Cobb: A Biography

Cobb: A Biography

by Al Stump


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565121447
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 01/03/1996
Pages: 468
Sales rank: 661,023
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)

About 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 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
dchaikin on LibraryThing 7 months ago
24. Cobb : A Biography by Al Stump (1994, 428 pages, read Apr 15-May 14)(foreword by Jimmy Reese)Baseball was just starting, the bible was a pain to read, and that Early Reviewer autobiography on Jim Abbott was so much fun that it just made sense; this was a year to read about baseball. So, I picked this one up at The Friends of Houston Public Library book sale and then quickly started it. The experience was mixed. On one hand this is a very interesting biography; a psychologically penetrating study of a disturbed¿well, not just disturbed, but a truly psychotic early baseball star. But, Cobb was such a dislikable person, that reading about him wasn¿t fun, and it spoiled the game of baseball more than it added to it. And I should stop there, and keep this review short. But¿there is so much more to talk about. Ty Cobb is commonly on the short list of all time best baseball players and still holds record for the highest lifetime batting average. He played in the dead ball era, when the same ball was used through the whole game. Home runs were scarce, and scoring was about getting on base and making things happen. Cobb could hit, bunt for a hit, steal bases, he likely had track-star speed, and he was game-sharp with a knack for outwitting the opponent. In one game he stole home base while a third baseball tossed the ball up in the air to himself, not paying attention. (Someone stole home base this year, once, and it was big news.) And Cobb was mean. He injured players seriously and intentionally, sometimes to get on base and sometimes just to make a point. Cobb wasn¿t a player who turned it on at game time. He was always on, a fighter who couldn¿t let go and couldn¿t relax. He got in numerous fights with everyone ¿ opponents, teammates, umpires, fans, hotel bellmen. These were serious affairs where the loser ended up needing medical attention. Many of the non-player victims were black, as Cobb¿s intense racism only heated up his anger. At the same time he was a star, Cobb was roundly hated by most players around the league because of all the dirty plays, his angry demeanor and his penetrating insults. He was also hated by his own teammates, who simply couldn¿t stand him. Some long time teammates would later say he ruined the game for them. His own teammates would wonder both about his sanity and whether he would ever let go or wear out. He didn¿t do either. He was good, and for a long time. And that wasn¿t at game time. He was also fiercely successful off the field, financially. He invested widely and successfully. Among other successes, he was an original investor in Coke. He became the first millionaire ball player (his $20,000 was far higher than regular players, but clearly not enough to make him a millionaire). But happy he was not, at any point. He spent his retirement in apparently the same psychotic state, getting divorced at least twice with accusations of abuse, alienating all his children, and eventually burning bridges with all his fellow players and most of his close friends. If we can believe Al Stump, only three players from his time attended his funeral.There are three problems with the book. The first, and main one in my opinion, is the subject. Cobb was such a dislikable person that he turned me off of baseball. I had to ask myself why I watch this game where any idiot can get famous just because he¿s got the right athletic construction. The second problem was that it was too long. Stump covers every lunatic activity by Cobb, including every major fight he got in, and every publicity stunt he screwed up and so on. There was a lot to cover. And the third was that I don¿t know how much I can believe Al Stump.Stump ghost wrote Cobb¿s autobiography, which was hardly reliable, published shortly before Cobb¿s death. Stump brings a lot of his personal experiences with Cobb into the book and into the psychological breakdown. And these stories are spectacular. (Stump was also able to interview many players from his
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.