Our “Legacy of a Jerk” podcast covered the notorious legacy of baseball great Ty Cobb, whom history has recorded as an ungracious and vicious human being. But the writer Charlie Leerhsen, who is working on a new biography of Cobb, says this reputation is undeserved — and, moreover, is largely the product of one man’s assessment, that man being an earlier Cobb biographer named Al Stump.
We recently heard from Stump’s son John, and his note is well worth a read:
It was with interest that I read the exchange on Ty Cobb. I’ll disclose that I’m Al Stump’s son and that Charlie Leerhsen and I have communicated earlier in this year, once by phone call and a number of emails. One thought is that while I do agree about human projection on things that are negative, by Vohs’s point of view it also seems that we can never objectively say anything negative about Cobb, for ex. w/o it being this shadow projection. How can we get to the objective truth then?