Sunday, August 22, 2021

OT: Ty Cobb Giving My Dad Hitting Tips...

(click on image to enlarge)

There was a photo on Twitter today of Ty Cobb giving hitting tips to Mickey Mantle -- see below...

Well, my Dad (Jim Small, Detroit Tigers center fielder) had the same experience with Ty Cobb -- just before my Dad headed to Lakeland, FL for Spring Training in 1957.  Here's the newspaper story from the San Francisco Examiner in February of 1957.

The folks at the San Francisco Examiner set up this interview / feature between Ty Cobb and my Dad, after his second season with the Detroit Tigers in 1956.  My Dad is one of the very few players in Major League Baseball history to jump straight from high school to the big leagues -- which he did in June of 1955 after his high school graduation from Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, CA).  He is 19 years-old in this photo with Cobb.

The photo on bottom left shows Ty splitting my Dad's hands apart on the bat -- which is how Cobb held the bat during his Hall of Fame career...

The coolest moment happened at the end of the day at Cobb's home -- when he went into a closet and pulled out a photo of his first day in a Tiger's uniform in 1905 -- and signed it and gave it to my Dad.

Here is Joe Theismann interviewing my Dad about his baseball career:

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