He received more votes placing him in the Baseball Hall of Fame than any player in the history of the game. Ty Cobb was a great player no doubt, but what is equally agreed upon by many is he was one of the most disliked people to ever play the game. Maybe “despised” would be a more correct description.
He once climbed into the stands at a game and physically beat up a heckler. The heckler was handicapped, having lost a hand and three fingers on his other hand in a work accident. Teammates tried to stop him only to hear Cobb say, “I don’t care if he has no feet.” Another time he pulled a knife and stabbed a man who came to the aid of an elevator operator that Cobb had gotten into a fight with.
He played twenty-two seasons for the Detroit Tigers, establishing over ninety records during those years. He won twelve batting titles, nine in a row. He still holds the record for the highest lifetime batting average of any player in the history of baseball. He had a lifetime batting average of .366. That’s lifetime, not for one season but for his entire career. He was great on the field but had many problems off. At his funeral not one former teammate came, and only three players from all of baseball attended. That speaks volumes. He was buried in his hometown of Royston, Georgia.
"If you and I are going to get along, don't increase my tensions."
A few years ago I talked to a man who knew Cobb, in fact played golf against him as a young boy. He had little good to say of Cobb.
One year as I was driving back to my home in New Jersey from some work responsibilities at the Masters Golf tournament, (tough assignment) I drove through Royston. I stopped and found his grave. As I visited his grave I was reminded of something supposedly he was to have said on his death bead. "I only wish I had made more friends." Maybe he could have tried a little harder.
What a statement of one's life. To come to the end and your last wish is,
March 9, 2010