Monday, January 21, 2013

Ty Cobb Salad and the Passing of Greatness

Lisa and I often go to Eveready Diner, a nice place offering plenty of tasty options.  Indeed, it is a classic diner, that has been featured on TV, and has a few locations, including Brewster and Hyde Park.

The other night, in need of some "comfort food", the two of us visited the one just up the road from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's home on US 9.  I had already made up my mind (my two normals are the Cheesy Hash and the French Dip) and, tonight, I said "Oui."  For some reason, I had a suspicion of what Lisa would order.  I spied it, and awaited her response.

The (Ty) Cobb salad.

She said she had never had one, so it was a little spooky that I was sure she would choose that.  Nonetheless, I was further ready when she responded, "Cobb salad."

"The Ty Cobb Salad", I responded.


"Named after a baseball player."


Well, not really.  The Eveready version put "Ty" in front of it, perhaps for charm or trademark, or whatever.  The true Cobb salad was created at the Hollywood Brown Derby and was named in honor of owner Robert Howard Cobb.  At least, that's one version.

Anyway, with Lisa choosing the Ty Cobb, I went into full geek mode.  Tyrus Raymond Cobb.  The Georgia Peach.  Second most career hits.  Originally thought to have 4190 career hits, but was later corrected to 4191 (after Pete Rose had broken the record).  Some think he's in the top two players ever.  He and Ruth.  Others put Mays in.

Of course, I choose George Herman (Yes, Lisa knows that is Babe Ruth) every time.

Cobb was a complex man.  Thought of as nasty.  That is without argument, given his theatrics on the field of fighting with fans and umpires.  Perhaps he was nasty off the field, as he was considered racist.  He had a lot of character flaws, but there is no debating his talent.

He had no regard for home runs, and ascribed to the "dead ball" era of play, where doubles and triples were the way to go.  Stolen bases, running hard - spikes high.  He would do anything to play.

Yes, that was Ty Cobb.  As a player, as great as they came.  As a business man, he was extremely astute, smart enough to invest in Coca Cola before anybody knew what it was.  Also invested in General Motors.  As a man, he was flawed, but was also known for paying the medical bills of old teammates.

Before we leave this, allow me to pay my respects to both Earl Weaver, who dazzled as a manager and routinely beat the Yankees, and Stan Musial, also in that conversation for greatest players ever.  I can't quite get Musial into the top five, with Ruth, Cobb, Mays, Aaron and Gehrig already there (plus I can't forget pitchers like Johnson and Mathewson) but I do think he's right there.  As people go, nobody was better than Stan "The Man."

Back to Weaver, he too is among the best ever.  I don't know if he tops John McGraw or Casey Stengel or Joe McCarthy but he's right there along with Bobby Cox.

I'm saddened by their passing.  True greatness has been lost.

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