Finally - a fascinating and authoritative biography of perhaps the most controversial player in baseball history, Ty Cobb.

Ty Cobb is baseball royalty, maybe even the greatest player who ever lived. His lifetime batting average is still the highest of all time, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don't tell half of Cobb's tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player of the era: "Ty Cobb could cause more excitement with a base on balls than Babe Ruth could with a grand slam," one columnist wrote. When the Hall of Fame began in 1936, he was the first player voted in.

But Cobb was also one of the game's most controversial characters. He got in a lot of fights, on and off the field, and was often accused of being overly aggressive. In his day, even his supporters acknowledged that he was a fierce and fiery competitor. Because his philosophy was to "create a mental hazard for the other man,"; he had his enemies, but he was also widely admired. After his death in 1961, however, something strange happened: his reputation morphed into that of a monster - a virulent racist who also hated children and women, and was in turn hated by his peers.

How did this happen? Who is the real Ty Cobb? Setting the record straight, Charles Leerhsen pushed aside the myths, traveled to Georgia and Detroit, and re-traced Cobb's journey, from the shy son of a professor and state senator who was progressive on race for his time, to America's first true sports celebrity. In the process, he tells of a life overflowing with incident and a man who cut his own path through his times - a man we thought we knew but really didn't.

This book was outstanding in that the research that the author put forth to debunk either other books or other stories about Cobb's life. He begins with a much detailed background of his childhood and how he began to play baseball for local teams before his father allowed him to travel to Cincinnati in the hopes of getting the baseball thing out of his system and return to school. This did not happen and after the second year he was signed by Detroit. He played in their minor league for a while but he was just the same fast and no one knew what to do. They had not seen anyone like this before. When he finally makes it to the big club he is treated harsh and for the rest of the first year and the second year his hazing is horrible. Really this is where is learns to not back down from the older players and when they challenged him to a fight he accepts. To him it did not matter if he won of loosed the idea was standing up for one’s self. Two things became of this one the ringleader of the hazing was traded away, and the second was he remembered what it was like and did not treat the younger players that way when they came up. By now he was known around the league and beginning to be in all of the papers. Some for his accomplishments on the field, but also for his fights off the field. The author takes you through these and researchers census records to show that the famous fight with a man in the street was not African American but white, he did beat up a man in Yankee stadium who only had three fingers and he did that by jumping over the railing and go up to him. He could not let go of things being said or things being thrown at him. For as much greatness he did on the field he did just as much harm to himself off, where he should have walked away he was not going to back down and I think people knew this, that in turn took away from any good he did. The author does set straight that he did not sharpen his spikes, and that while he was playing he did not intentionally hurt anyone and that he was liked by most of the other players for the way he played the game. The things that were written in other books about him walking around with money, and stock certificates were not true as well. For a man that changed the way the game was played, his whole idea was to put pressure on the defense, take a single to a double, steal a base which maybe two bases, make the other team make a mistake and it worked more times than it didn’t. He still holds the highest batting avg. At one time he held over 90 records. This was a fabulous book well written and thoroughly researched. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

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