I’ve heard and read all the stories about Ty Cobb.
He is baseball’s all-time leader in batting averge. His lifetime percentage is .367 — led the major leagues 12 times in that category. Three times, he batted over .400.
It is common knowledge among baseball historians of how nasty and aggressive Cobb’s competitive spirit was.
How driven he was. How hated he was. By his opponents. By his own teammates. He had a reputation all his own.
To be fair, I have also read of other descriptions of Cobb as being a charitable man. Some accounts say he wasn’t as vile or as despicable as the media made him out to be.
However, when I stumbled upon a picture of him standing next to the legendary Babe Ruth, I was shocked by how tall Cobb
I knew that Ruth stood about six foot two inches. The two Hall of Famers were just about standing eye-to-eye.
I somehow thought that Cobb, being the prototype lead-off hitter, was maybe five foot nine inches or perhaps five foot ten inches in height. Tops.
So I reached for my old copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia. The bible of baseball information. The book is huge. Over 1700 pages. Three inches thick.
I looked up “Tyrus Raymond Cobb.” Twenty-four seasons in the major leagues. Mostly played with the Detroit Tigers. Two seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics.
Lo and behold: Six foot one inch.
To quote broadcaster Mel Allen, “How about that?”
That definitely surprised me.