Cobb: A Biography

Cobb: A Biography

4.1 8
by Al Stump

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A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between


A New York Times Notable Book; Spitball Award for Best Baseball Book of 1994; Basis for a major Hollywood motion picture. Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and psychosis. Based on Stump's interviews with Ty Cobb while ghostwriting the Hall-of-Famer's 1961 autobiography, this award-winning new account of Cobb's life and times reveals both the darkness and the brilliance of the "Georgia Peach." "The most powerful baseball biography I have read."—Roger Kahn, author of THE BOYS OF SUMMER

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stump, Ty Cobb's ghostwriter for the 1961 autobiography My Life in Baseball, fleshes out the story in this bare-knuckle, shocking biography. Born in Georgia in 1886, Cobb began his baseball career with the Detroit Tigers in 1905 and stayed in the big leagues until 1928-all the time hated by his rivals and teammates alike because of his meanness and combativeness. The author portrays the highlights of Cobb's career: his first batting championship in 1907; his 96 stolen bases in 1915; and his three .400 seasons in 1911, 1912 and 1922. Stump also looks at Cobb's involvement in game-fixing in 1919, his time as a manager and his activities after retiring. He died in 1961. The most sensational aspects of the book deal with Cobb's personal life: his mother's murder of his father, millionaire Cobb's cheapness (no electricity or telephone in his house), wife beating, alcoholism and racial bigotry. Stump has written a biography of the ``Georgia Peach'' that will stun readers with its brutal candor. Photos. 25,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Baseball great Ty Cobb was considered a borderline psychopath, both on the field and off. Noted sportswriter Stump collaborated with Cobb in his 1961 autobiography, My Life in Baseball. Here, Stump succeeds in producing the definitive biography of this mercurial man. Most of the details of Cobb's life are familiar to baseball fans, but Stump goes beyond the basic facts and accepted truisms and delves into many areas the ordinary fan may not be aware of. The story of the killing of Cobb's father by his mother remains a mystery, but Stump recounts the incident exhaustively, along with many others. Ultimately, the reader can fathom why Cobb evolved into the most hated man in baseball. It is said that genius is often tinged with madness; in Cobb's case that is certainly true. Reading Cobb's autobiography along with this book presents an interesting contrast. Highly recommended for all libraries.-William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, Pa.

Product Details

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)

Meet the Author

Al Stump (1916-1995) was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During World War II, he was a war correspondent, and afterward he worked as a sportswriter for national and regional publications, including Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, True Magazine, American Heritage, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. He wrote—both independently and in collaboration with famous athletes—six books, including Ty Cobb's My Life in Baseball, Sam Snead's Education of a Golfer, Champions Against Odds, and The Champion Breed. His article, "Ty Cobb's Wild 10-Month Fight to Live," written for True Magazine, won the Best American Sport Story award of 1962. It was the basis for the 1994 motion picture Cobb, directed by Ron Shelton.

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Cobb: A Biography 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mark82 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for any hardcore baseball fan. Al Stump tells the complete story of one of baseballs greatest legends, but it turns out to be a horror story. Stump included plenty of accounts of Cobb on the field, but it is what happened off the field that will cause the reader to be unable to put this book down. Stump also does a great job of describing what baseball was like at the start of the twentieth century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Al Stump made up account of the supposed murder was supported by facts which he made up. In his first edition of his Cobb biography he offers as support of his position a referrence to a game that Cobb played after the allleged incident. Box scores show that Cobb did not play in such a game on the date that Stump claimed. This man should have been unmasked as a fraudulent fabricator of history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book to read I didn't know what to expect. But boy was I in for a ride. One of the best books I have read. When I was done with the book, I felt I knew him personally. True people hated his guts but I just couldn't help to admire him even more so. He did what he thought was right and he stood by that. A truly amazing character. Unquestionably the greatest ever to pay the game of baseball.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stump's 'Cobb: A Biography' is an absolute pleasure to read (devour, more accurately). The writing is fast-paced, detailed but not tedious, blunt and riveting. In a refreshing departure from other sports biographies, the author does not interject a great deal of personal opinions and prejudicial assertions; the facts alone speak for themselves and the reader has more than enough information to derive his/her own conclusions. I was left feeling almost that I had met the 'Georgia Peach', and that is all one could ask for in a good biography.

This is a book I plan to give as a gift.

Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether you like baseball or not, you will enjoy this book. This book not only tells you about Ty Cobb the baseball player but it also tells you about Ty Cobb the man. This book not only tells of the great things he had done but also some of his not so shinning moments. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about interesting charactors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stump was absolutely right about Cobb not being misunderstood. Everyone understood the man perfectly. However, with this book you get a chance to see part of the reason why he was like this. The greatest ballplayer that ever lived was an absolute failure as a husband and father. There's no excuse for it. After saying all of this, I still admire the man in a way.......Go figure!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Baseball writers of the early 1900's often wrote in a colorful way that may have stretched the truth, but this is modern times, and I expect biographies to depict their subjects with as much realism as possible. According to this book, in 1907 Ty Cobb stole 49 bases. Here are some comments by Stump about that season: "Making two to four base stealing attempts per day ...", "Three steals a day were common". Really? This seems very unlikely for someone who averaged less than one stolen base every three games. Amazing anecdotes abound througout the first 153 pages (this is all I have read, I don't know if I can take any more). For example, according to Stump's version of Cobb's remembrance, Cobb was a probable out at second base one day in the World Series, but tricked the opposing second baseman by yelling "Tag him". This confused the second baseman Evers so much that Cobb was able to simply keep going all the way to third and beat the throw from Evers. Huh? Another anecdote from Cobb on pages 152-153 is so unrealistic it is actually funny. He relates how he was thrown out at home from third on a ground ball to the third baseman, but only Cobb's incredible determination and guile by getting in a long rundown allowed the batter to reach first and the runner on first to reach second. I don't think so. Read about Cobb's "corkscrew slide" on page 151, where Stump describes how Cobb "swerved away from the baseman, then slashed back into him to make him drop the ball". I don't know how this skill got lost over the ages- maybe because most baserunners believe that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Of course, maybe that's why Ty Cobb was thrown out 38 times one year attempting to steal. Perhaps I should not expect realism, and just read it in the spirit of early baseball fiction. After all, my dad used to tell me stories of Cobb that were very similar to the ones told by Stump, and my childhood would perhaps have been poorer for the absence. If I were able to do that, I'm sure I would give this book a much higher rating.