Did Cobb really win the AL Batting Title in 1910?
The Debate Still Goes on
The American League chase for the batting champion makes quite a story. `On the final day of the season Ty Cobb was leading the league with a .383 average, 7 points ahead of Nap Lajoie’s .376. Both teams were finishing the season with a doubleheader Since the pennant had already been clinched by the A’s, Cobb decided he would sit out the games and protect his lead. The Naps were playing the lowly Browns. Having slashed a double on his first at bat Lajoie had a glimmer of hope. When he came to the plate for his second at bat he noticed the Brown’s third baseman was playing off the line and on the edge of the outfield grass. Nap laid down a bunt and easily beat the throw to first for his second hit. This strange platoon occurred the next 6 times he came to bat and Nap beat out six more bunts, ending up going 7 for 8 just enough to beat out Cobb .3849 to .3841. It was obvious that it was premeditated by the Brown’s manager Jack O’Connor who hated Ty Cobb. The players went along with the scheme as they did not care for Cobb either. American League President Ban Johnson ruled it a fraud and declared Cobb the batting champ. One of the bunts was changed to an error making the final averages to .3841 Cobb to .3833 Lajoie. Both O’Conner and his assistant manager were banned from baseball. Seventy one years later, 1981, a reporter for Sporting News discovered that a 2 for 4 hit game early in the season by Cobb was counted twice, thereby lowering his BA to .382 compared to Nap’s .383 but it was too late as Cobb had been officially ruled the batting championship in 1910 which kept his batting title streak intact.