Ty Cobb’s Granddaughter Kicked Out Facebook Group, Called A “Woke Nitwit” For Supporting “Most Drunken Farce Ever”: Negro Leagues Stats Inclusion

The backlash from Major League Baseball’s announcement last week that it was combining Negro League stats with MLB stats, which elevated legends such as Josh Gibson above Ty Cobb in several all-time statistical categories, took an interesting turn when the granddaughter of Ty Cobb was booted from the same “let’s be racist forever” club, that her grandfather was allegedly apart of during his illustrious career. 

Cindy Cobb Kicked Out Of Facebook Group Celebrating Her Grandfather’s Legacy

Cindy Cobb was booted from the very Facebook group that she helped nurture in honor of her grandfather when she expressed support for the inclusion of Negro League statistics, even though the changes pushed her grandfather further down in the record books in some all-time categories. 

Cobb, 67, is the granddaughter of Ty Cobb, the baseball legend and lifetime .367 hitter who is replaced in the new record book as MLB’s career batting average champion by Negro Leagues great Josh Gibson, who hit .372 for his 16-year career. 

She has always maintained that despite the complicated time in American history and the way her grandfather is portrayed, “he wasn’t a racist to those who knew him.”

After his death in 1961, at 74, a biographer Al Stump wrote that Cobb was a “racist and a dirty player.” Claims that his granddaughter disputes. She notes that another author, Charles Leerhsen, later debunked those claims.

Cindy Cobb, seen here with the late great Hank Aaron, was booted from the very Facebook group that she helped nurture in honor of her grandfather, Ty Cobb, when she expressed support for the inclusion of Negro League statistics. (Photo: MLB.com)

Gibson is also MLB’s new leader in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and slugging percentage, replacing Babe Ruth. The changes were more than many people in the 2,600-plus member Official Ty Cobb Fan Group could accept and they railed against them in their private Facebook fan group, Cobb said. 

The critics argued that Negro Leagues statistics were unreliable, their stars played fewer games and went up against inferior competition.

Ty Cobb Legacy Group Lashes Out Against New Stats

ESPN described how some in the Cobb Facebook group reacted: “This action is by far the most drunken farce that I have ever witnessed in professional sports,” a person identified as Wesley Fricks, a self-described Ty Cobb historian who controls the fan page (recently renamed Official Ty Cobb Legacy Group), posted on Ty Cobb Athenium, another Cobb fan page, shortly after the MLB announcement.

It doesn’t stop there, though. With the integration, Gibson will also be the single-season leader in batting average for his .466 batting average in 1943. Topping it off, he’s the single-season and career leader in slugging and on-base plus slugging percentage — overtaking Babe Ruth in the two career categories. 

“It’s a great day,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick told Yahoo Sports at the time. 

Most people of all races celebrated the move; however the Ty Cobb Legacy Group was not having it. They refused to embrace the combination of stats and still question the validity of these statistics  that were compiled by the Negro Leagues Statisical Review Commitee, a committee made up of former players, historians and writers tasked with uncovering and validating Negro League statistics. Among the group is former MLB pitcher CC Sabathia, Hall of Fame baseball writer Claire Smith, and Hall of Fame baseball voter Rob Parker. 

Cindy Cobb Fights Back: Says Grandfather Would Embrace Change

Cindy Cobb fought back, arguing in her posts that her grandfather, who was in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural 1936 class, would have embraced the changes. Cobb was known as a notorious racist and sexist, but as the legend goes, he changed some of his views as he got older. Some say he was totally misunderstood altogether.

She added that it was undeniable that ballplayers from the Negro Leagues enjoyed few of the privileges afforded her grandfather. For that, Cobb asserted, she was kicked out of the group on June 1 — three days after the MLB announcement

It’s understandable that some old schoolers who live and die by baseball history as they know it and accept the oppression of Black players as part of history, don’t feel the stats legends such as Ty Cobb accumulated in MLB should be downplayed or diminished by a sudden inclusion of Negro Leagues stats. In the same way that some Black people feel that gesture is disingenuous and only confuses the history of what truly happened to future generations. 

Others feel like the move was forced and was a slap in the face to the white players who truly played in MLB and also played almost three times as many games yearly, according to reports. However, their anger shows a lack of empathy and understanding for the segregation that baseball instituted upon so many talented Black ballplayers. that racism forced Rube Foster and Co. to form the Negro Leagues, which were every bit as formidable as MLB. 

Cindy Cobb neglected to make copies of her posts but did manage a screenshot of one of the sharp responses she received.

“So, some nitwit loser who was willing to support giving away Cobb’s hard-earned titles due to Wokeness, got the boot,” a member wrote. “Good riddance.”

The fan group’s postings are closed to outsiders, so there was no way to know which way the conversation went after she was blocked.

Cobb, who lives in New York state, said she was left wounded by the reaction. “I made a post speaking to the inequities of the past, saying that because my grandfather was a white man playing in the MLB, he had opportunities that Black men did not have,” she said in a phone interview. “Then I was harassed and verbally abused.”

Who Is Josh Gibson?

Gibson, a Baseball Hall of Famer, played from 1930-1946 where he became a 12-time Negro Leagues All-Star and two-time Negro World Series champion thanks to his powerful pop of the bat.  

“This means so much for not only the Josh Gibson family,” Gibson’s grandson, Sean, told USA Today, “but representing the 2,300 men in the Negro Leagues who didn’t get the opportunity to play (in the Major Leagues).” 

Gibson is among the many Negro Leaguers who will see their Negro LeagueS stats enter the books, with Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and living legend Willie Mays being some of the prominent players. 

Most notably, Paige moves to third in ERA in a season with 1.01, a mark he accomplished in 1944 with the Kansas City Monarchs.

Fricks, who Cobb said is administrator of the Facebook page, did not respond to several requests from ESPN for comment.

The inability for some people to progress and accept the past, while paving a more equitable baseball culture for the future is inevitable. Everyone won’t share in the joy of Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige and the like being elevated to their rightful place as not just Negro League greats, but all-time baseball greats.

It was a bit overboard for the Ty Cobb Legacy Facebook to kick Cindy Cobb out of the group because she understood the assignment and wanted her family name to be on the right side of history. 

There are still gatekeepers who don’t see anything wrong with what transpired in the early years of MLB, and similar to Southerners finding personal pride in what a Confederate flag represents and lamenting when certain statues and buildings were taken down during a supposed period of wokeness in this country a few years back, those tasked with preserving the legacy of one of one baseball’s all-time greats don’t like seeing their guy removed from the top of the statistical list. 

Drawing such inflexible lines creates more problems and now alienates the granddaughter of the man the group celebrates.

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