An extract on #versacejeans
As Smithsonian magazine stated, "Violent confrontations were a recurring theme in Cobb's life." He is thought to have committed several violent assaults during his playing time. Reported victims of his sudden uncontrollable rages through the years included a black groundskeeper who attempted to shake Cobb's hand, along with his wife, though this story (see above) is now considered dubious at best; as well as a handicapped fan. As he attacked the handicapped man, "someone screamed for Cobb to stop, pointing out that the man had no hands. 'I don't care if he has no feet!' Cobb yelled back, stomping [the handicapped man] until park police pulled him off." Cobb reported in his autobiography that the handicapped man incurred Cobb's ire by speaking on his mother's "color and morals."
While there are many stories centering around Cobb's alleged racial intolerance during his playing years, there are scant documented incidents of racially motivated acts.
Five years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Cobb publicly supported blacks and whites playing baseball together, adding, "Certainly it is okay for them to play. I see no reason in the world why we shouldn't compete with colored athletes as long as they conduct themselves with politeness and gentility. Let me say also that no white man has the right to be less of a gentleman than a colored man; in my book that goes not only for baseball but in all walks of life." Using even stronger language, Cobb told the Sporting News in 1952 that "the Negro should be accepted and not grudgingly but wholeheartedly." In 1953, black newspapers cited his praise for Brooklyn Dodgers' catcher Roy Campanella, who Cobb said was "among the all-time best catchers" in baseball. Following Campanella's accident that left him paralyzed, the Dodgers staged a tribute game where tens of thousands of spectators silently held lit matches above their heads. Cobb wrote the Dodgers owner to show appreciation "for what you did for this fine man." Cobb also stated that Willie Mays was the "only player I'd pay money to see." In the obituaries that ran in the black press following Cobb's death, he was praised for "[speaking] in favor of racial freedom in baseball."
Some historians, including Wesley Fricks, Dan Holmes, and Charles Leerhsen have defended Cobb against unfair portrayals of him in popular culture since his death. A noted case is the book written by sportswriter Al Stump in the months after Cobb died in 1961. Stump was later discredited when it became known that he had stolen items belonging to Cobb and also betrayed the access Cobb gave him in his final months. As a result of the movie Cobb which starred Tommy Lee Jones, there are many myths surrounding Cobb's life, including one that he sharpened his spikes to inflict wounds to opposing players. Leerhsen's book Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty presents primary evidence in contradiction to some of the more negative charges against Cobb.
In 2013, Cobb's grandson, Herschel Cobb, published a book about his grandfather titled Heart of a Tiger, Growing Up With My Grandfather, Ty Cobb. In this book, Herschel Cobb provides an inside view of his grandfather's kindness and generosity. There is also an interesting chapter where teenager Herschel Cobb confronts Al Stump and provides a first-hand account of Stump's dishonesty.