Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ty Cobb, a Tiger redeemed

I hate biographies. The guy always dies at the end. Yet a biography I just finished, which I stayed up far beyond my normal bedtime to finish, my normal bedtime being around 6:30 these days, and as my computer tells me that it's 1:28 AM just now and well beyond that parameter, tells a story about me. Books snowball as I read them; the deeper I read into those tomes which enthrall me the more I simply must finish them as soon as possible. So I have been so entranced with Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, a book my daughter and son-in-law gave me for Father's Day this year. I've read the last 150 or so pages since around 7PM yesterday, staying up very late to do so, because I reached the point where I just had to finish the book.

All right, I took an hour to watch the Classic Star Trek episode Friday's Child from 9 to 10 PM on MeTV. Yet so my obsessive compulsive disorder goes.

It is a fascinating book in that it redeems a hero of mine. That is nowhere near a complete vindication of his life: Cobb's life in baseball and without is still full of holes, errors which I now suspect even he regretted. Perhaps that is where his tale is most human. He knew he was flawed.

The rest of the world? It seemed ready to accept the common narrative that he was a monster, using the word author Charles Leerhsen employed as he approached his study of the Georgia Peach. He thought he would only reaffirm what the world already knew: that Cobb was a terrible human being.

But he only found that Cobb was a human being. Relatively easy research (in his own words, roughly paraphrased here) showed that Cobb was not the Supreme Evil. It showed that he was flawed and, again, and perhaps more importantly,knew he was flawed. Beyond the fact that many of Cobb's actions were reprehensible, Cobb himself knew, on reflection, that they were reprehensible. He knew he had failed his standards, standards of actual right and wrong. The standards of what is right and proper.

It is a good book. It is especially good if you want to know about regular people just wanting to do what they ought to do. You know, people just like you. And me.

1 comment:

MichiganGuy said...
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