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Ty Cobb (1886 - 1961)

Former Professional Baseball Player

He was born Tyrus Raymond Cobb on Dec. 18, 1886, to parents William Herschel Cobb and his 15 year-old wife Amanda Chitwood Cobb. Born on his grandfather's farm near Narrows, Georgia, his Georgia upbringing was the inspiration for his baseball nickname, "the Georgia Peach". He became a major-league player as an outfielder with the American Detroit Tigers in 1905, a position he held for 22 seasons. He also managed the Tigers from 1921 through 1926 and returned to playing actively from 1927 to 1928 with the Philadelphia Athletics.

He was a left-handed batter that threw with his right hand and was considered by many experts to have been the greatest player in the history of the game."The Georgia Peach" was famous for his spikes-first slides, his nasty disposition and for playing the game with an aggressiveness that was almost homicidal. He started the practice of swinging several bats in the on-deck circle so that one would feel light when it came time to hit. Similarly, he hunted in lead-weighted boots in the winter, practiced in them all spring, and switched to paper-thin shoes once the season started. He set a lifetime record of 892 stolen bases, and in 1915 he stole 96 bases in 156 games, a record that lasted until 1962. Cobb was a powerful hitter as well with a record-breaking lifetime batting average of .367. For 23 years straight he smashed out batting averages of at least .300, and at age 41, when he played his last season, he hit .323.

Starting in 1905, he spent 24 seasons in the American League (22 of them with Detroit). He won 12 batting titles, and from 1906 onwards hit better than .320 in 23 consecutive seasons. He topped the .400 mark three times. His career batting average of .366 is the highest in Major League history. Cobb created or equaled more records than any other baseball player. Some of his batting records were not broken until the 1970s. In 1936 he was elected to the Hall of Fame by a record 98 percent of the vote. He died in Atlanta, Ga., on July 17, 1961.