Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (book review)

Ty Cobb was baseball’s first superstar and its first inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet when most people think of him, they think of a racist jerk. Was he? Charles Leerhsen unpacks Ty Cobb’s life in an outstanding biography entitled Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.

Leerhsen himself initially believed all the negative reports about Cobb. He wrote:

“When I started researching this book I believed, like a lot of people, that Ty Cobb was a maniac, meaning a racist and a mean, spikes-sharpening son of a bitch. This was not a professional opinion based on knowledge; it was an assumption based on stories I’d been hearing all my life. People said it in bars; Ken Burns said it in his baseball documentary, so it must be true—that sort of thing. That I’d come to this conclusion without investigating the matter myself made the myth more, not less, powerful for me. … The experience [of researching and writing this book] taught me a lesson about how assumptions can shape our thinking, and hence our lives. Just because you’ve heard something a thousand times doesn’t mean it’s true.”

As Leerhsen began meticulously going through the real-time daily accounts of Cobb’s life, when he began reviewing original source material, all his preconceived ideas about Ty Cobb began to melt away. Leerhsen discovered that an opportunistic journalist named Al Stump almost wholly made up the derogatory claims about Cobb from unnamed sources. And as the cliche goes, the bad stuff is easier to believe than the good stuff, so the lies about Cobb stuck.

Ty Cobb was a phenomenal baseball star. He set 90 Major League records in his career, and he still holds the records for:

  • Combined runs scored and runs batted in (4065)
  • Highest career batting average (.366)
  • Most batting titles (11)
  • Most steals of home (54)
  • Stealing second, third, and home in succession (5) … once he did that on consecutive pitches!
  • The youngest player to compile 4000 hits and score 2000 runs

Not only does Leerhsen rebut all of the lies about Cobb, but he uncovers the life of a man who almost singlehandedly made Major League Baseball the national pastime that it became.

There’s also a great lesson to be learned here—never judge someone by what “they” say, but get the facts for yourself!

All baseball fans—and especially Detroit Tigers fans like me—will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Book Reviews From 2017

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The book of Romans in a sentence: Because you were condemned (1:1 – 3:20) and God justified you (3:21-5:21), empowered you to be distinct (6-8), and explained His plan to keep His promises to Abraham (9-11), it is right for you to submit your life for Divine inspection (12:1-2), and live the life of a real believer (12:2-16:27).” —Dr. Randall D. Smith

[INFOGRAPHIC] I love the Bible study tools from The Overview Bible Project! Check out this one on the main characters in Genesis.

A great story about a marathon runner who intentionally loses the race.

The co-founder of The Weather Channel blasts the “global warming” crowd.

“It is too bad that anything so obvious should need to be said at this late date, but from all appearances, we Christians have about forgotten the lesson so carefully taught by Paul: God’s servants are not to be competitors, but co-workers.” —A.W. Tozer

“The truth is that evil is not a real thing at all, like God. It is simply good spoiled. That is why I say there can be good without evil, but no evil without good. You know what the biologists mean by a parasite—an animal that lives on another animal. Evil is a parasite. It is there only because good is there for it to spoil and confuse.” —C.S. Lewis

“Love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.” —C.S. Lewis

“In our time we have all kinds of status symbols in the Christian church—membership, attendance, pastoral staff, missionary offerings. But there is only one status symbol that should make a Christian congregation genuinely glad. That is to know that our Lord is present, walking in our midst!” —A.W. Tozer

When The Game Stands Tall (movie review)

When The Game Stands TallI had the privilege of seeing an advanced showing of When The Game Stands Tall which opens in theaters next weekend (August 22). When this movie was over, I was the one standing tall because it is such an inspirational story.

The movie opens as the De La Salle High School football team is in the midst of a 151 game winning streak. Think about that: in 12 years this high school football team hadn’t lost! How did they do it? Through the careful coaching of Bob Ladouceur and Terry Eidson, and through the dedication of players that bought into their principles.

But the team lost track of who they were and how they had achieved such success. The unthinkable happens: De La Salle loses a game!

How the coaches and players respond to this loss is the real heart of the story, and I’m so glad that it’s being told on the big screen. This movie is completely family-friendly, with no questionable content at all.

Here’s the deal: If you want Hollywood to keep making movies like this, you MUST make plans to see it on opening weekend (August 22-24). The movie executives base their decisions on box office sales that first weekend, so it will largely determine whether they will make more pro-family movies like this one.

Here is a behind the scenes look at the making of When The Game Stands Tall that I think captures the essence of the heart of this story—

Please go see this movie next weekend!

It’s Not Whether You Win Or Lose…

…it’s how you play the game.

These guys know how to play the game!

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