You’ve heard the stories about Ty Cobb right? He was mean. He sharpened his spikes to gouge opposing players when sliding into bases. He beat up a disabled fan. He was a racist.
Well, it turns out that may all be based on shoddy research. And on this Crummy Little Podcast, Cobb biographer Charles Leerhsen shares a compelling counter-case to the image of Ty Cobb most of us grew up with.
- Here’s the Amazon link to Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.
- At several points we reference a speech Charles gave at Hillsdale College. His remarks were adapted into this article in one of the college’s presentations.
- Charles Leerhsen has a website you can visit and a Twitter feed you can follow. Both are recommended.
- This struck me as interesting: During the conversation, Charles brings up a quote from and old Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The same quote was running through my head when I read his Hillsdale College speech. In a 2006 HBO special, “Assume the Position,” actor Robert Wuhl uses the quote to show a college class how inaccuracies become part of pop culture. Why is that interesting? In 1994’s Cobb, Wuhl played sportswriter Al Stump – the source of so much of our current conventional wisdom on Cobb.