Ty Cobb In Chicago At Southside Park – 1907 And 1908

The “Georgia Peach” Ty Cobb, Plays In The Windy City

Ty Cobb 1907 Southside Park Chicago Daily News

I wonder if baseball fans recognize greatness early on in a player’s career? Ty Cobb started his major league career with the Detroit Tigers in 1905 and had his first breakout season in 1907 at the age of 20 when he led the American League in hits, stolen bases, RBI’s and a .350 batting average.  The photograph above is from 1907, taken at Southside Park in Chicago, home to the White Sox from 1900-1910. So did the fans in Chicago realize they were watching a player who would electrify baseball for the next twenty years?

One thing you notice by looking at Ty Cobb is that he had a unique batting stance. His legs and feet would many times be planted way ahead of home plate and his hands spread apart on the bat. It enabled him to spray balls all over the field and get to the pitch before it could do what the pitcher wanted it to. He hit .366, the highest career batting average ever by a major leaguer.

Ty Cobb 1908 Southside Park Chicago Daily News

Here Cobb plays against the White Sox in 1908 at Southside Park in front of a packed house.  Once again notice how far ahead Cobb is standing in front of the plate. One criticism of Cobb besides his nasty disposition, was that he didn’t hit a lot of home runs like Babe Ruth. Cobb bristled at that comparison, saying anyone could hit home runs, it took talent to be a spray hitter like he was.

On May 5, 1925 visiting St. Louis against the Browns, Cobb told a reporter in the dugout that “today for the first time my career I’m going to go for home runs.” The comment is apocryphal, but that day Cobb went six for six.  Home runs? He hit three.

3 thoughts on “Ty Cobb In Chicago At Southside Park – 1907 And 1908

  1. Jim Swenson

    Another notable difference is uniforms. The earlier one does look more lke a minor league uniform. An overwhelming number of major league uniforms back then were white or pin-striped. Search Tigers’ 1907 or 1900s baseball uniforms and nothing like the top one comes up. Maybe the Daily News gained ownership of the photo or something. Longtime Cobb fan now reading Charles Leerhsen’s great book on the Georgia Peach.

  2. Don Rhodes

    I’m 99 percent sure the top photo was taken in Augusta in 1905 when he started playing pro ball with Detroit. They did spring trianing in Augusta for several years. You can tell because the stadiums are different. The top one shows the left stands separated from the main one and the bottom one shows both stands joined. The top one shows a wire fence and no spectators in front of it and the bottom one shows no fence in front of the main grandstand with people in front of it.

    Don Rhodes, author, Ty Cobb: Safe At Home

    1. B.P. Post author

      Hi Don
      Thanks for pointing that out. The original negative for the Chicago Daily News says that it was taken in 1907 at Southside Park. see the Chicago History Museum’s collection of Chicago Daily News photos at http://chsmedia.org/media/dn/s5/0519/SDN-051967.jpg.

      I agree with you. Upon closer examination the ballparks certainly do not look the same. Is it definitely Augusta? I searched for a contemporary image of that ballpark but could not find one.


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