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Cobb: A Biography

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,463 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published January 3rd 1996 by Algonquin Books (first published October 1st 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,082)
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Ty Cobb - what is to be said? Quite an American who was by far a better baseball player than he was husband and father. He was thought to have "brain fever" a condition to which could only explain his mad fits of behavior both on and off the field of play. His existence, his actions, his feelings, his life is a clear example of "Ying and Yang" - what is bad is not all bad and what is or seems good is not all good. With less than 5 months left to live he tore up his Last Will and Testament and le ...more
Jack Perreault
Al Stump writes the definitive bioraphy of Ty Cobb.Stump makes some effort to demonstrate some positives regarding Cobb, but they are few and far between.He does make the point that Cobb is one of the greatest ball players ever.
But on the human side Cobb is portayed as violent, anti-social and self centered, he neglects his wife and children,is dispised my his fellow ball players.
He is a dispicable human but his portrayal is still fascinating. His background, how he became wealthy, some of the h
Cobb is a book about a famous old time baseball player named Ty Cobb. Ty Cobb was known for being a very dirty player and ornery person.In the book it is mentioned how he would sharpen the spikes on his cleats and slide with his cleat facing up and aiming to hit the second baseman's leg. Because of Ty Cobb being so ornery none of his fellow teammates liked him as a person, only respected his as a good player.Ty Cobb even stated "the honorable and honest Cobb blood... never will be subjected. It ...more
Fascinating baseball biography of one who was arguably both the greatest player the game has known as well a dangerous psychotic. The author got to know Tyrus in his twilight years, and dodged several hurled whiskey bottles in the course of his time with the Georgia Peach. The posthumous portrait he paints reveals a man hated by his peers, demonically driven, paranoid, and willing to inflict pain on any body—even his own. In baseball his ability was undeniable, and his dominance of the sport was ...more
May 23, 2010 J. added it
An excellent glimpse into a very complex personality--the best ballplayer who ever lived and an absolute monster of a human being.

I read this, along with two other biographies of Cobb, for research into a novel I recently completed. While all three presented the facts (each confirming the other two), Al Stump perhaps took a more journalistic approach, without sharing much of an opinion on his feelings of Cobb for good or bad.

This, by the way, is the book upon which the movie Cobb, starring Tommy
A fantastic story about the man some say was the meanest and some say was greatest baseball player of all time! I know he was the most interesting one! The first book about him I read was his autobiography and it was very disappointing. In his account of his life Cobb thought he was misunderstood and not guilty of all these acts he has pulled during his lifetime. Al Stump helped him write it but after Cobb's death he wrote this book which certainly is more detailed and tells the whole story. I w ...more
Brian Gramman
This book is an absolute disgrace. Al Stump was a reprehensible scumbag who unfortunately did not live long enough to be held fully accountable for his brutal distortion of the facts surrounding Ty Cobb's life in this biography. Thanks to the good work of folks at SABR, Stump has been exposed, but unfortunately the book continues to have a wide circulation. Ty Cobb was in no way a saint, but this garbage heap of a biography is far worse than he ever was.
David Longo
A great read! Al Stump hits a home run with this bio which is so apropos since Ty Cobb felt that the long ball cheapened the game of baseball. I found Cobb's upbringing especially interesting. His 14-year fued with Babe Ruth was equally attention grabbing, and it was enlightening to learn about his jealousy towards Ruth and a changing game that was soon to pass Cobb by (not that he wouldn't have excelled in it). Easy to read and hard to put down. I buy a lot of sports and historical biographies. ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Benny added it
This is a book about one of the best basseball players of all time, Ty Cobb. While he was fantastic, his personality was not extremely friendy, especially towards the opposing team. This great yet nasty baseball player's colorful life experiences are highlighted in this biography.
Pamela Montano
I loved it. Ty Cobb is my favorite baseball player and reading stories about him as a kid helped me to fall in love with the game.
Mar 17, 2015 Jim added it
As a work a fiction it would border on brilliant, but what makes it truly remarkable is the entire work is essentially a lie written by a sociopath. (Simply looking over the wiki page Al Stump to confirm this) The elder Cob is falsely portrayed as some kind of unreconstructed hick and when his his the truth was that he had evolved from being a violent racist to being an integrationist (he wrote that one of his two favorite players was Jackie Robinson and was photographed shaking was hand Robinso ...more
In 1960, one of the nation's pre-eminent sportswriters got what he thought was the opportunity of a lifetime: unrestricted access to Ty Cobb. When the Baseball Hall of Fame opened, Cobb got the most votes. More than Ruth, more than Wagner, more than Mathewson. And it wasn't close. Now, Cobb was dying of cancer, and he wanted his story told.

The opportunity of a lifetime was a nightmare. Cobb had full editorial power over the biography, and perhaps more importantly, he was a psychopath. The biogra
Todd Miles
One of the best biographies that I have ever read, and certainly the best sports biography. I was hooked from the first chapter where Stump recalls ghostwriting Cobb's "autobiography," spending the last fews years of Cobb's life with the man. Contempory counselors and psychologists would have a field day attempting to diagnose all of Cobb's neuroses. My vote for the greatest baseball player of all time, he was clearly the most despised by all who were near him. His baseball exploits were simply ...more
carl  theaker
Author Al Stump's opening reflects how I felt before learning
more about Cobb; you hear various stories about him, some you believe
others you figure you need to hear the 'rest of the story' before you
make any conclusions. This book provides the rest of the
story, and it's worse than you can imagine!

As far as the fans & media, perhaps the contemporary Barry Bonds
and steroids stories give you some idea of their attitudes toward Cobb.

Any kid who likes baseball has seen the Cobb name throughou
This book is a direct result of an interview given by Tyrus Cobb to Al Stump prior to Cobb's death, presumably to capture his image. I don't know if Cobb wanted the truth told about him, he mentions that he did but Cobb is well-known for his extreme dislike for anyone who stood up to him. Cobb was a classic bully in the most extreme sense of the word towards his teammates, opponents, owners, fans, friends. He seems to have no redeeming qualities other than his ability to use every advantage to m ...more
Signor Ugarte
Nov 19, 2013 Signor Ugarte rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
While the subject of the "Georgia Peach" is one that should interest most avid baseball fans. Coupled with the fact that at the time this was considered the definitive biography of Ty Cobb, and basis for a very mediocre movie based on this telling. A modicum of research will show that this author and his story have been totally discredited. Al Stump was an extremely dishonest individual and one that sought to profit on the unprecedented access and trust he was given to the last days of the life ...more
Everything is Ty Cobb's life was a war. The battles never seemed to stop. Al Stump gives us a fascinating window into this man's life.
We get a view of early Baseball history through Cobb's interactions with other stars of the times, from Honus Wagner to Babe Ruth. His battles with the game's power structure were legendary. His relation ship with the team's owner was always contentious. Before reading this book I never knew that Cobb was one of the first players to try to get rid of the reserve
Harold Kasselman
This is the best sports biography I ever read.I recognize that the author's credibilty has been questioned because of alleged fraud in selling Cobb's purported memorabilia.Nonetheless it is still a rivering biography.Cobb,by Stump's account, was more of a ruffian than I ever imagined. He was a borderline personality type who was motivated in large measure by the need to prove himself to a father that had been murdered before Ty became famous.This is a fascinating tale of an egomaniacal man who d ...more
"Ty Cobb, the greatest of all ballplayers - and an absolute shit." - Ernest Hemingway.

Disappointed but unsurprised to find out this book was embellished and untrue. I enjoyed reading it immensely but had I known it wasn't true prior to starting I wouldn't have bothered. And then, (insult to injury) the movie is based on this book but also took liberties with the book. Oh my. I don't think anyone can sum up Cobb so succinctly as Hemingway so I will let that quote stand.
The beginning of the book made it feel as though you were reading a piece of fiction. Surely no man could be this superhuman, could he? During the course of the book when Cobb is compared to his time and even modern times in Major League Baseball you are taken back a little that this player was without a doubt the greatest of all time. Stump didn't hold anything back and the naked truth has a certain negative impact at times but it is all done unnecessary for the reader to see the real man. At t ...more
John Kaufmann
Cobb made this book. What a character. The book was a little on the long side, and the writing style made it seem tedious at times, but it was packed with information and stories about Cobb - though perhaps in more detail than was needed. On the other hand, perhaps that detail was needed in order to display Cobb's character as it did. What an s.o.b. And what a talent.
By exchanging a compelling, focused story for an exhaustive journal of Cobb's almost daily activities, Al Stump's biography swings and misses. Although baseball obsessives might enjoy hearing about each and every one of Cobb's batting titles and bench clearing brawls, the story loses steam with the overload of information, mostly because it starts to run together after a while. Although Cobb's life was interesting it was not particularly varied. So, what we get here is basically a ledger sheet w ...more
Al Stump was Ty Cobb's ghost-writer when Cobb put together his autobiography in 1961 just before he died. Over 30 years later, Stump wrote COBB to tell his side of the story. It was an interesting book about one of the most complex characters ever to play baseball. While Cobb's autobiography leaves you feeling somewhat sympathetic towards him, this book paints Cobb with a darker brush. However, recent baseball historians have come to discredit Stump himself and have argued that a number of his a ...more
Jim Kulhawy
After watching the movie, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Whul , I headed over to the library to pick up a copy of this book. As a baseball junkie, I knew a lot OF Ty Cobb, but not a lot ABOUT Ty cobb and felt I needed to change that. After reading this book, I came away both mesmerized at the player and horrified at the person and sometimes the two were not seperable. There is no doubt in my mind that Cobb may have been the greatest to ever play the game, but he was definitely the biggest s ...more
John Maniscalco
An excellent book on the greatest, and meanest, baseball player of all time. It tells a great story of the man who holds the highest batting average of any ballplayer in major league history, won 9 batting titles in a row and won 12 of 13, hit over .300 for 23 straight seasons, one f two players in major league history to hit over .400 three times, consistently led the league in steals, and stole home 35 times, more than any other player. It is also the story of a man who sharpened his cleats to ...more
Danny Knobler
Al Stump knew Cobb better than anyone, and he digs into the good and the bad of the man who may have been baseball's best-ever player -- and also perhaps the most interesting.
Shane Paxton
This book had a lot of details about Ty Cobb's life and baseball career and I learned a lot about him that I didn't know before. Complaints of the book is that organization of the story could've been better and jumped around a little bit on the timeline. Also a few of stories about Cobb seemed too outlandish to be considered true and it makes you wonder if the accusations against Al Stump are indeed true.
A thorough account of the life of a great athlete and troubled human being. History has labeled Cobb as mean/abrasive, but this book shows that he was the product of his dysfunctional environment. I admired him and felt sorry for him... I think he was lonely and craved attachments, but instead developed a hardened exterior to cover his emptiness. Cobb was undoubtedly self-destructive and mentally ill at the end of his life, (not to mention, in terrible physical health), and he comes across as a ...more
David Barney
Interesting book about a very complex player. The guy could play baseball. Yet, he was a jerk as a player.
Jeremy Cheek
Ty Cobb: simultaneously the greatest & dirtiest ballplayer of all time, both overshadowed by what a world class jerk he was.
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