Few ballplayers in history could match the ferocity and competitive drive of Ty Cobb, and none could match his on-field records which live on to this day. For 22 seasons, he was the very embodiment of the Detroit Tigers, seeing every at-bat as a mortal challenge and every opposing player as an enemy to be not just vanquished, but obliterated.
And now, more than a century after Cobb's major-league debut, his Tigers are back in the World Series. But his descendants are pulling for ... the Giants? Wait, what?
Yep, turns out that Cobb's grandson Herschel will be pulling for the San Francisco squad this time around. Ain't that a kick in the head?
"Ty Cobb would be very excited about his Tigers playing in the World Series," Cobb told the Detroit News. "But we live in the Bay Area and have been Giants fans for a long time. We're going to be rooting for the home team to prevail."
Herschel Cobb, now 69 years old, didn't know of his grandfather's history or exploits for much of his youth, though he did wonder why people put such high expectations on him when he played Little League Baseball.
"I literally insisted that he tell me everything he had done and why these people were shouting at me," Herschel said. "He didn't answer directly. He never really boasted about his baseball career with his grandchildren." Cobb answered by taking young Herschel into his office and showing him the memorabilia of a Hall of Fame career.
Ty Cobb himself had at least a tangential Giants connection; he would visit the clubhouse and chat with players and coaches right up until his death in 1961 at age 74. And now, as Herschel notes, Cobb's great-grandson — also named "Ty Cobb," which has to be a bit of a burden — has gone on to play baseball himself, and will also be cheering for San Francisco.
Ty Cobb's family rooting for the Giants. What's the world coming to? Next thing you know, Willie Mays is going to show up at AT&T Park sporting a Tigers cap.