Quick Daily Review #92: Cobb (1994)


Reporter: I’ve always wanted to ask you something, Mr. Cobb, with all the great ballplayers playing right now — how well do you think you’d do against today’s players?

Cobb: Well, I figure against today’s pitchers I’d only hit about .275,.280…

Reporter: That’s amazing, Mr. Cobb, considering your lifetime average is nearly a hundred points higher. Why do you think you’d only hit .275 against today’s pitchers?

Cobb: Because I’m 72 f**king years old…

Baseball week continues today on TVE, and our latest induction is 1994’s “Cobb”. One hundred years ago today a man who would come to be known as Babe Ruth hit his very first Home Run. If Ty Cobb were around to commemorate that statistic he might do so by first giving a rueful scowl and calling Ruth a “fat son of a bitch” who forever “ruined the game of baseball”. To Ty Cobb Baseball was a war and a chess match, and the diamond was his battlefield. To him the homerun was akin to a nuclear bomb in that it took all the “fun” away from the soldiers. Cobb relished in sharpening the spikes in his shoes and doing what could accurately be described as running dropkicks to the knees of second basemen. He was to be sure one of the nastiest, most brutal players in an era of nasty brutal players, but statistically he is also undeniably one of, if not the best of all time. This movie shows Cobb at an advanced age as played by the only man I can think he could have done the job convincingly—Tommy Lee Jones. Jones gives one of his finest and most overlooked performances here. Joining Jones is Robert Wuhl who plays Al Stump, a journalist writing a biography of Cobb who spends some time out on the road with him to observe him in the detestable condition he was then in. In their first meeting Cobb shows him the shotgun that his mother used to murder his father right before he was called up to the big leagues. This is a fascinating movie on many levels; it is sadly mired by the recent revelation that the real Al Stump’s book is a provable fabrication in many places. That said, the real Ty Cobb, if not the unrepentant monster portrayed in this movie, was still a very troubling individual. A hardcore racist, and general bully, his story is nonetheless compelling for the extremes he went to and how he serves as a fitting representative of the real, gritty, and often ugly working class American spirit of the turn of the century.


About William McPherson (359 Articles)
Professional freelance writer, who also writes blogs, reviews, and assorted nonsense at

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