Fake News Made Baseball Icon Ty Cobb a Dirt Bag — But He Wasn't

Ty Cobb, baseball's first superstar, is remembered for being the worst racist and dirtiest player ever to take the field. But was he? A new PragerU video by Cobb biographer Charles Leerhsen provides compelling evidence to the contrary:

How could a man born in Georgia in 1886 not be a racist? Well, as it turns out, Ty Cobb descended from a long line of abolitionists. His great-grandfather was a minister who preached against slavery and was run out of town for his troubles. His grandfather refused to fight in the Confederate Army because of the slavery issue. And his father, an educator, once broke up a lynch mob.

In researching Cobb's legacy, Leerhshen found that nearly every accusation against the baseball legend found its roots in the same source: Articles and books that were not fact-checked and published after Cobb's death by a bitter, opportunistic journalist named Al Stump, whom Cobb had once threatened to sue for making up stories about him.

RELATED: Calling Good People ‘Racist’ Isn’t New: The Case of Ty Cobb

"I would like to hear who has been besmirched that needs to be restored? Whose credibility has been destroyed that needs to have it restored?" Glenn asked.

Glenn challenged listeners to email patgray@glennbeck.com with the names of historical figures --- from the 20th century or before --- whose legacy has been inaccurately portrayed.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Well, the latest thing is we just found this Ty Cobb Prager U discussion about Ty Cobb not being who you think he is.

STU: Now, because I'm a big baseball fan.

PAT: Yeah, me too.

STU: We're all sports fans.

PAT: And what have you heard about Ty Cobb? Do you know about Ty Cobb at all?

GLENN: No. I just know he's a bad guy. That's all I know.

JEFFY: Right!

PAT: Bad guy. That's all anybody knows about him. Great baseball player. Racist.

STU: Racist. Dirty player.

PAT: Killed a guy. Never paid for it. Spiked people when he slid into second base as often as he could, you know, that kind of thing. Well, listen to this.

VOICE: He was Major League Baseball's first superstar. The first man ever inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, and he still has the game's highest career batting average, 366, almost 90 years after he retired.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: His name is Ty Cobb.

Yet, despite his historic achievements, he is often remembered for being the worst racist and the dirtiest player ever to take the field. If you know baseball, you've heard the stories. Ty Cobb would pistol whip black men he passed on the street. He once stabbed to death a black waiter in Cleveland, just because the young man was acting uppity. On the field, he was set to sharpen the spikes to cut up rival infielders. He supposedly had no friends.

In the movie, Field of Dreams, Shoeless Joe Jackson said that Cobb wasn't invited to the ghost league cornfield reunion (phonetic) because, quote, no one liked the son of a bitch.

A lifelong baseball fan, I believed these stories when I set out to write the first authoritative biography of Cobb in 20 years. I had been hearing them all my life. And like a lot of people, I took the repetition as evidence.

But to my astonishment, as I delved into the source material, newspapers, census reports, and personal letters, I couldn't find any proof that they were true.

On the contrary, Cobb's teammates on the whole seemed to respect him, defending him on the field and off. His opponents said he played the game hard, but clean. Wally Schang, a veteran catcher, was typical, he once said Cobb never cut me up. He was too pretty a slider to hurt anyone who put the ball on him right.

One famous photograph of 1912 shows Cobb flying foot first into the crotch of St. Louis Brown's catcher Paul Krichell. It looks bad. But pictures can be deceiving. In reality, Cobb is kicking the ball out of Krichell's glove. He didn't spike the catcher. Krichell later said, in a way, it was really my fault. I was standing in front of the plate, instead of on the side where I could tag tie as he slid in.

Indeed, in 1910, Cobb actually asked the League to require that players dulled their spikes.

And what about the bigotry? How could a man born in Georgia in 1886 not be a racist? Well, as it turns out, Ty Cobb descended from a long line of abolitionists. His great-grandfather was a minister who preached against slavery and was run out of town for his troubles. His grandfather refused to fight in the Confederate Army because of the slavery issue. And his father, an educator, once broke up a lynch mob.

On the subjects of blacks playing with whites, Cobb said, "The Negro should be accepted whole-heartedly and not grudgingly. The Negro has the right to play professional baseball. And who is to say he has not?"

PAT: It doesn't sound like a racist.

VOICE: Cobb attended many Negro League games, sometimes throwing out the first pitch. And sitting in the dugout with the players, he said Willie Mayes was the only modern day player he'd pay to see.

As for that black waiter he supposedly killed, well, in reality, he was a hotel night watchman. And Cobb didn't kill him. He just scuffled with him. And, oh, yeah, the guy was white.

Now, Ty Cobb was like the rest of us. A highly imperfect being. Too quick to take offense. Too intolerant of those who did not strive for excellence with the same almost crazy zeal that he did.

But a racist? A dirty player? Not true.

What is true is that almost every accusation against Ty Cobb's character finds its roots in the same source, un-fact-checked articles and books published after his death by a bitter opportunistic journalist named Al Stump, whom Cobb had once threatened to sue for making up stories about him.

It didn't matter that Stump had spent little time with Cobb or that all of Stump's sources were anonymous. That sportswriters who knew Cobb rushed to his defense. Or that Stump himself had been banned from publications for writing lies. The scandal was titillating. And it stuck. When the legend beats the facts, print the legend.

Meanwhile, a good man's reputation lies in ruins. There are lessons to be learned here. First, it's all too easy to believe lies about people, especially successful ones. Lies take achievers down a few notches. And we like to hear that. And second, if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted as fact.

This has consequences because lies are the source of much of the world's evil, like the evil of destroying a man's legacy. In this case, a legacy that should be celebrated.

Ty Cobb was the most exciting baseball player of all time. He once stole second, third, and home on three consecutive pitches. He once had a (inaudible) to the pitcher, to an inside-the-park home run. He's not a racist or a cheat. It's time to tell the truth about Ty Cobb.

PAT: That's crazy. Yeah.

GLENN: Jeez.

VOICE: I'm Charles Leerhsen, author of Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.

PAT: I mean, that's everything --

STU: Yeah.

PAT: -- everything you didn't believe about Ty Cobb in five minutes.

JEFFY: Nothing is sacred anymore.

PAT: That's amazing.

STU: It's incredible too. And you think about it in today's context with fake news -- first of all, fake news been going on for a long time apparently.

GLENN: Fake news -- if anybody doesn't think the king wasn't paying the town cryers to go out and cry out with fake news, you're crazy.

PAT: Oh, please.

GLENN: Of course, they were.

STU: It's been going on forever. And this is one, even as a person who has spent way too many hours focusing on sports -- we're all huge sports fans with, of course, the exception of Glenn who doesn't know the difference between baseball and football.

GLENN: I do. Yes, the ball size.

STU: Yes, right. That's it. That's the only difference.

PAT: Very good.

STU: But we spend a lot of time talking about baseball and --

GLENN: And the color. One is brown. One is white.

STU: There you go. Very good.

PAT: You could go with the shade. A little bit different.

JEFFY: Don't give him the answers.

GLENN: Okay. The shape. I said one is smaller. One is bigger.

STU: The point is, I even believed it. Right? I totally thought that was true. Great player, dirtbag. That was my whole -- you just believed that about Ty Cobb.

PAT: Yeah. Well, that's always the name that comes up when you're talking about Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. You're telling me Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame, but not Pete Rose? I mean, look what he did compared to Pete Rose. I've heard that 100 times. One hundred times.

STU: Yeah. And look at, like, we all recognize this is true in the area, for example, for politics. FDR ended the Great Depression. Like, all these things that we know -- over time, you look at, and you're like, wait a minute. That's not right. This isn't right.

But when we get to -- there's a certain level of interest. Like if you hit -- like with sports, I'm interested in Ty Cobb because I think it's -- you know, I like sports. I haven't dedicated my life to looking at Ty Cobb like this author has. And it's like, when you actually look at these things, so many times, they're the opposite.

PAT: Tokyo Rose.

STU: Yeah, Tokyo Rose. You've done with Tokyo Rose.

GLENN: Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson.

STU: Woodrow Wilson.

It struck me -- it hit me initially because it was a sports reference. We had John Ziegler in here a couple weeks ago talking about the Penn State thing. And Joe Paterno being the main part of that. Of like, here's a guy who was fired, his reputation ruined, and really, in retrospect, it's pretty hard to make the case that Paterno in particular -- I mean, Ziegler goes even further than this. But Paterno in particular, it's hard to make the case that this guy had lengthy knowledge of these things and did something horrific because he wanted to endanger children. You know, it's -- it's really -- it's bizarre when you stop and you can get past the sort of craziness of the moment and really examine these things, how your opinion changes.

GLENN: I would love to hear -- in fact, no, I guess -- send it to PatGray@GlennBeck.com. I would like to hear who has been besmirched who needs to be restored?

PAT: That would be really interesting.

STU: Yeah, yeah.

GLENN: Whose credibility has been destroyed that needs to have it restored? And let's take it out of the last 20 years.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: You know, because you can't --

STU: It's hard.

GLENN: It's too controversial the last 20 years.

PAT: Because you know it doesn't end at Ty Cobb and Tokyo Rose. There's got to be hundred of people --

GLENN: Of course not. That Tokyo Rose thing below blew me away. Blew me away.

PAT: Yeah. We had no idea. None.

GLENN: Yeah. You know, another thing I thought of is we should start -- because when Tokyo Rose -- she died in 2006. She died in 2006.

PAT: She was alive for a long time.

GLENN: Yeah, most of my life she was alive. Why didn't I ever talk to Tokyo Rose? Why didn't I ever reach out to Tokyo Rose?

PAT: We didn't know the story then.

GLENN: Right. But even not knowing the story, what happened? Why wouldn't we do that?

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Who was it, somebody that just died -- and then today I saw the picture, the guy who -- you remember that really famous firefighter in the Oklahoma City bombing that was carrying the baby?

STU: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: The little girl. Remember that? He's just retired.

PAT: Oh, wow.

GLENN: It's hard to believe because he was young in that -- he's just retired from the fire department.

PAT: Jeez.

GLENN: We should find people from history -- the Tokyo Rose size, that are here, available, and just nobody is talking to, before they die.

PAT: Yeah, we should.

GLENN: I'd love to talk to some of those people.

PAT: That would be great. By the way, did you know that Ty Cobb hit over 300 three separate years?

STU: See, this is --

GLENN: This is going to happen now for three weeks.

PAT: Easily.

STU: We will be in the middle of a conversation about something totally different. And like, did you know he hit 420 one year? 420. 420.

PAT: The highest batting averages of all the time.

GLENN: And that's all he'll say. That's all he'll say. And we'll all go, huh. And then right back into the conversation.

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


Watch the full special on BlazeTV YouTube here.

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It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below: