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Throughout his turbulent life, Ty Cobb objected to anyone who didn't approach life with the same devilish drive that he possessed. By the time it was all over, he accumulated a fortune of baseball records, epithets, and cash. And still Cobb conjures ire and reverence with his name.
The beginning was in Narrows, Georgia, in 1886. At that time, the South was still trying to reestablish its identity after its devastation in the Civil War.
The prime influence in young Cobb's life was his father. A man who disapproved of his baseball playing, finally told the man, "don't come home a failure" when Ty's career began to see wings. Finally, when Ty made it to the big leagues, he was informed by telegram that his father had been killed by his mother. Something that must have been a horrible ordeal to the young Georgian.
Enduring the severe hazings of his fellow Detroit players, Ty made the big leagues, and in the process, fortune and the Hall of Fame.
Even though there were many instances of his violent nature, Cobb still did noble deeds in his life. He donated money for a hospital to be built in honor of his parents. He also anonymously helped out retired ballplayers down on their luck. Sometimes, such as in the case of Joe Dimaggio, he even negotiated contracts.
And while he did admit to spiking players later in life, Cobb told a reporter, "I may have been a trifle rough, but look at this." He rolled up his trousers and showed the reporters numerous scars on his legs from the ankles to the knees. Cobb said, "I didn't get these playing tiddlywinks. They gave it to me as hard as I gave it to them. The only difference was I never gave them the satisfaction of hearing me squawk. I'd sooner let them cut out my tongue than let them know I was hurt." But this side of the story is seldom told, that Cobb was merely giving back what he gave. Evidently, this was part of the Deadball Era. Something, most people don't understand about Cobb.
Ty Cobb was not an easy man to like. No player in Detroit Tigers baseball history, and perhaps in the history of the game itself, created more controversy and raw emotion than the Georgia Peach.
The greatest player of all-time, Ty Cobb still holds many records including lifetime hitting average. If someone tells you that the greatest hitter of all time is someone other than Ty Cobb, walk away and laugh. They don't know what they're talking about and are probably too arrogant to care. You can do the same if someone says the best player is someone other than Cobb, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Honus Wagner, or Babe Ruth.
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