Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
By Patrick Creevy Forge (Hardcover, $25.95.00, ISBN: 0765300141, 7/2002) Tyrus Raymond Cobb. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in a nearly unanimous vote. Highest lifetime batting average in baseball. Highest lifetime number of runs scored. Second highest lifetime number of hits. The run of statistics goes on, making it clear that Ty Cobb was baseball’s greatest overall player. But before Ty Cobb was a legend, he was a young man trying to escape from his famous father’s lengthy shadow. William H. Cobb, former state senator, renowned educator, champion of the Southern cause in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a gentleman and a scholar. Tyrus Raymond Cobb, his oldest son, was to carry on the proud Cobb family traditions, as explained by Ty Cobb: “The honorable and honest Cobb blood … never will be subjected. It bows to no wrong nor to any man …. The Cobbs have their ideals, and God help anyone who strives to bend a Cobb away from such.” Unfortunately for W.H., Ty’s greatest desire was to play baseball—a trivial game that would bring him into contact with low people. Yet the father could not deny that the son’s passion for his chosen profession burned hot, reflecting the very strength of will that was the hallmark of Cobb men. After much struggle, W.H. blessed his son and encouraged him to continue playing ball. The reconciliation nearly came too late, for soon after, W. H. Cobb was shot twice at close range—murdered—by his wife of more than twenty years. Ty was nineteen years old. The grief-stricken boy burned with rage as rumors circulated through the small Georgia town—rumors that his mother had been having an affair and that his father had caught her in the act. With his father newly buried and his mother awaiting trial, Ty Cobb was summoned to Detroit to play for the Tigers. Tyrus is a fictional account of this time in young Cobb’s life—that pivotal half-season when Ty had to prove his value on the field or forever lose any chance of playing professional ball. Subjected to a rookie hazing that would have destroyed a lesser man, Cobb carried his battle with his teammates from the clubhouse onto the field and emerged bloodied but unbowed. The sights and sounds of cut throat baseball are brilliantly evoked—a type of baseball that Cobb said was “about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch.” This thoroughly researched novel is a deft psychological portrait of a young man at a time of turmoil and transition. Patrick Creevy, whose earlier novel was praised as “intense [and full of] poetic yearning and literary allusion” (Kirkus Reviews), takes a unique literary look at the man dubbed “the Meanest Man in Baseball” as he left boyhood behind and began the baseball journey that made him a legend.