Born in Georgia in 1886, Ty Cobb overcame family tragedy to forge one of the greatest careers in big-league baseball history. He established records with his 12 batting titles and .366 career average, but also developed a reputation for his fierce play and terrible temper. Cobb’s legacy, which includes a large college scholarship fund for Georgia residents financed by his early investments in Coca-Cola and General Motors, has been tarnished by allegations of racism and violence, largely stemming from a couple of biographies that were released following his death. Cobb’s reputation as an extremely violent man was fanned by his first biographer, sportswriter Al Stump, whose stories about Cobb have been discredited as sensationalized, and in some part proven to be entirely fictional, while Cobb’s views on race evolved and mellowed after his retirement from baseball. Voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the inaugural election of 1936, he died in 1961 in Atlanta.
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