Early Life and Baseball Career
Ty Cobb was born in Narrows, Georgia in 1886, the first of three children to William Herschel Cobb and Amanda Chitwood Cobb. He played his first years in organized baseball for the Royston Rompers, the semi-pro Royston Reds, and the Augusta Tourists of the South Atlantic League who released him after only two days. He then tried out for the Anniston Steelers of the semipro Tennessee-Alabama League, with his father's stern admonition ringing in his ears: "Don't come home a failure!" After joining the Steelers for a monthly salary of $50, Cobb promoted himself by sending several postcards written about his talents under different aliases to Grantland Rice, the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal. Eventually, Rice wrote a small note in the Journal that a "young fellow named Cobb seems to be showing an unusual lot of talent." After about three months, Ty returned to the Tourists and finished the season hitting .237 in 35 games. In August 1905, the management of the Tourists sold Cobb to the American League's Detroit Tigers for $750 (equivalent to approximately $19,400 in today's funds).
On August 8, 1905 Ty's mother fatally shot his father, who had suspected her of infidelity and was sneaking past his own bedroom window to catch her in the act; she saw the silhouette of what she presumed to be an intruder and, acting in self-defense, shot and killed her husband. Mrs. Cobb was charged with murder and then released on a $7,000 recognizance bond. She was acquitted on March 31, 1906. Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to his late father, saying, "I did it for my father. He never got to see me play ... but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down."
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