The 100 Greatest in 100 Days: #13 Ty Cobb

Spiking in at #13 is “The Georgia Peach” Ty Cobb. Cobb is a bygone of the deadball era where hitters stubbornly emphasized contact over power even after Babe Ruth started demonstrating the virtue of power in 1918. Cobb himself railed against the home run reportedly remarking that anyone could hit a home run if they tried. While Cobb and his contemporaries were complicit in putting the dead in deadball, there is no doubt he was the king, ruler, and emporer of pre-1920s baseball. Nobody in baseball history dominated an era like Cobb did. He led the league in OPS+ 12 times, batting average 11 times, and hits eight times. All are the most or tied for the most in history. He led the league in OPS+ nine consecutive seasons which is the most all-time. He led the league in slugging percentage eight times, on base percentage seven times, and stolen bases six times, all are among the top-5 in history. Cobb’s .366 career batting average is #1 all-time, eight points ahead of anyone else. He’s #1 all-time in non-home run extra-base hits. He’s #2 in runs, hits, triples, and offensive WAR. He’s in the top ten in on-base percentage, RBIs, doubles, total bases, and runs created. There are too many one-of-a-kind accomplishments on Cobb’s resume to name them all but some stand out above the rest. He’s the only player in history with 2,200 runs, 1,900 RBIs, and 800 stolen bases. He’s the only player in history with 4,000 hits and fewer than 700 strikeouts. He’s the only player ever with 4,000 hits and 2,000 runs. Cobb had seven seasons with a .370 batting average and at least 50 stolen bases. No other player has more than two. Cobb had 217 more career stolen bases than strikeouts. To put that in perspective, Max Carey is the only other player in history with more stolen bases than strikeouts and his margin is 43. Cobb stole home 54 times. No other player did it more than 33 times. He’s the only player in MLB history to hit over .408 twice, and he’s the only player in history with an on-base percentage of at least .450 in seven consecutive seasons.

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