Jon's Reviews > My Life in Baseball: The True Record

My Life in Baseball by Ty Cobb
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's review
Nov 25, 2008

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Read in November, 2008 , read count: 1

The greatest reason for reading a book by Ty Cobb was to get another perspective of a man whom most refer to as despicable. A great ballplayer, but failure as a human - that seemed to be the common judgment about him.
There is plenty of violence in the book - fistfights, etc. with those whom he played with and otherwise associated with. He staunchly defends himself, and claims innocence, if not humility. But maybe that is it - always defending himself, responding to violence with more violence. He may not have started it, but he sure didn't end it.
There is essentially no mention of the circumstances of his father's death, apparently an accident at the hands of his mother. But this begs more information into his father and mother's relationship, and how they handled it. It seems that this could have a strong effect on Cobb, but we don't get that insight in a biography.
Among great interest is the style of play he describes, as he advisers future and current ballplayers ("Listen, boys")on his techniques. They are fundamentally sound and show a sharp mind. One does wonder if these techniques were used today what the result would be. Psychological techniques are also described, and, you get an idea of the fierce competitor he was on and off the field. Not all of his prognostications have come true, though, as he tends to value the "good 'ol boys" and the "good 'ol days" over anything else. It doesn't lend itself to humility.
Still it is an interesting read, a biography locked in time with a fascinating era of baseball, and a defense of stubborn and talented competitor.

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