The fix was in.

I sometimes use my idle time by logging on to Wikipedia and hitting the “random article” button.   Hit after hit will be produce nothing of any real interest but after a while, something will pop up.

I was playing this game when the internet gremlins rewarded me with a story from baseball’s earlier era.  It was about the game’s most hated player probably of all times: Ty Cobb.  I knew Cobb was disliked and after reading about the forgotten event, I got a sense of the how visceral the hate was.

The 1910 baseball season had reached its final day.  Cobb and Napolean Lajoie were vying for the batting title.  Cobb opted to sit out the season’s last game because his average was such that Lajoie would need a 8 for 8 day to pass him.  This is were the “hate Cobb” bunch dug in to deny this title and its swag award – a new Chalmers Automobile – from the “Georgia Peach”.

Napolean Lajoie’s team, the Cleveland Naps* would play a double header against the Saint Louis Browns.  Every time Lajouie came to bat the Browns’ manager, Jack O’Connor moved his rookie third baseman, Red Corriden to the outfield. Lajoie could get a freebie hit just by bunting toward third base.  This is what he did. 

All went by plan until the scoring official ruled Lajoie’s last at-bat as an error and not as a hit.  O’Connor and his cohorts did what they could to bribe the official their way, but she held her ground.  The result was Cobb won the batting crown by a slim margin.

Howling accusations of wrong doings led American Legion president, Ban Johnson to arbitrate this tempest.  Cobb won out – he did still have the best batting average.  In a clever marketing move, both Cobb and Lajoie received Chalmers automobiles from the company.

Ty Cobb was a stinker without doubt.  Is there a modern day comparison to him?

But what actions can a man take to make others hate him so when he was just playing a game.   Cobb’s transgressions are documented well.   Whether he repented for them was between him and his God.

However his haters had other choices, and they own their bad actions.


* the team changed its name to the Naps to honor Napolean Lajoie.

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