Ty and the Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship

Overview

Early in the twentieth century, fate thrust a young Babe Ruth into the gleaming orbit of Ty Cobb. The resulting collision produced a dazzling explosion and a struggle of mythic magnitude. At stake was not just baseball dominance, but eternal glory and the very soul of a sport. For much of fourteen seasons, the Cobb-Ruth rivalry occupied both men and enthralled a generation of fans. Even their retirement from the ball diamond didn't extinguish it.

On the cusp of America's entry ...

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Ty and The Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals: A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship

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Overview

Early in the twentieth century, fate thrust a young Babe Ruth into the gleaming orbit of Ty Cobb. The resulting collision produced a dazzling explosion and a struggle of mythic magnitude. At stake was not just baseball dominance, but eternal glory and the very soul of a sport. For much of fourteen seasons, the Cobb-Ruth rivalry occupied both men and enthralled a generation of fans. Even their retirement from the ball diamond didn't extinguish it.

On the cusp of America's entry into World War II, a quarter century after they first met at Navin Field, Cobb and Ruth rekindled their long-simmering feud-this time on the golf course. Ty and Babe battled on the fairways of Long Island, New York; Newton, Massachusetts; and Grosse Ile, Michigan; in a series of charity matches that spawned national headlines and catapulted them once more into the spotlight.

Ty and The Babe is the story of their remarkable relationship. It is a tale of grand gestures and petty jealousies, superstition and egotism, spectacular feats and dirty tricks, mind games and athleticism, confrontations, conflagrations, good humor, growth, redemption, and, ultimately, friendship. Spanning several decades, Ty and The Babe conjures the rollicking cities of New York, Boston, and Detroit and the raucous world of baseball from 1915 to 1928, as it moved from the Deadball days of Cobb to the Lively Ball era of Ruth. It also visits the spring and summer of 1941, starting with the Masters Tournament at Augusta National, where Cobb formally challenged Ruth, and continuing with the golf showdown that saw both men employ secret weapons.

On these pages, author Tom Stanton challenges the stereotypes that have cast Cobb forever as a Satan and Ruth as a Santa Claus. Along the way, he brings to life a parade of memorable characters: Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Grantland Rice, Tris Speaker, Lou Gehrig, Will Rogers, Joe DiMaggio, a trick shot–shooting former fugitive, and a fifteen-year-old caddy with an impeccable golf lineage.

No other ball players dominated their time as formidably as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Even today, many decades since either man walked this earth, they tower over the sport. Who was better? Who was the greatest? Those questions followed them throughout their baseball careers, into retirement, and onto the putting greens. That they linger yet is a testament to their talents and personalities.

 

Praise for the Writing of Tom Stanton:

 

"Ruth and Cobb come together as never before in this charming story of rivalry and friendship. Stanton, a keen storyteller, has written a book that surprises and delights."

-Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

 

"The wardrobe mistress of baseball history seems to have assigned the white hat to Babe Ruth and the black hat to Ty Cobb for all time. The Babe, the legendary Sultan of Swat, has become the patron saint of the sport, flamboyant and loud, larger than life, hail fellow well met, a character who hit mammoth home runs and wiped the runny noses of neighborhood urchins. Cobb has become the villain, foul mouthed and cantankerous, unliked and unloved by even his teammates. . . . Now Tom Stanton comes along to rearrange the roles in his terrific new book, Ty and The Babe, which chronicles the relationship between the two baseball icons. He takes off the hats and tells us about the real people. And it all is great fun."

-Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam

 

"Wonderful! Ty and The Babe is rich, elegant, and powerful. Tom Stanton vividly brings back to life two rival sports icons in a rollicking tale filled with tension, humor, and warmth. It's fantastic."

-Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame broadcaster

 

"Frankly, Ty and The Babe had me hooked from the opening page, a thoroughly absorbing tale that has all the charm and elements of an unforgettable film-the two greatest players from baseball's Golden Era, blood feuds, dueling rivals, brawling fans, mythologizing sportswriters and the consequences of a rapidly changing game . . . all capped off by a poignant golf match between a pair of fading titans. Tom Stanton has beautifully re-created the most romantic period of American sports, provided new and powerful insights into a pair of greatly misunderstood figures in Cobb and Ruth, and given baseball and golf fans everywhere something to cheer lustily about."

-James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and Ben Hogan: An American Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312382247
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 959,883
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Stanton is the author of four books, including the memoir The Final Season, winner of the Casey Award. A former Knight-Wallace Fellow, he published weekly newspapers and taught journalism at the University of Detroit Mercy before becoming an author. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times. He and his wife live in New Baltimore, Michigan, and have three sons.

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Table of Contents


A Note     ix
Cooperstown 1939
Cobb's Send-off     3
Aboard the Centennial Special     9
The Challenge     15
The Baseball Years
1915: The Greatest Ever     25
In Pursuit of Immortality     33
A Green Pea     40
How Much Longer?     45
The Rise of Ruth     51
A Baseball Revolution     64
Coup in Detroit     71
The New Commander     77
War of 1921     83
The Other Babe     91
Riot at Navin Field     98
The Making of a Delicate Peace     109
Reversal of Fortunes     118
Scandal     127
The Kindly Years     133
The Golf Match
With Bobby in Augusta     141
The Babe Accepts     153
A Peach in New York     162
Notes, Goats, and Gamesmanship     170
Tee Time in Newton     177
A Babe Among Friends     183
Play-off at Fresh Meadow     192
Pulling for Joltin' Joe     203
Ty, Tris, and Babe in Cleveland     209
Cobb's Secret Weapon     221
For Eternal Bragging Rights     228
Epilogue: The Later Years     234
Acknowledgments     239
Appendix     241
Bibliography     275
Index     281
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