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Heart of a Tiger: Growing Up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb Hardcover – April 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ty Cobb was one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game. A member of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame, he was a fierce competitor who was intensely disliked by many of his opponents; a virulent racist; and a brawler who took on opponents, teammates, and even hecklers. But for young Herschel Cobb, the ferocious Ty was a loving, wise, and protective grandfather. Herschel’s father, Ty Jr., and his mother were irresponsible, bad-tempered drunks. Herschel describes growing up in this wildly dysfunctional family but focuses on the summers he and his siblings spent with “Granddaddy,” either at Cobb’s home in California or at Lake Tahoe. They were summers filled with love, a few adventures, and peace. The three grandchildren, we learn, experienced a much different Cobb than did the rest of the world. For those who’ve read Charles C. Alexander’s meticulously researched Ty Cobb (2006) and Cobb’s autobiography, written with Al Stump in the early sixties, this memoir provides one more view of a fascinating, severely flawed sports icon. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

"For those who've read Charles C. Alexander's meticulously researched 'Ty Cobb' (2006) and Cobb's autobiography, written with Al Stump in the early sixties, this memoir provides one more view of a fascinating, severely flawed sports icon." — BooklistOnline.com

"Elegantly written and genuinely moving, this heartwarming account is sure to resonate with readers." — Publishers Weekly

"Not your grandfather’s Ty Cobb? Perhaps not. But Ty Cobb was Herschel Cobb’s grandfather. And the story Herschel Cobb tells reveals a far gentler side to his grandfather, one buried deep beneath the persona Ty Cobb created during his playing days. Heart of a Tiger: Growing up with My Grandfather, Ty Cob is a warm, sentimental memoir. Herschel Cobb is not trying to write a revisionist history of his grandfather; he is merely retelling the memories he had of 'Granddaddy,' never realizing until he was a teenager that Ty Cobb was a famous — and sometimes polarizing — baseball player." — Bob D'Angelo, Tampa Tribune

"I could rave about this book for hours and I feel I would still never do it justice. It's a book that hooks the reader from the very beginning and in spite of the sometimes difficult content, keeps you hanging on until the very end." — Charlene Martel, The Literary Word

“A personal memoir can enrich the statistical account, as does this one about the great Ty Cobb. Readers should find justice has been done to the Georgia Peach.” — Ron Kirbyson, the Winnipeg Free Press

"Actions sometimes speak louder than words. But Herschel Cobb’s words speak volumes on why The Georgia Peach just might have always been a peach of a man that no one could find out, unless you were kinfolk and not a prying member of the media like Al Stump trying to fulfill an assignment." — Tom Hoffarth, Farther Off the Wall
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770411305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770411302
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By George Vrechek on March 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a youngster in the 1950s Herschel Cobb, Jr., spent several enjoyable summers living with his grandparents, Ty Cobb and his ex-wife "Charlie" Cobb. Attorney and first-time author Herschel Cobb, Jr., provides considerable personal information on Ty Cobb (1886-1961) and his family in remembering events from 55+ years ago in his book, Heart of a Tiger. The author writes using dialogue recreated from his experiences as a child. For the many fans interested in Cobb, this book is required reading.

Herschel Cobb's father was Ty Cobb's second son, Herschel Cobb, Sr. Incredibly, the reader is relieved upon learning of the sudden death of Herschel Cobb, Sr., a relentless, hot-tempered bully who physically and emotionally torments his family. The author's alcoholic mother, Marge Cobb, was nearly equal to her husband in terms of child abuse and neglect. The difficult first one-third of the memoir grimly recounts the horrors of somehow surviving this "chaotic, destructive household."

Ty Cobb protected his grandson from some of the chaos by inviting him, his older sister Susan, and his younger brother Kit, to stay with him for a few weeks at Lake Tahoe during their summer vacations. However, it is clear that Ty Cobb was recovering from his own alcohol and anger management problems that caused him to be estranged from his wife and children. By today's standards, you would have expected him to have done more for his neglected grandchildren, especially when they were returned to their abusive mother at the end of each summer. Perhaps Ty Cobb was recoiling from the chain-reaction caused by how he treated his own children. The author doesn't speculate, nor does he deny there were problems. He is guarded in not disclosing much beyond what he experienced as a child.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tim on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Even 50 years after his death, Ty Cobb remains a polarizing figure.

Immortalized as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, as well as tainted by an image of him in Al Stump's infamous biography, Cobb has emerged over time as someone who has been painted in many different lights.

Herschel Cobb Jr. gives us a look at Ty Cobb, his grandfather, in his later years, through snapshots of the time he spent with the legend growing up.

This memoir rings honest, but at times not the most interesting piece to read. It's the reason I only rated it at three stars, though a new look at the topic, it won't appeal to many besides the hardcore baseball fan.

There is timelessness to the story presented. The picture painted by Cobb of his time with his grandfather is going to remind a lot of readers of the time they spent with theirs. Passages of being at a family cottage, static from a nearby storm cracking on the radio as a baseball game played, rang as true to me in my childhood in the 80's. Being out on the lake, riding in the boat, fishing, and the ice cream, this book was relatable.

The darkest side of the tale, adding an unwritten edge to the story of Ty Cobb, is the way Herschel was treated as a child by what is shown to be an extremely abusive father, and addicted, disinterested mother. His home life was terrible, and conversations with family members throughout the memoir hint that his father's behavior is based a lot on how Ty was to his children, well before the author was born.

Herschel, his older sister, and younger brother found themselves often spending summers with their grandfather, as he seemingly tried to make up for past mistakes a generation too late.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Grandson Herschel Cobb has written a viewpoint of baseball great Ty Cobb much different from what we have been previously presented with. The first few chapters relate Herschel's fractured relationship with his parents. Herschel's father physically and mentally abused his three children in ways that lead us to wonder how they ever turned out as well as they did. The children's alcoholic mother showed absolutely no concern or care for the children.

Herschel felt conflicted by feelings of sadness, guilt, and relief when his father passed away while in his thirties. He found solace in the time he spent with his "granddaddy," Ty Cobb, who took him, his sister, and younger brother on outings in the Lake Tahoe area of Nevada. I did find it hard to believe that Herschel didn't find about Ty Cobb the ballplayer until he had finished the 8th grade.

There is an interesting chapter on the author meeting Al Stump who wrote "My Life in Baseball: The True Record" published shortly after Cobb passed away in July of 1961. This was a very controversial book that pretty much portrayed Cobb in an unfavorable light. Herschel Cobb relates his experience of Stump pumping him for negative information he could put into the book on Cobb.

Most of the book is about the author's relationship with his famous grandfather which provided him with pleasant memories to cherish. Cobb does relate that he never intentionally spiked anyone while playing baseball.

I did find one minor mistake in the book on page 209 where Detroit Tigers' owner Frank Navin is referred to as "Nevin." I do wish there had been some photos included in the book. They would have, indeed, been a nice addition. The book is light reading and gives the reader a different perspective on the baseball immortal.
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