Ty Cobb (1927-28)
Everyone remembers Ty Cobb as a member of the Tigers, but his final two years were spent with the Philadelphia A’s.
How Cobb came to be a member of the franchise is an interesting story in itself. He had been the player-manager with the Tigers from 1921 through 1926, helping the likes of Harry Heilmann and Heinie Manush become a Hall of Famers in their own right. Cobb was also credited with discovering Charlie Gehringer, another player synonymous with the Tigers early days.
Cobb’s managerial career came to an end in a disappointing way. Along with Indians player-manager Tris Speaker (more on him shortly) and outfielder Smoky Joe Wood, Cobb was accused of conspiring to throw a game by former pitcher Dutch Leonard. He had two letters to corroborate his claims, but refused to travel to Chicago to testify further. Cobb had threatened to sue when he was found not guilty, but was persuaded to remain quiet when Connie Mack offered him a handsome salary to join the A’s.
Although he was entering his 40s, Cobb was still a productive player in his two seasons in Philadelphia. He produced a .343/.419/.460 batting line, hitting 59 doubles and stealing 28 bases. Even as a 41 year old, he had an above average bat, although his speed had deteriorated.
Ty Cobb was an excellent player for the A’s although he was past his prime. His career may have started in Detroit, but it came to an end in Philadelphia.