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Extended Audio Sample Cobb: A Biography Audiobook, by Al Stump Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.99582753824757 out of 53.99582753824757 out of 53.99582753824757 out of 53.99582753824757 out of 53.99582753824757 out of 5 4.00 (719 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Al Stump Narrator: Ian Esmo Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781455173280
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As a boy in the 1890s, he went looking for thrills in a rural Georgia that still burned with the humiliation of the Civil War. As an old man in the 1960s, he dared death, picked fights, refused to take his medicine, and drove off all his friends and admirers. He went to his deathbed alone, clutching a loaded pistol and a bag containing millions of dollars’ worth of cash and securities. During the years in between, he was, according to Al Stump, “the most shrewd, inventive, lurid, detested, mysterious, and superb of all baseball players.” He was Ty Cobb.

Al Stump has redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at Ty Cobb, a man who walked the line between greatness and psychosis. Based on Stump's interviews with Cobb while ghostwriting the Hall of Famer's 1961 autobiography, this account of Cobb's life and times reveals both the darkness and the brilliance of the “Georgia Peach”.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Cobb is a big, raw, rough-cut diamond of a book and the most powerful baseball biography I have read. More than a baseball story, it is an account of life and death. Strong as the baseball scenes are, it is Cobb in his last days—defiant, angry, drunken, prayerful, brave, and desperate to be remembered—that is so haunting and so memorable and so terrifying.”

    Roger Kahn, New York Times bestselling author of The Boys of Summer

  • “The most revealing account we are ever likely to get of a man who is on every sports historian’s short list of baseball’s greatest players.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Stump has resurrected Cobb in all his terrifying malevolence…Spellbinding.”

    Washington Post

  • “The most gripping, appalling biography of an athlete I have ever read.”

    Washington Times, editorial review

  • “Cobb was monomaniacal, and he paid the personal price. But we might say of him, ‘This was a ballplayer!’”

    New York Review of Books

  • Cobb: A Biography will stun readers with its brutal candor.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Ranks as one of the best baseball biographies of recent years.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The definitive biography of this mercurial man. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “An extraordinary achievement in sport biography.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Notable Book in 1994

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Virgil Holmes | 3/24/2017

    " The book is fiction. Stump needed money and fabricated salacious stories about a true gentleman and a great baseball player after his death. Ty Cobb was not a rapist, racist or a drunk. Stump on the other hand was well known as a down on his luck hack and never could keep a dime. If despicable character assassination is your cup of tea, then get this audio book otherwise read Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by N. Lehreesen which is unequivocally better in every respect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy | 2/20/2014

    " Lot of baseball stats so that might bore some people. Cobb was not a nice man and didn't care what others thought. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd Miles | 2/2/2014

    " One of the best biographies that I have ever read, and certainly the best sports biography. I was hooked from the first chapter where Stump recalls ghostwriting Cobb's "autobiography," spending the last fews years of Cobb's life with the man. Contempory counselors and psychologists would have a field day attempting to diagnose all of Cobb's neuroses. My vote for the greatest baseball player of all time, he was clearly the most despised by all who were near him. His baseball exploits were simply stunning. But his behavior, remarkably consistent both on the field and off, was jaw-dropping. The closer you were to Cobb, the greater the odds that you would hate him. His best chance of having adoring fans was to never meet them face-to-face. Baseball is so much the richer for Cobb's on-field and strategic contributions. If only he was respected as a person. This was a tragic story of a fantastic player, intellectually and physically brilliant, who had it all and could not keep out of his own way, systematically alienating those who wanted to care for him. There is a morality tale in this for all of us. In the end, Cobb needed Someone to save him from himself. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric | 2/1/2014

    " Didn't really read the entire thing...my dog got ahold of it and tore a chunk of pages out before I was done. The book wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Cobb was a really interesting guy-I mean really interesting-but the book was written in a style that doesn't interest me. Too much fact and event listing and not enough storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Hartwell | 1/28/2014

    " What a great book! Highly recommended for fans of history and baseball alike. A first rate biographical portrait. Fascinating reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 1/23/2014

    " This is by far one of the best biographies I have read in my life. The subject matter helps, since he is one of my heroes, but the author does an excellent job of portraying his life, both in baseball and out. I was a little hesitant to read the book since the movie that was based off of the book seemed to focus more on sensationalizing certain events. There were very few similarities though, and the book provided excellent insight into Cobb's life from both his friends, enemies, contemporaries, and others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 1/21/2014

    " A detailed, unapologetic life story of one of the best athletes and worst people in the history of sports. He had an astounding portfolio of records, most of which stood for 50 years, and some of which still stand today, 90 years later. He was also a violent, misogynistic, extremely racist psychopath with destructive and self-destructive tendencies. Cobb was perhaps the first "anti-role-model" athlete, and even just for that, his legacy is worth remembering. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerry | 1/12/2014

    " Ty Cobb - what is to be said? Quite an American who was by far a better baseball player than he was husband and father. He was thought to have "brain fever" a condition to which could only explain his mad fits of behavior both on and off the field of play. His existence, his actions, his feelings, his life is a clear example of "Ying and Yang" - what is bad is not all bad and what is or seems good is not all good. With less than 5 months left to live he tore up his Last Will and Testament and left 75% of this to his three surviving children and all of his grandchildren to split. His other 25% was left to what he started as the Ty Cobb Education Fund. The fund is designed to asssist children of Georgia the chance to go to college - there are strict requirements in this area; however to date the fund has provided more than $13M+ to young people in the pursuit of their educational needs. While his antics on the field were questionable at times one thing can't be taken from him and this would be his lasting impact on the game. His shrewd ability to work his own contracts over the years and testimony to the U.S. Senate on the need for free agency was the genesis for what would occur in MLB in the mid 1970s beginning with Catfish Hunter becoming the first benefactor of changes that were called for back in the early to mid 1920s. Al Stump did a great job with this book, beginning of course by being the ghost writer to the autobiography that was released just after Cobb's death in 1961. There are parts within this book to which you will laugh and yet there are other parts that you will likely raise an eyebrow toward, and even still there are parts that you will find sad. I couldn't put this book down and when I finished the last few pages during the course of a somewhat very busy weekend having awoken during the night from sleeplessness I found myself saying goodbye to a person that could have been a friend to me in a different time of America. I sort of felt I was losing a friend as I closed the cover. As a guy who loves NHL Hockey - this MLB book and history is a part of the sports mistress I hold close to my heart. This is the sort of history I look for and desire - Cobb is to baseball what Patton was to Army. He becomes a side note of importance that cannot be denied but represents the sort of history that many like to ignore and pretend didn't exist. Somehow people just think on occassion that the current existence of sports contracts and military rules and regulations just sort of "arrive" and are in place by an omniscient group of owners, league, commissioner, or group of high ranking military officials that just seem to "know" the answers for the future need - in the end these decision makers too are merely just people. Ty Cobb's lasting legacy is the education fund - there are many other great names and/or "better" players who have long since retired that cannot say even this. A great book, a great American, a person who had his flaws but made peace in the end and realized his mistakes of his own character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 1/4/2014

    " Ty Cobb was a real rascal. The movie several years back is based on this book. There is a better biography written by Charles Alexander. But this is much more entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh Kennedy | 12/21/2013

    " Cobb was an interesting character for sure, but Stump is definitely not the best man for the job of writing this book. The book is, for the most part, poorly written, and somehow manages to make an interesting character like Cobb relatively boring throughout most of its 420 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dpare71 | 11/24/2013

    " I knew Ty Cobb was a jerk, but this book made me realize how big of an ass he really was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobsie67 | 11/9/2013

    " Basically, Ty Cobb was a mean SOB, and this page-turner takes much delight and telling you how mean Cobb was. Also tells you how great a competitor Cobb was too, but this point seems rather secondary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hillary | 10/31/2013

    " Stump does a good job of depicting the man Cobb wanted everyone to know, and who the real man was. Ty Cobb was the greatest baseball player ever to live, unfortunately his personality was not as admired. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 P.e.lolo | 10/9/2013

    " Not a nice person, b ut a great baseball player. It took awhile to read not like other baseball books I have read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesse | 9/1/2012

    " Great look at a very enigmatic and energetic ballplayer and human being "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 6/19/2012

    " If there were six stars, I would give it six stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 2/8/2012

    " Provides a great portrait of Cobb not only on the field but off it as well. Unfortunately, there wasn't much difference. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam (mbs) | 1/24/2012

    " will review once I'm finished "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cornelius | 10/27/2010

    " I learned that Babe Ruth once ate an entire straw hat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John P | 8/10/2010

    " If you like baseball, and probably even if you don't, you will, like me, find this a fascinating portrait of a driven, strong, willful man. He wanted to win, badly, and would stop at almost nothing to do it. He was hated and respected by other ball players, both for good reason. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Troy | 6/24/2007

    " Great biography of a gifted but miserable human being. I'm not a big baseball fan but I still couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Galbraith | 2/8/2006

    " This is good book. I reccomend it to baseball fans. Reader must be tolerant and patient, because the book gets better as it goes on "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 12/5/2004

    " A great baseball history book - from a time when baseball players weren't celebrities, and baseball was more than entertainment. Ty Cobb certainly lived a unique and dangerous life. The movie that was made from this book is horrible, but the book is amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 12/26/2003

    " A no holds barred biography of a true misanthrope. Ty Cobb was a great baseball player and a miserable failure as a human being. Violent, profane, hateful, racist, miserly....this book tells the tale of a gifted, driven athlete competing with the world and his own demons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 8/18/2003

    " source is questionable, but i have a weakness for sports biographies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tony Ruble | 7/6/2002

    " Fascinating biography of one of the most maligned figures in the history of the game. This guy was a jerk- but he was a passionate jerk. You can't teach passion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeramie | 9/16/2001

    " One of my favorite books as a kid. "

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About the Author

Al Stump (1916–1995) was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During World War II, he was a war correspondent, and afterward he worked as a sportswriter for national and regional publications, including Esquire, the Saturday Evening Post, True Magazine, American Heritage, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. He wrote—both independently and in collaboration with famous athletes—six books, including Ty Cobb’s My Life in Baseball, Sam Snead’s Education of a Golfer, Champions against Odds, and The Champion Breed. His article, “Ty Cobb’s Wild 10-Month Fight to Live,” written for True Magazine, won the Best American Sport Story award of 1962. It was the basis for the 1994 motion picture Cobb, directed by Ron Shelton.

About the Narrator

Ian Esmo is an audiobook narrator who specializes in athlete and sports biographies.