Ty Cobb Quotes

Unleash the competitive spirit of baseball's greatest hitter with these timeless words
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

“Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It’s no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out.” If these words sound familiar, you must be a baseball fan! These wise words come from one of the most iconic players of all time, Ty Cobb. On the diamond and off, “The Georgia Peach” was unforgettable, and his legacy continues to inspire today’s modern game.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some thought-provoking quotes attributed to Ty Cobb that reveal why he remains such an important figure in the world of baseball. Whether you have watched him play throughout your life or are just discovering his greatness now, there is much to learn from Ty Cobb’s timeless wisdom!

Best Quotes

“Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It’s no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It’s a struggle for supremacy⁠—a survival of the fittest.”

“Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher.”

“Speed is a great asset; but it’s greater when it’s combined with quickness – and there’s a big difference.”

“I never could stand losing. Second place didn’t interest me. I had a fire in my belly.”

“I had to fight all my life to survive. They were all against me, but I beat the bastards and left them in the ditch.”

“A ball bat is a wondrous weapon.”

“Just speed, raw speed, blinding speed, too much speed.”

“I may have been fierce, but never low or underhand.”

“The most important part of a player’s body is above his shoulders.”

“The crowd makes the ballgame.”

“Don’t come home a failure.”

“Out of my way, ice wagon. I’m coming home.”

“Watch out you big baboon. I’m going down on the first pitch.”

Baseball and Sports Quotes

“Baseball was one-hundred percent of my life.”

“The great American game should be an unrelenting war of nerves.”

“I have observed that baseball is not unlike war, and when you get right down to it, we batters are the heavy artillery.”

“The great trouble with baseball today is that most of the players are in the game for the money and that’s it, not for the love of it, the excitement of it, the thrill of it.”

“Most collisions out on the fields are needless. Keep your ears open while you’re concentrating on running toward the ball and stick to the tested formula, boys.”

“Rarely should a base runner risk a steal when the game is in balance. It’s to be used when you can afford to fail.”

“When I played ball, I didn’t play for fun.”

“That boy Mantle is a good one.”

“I’m coming down on the next pitch, Krauthead.”

“That god damned Dutchman (Honus Wagner) is the only man in the game I can’t scare.”

“When I began playing the game, baseball was about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch.”

“The base paths belonged to me, the runner. The rules gave me the right. I always went into a bag full speed, feet first. I had sharp spikes on my shoes. If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault.”

“Walter Johnson’s fastball looked about the size of a watermelon seed and it hissed at you as it passed.”

“No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today.”

“He (Shoeless Joe Jackson) was the finest natural hitter in the history of the game.”

“Someone will hit .400 again. Somebody will get smart and swing naturally.”

“Williams is one batter I thought would break my lifetime batting average of .367. If he’d learned to hit to left, Ted would have broken every record in the book.”

“The best recommendation for an umpire in the old days was: “He licked somebody in the Three-I League. He ought to do.”

“When you shout, ‘I’ll take it!’ or ‘I’ve got it!’ shout it loudly and clearly. Give that signal the instant you feel the play belongs to you and not your teammate. After that, the responsibility for the catch is yours. If you call for it, you have the confidence to play the ball, knowing you are on your own and safe from injury.”

“I can’t honestly say that I appreciate the way in which he changed baseball — from a game of science to an extension of his powerful slugging — but he was the most natural and unaffected man I ever knew. No one ever loved life more. No one ever inspired more youngsters. I have reverence for his marvelous ability . I look forward to meeting him again some day.”

“The way those clubs shift against Ted Williams, I can’t understand how he can be so stupid not to accept the challenge to him and hit to left field.”

“Every man in the game, from the minors on up, is not only fighting against the other side, but he’s trying to hold onto his own job against those on his own bench who’d love to take it away. Why deny this? Why minimize it? Why not boldly admit it?”

“You (Stan Musial) can still run and you still can hit. Drink a little wine before dinner and you’ll play for years.”

Personality, Life, and Inspirational Quotes

“To get along with me, don’t increase my tension.”

“I’ve got to be first. ALL the time.”

“I’ve been called one of the hardest bargainers who ever held out, and I’m proud of it.”

“I regret to this day that I never went to college. I feel I should have been a doctor.”

“When two doctors pass each other on the street they wink at each other.”

“You’ve got to remember – I’m seventy-three.”

“When I came to Detroit I was just a mild-mannered Sunday-school boy.”

“I think if I had my life to live over again, I’d do things a little different. I was aggressive, perhaps too aggressive. Maybe I went too far. I always had to be right in any argument I was in, I always had to be first in everything. I do indeed think I would have done some things different. And if I had I believe I would have had more friends.”

“Why not? Certainly it is okay for them to play. 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.”

“The longer I live, the longer I realize that batting is more a mental matter than it is physical. The ability to grasp the bat, swing at the proper time, take a proper stance; all these are elemental. Batting is rather a study in psychology, a sizing up of a pitcher and catcher and observing little details that are of immense importance. It’s like the study of crime, the work of a detective as he picks up clues.”

“Once Walton went down this road … where he was persuaded Libby was entitled to some of the information, this issue (of national security) was going to haunt this trial.”

“She did not leak any classified information, and she did not have access to the information apparently attributed to her by some government officials.”

“Her hope is to be able to pursue her planned retirement from two decades of distinguished public service to do community service law.”

Long Quotes

“He batted against spitballs, shineballs, emeryballs and all the other trick deliveries. He never figured anything out or studied anything with the same scientific approach I gave it. He just swung. If he’d ever had any knowledge of batting, his average would have been phenomenal. … he seemed content to just punch the ball, and I can still see those line drives whistling to the far precincts. Joe Jackson hit the ball harder than any man ever to play baseball.”

“I feel that anything I could say in the way of eulogizing Hans would not be one-hundredth as much as he deserves, so I will just say my heart is with him tonight in wishing him three or four more score of pleasant years and that he will lead them all just as long as he wishes. I will be drinking a toast to the greatest ball player ever on his forty-first birthday, the night of February 24, away down here in Georgia.”

“[Boston Red Sox pitcher Hub Leonard] would aim bullets at your head, left handed to boot… I dragged a bunt… which the first baseman was forced to field. Leonard sprinted for first to take the throw and saw that I was after him. He wouldn’t have been safe that day if he’d scrambled into the top bleachers. I ignored the bag-since I was already out-and dove feet first right through the coaching box. He managed to duck, but…the escape was close enough medicine for him. He never threw another beanball at me.”

“On August 2, 1907, I encountered the most threatening sight I ever saw in the ball field. He was only a rookie, and we licked our lips as we warmed up for the first game of a doubleheader in Washington. Evidently, manager Pongo Joe Cantillon of the Nats had picked a rube out of the cornfields of the deepest bushes to pitch against us….He was a tall, shambling galoot of about twenty with arms so long they hung far out of his sleeves and with a sidearm delivery that looked unimpressive at first glance….One of the tigers imitated a cow mooing and we hollered at Cantillon: ‘Get the pitchfork ready, Joe-your hayseed’s on his way back to the barn.’ …The first time I faced him I watched him take that easy windup-and then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn’t touch him…every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park.”

“Joe’s swing was purely natural, he was the perfect hitter. He batted against spitballs, shineballs, emeryballs and all the other trick deliveries. He never figured anything out or studied anything with the same scientific approach I gave it. He just swung. If he’d ever had any knowledge of batting, his average would have been phenomenal. … he seemed content to just punch the ball, and I can still see those line drives whistling to the far precincts. Joe Jackson hit the ball harder than any man ever to play baseball.”

“On the diamond, I had been rough on Babe. I’d never taken my spurs out of his hide and one day he’d come looking for me in the Detroit clubhouse with fistic mayhem in mind. We’d won and lost duels to each other way back since 1915, when Babe had been a rookie pitcher with Bill Carrigan’s Boston Red Sox. To add heat to the situation, some press association or other was always holding a poll to pick between Ruth and Cobb as the all-time star player.”

“As a base-runner, I had some pretty radical ideas. Some said I was crazy to take such chances; others were beginning to suspect that maybe I had something. My counter to Criger’s challenge had to be something unusual. And when we opened the first Boston series of ’08, I watched the Young-Criger battery carefully before coming to the plate. Then I told Criger, “I’m going to steal every base on you today.” … On four straight Young pitches, beginning with my single, I’d completed a tour of Boston bases. Our man at bat hadn’t taken his club off his shoulder while I was coming around. Criger had been deflated in the worst possible way that can happen to a catcher—I’d told him exactly what I intended to do, and still gotten away with it.”

Which quote hit you the most?

As you can see, Ty Cobb’s words still ring true today. Even though he hasn’t played in over 50 years, his quotes inspire athletes and baseball fans all around the world. In a game that is often described as America’s pastime, it is clear that Cobb’s influence will never be forgotten. His larger-than-life personality and unrivaled dedication to winning made him one of the most successful players in history, and his impact on the game continues to be felt today.

So whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting started in your love for baseball, take some time to learn from Ty Cobb and let his words motivate you! And don’t forget to share this blog post with your fellow sports fans!