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Ty Cobb Photo   Ty Cobb
"I had to fight all my life to survive. They were all against me... but I beat the bastards and left them in the ditch."

Full Name: Tyrus Raymond Cobb
Nickname: The Georgia Peach
Physique: 6' 1", 127 lbs
Left-Handed Hitter
Born: Dec 18, 1886, Narrows, GA
Died: Jul 17, 1961  (75 years old)
Ranking: #1 All-time ( All    #2 )
career average

4,191 hits

Detroit Tigers
1907 - 1928

Hall of Fame: 1936

The eldest of three children, Tyrus Raymond Cobb grew up in Royston, Georgia, under the watchful eyes of his father, William; a schoolteacher, principal, newspaper publisher, state senator, and county school commissioner who urged Ty to study. When Ty went off to play professional baseball, his father sternly warned him "Don't come home a failure."

Cobb intended to become a physician or a prominent politician in Georgia but decided to pursue baseball when his athletic ability blossomed as a teenager. By 1905, the 18-year-old was a rookie outfielder for the Detroit Tigers. Two years later he won the American League batting title, the first of 12 he would capture.

It is unlikely that anyone can beat his lifetime batting average. In his 24 seasons he topped the .300 barrier 23 times. Cobb's first great season came in 1907, and the Tigers rode that success all the way to the World Series. That season the outfielder's batting average was .350 - the best in the AL. Other league bests included 212 hits, 119 RBI's, and 49 stolen bases. Cobb did not stop there. He won nine consecutive batting titles starting in 1907.

Cobb might be remembered best for his intimidating playing style. He was never afraid to go to extremes to win a game. He could take pain, as well as hand it out. "I recall when Cobb played a series with each leg a mass of raw flesh," Grantland Rice wrote. "He had a temperature of 103 and the doctors ordered him to bed for several days, but he got three hits, stole three bases, and won the game. Afterward he collapsed at the bench."

Cobb looked for every possible way to win. He used his great speed and precision hitting as the best weapons available in the dead-ball, strong-pitching era. Cobb studied pitchers and took advantage of their weaknesses. Against Walter Johnson, the great Washington right-hander who was afraid of hitting batters with fastballs, Cobb crowded the plate. Johnson worked him outside, fell behind in the count, and finally threw hittable pitches over the plate. Cobb clobbered ball after ball.

Cobb paid the price for success. He would practice sliding until his legs were raw. He would place blankets along the baseline, and he practiced bunting a ball into a basket. During the winter he hunted through daylight hours in weighted boots so that his legs would be strong for the upcoming campaign. He never failed to capitalize on an opportunity to gain an edge over his opponents, most of whom admired his drive to succeed.

Cobb engaged in annual haggles with Detroit executives before signing his contract, and those earnings were invested wisely, mostly in General Motors and Coca-Cola stock, which made him baseball's first millionaire.

Cobb's late career was marred by a gambling episode that involved Tris Speaker, one of his few friends in baseball. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis helped conceal the details of the scandal to ensure the two great ballplayers would not tarnish their image nor that of the game.

Known for his combative personality, it was that tempestuous attitude that gave Cobb his edge and helped him achieve excellence. He was shrewd and methodical, careful to learn the weakness of every opponent. As a baserunner he was unmatched in daring and skill, leading the league in steals six times. When the game changed in the 1920s and the home run became vogue, Cobb steadfastly stuck to "inside baseball" - bunting, running and slashing his way to more than 4,000 career hits.

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