Ty Cobb, Hamtramck team enter ‘Hall’
By Larry Hook
Detroit Tiger legend Ty Cobb and the 1959 Hamtramck Little League baseball team were inducted into the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 15.
The ceremony was held at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, home of both the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame and the Lansing Lugnuts.
Plaques honoring the new inductees were unveiled beyond the outfield area of the stadium in left-centerfield. Fred Heumann, sports anchor for WLNS channel 6 of Lansing, served as emcee for the ceremony.
The Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame is in its third year of existence. The new inductees join the 12 other members inducted since 2015: Jim Abbott, Bill Freehan, Charlie Gehringer, Ernie Harwell, Al Kaline, Hal Newhouser, Alan Trammell, John Smoltz, Pat O’Keefe, Larry Tuttle, Kirk Gibson and the 2003-2006 Homer High School varsity baseball team.
Biographies, accomplishments and photos of the inductees can be found on the Michigan Hall of Fame website at www.michiganbaseballhall.org.
Ty Cobb, a speedy outfielder known for his competitive fire, played 24 seasons in the Major Leagues, from 1905 to 1928. His first 22 seasons were with the Detroit Tigers, and he was the team’s player-manager from 1921 to 1926.
Cobb amassed 4,189 hits during his career, second only to Pete Rose’s 4,256. Cobb also stole 896 career bases, which ranks fourth all-time.
Cobb won a record 12 batting titles, including nine straight from 1907 to 1915. His .366 batting average is still the best in Major League history.
Peggy Cobb-Schug of Charlotte, N.C., the granddaughter of Cobb and the daughter of Ty Cobb Jr., attended the ceremony and accepted the Hall-of-Fame award on behalf of her grandfather.
“His records are amazing; they speak for themselves,” Cobb-Schug said. “I mean, 12, batting titles? Wow!”
Cobb-Schug said her grandfather was probably most proud of being the first member inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1936.
Members of that charter class also included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, but Cobb received the most votes of any of those players.
Now 68, Cobb-Schug was 13 years old when her grandfather died in 1961 at age 74. She said she did not see him often, but when she did he was calm, kind and grandfatherly.
“He was just great,” she said. “Grandfather was so education minded. He would always send us books at Christmas.”
Cobb-Schug said many books and movies have painted her grandfather as somewhat of a villain. She encouraged people to read a book called “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty,” by Charles Leerhsen, to get a true sense of what the Tigers legend was really like.
The Hamtramck Little League baseball team of 1959 is the only team from Michigan to ever win the Little League World Series. The team posted nine shutouts in 10 games in the World Series in 1959 to steamroll to the championship.
Pitcher Art “Pinky” Deras was the star of that team. He threw 10 no-hitters that season and also batted .641 with 33 home runs.
Gary Gillette of Lansing, a baseball historian and former editor of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, accepted the award on behalf of the Hamtramck team.
“Art Deras is pretty much acknowledged as the best Little Leaguer of all-time,” Gillette said.