Ty Cobb is known for a variety of things. First and foremost, being a hall of famer, and leading the MLB in career AVG. Secondly, being mean. Very, very mean.
Like Ty Cobb, Cap Anson is known for a variety of things. First, being a hall of famer. Second, being a .334 AVG hitter.
What did they have in common? They were both racist. But should we hate them?
One day, as the story goes, Ty Cobb was warming up for a game. A black groundskeeper went up to him, and said how much he admired him. Cobb then proceeded to chase the man into the dugout, and when the groundskeeper’s wife, also black, tried to stop him, Cobb began to attack her. Cobb’s teammates then broke up the fight, but the damage had been done.
Cap Anson’s White Stockings (later known as the Cubs) were going to play a Toledo team, that included a man by the name of Moses Fleetwood Walker. Anson, who was born in a slave state in 1852, declared that his team would not play if Walker was allowed to play. This angered Toledo’s manager Charlie Morton, and the 2 argued for an hour. Finally, Morton said that if Walker was not allowed to play and the White Stockings forfeited, then Toledo would also forfeit so that Anson would not make any money. Anson then took a few seconds to say that his team would not forfeit, so he would make his money.
Ty Cobb and Cap Anson were racist. There is no person who can say otherwise. But should we blame them?
Ty Cobb was born in Georgia in 1886. During that time Georgia was very racist. It was not uncommon to see a black man lynched for no reason whatsoever. Cobb was already very mean to whites, so to African-Americans, it was an excruciating rage. He took issue with all African-Americans.
Cap Anson, as mentioned before, was born in Iowa, a slave state, in 1852. Iowa had many of the same characteristics of Georgia, including being very racist.
Although these men were misguided, they took racism to the extreme, and went out of their way to do anything racist. So that brings me back to my question. Should we hate early baseball players for being racist?
My answer, and hear me out, is a little. We should not like these players. But hate? No. It is important to remember that these players grew up around racism, and if kids see something, they do it. But they still were racist, so we shouldn’t feel fine with them. Now I’m done talking about Cap Anson. Ty Cobb, he’s a different story.
I could write a whole article about how bad Ty Cobb was. He sharpened his spikes before a game, ad then he slid spikes up into the SS covering second base. He spit at people, chased fans, and was mean to little kids. He had no friends. Even his teammates hated him. One year, Ty Cobb barely lost to another guy for the batting title. The Tigers minus Ty Cobb sent him a telegram, thanking him. And the stories go on. But I don’t have infinite space, so I can’t tell any more.
We should hate Ty Cobb. He was a downright mean person. Although he was a great ballplayer, he was a bad person.
So my final answer is a little. Unless it is are Ty Cobb, in which case you should hate him a lot.