Tyrus (Ty) Raymond Cobb was born December 18, 1886, in rural Narrows, Georgia. His nickname was the “Georgia Peach.” He played twenty-two seasons with the Detroit Tigers and was America’s first sports hero. Presidents wanted to shake his hand and play cards with him. Companies and corporations wanted him to endorse their products. When the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York elected its first member it was Ty Cobb. He never let Babe Ruth forget that he was chosen ahead of him. Sporting News chose Cobb as the third best player in the history of baseball behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. But to this day many believe Cobb was the greatest of all. His .366 lifetime average in 22 ½ seasons is still the highest ever recorded. What may be even more remarkable is that he only struck out 3.1% of the time.
Related: See where Ty Cobb ranks among the best MLB players of all time!
When the young Babe Ruth showed up on the scene he quickly stole much of Cobb’s thunder and notoriety. At 6’2” and 215 pounds Ruth could create a windstorm when he swung his Louisville Slugger. And when he connected he was the greatest home run hitter of all time. He hit 59 home runs in one season then broke his record by hitting 60 in another season. The folks loved the long ball and packed stadiums wherever Ruth played.
A disgruntled Cobb watched as his fame and popularity dwindle and Ruth’s skyrocket. After several years of this, Cobb decided he was going to show the public that swinging for the fences was no challenge for him. Sitting in the Tiger dugout, on May 5, 1925, he told a reporter that, for the first time in his career, he was going to swing for the fences. That very day he went 6 for 6, with two singles, a double and three home runs. The 16 total base stood until May 8, 2012. The next day he had three more hits two of which were home runs. This was a feat not even the great Bambino had ever accomplished.
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