Ty Cobb On Why Modern Baseball Sucks

You are now about to enter the Time Machine ... I stumbled across a 1951 LIFE Magazine editorial written by Ty Cobb on "why they don't play baseball anymore". It's full of neat insights into mid-1900's baseball, from Cobbs "belligerent and surly" perspective of course. The old man yelling at the kids to get the fuck off his baseball diamond undertone makes it awesome. "The Georgia Peach" would make Ozzie proud as he seems very disappointed that "modern" players don't know how to bunt, run the bases, or successfully execute the hit-and-run, to wit, Cobb writes...

The idea nowadays is to close your eyes and swing with all your might. . . . The greatest disgrace of modern baseball is that few batters know how to lay down a good bunt. Some of them don't even try it. . . . remember anyones little sister can learn how to bunt.

A fun bit of baseball history I did not know until Ty posthumously revealed it to me is the spitball was banned in 1920 however pitchers who used the "freak delivery" prior to it no longer falling within the rules were allowed to continue tossing the pitch until they retired, to which Cobb concludes...

This made the spitball more of a hazard than ever, because after a time batters saw it less and less often and were even more easily fooled by it.

To Cobb, the modern ballplayer was a complete sissy. Weak boned and weak minded. Cobbs' contrasts the pussy known as the modern baseball player to the stout oldtimers:

To an oldtimer like me today's ballplayers seem like a particularly fragile lot. Particularly the pitchers, who are always getting sore arms and bone chips, and mysterious growths in the shoulder joints. I had played a good many years in baseball before I ever heard of a pitcher with bone chips; if they had them in those days they ignored them. . . . In the days before catchers wore shin guards, Frank Bowerman of the Giants got a six-inch spike gash on his leg, plastered the edges down with a wad of chewing tobacco, rolled up his stocking and went right on catching.

I guess it would be fair to conclude that the standards defining "Chicago Tough" have been diluted just a touch. Even Erstad would not possess the balls big enough to respond to a six-inch gash by suturing the wound with Big League Chew and soldiering onward. Cobb goes on to bemoan that the modern ballplayer, now a part-time athlete, runs "contrary to the laws of nature":

[The Yankees] three players were doing things in the wintertime that made my flesh crawl. DiMaggio was sitting around. Phil Rizutto was selling men's suits. Yogi Berra was working as a greeter at a St. Louis restaurant. . . . If you have to make some extra money, go work in a warehouse or deliver yourself some ice.

And if you did not need warehouse work or ice delivery for some extra cash in the offseason, the modern ballplayer could always follow Cobbs' off-season workout regim:

My own method was to hunt--to walk 20 and 30 miles a day in the fields in Georia or through the snow in Canada, wearing a pair of heavy boots or with lead weights tacked on the instep of my shoes.

Cobb concludes the first segment of his multi-part expose of the tragicomedy that has become "modern baseball" by somehow tying skyrocketing salaries, the mockery made of rookie hazing, and players opening businesses in the winter to avoid offseason training to ... well, I'll let his words explain what the pampering of the modern player has cost the once great American pastime ...

Even the unluckiest of them get real good salaries, paid mostly for doing nothing except eating, maturing and gaining strength until they can power the ball. They dont have to worry about any hazing from the oldtimers; if any veteran treats them badly, they can refuse to let him ride in their Cadillacs. They buy a restaurant or a clothing store to run during the winter; they worry a lot more about their balance sheets than about their ability to bunt.

Until pitchers and catchers report entertain yourself by stepping into the time machine and reading Ty Cobbs thoughts about how the emphasis toward mashing the ball by over-pampered of sissy players has lead to the dramatic decline in the ability to run the bases and proper bunting techniques ... all of which has led to the death of Ozzieball.

They Don't Play Baseball Anymore
Tricks That Won Me Ballgames


this is how a man bunts in a the mockery that was once a man's game

SouthSideSox is a community driven site. As such, users are able to express their thoughts and opinions in a FanPost, such as this one, which represents the views of this particular fan, but not necessarily the entire community or SouthSideSox editors.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.