Remembering Ty Cobb’s only walk-off HR

Baseball legend Ty Cobb had a reputation for being a very angry man.

I’d hate to have seen him had his Tigers lost the game they played against the White Sox on June 2, 1925.

Cobb was then the Tigers player- manager, running a team that was presently an unsatisfactory 19-26. A baseball writer from New York, John Foster, wrote a column that ran in some papers that day saying that the Tigers should be better than their record and that their batters should be hitting up near .300. He picked a good time to write that story.

The Tigers got off to a good start in this one. Cobb’s double was part of a four-run first inning for the Tigers. By the sixth inning, the Tigers had a 15-5 lead. Frank O’Rourke had a home run and four RBIs. Fred Haney (a future manager) drove in three. Pitcher Hooks Dauss even chipped in a pair of RBIs.

But 15 runs would not be enough to win on this day. The White Sox scored seven runs in the seventh to cut the lead to 15-12, then tallied three runs in the ninth to tie the game, 15-15.

The Detroit Free Press noted that Cobb must have walked 20 miles in the game, most notably for the (gasp!) four pitching changes he made, a volume of moundsman usage that was not common at the time. The game stretched into a (double-gasp!) third hour.

Cobb took matters into his own hands. The 43rd hit of this game was Cobb’s only career walk-off home run. The Tigers more than hit .300 in that game. Their batters went a combined 22-for-42 (.524).

And though this game didn’t spark a turnaround, the Tigers did eventually get on to winning ways. They finished 81-73, a respectable fourth place in the American League.

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