15. History is unfairly harsh on baseball legend Ty Cobb
During his playing career, Ty Cobb approached the game of baseball with openly displayed ferocity. His style of play led to numerous altercations with other players, fans, and occasionally sportswriters. He also took care of his money. As a star player in Detroit, Cobb invested in General Motors stock early in the corporation’s history. As a resident of a Georgia farm near Atlanta, Cobb supported a local business by investing early. That business was Coca-Cola, and Cobb, a major shareholder, grew wealthy from that investment alone. Still, he is remembered mainly as an antagonistic, quick-to-anger hothead, hated by his teammates and his opponents. Most of that reputation came from since discredited books by sportswriter Al Stump. Cobb certainly wasn’t beloved by fellow players, but he was widely respected for his approach to the game.
In retirement Cobb put his wealth to good use. He supported former players down on their luck, providing money and using extensive business contacts to help them find jobs. His first wife divorced him in 1947, and he married his second two years later, at the age of 62. He used his money to create the Cobb Memorial Hospital in Royston, Georgia, though he made the donation in his parents’ name. He gave another $100,000 to create the Cobb Educational Fund in Georgia. Today known as the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation, it has, as of April 2021, provided scholarships to needy students in excess of $19 million. At Cobb’s death in 1961 his estate was worth nearly $12 million (about $109 million today). A quarter of his wealth went to the Educational Fund, the rest divided up between children and grandchildren.