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Cobb: A Biography

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A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and psychosis. Based on Stump's interviews with Ty Cobb while ghostwriting the Hall-of-Famer's 1961 autobiography, this award-winning new account of Cobb's life and times reveals both the darkness and the brilliance of the "Georgia Peach." "The most powerful baseball biography I have read."--Roger Kahn, author of THE BOYS OF SUMMER


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A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and psychosis. Based on Stump's interviews with Ty Cobb while ghostwriting the Hall-of-Famer's 1961 autobiography, this award-winning new account of Cobb's life and times reveals both the darkness and the brilliance of the "Georgia Peach." "The most powerful baseball biography I have read."--Roger Kahn, author of THE BOYS OF SUMMER

30 review for Cobb: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book is an absolute disgrace. Al Stump was a reprehensible scumbag who unfortunately did not live long enough to be held fully accountable for his brutal distortion of the facts surrounding Ty Cobb's life in this biography. Thanks to the good work of folks at SABR, Stump has been exposed, but unfortunately the book continues to have a wide circulation. Ty Cobb was in no way a saint, but this garbage heap of a biography is far worse than he ever was.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Excellent baseball book! Ty Cobb was a magnificent ballplayer without a doubt but as for his personal life, well let's just say he had many, many issues. I would recommend this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    This book has been debunked along with the myths and 1/2 truths perpetrated by the Author for his own personal reasons. I am effectively changing my outlook on this book on 31 July 2018 as a result of the book of by Charles Leerhsen "Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty." I would recommend persons interested in baseball or Ty Cobb read this book however before reading the Leerhsen work to gain a perspective on the truth that was conducted with extensive research. I was "hoodwinked" by the Al Stump book bu This book has been debunked along with the myths and 1/2 truths perpetrated by the Author for his own personal reasons. I am effectively changing my outlook on this book on 31 July 2018 as a result of the book of by Charles Leerhsen "Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty." I would recommend persons interested in baseball or Ty Cobb read this book however before reading the Leerhsen work to gain a perspective on the truth that was conducted with extensive research. I was "hoodwinked" by the Al Stump book but feel compelled to keep my original review in tact. ***Below is my original review of 26 January 2013*** Ty Cobb - what is to be said? Quite an American who was by far a better baseball player than he was husband and father. He was thought to have "brain fever" a condition to which could only explain his mad fits of behavior both on and off the field of play. His existence, his actions, his feelings, his life is a clear example of "Ying and Yang" - what is bad is not all bad and what is or seems good is not all good. With less than 5 months left to live he tore up his Last Will and Testament and left 75% of this to his three surviving children and all of his grandchildren to split. His other 25% was left to what he started as the Ty Cobb Education Fund. The fund is designed to asssist children of Georgia the chance to go to college - there are strict requirements in this area; however to date the fund has provided more than $13M+ to young people in the pursuit of their educational needs. While his antics on the field were questionable at times one thing can't be taken from him and this would be his lasting impact on the game. His shrewd ability to work his own contracts over the years and testimony to the U.S. Senate on the need for free agency was the genesis for what would occur in MLB in the mid 1970s beginning with Catfish Hunter becoming the first benefactor of changes that were called for back in the early to mid 1920s. Al Stump did a great job with this book, beginning of course by being the ghost writer to the autobiography that was released just after Cobb's death in 1961. There are parts within this book to which you will laugh and yet there are other parts that you will likely raise an eyebrow toward, and even still there are parts that you will find sad. I couldn't put this book down and when I finished the last few pages during the course of a somewhat very busy weekend having awoken during the night from sleeplessness I found myself saying goodbye to a person that could have been a friend to me in a different time of America. I sort of felt I was losing a friend as I closed the cover. As a guy who loves NHL Hockey - this MLB book and history is a part of the sports mistress I hold close to my heart. This is the sort of history I look for and desire - Cobb is to baseball what Patton was to Army. He becomes a side note of importance that cannot be denied but represents the sort of history that many like to ignore and pretend didn't exist. Somehow people just think on occassion that the current existence of sports contracts and military rules and regulations just sort of "arrive" and are in place by an omniscient group of owners, league, commissioner, or group of high ranking military officials that just seem to "know" the answers for the future need - in the end these decision makers too are merely just people. Ty Cobb's lasting legacy is the education fund - there are many other great names and/or "better" players who have long since retired that cannot say even this. A great book, a great American, a person who had his flaws but made peace in the end and realized his mistakes of his own character.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Al Stump was Ty Cobb's ghost-writer when Cobb put together his autobiography in 1961 just before he died. Over 30 years later, Stump wrote COBB to tell his side of the story. It was an interesting book about one of the most complex characters ever to play baseball. While Cobb's autobiography leaves you feeling somewhat sympathetic towards him, this book paints Cobb with a darker brush. However, recent baseball historians have come to discredit Stump himself and have argued that a number of his a Al Stump was Ty Cobb's ghost-writer when Cobb put together his autobiography in 1961 just before he died. Over 30 years later, Stump wrote COBB to tell his side of the story. It was an interesting book about one of the most complex characters ever to play baseball. While Cobb's autobiography leaves you feeling somewhat sympathetic towards him, this book paints Cobb with a darker brush. However, recent baseball historians have come to discredit Stump himself and have argued that a number of his accounts are false or exaggerated. I suppose baseball history buffs will have to wait for someone to write the definitive unbiased book about Ty Cobb. I would have given the book four stars, but considering the controversy surrounding the author, maybe just three. Still an interesting look into early 20th century baseball.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Travelin

    Stars reduced. Apparently a well-established, well-written lie by the drunken one-note writer. Still, his fake warnings about Cobb never having any friends did resonate with my preteen self.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve Bennett

    This book is somewhat difficult to rate. it is an absolutely brilliant story on just how completely messed-up Ty Cobb was. According to the book, Cobb is essentially a psychotic, evil lunatic with almost no friends or loved ones at all in life. I always knew Cobb was a jerk within the baseball diamond, but how he treated his wife and children is much worse. He was a great player of course and perhaps the best of all-time. It is interesting to read about Cobb's knowledge of the game and how to wi This book is somewhat difficult to rate. it is an absolutely brilliant story on just how completely messed-up Ty Cobb was. According to the book, Cobb is essentially a psychotic, evil lunatic with almost no friends or loved ones at all in life. I always knew Cobb was a jerk within the baseball diamond, but how he treated his wife and children is much worse. He was a great player of course and perhaps the best of all-time. It is interesting to read about Cobb's knowledge of the game and how to win at baseball before the homerun was much of a factor. An undercurrent in the book is the battle between Babe Ruth versus Ty Cobb and the emerging of the longball versus the deadball era of how the game would be played. The book is scary and at times outright funny regarding how racist, psychotic and pure evil Cobb could be. Indeed there seems to be zero happiness in Cobb's life, which of course is a shame and ends up humanizing him somewhat at the end. That and the issue of his mother shooting and killing his father/her husband (either accidently or intentionally) just weeks before the young Cobb would begin his major league career. Strange times indeed. The book is difficult to accurately judge because some (such as an article in Smithsonian.com) have gone to lengths to discredit the accuracy of Stump's book. I am an agnostic on that issue, but I have the faith of the infinite that Ty Cobb was one messed up dude. But a super baseball player.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack Perreault

    Al Stump writes the definitive bioraphy of Ty Cobb.Stump makes some effort to demonstrate some positives regarding Cobb, but they are few and far between.He does make the point that Cobb is one of the greatest ball players ever. But on the human side Cobb is portayed as violent, anti-social and self centered, he neglects his wife and children,is dispised my his fellow ball players. He is a dispicable human but his portrayal is still fascinating. His background, how he became wealthy, some of the h Al Stump writes the definitive bioraphy of Ty Cobb.Stump makes some effort to demonstrate some positives regarding Cobb, but they are few and far between.He does make the point that Cobb is one of the greatest ball players ever. But on the human side Cobb is portayed as violent, anti-social and self centered, he neglects his wife and children,is dispised my his fellow ball players. He is a dispicable human but his portrayal is still fascinating. His background, how he became wealthy, some of the high profile people he had known personally such as presidents and a famous general. He was obsessed with winning, no matter the price. Like I said Cobb is a jerk, but at times you find yourself rooting for him because he is such a maverick, and just didn't care who he offended. Cobb was into everything from golf, polo to big game hunting and fishing. One of the aspects I enjoyed was learning about the early years of baseball, and it's many characters.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    "Ty Cobb, the greatest of all ballplayers - and an absolute shit." - Ernest Hemingway. Disappointed but unsurprised to find out this book was embellished and untrue. I enjoyed reading it immensely but had I known it wasn't true prior to starting I wouldn't have bothered. And then, (insult to injury) the movie is based on this book but also took liberties with the book. Oh my. I don't think anyone can sum up Cobb so succinctly as Hemingway so I will let that quote stand.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shane Paxton

    This book had a lot of details about Ty Cobb's life and baseball career and I learned a lot about him that I didn't know before. Complaints of the book is that organization of the story could've been better and jumped around a little bit on the timeline. Also a few of stories about Cobb seemed too outlandish to be considered true and it makes you wonder if the accusations against Al Stump are indeed true.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    Really opened my eyes to the REAL Ty Cobb. Excellent book for any baseball fan.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rick Zinn

    I loved this, great old school baseball stories. Ty Cobb may be the most interesting person ever to play Baseball, I knew a lot and I learned a lot. Cobb is complex (racist,volatile, and the dirtiest player in the game). Cobb comes across as one of the hardest workers and smartest players in the game. The descriptions of the times I completely enjoyed this book, and upon researching it afterwards discovery the author was accused of plagiarism and the book may not be as factual as it appears. I d I loved this, great old school baseball stories. Ty Cobb may be the most interesting person ever to play Baseball, I knew a lot and I learned a lot. Cobb is complex (racist,volatile, and the dirtiest player in the game). Cobb comes across as one of the hardest workers and smartest players in the game. The descriptions of the times I completely enjoyed this book, and upon researching it afterwards discovery the author was accused of plagiarism and the book may not be as factual as it appears. I don’t know what to make of the book, one of the best Baseball books I have ever read or maybe not.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Fascinating baseball biography of one who was arguably both the greatest player the game has known as well a dangerous psychotic. The author got to know Tyrus in his twilight years, and dodged several hurled whiskey bottles in the course of his time with the Georgia Peach. The posthumous portrait he paints reveals a man hated by his peers, demonically driven, paranoid, and willing to inflict pain on any body—even his own. In baseball his ability was undeniable, and his dominance of the sport was Fascinating baseball biography of one who was arguably both the greatest player the game has known as well a dangerous psychotic. The author got to know Tyrus in his twilight years, and dodged several hurled whiskey bottles in the course of his time with the Georgia Peach. The posthumous portrait he paints reveals a man hated by his peers, demonically driven, paranoid, and willing to inflict pain on any body—even his own. In baseball his ability was undeniable, and his dominance of the sport was long. His appeal to the crowd was the same as that of an amoral carnivore. Hero of a later era, Babe Ruth may have been loved for being larger than life, but Babe's appeal was that his flaws and beauty were those of man. Cobb—who hated Ruth and all he stood for, and frequently referred to him as a "nigger"—provided the fascination evoked by shed blood, the primal rage that propels the infant to tear itself from its mother and demand air. In some species the female is more dangerous; Ty Cobb had the body of a man but exhibited a feminine cruelty that ignored the masculine traditions of brotherhood and chivalry. He was an evil bitch. For many of us the world provides an adequate mirror with which we foster the apparition of our lives: provided with neat parameters by our polished concave we banish the warp and imperfection that would belie their precision until time weakens our efforts to the point of failure and the image ceases to converge, even if—or at least as we hope—the light never dies. Poor Ty seems to have been given his outline by a less manageable process. Chaos breeds monsters: Jupiter's Red Eye, seen from our terrestrial stands via the astronomer's mirror-driven scope as but a spot, is a massive storm larger than the Earth boiling persistently in the poisonous atmosphere of that failed star. So too out of chaos stepped Cobb, to storm and then to die, an impossible vector made flesh. One star off because I hate fucking baseball.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Cobb is a book about a famous old time baseball player named Ty Cobb. Ty Cobb was known for being a very dirty player and ornery person.In the book it is mentioned how he would sharpen the spikes on his cleats and slide with his cleat facing up and aiming to hit the second baseman's leg. Because of Ty Cobb being so ornery none of his fellow teammates liked him as a person, only respected his as a good player.Ty Cobb even stated "the honorable and honest Cobb blood... never will be subjected. It Cobb is a book about a famous old time baseball player named Ty Cobb. Ty Cobb was known for being a very dirty player and ornery person.In the book it is mentioned how he would sharpen the spikes on his cleats and slide with his cleat facing up and aiming to hit the second baseman's leg. Because of Ty Cobb being so ornery none of his fellow teammates liked him as a person, only respected his as a good player.Ty Cobb even stated "the honorable and honest Cobb blood... never will be subjected. It bows no worng nor to any man... the Cobbs have their ideals and God help anyone who strives to bend a Cobb away from such". He was a great hitter, having averages high in the .300 mark even at some points reaching .400, which is legendary.Ty Cobb had made a traumatic discovery that his father was killed by a shoutgun blast coming from his own mother. In the book the author Al Stump mentions how Ty Cobb was suspected for murder, but never was formally charged. Stump talks about Cobb being paid 150 dollars per game and how "it was precisely like Cobb to go after every loose nickel" (Stump 242), meaning how he wants exactly how much he was supposed to be paid. This book is mainly about the characteristics of Cobb and what he was like as a player and a person, it also mentions many of the things that occured during Ty Cobb's life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Signor Ugarte

    While the subject of the "Georgia Peach" is one that should interest most avid baseball fans. Coupled with the fact that at the time this was considered the definitive biography of Ty Cobb, and basis for a very mediocre movie based on this telling. A modicum of research will show that this author and his story have been totally discredited. Al Stump was an extremely dishonest individual and one that sought to profit on the unprecedented access and trust he was given to the last days of the life While the subject of the "Georgia Peach" is one that should interest most avid baseball fans. Coupled with the fact that at the time this was considered the definitive biography of Ty Cobb, and basis for a very mediocre movie based on this telling. A modicum of research will show that this author and his story have been totally discredited. Al Stump was an extremely dishonest individual and one that sought to profit on the unprecedented access and trust he was given to the last days of the life of one of the most famous athletes in American sports history. Like him or not Ty Cobb was an icon of the first part of the 20th century. No question he was flawed but his later years were hardly the "horror show" that Al Stump claimed them to be. In the baseball world Stump is known as nothing but a two-bit charlatan that took advantage of a famous wealthy dying man. The true story is definitely truly tragic, however Cobb is not the tragic figure in this story. If interest look for "The Georgia Peach: Stumped by the Storyteller" by William Cobb (not related to Ty). His evidence of Stump's fabrications, fraud, and willful deceit are beyond compelling and supported by many sources.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J.

    An excellent glimpse into a very complex personality--the best ballplayer who ever lived and an absolute monster of a human being. I read this, along with two other biographies of Cobb, for research into a novel I recently completed. While all three presented the facts (each confirming the other two), Al Stump perhaps took a more journalistic approach, without sharing much of an opinion on his feelings of Cobb for good or bad. This, by the way, is the book upon which the movie Cobb, starring Tommy An excellent glimpse into a very complex personality--the best ballplayer who ever lived and an absolute monster of a human being. I read this, along with two other biographies of Cobb, for research into a novel I recently completed. While all three presented the facts (each confirming the other two), Al Stump perhaps took a more journalistic approach, without sharing much of an opinion on his feelings of Cobb for good or bad. This, by the way, is the book upon which the movie Cobb, starring Tommy Lee Jones in the title character is based. A fine if underappreciated film.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    A fantastic story about the man some say was the meanest and some say was greatest baseball player of all time! I know he was the most interesting one! The first book about him I read was his autobiography and it was very disappointing. In his account of his life Cobb thought he was misunderstood and not guilty of all these acts he has pulled during his lifetime. Al Stump helped him write it but after Cobb's death he wrote this book which certainly is more detailed and tells the whole story. I w A fantastic story about the man some say was the meanest and some say was greatest baseball player of all time! I know he was the most interesting one! The first book about him I read was his autobiography and it was very disappointing. In his account of his life Cobb thought he was misunderstood and not guilty of all these acts he has pulled during his lifetime. Al Stump helped him write it but after Cobb's death he wrote this book which certainly is more detailed and tells the whole story. I wonder if Cobb came back and haunted Stump after this book was published?????

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Kennedy

    Cobb was an interesting character for sure, but Stump is definitely not the best man for the job of writing this book. The book is, for the most part, poorly written, and somehow manages to make an interesting character like Cobb relatively boring throughout most of its 420 pages.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Willis Whitlock

    A pack of lies. Discredited author of junk history. Stumph made himself modestly rich and famous by besmirching the good name of arguably the greatest ball player of his time. Unfortunately the fiction and slander have been repeated by the likes of Ken Burns and popular movies.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Benny

    This is a book about one of the best basseball players of all time, Ty Cobb. While he was fantastic, his personality was not extremely friendy, especially towards the opposing team. This great yet nasty baseball player's colorful life experiences are highlighted in this biography.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Montano

    I loved it. Ty Cobb is my favorite baseball player and reading stories about him as a kid helped me to fall in love with the game.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    I don't know what Al Stump had against legendary ballplayer, Ty Cobb. This biography could only have been published AFTER Cobb's death because Cobb would have sued the pants off of Stump for the slanted story he tells, suggesting that Cobb was a raging racist-- and a total maniac. While Cobb may have been experiencing dementia and acting oddly during Stump's time with him, Stump obviously did little or no research beyond his conversations with Cobb. Sadly, there are better researched biographies I don't know what Al Stump had against legendary ballplayer, Ty Cobb. This biography could only have been published AFTER Cobb's death because Cobb would have sued the pants off of Stump for the slanted story he tells, suggesting that Cobb was a raging racist-- and a total maniac. While Cobb may have been experiencing dementia and acting oddly during Stump's time with him, Stump obviously did little or no research beyond his conversations with Cobb. Sadly, there are better researched biographies of the Georgia Peach out there..

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I read the book some twenty years ago and thought it was great. Only lately have I found out it was full of vile calumnies. Am now reading Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, by Charles Leerhsen, which adheres more closely to the facts. It's also a great read......

  23. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Meyer

    Stump was a fraud and this book is filled with lies and inaccuracies.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark Bunch

    This is the one they made the movie about. the downside of Ty Cobb.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nick Olson

    Enjoyed it until I learned it was basically fiction.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Ericson

    One of the best biographies I have read in quite a while. Ty Cobb truly was the greatest hitter of his time and perhaps ever.

  27. 5 out of 5

    carl theaker

    Author Al Stump's opening reflects how I felt before learning more about Cobb; you hear various stories about him, some you believe others you figure you need to hear the 'rest of the story' before you make any conclusions. This book provides the rest of the story, and it's worse than you can imagine! As far as the fans & media, perhaps the contemporary Barry Bonds and steroids stories give you some idea of their attitudes toward Cobb. Any kid who likes baseball has seen the Cobb name throughou Author Al Stump's opening reflects how I felt before learning more about Cobb; you hear various stories about him, some you believe others you figure you need to hear the 'rest of the story' before you make any conclusions. This book provides the rest of the story, and it's worse than you can imagine! As far as the fans & media, perhaps the contemporary Barry Bonds and steroids stories give you some idea of their attitudes toward Cobb. Any kid who likes baseball has seen the Cobb name throughout the record books. He was an amazing character, whether you liked him or not. From these stories I figure he started out an SOB and hazing by teammates in his first trip to the big leagues, and life, made him an ornery SOB. Many times in this book you wonder how anyone could side with him, then once in awhile you find yourself at least understanding him a bit if not actually signing up for the Tyrus fan club. One item that is consistent in this book and other baseball stories is that every 'old timer' whatever era, thinks the players 'nowadays' are overpaid wimps. Cobb took this to an extreme and wrote articles in major magazines about it and pondered doing a book on it. And that was in 1951! One big item missing from the book is how he appreciated, or didn't, his fans. There's plenty about the fans who booed or hated him, he often replied in person to fan letters, but not a word about 'I did this for the fans' or 'the ones that stuck by him', etc. For example when starting out playing in small town Georgia, making hardly anything, the fans bought him a gold watch when he left for Detroit, a pretty big deal in 1900. This may be the author's omission, but no reflection on events like that at by Cobb. (Well at the end of the book when he leaves for another team, the Detroit fans buy multi-millionaire Cobb a Packard, which he says, 'I always thought the Tiger fans were cuckoo.' So maybe that sums it up.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    As a work a fiction it would border on brilliant, but what makes it truly remarkable is the entire work is essentially a lie written by a sociopath. (Simply looking over the wiki page Al Stump to confirm this) The elder Cob is falsely portrayed as some kind of unreconstructed hick and when his his the truth was that he had evolved from being a violent racist to being an integrationist (he wrote that one of his two favorite players was Jackie Robinson and was photographed shaking was hand Robinso As a work a fiction it would border on brilliant, but what makes it truly remarkable is the entire work is essentially a lie written by a sociopath. (Simply looking over the wiki page Al Stump to confirm this) The elder Cob is falsely portrayed as some kind of unreconstructed hick and when his his the truth was that he had evolved from being a violent racist to being an integrationist (he wrote that one of his two favorite players was Jackie Robinson and was photographed shaking was hand Robinson's hand at an all-star game). Stump, who wrote Cobb's official biography, took advantage of the old man, stealing personal items which he proceeded to sell, lied about a series of events that he claimed he had with Cobb as well as well as lying about numerous events he claimed Cobb told him about his life. Cobb grew up terribly, desperate and poor circumstance. He was not educated. Not to excuse his violence, of which he should have been held liable by the law (although some of the common stories about him were invented by Stump) but to some extent his bizarre activities were the results of taking an uneducated backwoods man in an area of appalling violence (Cobb's mother murdered his father) and racism and throwing him into the big city, and making him a celebrity. People don't change immediately. You can see a gradual change in Cobb's temperament. The worst violence was early. His racism gradually eroded to the point of being very progressive for being s'one in Georgia at that time. It is clear that he was embarrassed by his behavior as a younger man. The older Cobb, who had widely invested in Coca-Cola and leased land and land and homes to both whites and blacks, was known as a gentleman...Now, this book is well written. It's just rather disturbing, especially considering that people just accepted it's claims for so long (even making a movie out of it).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Ty Cobb is a hard man to accept. He was a violent psychotic ignorant racist who finished high school but didn't go college, and attacked anyone and everyone whose words or actions set off any of his many barely-hidden triggers. Fans, umpires, opponents, even his own teammates and managers, were the targets of physical and mental abuse that got him beaten, banned and arrested too many times to count. He was also a smart, funny, well-read man who enjoyed opera, was a successful businessman and inve Ty Cobb is a hard man to accept. He was a violent psychotic ignorant racist who finished high school but didn't go college, and attacked anyone and everyone whose words or actions set off any of his many barely-hidden triggers. Fans, umpires, opponents, even his own teammates and managers, were the targets of physical and mental abuse that got him beaten, banned and arrested too many times to count. He was also a smart, funny, well-read man who enjoyed opera, was a successful businessman and invested wisely, and was a millionaire (when it meant something) while still a player. And consequently or concurrently or amazingly in spite of all this, he was the greatest player of all time. Stump's biography reveals what most believe was at the core of the problem: Cobb adored his father, who instilled a strong drive in his son but died just before Cobb was called up to the majors--shot by Cobb's mother in an incident that was officially ruled an accident but surrounded by rumor in the small Georgia town where Cobb grew up. The recitation of Cobb's baseball career is amazing. His skill, intensity, and discipline made him maniacally successful for a 23-year career, yet driven and disliked on and off the field by those who knew him best. Stump spent time with Cobb just before he died gathering facts for this book and earlier published work. The chapter on that time opens the book and frames the sad realization of the man at the end.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    One of the best biographies that I have ever read, and certainly the best sports biography. I was hooked from the first chapter where Stump recalls ghostwriting Cobb's "autobiography," spending the last fews years of Cobb's life with the man. Contempory counselors and psychologists would have a field day attempting to diagnose all of Cobb's neuroses. My vote for the greatest baseball player of all time, he was clearly the most despised by all who were near him. His baseball exploits were simply One of the best biographies that I have ever read, and certainly the best sports biography. I was hooked from the first chapter where Stump recalls ghostwriting Cobb's "autobiography," spending the last fews years of Cobb's life with the man. Contempory counselors and psychologists would have a field day attempting to diagnose all of Cobb's neuroses. My vote for the greatest baseball player of all time, he was clearly the most despised by all who were near him. His baseball exploits were simply stunning. But his behavior, remarkably consistent both on the field and off, was jaw-dropping. The closer you were to Cobb, the greater the odds that you would hate him. His best chance of having adoring fans was to never meet them face-to-face. Baseball is so much the richer for Cobb's on-field and strategic contributions. If only he was respected as a person. This was a tragic story of a fantastic player, intellectually and physically brilliant, who had it all and could not keep out of his own way, systematically alienating those who wanted to care for him. There is a morality tale in this for all of us. In the end, Cobb needed Someone to save him from himself.

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