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Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb (December 18, 1886 – July 17, 1961), nicknamed "The Georgia Peach," was an American Major League Baseball outfielder. He was born in Narrows, Georgia. Cobb is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. Teddy Schroeder gets a baseball signed by Cobb from Bill Fallon in the episode "Georgia Peaches". Teddy considers him a "bad man" but Nucky Thompson says that he is a good player to have at bat if you are losing. Teddy's dislike of him may stem from his involvement in fighting.
On May 15, 1912, Cobb assaulted a heckler, Claude Lueker, in the stands in New York. Lueker and Cobb had traded insults with each other through the first three innings, and the situation climaxed when Lueker called Cobb a "half-nigger." Cobb, in his discussion of the incident, avoided such explicit words, but alluded to it by saying the man was "reflecting on my mother's color and morals." Cobb stated in the book that he warned Highlanders manager Harry Wolverton that if something wasn't done about the man, there would be trouble. No action was taken. At the end of the sixth inning, after being challenged by teammates Sam Crawford and Jim Delahanty to do something about it, Cobb climbed into the stands and attacked Lueker, who it turns out was handicapped (he had lost all of one hand and three fingers on his other hand in an industrial accident). When onlookers shouted at Cobb to stop because the man had no hands, Cobb reportedly replied, "I don't care if he got no feet!"
The league suspended him, and his teammates, though not fond of Cobb, went on strike to protest the suspension, and the lack of protection of players from abusive fans, prior to the May 18 game in Philadelphia. For that one game, Detroit fielded a replacement team made up of college and sandlot ballplayers, plus two Detroit coaches, and lost, 24–2. Some of Major League Baseball's modern era (post-1901) negative records were established in this game, notably the 26 hits in a nine-inning game allowed by Allan Travers, who pitched one of the sport's most unlikely complete games.
The strike ended when Cobb urged his teammates to return to the field. According to Cobb, this incident led to the formation of a players' union, the "Ballplayers' Fraternity" (formally the Fraternity of Professional Baseball Players of America), an early version of what is now called the Major League Baseball Players Association, and garnered some concessions from the owners. During Cobb's career, he was involved in numerous fights, both on and off the field, and several profanity-laced shouting matches. For example, Cobb and umpire Billy Evans arranged to settle their in-game differences through fisticuffs, to be conducted under the grandstand after the game. Members of both teams were spectators, and broke up the scuffle after Cobb had knocked Evans down, pinned him, and began choking him. Cobb once slapped a black elevator operator for being "uppity." When a black night watchman intervened, Cobb pulled out a knife and stabbed him. The matter was later settled out of court.
"Sure, I fought," said an unrepentant Cobb in a revealing quote. "I had to fight all my life just to survive. They were all against me. Tried every dirty trick to cut me down, but I beat the bastards and left them in the ditch."
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