War on the Basepaths: The Definitive Biography of Ty Cobb

Tim Hornbaker. Sports Publishing, $24.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-61321-765-8
In a 24-year career in pro baseball, Cobb, "the Georgia Peach," did everything asked of a superstar in his sport: he was an 11-time batting champ, an MVP Triple Crown winner, and a Hall of Famer. Sports historian Hornbaker (Turning the Black Sox White) fills in the impressive achievements of Tyrus Raymond Cobb, who established 90 baseball records in his career, with a .367 batting average, 4,191 hits, 2,244 runs, and 892 stolen bases. Described by his mother as "impetuous and headstrong," the young man was a fierce competitor, a student of the game, making failure not an option when he signed as a rookie with the Detroit Tigers. Cobb's mother allegedly murdered his state senator father, an act that bedeviled his family with sensational rumors, despite her acquittal, and may have contributed to Cobb's emotional turbulence. Hornbaker briefly addresses Cobb's reputation, both as a hothead who would hurt opposing players and beat up fans in the stands, and as a white son of the South who tolerated no criticism from "the colored." The author effectively chronicles the ups and downs of Cobb's long career with the Detroit Tigers and brief time with the Philadelphia Athletics until his departure in 1928. Hornbaker attempts to elevate Cobb as "an imperfect man" with a solid sports legacy, despite evidence of the star's reckless and cruel nature, but to no avail. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-1-61321-951-5
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