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“I’ll hit home runs,” he said. “If it’s OK for me to hit .200.”
And then he smiled. Broadly.
There's a story about Ty Cobb (IIRC) in which he decided that Babe Ruth was getting entirely too much press, and proceeded to hit three home runs in one game, and then said "#### that, I just wanted to show I could do it." I believe that Cobb actually did have a 3-HR game in the 1920s, and I think that he would have had considerable power had he been born a few decades later (George Brett is probably an excellent comp for Cobb as a hitter, allowing for era). But I have no idea whether the story of Cobb's attitude is true.
There's a story about Ty Cobb (IIRC) in which he decided that Babe Ruth was getting entirely too much press, and proceeded to hit three home runs in one game, and then said "#### that, I just wanted to show I could do it."
i am glad that i am close to death since i won't have too much more of this 'ichiro can hit homers any time he wants' bs
Perhaps in need of a fisking as far as Cobb's purported intent, but the story covers May 5-6, 1925. On the 5th, he went 6-for-6 with a double and three home runs; the next day he had two more home runs.
The day Ty Cobb hit three home runs
May 15, 2012
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com [...]
In Charles C. Alexander's biography of Cobb, he cites a story of Cobb sitting in the dugout before the game and telling a sportswriter, "I'll show you something today. I'm going for home runs for the first time in my career."
See? Cobb could have hit 40 or 50 home runs, just like Ruth. Alexander writes, "He had ... made his point: There were different ways to play baseball. He still loved the old game, still preferred most of the time to 'nip' at the ball, as Walter Johnson had once described his hitting style. But he could also clout with the musclemen when he chose."
You know what? I think the whole notion is a bunch of rubbish. The quote that Alexander cites comes not from a contemporaneous account, but from a 1961 article in The Sporting News that ran a few months after Cobb died. The story was told by Sid Keener, a former sportswriter and then the 73-year-old director of the Hall of Fame. You don't think that perhaps a little myth-making was at work here?
Aside from that, there are two other major loopholes in this legend.
Ruth first cracked the 50-homer barrier in 1920. Why did Cobb wait until 1925 -- when he was 38 years old -- to show he could "clout with the musclemen" if he wanted? There's also the fact that after that five-homer outburst, Cobb hit just seven home runs the remainder of the season, finishing with 12 to match his career-best.
Why did he suddenly stop hitting home runs? The Tigers won those two games in St. Louis, scoring 25 runs. Cobb didn't homer again until June 1, even though the Tigers went just 13-12 in games he played. From July 12 through Aug. 22, the Tigers went 8-16 in games Cobb played and he went homerless. Surely, a few home runs may have helped the Tigers win another game or two, no?
Look, I'm sure if Cobb had arrived in the major leagues in 1920 he would have adopted more easily to the modern game and hit a few more home runs. He was a big guy for his era -- 6-foot-1 -- and had extra-base power. But in the end, this tale doesn't add up. Ty Cobb had a great game -- or a great two games. But the idea that he could have matched Ruth's power approach is absurd, as ridiculous as those who suggest Ichiro could hit more home runs if only he wanted to. [Emphasis added]
Why did he suddenly stop hitting home runs?
Sounds like a handle change is in order!
I hate it when guys like Chris Truby & Albert Belle & Bitter Mouse loiter here for the memes.
If he could really just choose to hit home runs, and moreover could do so at such a phenomenally high rate, he was stupid not to so choose.
If that story is true, and if Cobb were really transcendently brilliant, he would not have preened. It might have worked another time. Real Machiavellian players don't give away their secrets.
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