Synopsis: Al Stump is a famous sports-writer chosen by Ty Cobb to co-write his official, authorized 'autobiography' before his death. Cobb, widely feared and despised, feels misunderstood and wants to set the record straight about 'the greatest ball-player ever,' in his words. However, when Stump spends time with Cobb, interviewing him and beginning to write, he realizes that the general public opinion is largely correct. In Stump's presence, Cobb is angry, violent, racist, misogynistic, and incorrigibly abusive to everyone around him. Torn between printing the truth by plumbing the depths of Cobb's dark soul and grim childhood, and succumbing to Cobb's pressure for a whitewash of his character and a simple baseball tale of his greatness, Stump writes two different books. One book is for Cobb, the other for the public.
Director(s): Ron Shelton
Production: Warner Home Video
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
128 min

This 1916 portrait shows us

Ty Cobb in his Detroit Tigers uniform...

"the Georgia Peach. "

Note the smug expression

and the haunting set of eyes.

These disturbing eyes can be

seen in the earliest photo

ever taken of young Ty.

Here, we see the famous swing

of the great Ty Cobb.

Turn the clock back

to the beginning of the century...

when America first embraced baseball...

and the exchanging of the ground rules

became a pre-game ritual...

that survives to this day.

At that time, professional baseball

was a casual game...

with a circus atmosphere.

Baseball players were often clowns...

and pre-game antics

took on the flavor of vaudeville.

But young Ty Cobb

would have none of that.

He turned the game into war...

and in the process,

invented the modern game as we know it.

Here, we see him running

over a first sacker on a drag bunt:

a play he perfected.

The aggressive, attacking game

was virtually Cobb's invention.

Infielders and catchers often bled

from his spikes.

Cobb would fight any man on or off

the field at the drop of a hat.

Batting champion 12 times...

he averaged over .300

for 23 consecutive years...

and averaged over .400

for a five-year stretch.

His lifetime batting average of .367...

has never been seriously approached.

The first celebrity athlete

in American history...

movie stars and presidents

all sought his company.

Here Cobb poses with his great archrival...

the legendary Babe Ruth.

Here we see Cobb

with one of his five children:

his little daughter Shirley.

Here, he poses with some kids

from the neighborhood.

And, here, he shows his son

his curious hands-apart grip.

Though he was unable to teach

his flaming, competitive heart.

Charged with fixing games in 1926...

Cobb was roundly supported

by the children of America...

who came to the great batsman's defense.

The supposed scandal proved to be

much ado about nothing...

when baseball commissioner Judge Landis

fully acquitted the Georgia Peach...

of all wrongdoing.

...that is the very backbone

of America itself.

Near the end of his career...

Cobb joined the Philadelphia Athletics,

and at the age of 41...

he batted .323 and retired shortly

thereafter, telling the world:

"If a man can't hit better than that,

he ought to quit. "

Ty Cobb dominated the game

as no man ever had.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen...

what a ballplayer!

Hey, Stump.



Get over here. We've got to settle this.

Stump! Come on!

Congrats, Al.

Four pieces in national magazines

this month.


You're the man, Stumpy.

Stumpy, 3:
45, you're late.

Where have you been?

Stumpy, best fighter, pound for pound?

Joe Louis, a champ for 11 years.

Walker Smith, Jr.

better known to you dilettantes...

as Sugar Ray Robinson.

For Christ's sake, retired undefeated...

Henry Armstrong held three titles

at the same time.

No other fighter...

We call ourselves writers,

and all we do is watch ball games...

argue about everything,

and just get drunk a lot.

- You call that writing?

- Yeah!

Besides, Alan here

is writing a serious novel, aren't you?

Well, I haven't started yet,

but I'm going to.

- I've been very busy-

- By the end of the century...

You're pathetic!

The only reason you write is for a paycheck.

Besides, greatest fighter,

Harry Greb, 294 fights, no contest.

The guy killed everybody.

My ass! He couldn't beat Harry Belafonte.

Belafonte, best singer, male.

- Elvis.

- Perry Como.

Three words! Francis Albert Sinatra.

What about Nat "King" Cole?

Best king. I've got Henry VIII...

who started a new religion

and had six wives-

King James had a Bible named after him.

Stump! The phone!

- King, Bible-

- King David.

King David, best Jew.

Best king? King Kong!

Best monkey.

Who? Who?

Yes, sir, I certainly would.

Yes, sir, I can.

Yes, sir. Fine, thank you.

Cobb wants to see me.

- Cobb who?

- Ty Cobb. How many Cobbs do you know?

Cobb? But Cobb is dead.

Not yet, he ain't.

And he wants to tell me the real story

of his life before he croaks.

That was Ty Cobb on the phone right there?

I heard he killed a man.

Stumpy, he's crazy, he's meshuga.

Stumpy, listen to me.

You've got to be careful with Cobb.

Come on, the guy's over 70.

Is he going to wheeze on me?

I think I can handle him.

Besides, he wants to see me.

Cobb wants to see me!

Greatest ballplayer of all time.

- Ty Cobb!

- Ty Cobb!

- Ty Cobb.

- I like Ruth.

- Ruth?

- Babe Ruth.

Ever heard of him?

Cobb owned property all over the country.

Of late, he had been

staying in his hunting lodge...

at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada.

Stories of Cobb sharpening his spikes

before a game were as familiar as...

George Washington and his cherry tree...

or Teddy Roosevelt

charging up San Juan Hill.

I also knew his reputation

for being difficult

at best, psychotic at worst.

By his own admission,

he set out to hurt his opponents.

In one season alone,

he sent 12 men to the hospital.

Bullshit! Go ahead and quit then, Willie!

Go ahead and quit!

Get the hell out of here!

Now, Mr. Cobb, you racist! F*** you!

You ain't no greatest baseball player!

My ass plays better baseball than you!

I'm out of here! You ain't got to tell me.

Now, f*** you, Mr. Cobb!

I have too much dignity to spend

another moment with you.

I hope you die before the sun comes up,

and may you rot in hell!

Excuse me. Who are you?

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Ron Shelton

Ron Shelton (September 15, 1945 in Whittier, California) is an American Oscar-nominated film director and screenwriter. Shelton is known for the many films he has made about sports. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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