Jun 15, 2009

Masterpiece Moments Mondays: Ty Cobb

Tyrus Raymond Cobb,the Georgia Peach, pictured here, is bearing down upon a catcher to steal home in 1907. This is before the widespread use of shinguards and other catcher's gear and after a time when Cobb most likely sharpened his spikes before embarking on another grizzled, high-flying journey around the basepaths.

He, of the 4189 career hits and .366 career AVG, was a menace on the base paths, to pitchers, to opposing players, and to fans. He was a hardened man, having gotten word that his mother had killed his father when he was only 18. He thought the whole world was against him, fighting off opponents and teammates alike with fists and harsh words.

Two quotes sum his playing style well. "When I begin playing baseball, baseball was about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch." He demonstrated that well everytime he was on the basepaths. "Baseball is something like a war...Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men." And he shed as much blood on the field (his own and others') had or since.

By the age of 20, he was already a team and league leader, leading the Tigers to the pennant whilst leading the league in AVG,OPS, RBI, SB, H, and TB. The amazing part, it would be his 2nd lowest AVG over the next 13 years, and it began an era where he led the league in OPS 9 out of 11 years. He was one of the dominant (and polarizing) forces and personalities in baseball during the rough and tumble early 20th century.

He even assaulted a fan in 1912,prompting a suspension, and a players' strike of his team. They weren't loyal to him; it was strictly business. The manager rounded up any able-bodied man he could find, and the Tigers lost one travesty of a game, 24-2. Ban Johnson, the AL President had no choice but to reinstate the team and Cobb with only some token fines as punishment.

He was a cuss and the burning fury of his life consumed him. It seemed he had no love for himself and others. This helped him on the field because between the lines you can treat the other team as more than just worthy adversaries, to Cobb, they were mortal enemies.

This catcher will need a medic after this; the steel spikes have been sharpened to a point, and home will be stolen. Another run scored and enemy earned for Ty Cobb.

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