The Braves stadium in Cobb County may be Ty Cobb-less

Like a warring couple headed for a messy divorce, the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority are gearing up for a fight over who gets what when the team bolts to shinier digs in Cobb County.

The giant scoreboard and the bright-yellow foul poles will remain. But Doug Richards at 11Alive uncovered several items on the team's itemized list that will likely be in dispute. They include the statue and a bust of home-run king Hank Aaron, which our own Katie Leslie documented in February.

Richards also notes that there's one statue that's likely to stay. From his story:

According to the documents obtained by 11Alive, The Braves make no claim for the statue of Ty Cobb. Cobb, a fiery Georgia native, who is credited with setting 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. It appears to be the only statue currently at Turner Field the Braves aren't planning on taking with them.

Cobb never played for the Braves. His career was spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers, then the Philadelphia Athletics. But in the decades before the major leagues came to Atlanta, the "Georgia Peach" was this state's most famous connection to professional baseball.

Should the Braves shed him, the city of Atlanta could be posed with an interesting dilemma. Cobb was known for more than his spikes-up slides. From a 2012 Smithsonian magazine piece:

Stories of Cobb’s racial intolerance were well-documented. In 1907 during spring training in Augusta, Georgia, a black groundskeeper named Bungy, whom Cobb had known for years, attempted to shake Cobb’s hand or pat him on the shoulder. The overly familiar greeting infuriated Cobb, who slapped him and chased him from the clubhouse. When Bungy’s wife tried to intervene, Cobb turned around and choked her until teammates pried his hands off her neck. In 1908 in Detroit, a black laborer castigated him after he accidentally stepped into some freshly poured asphalt. Cobb assaulted the laborer on the spot, knocking him to the ground. The ballplayer was found guilty of battery, but a friendly judge suspended his sentence. Cobb paid the laborer $75 to avoid a civil suit....

[I]t should be noted that Cobb’s views on race evolved after he retired from baseball. In 1952, when many whites from the Deep South were still opposed to blacks mixing with whites both in and out of baseball, Cobb was not one of them. “Certainly it is O.K. for them to play,” Cobb told a reporter. “I see no reason in the world why we shouldn’t compete with colored athletes as long as they conduct themselves with politeness and gentility. Let me say also that no white man has the right to be less of a gentleman than a colored man, in my book that goes not only for baseball but in all walks of life.” In his last year of life, Cobb may have shown a cantankerous side, but it seemed reserved for the state of baseball, which he saw as over-reliant on the home run and lacking in players of all-around skill. Willie “Mays is the only man in baseball I’d pay to see play,” he said not long before he died.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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