspended for going into the stands to stomp a fan in 1912, and was ultimately exonerated of fixing a game in 1919 though there was strong evidence of his guilt.

From the article you linked to on the all scandal team.

15 05 2008
Gellman

I think to say he hit .400 three times is quite impressive, but the batting title and triple crown ones just dont do it for me. I mean, in the first part of the century there couldnt have been THAT many teams, and therefore THAT many players. Its like citing all the red sox world series titles pre 1918 or any championship record from that era. The amount of competition just wasnt there and I really dont think its that tough to win at anything when you were a god among mortals.

15 05 2008
Jbob

An impressive resume and a tepmer to match, gotta love him.

15 05 2008
mmosley

Babe was the best. And Bonds comes in a close second, steroids and all.

Cobb, Mantle, and Mays were the best center fielders, I just don’t know in what order.

16 05 2008
Andrew Chrisman

The Bowman prospect cards are so hyped up it’s not even funny.

16 05 2008
Gellman

You can thank Mr Pujols for the Bowman hype behind these cards. They used to be good, but ever since his cards became 1000% more valuable, everyone wants to find the next guy(Braun, Wright, Mauer, LaPorta etc). My question: Who will be the first HOFer with a chrome prospect card?

16 05 2008
Charlie

Unfortunately, it will probably be Mr. Pujols

16 05 2008
Denny, Alaska

Ty Cobb was/is the greatest baseball player of all time. Twenty-three consecutive years batting .300+; as noted above, three seasons at .400+. AL leader in triples; 4,161 hits, bested only by Pete Rose; other records that still stand. All-time record for steals of home (when was the last time you saw *anyone* steal home?); playing through pain, envy, neglect, merciless taunting from fans (Claude Leuker, anyone?).

And all of this happened in the dead-ball era, please keep in mind. A tight-fisted era when one, perhaps only two baseballs were used for an entire game and became almost impossible to see after nine innings.

But Ty Cobb persisted. Ty Cobb made it his mission to get on base anyway that he could, punching singles to the opposite field, laying down bunts and beating them out, taunting a pitcher to disrupt his delivery, showing through his stance in the box that he *owned* the pitch that was on its way and he’d beat you no matter what. Sliding into second spikes high? You betcha, and there were no rules against it.

Racist? Sure. Worse than others of his era? Maybe; maybe not. Still fighting the Civil War? No question. Stamped forever by his mother’s murder of his (revered) father? Clearly. Distrustful and suspicious of teammates, managers, owners, sports writers, fans? No doubt.

Greatest player of all time? Beyond question. Sorry, this really is a debate that was settled long ago.

17 05 2008
Joe

Good points Denny. Even though I think the Babe is a better all around player the writers who elected that first H.O.F. Class in 36 gave Cobb more votes than Ruth. And they would know.
The key point that makes Cobb a better hitter than Ruth is the batting practice in 1920 where reporters asked Ty what he thought of home runs and he said they were no big deal. He could do just what Ruth was doing. He then told were he would launch the balls over the fence, were they would land, how they would bounce and did so on 10 straight pitches. But Ty never took the mound. That is were Ruth has the edge over him, slightly, in my mind.

17 05 2008
Mario A.

Wow, cool story. Thanks, Joe.

19 05 2008
JBob

Go rent Cobb. I just did and it was great! There are some hilarious 1 line-ers.

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