From SABR member Gary Ashwill at Agate Type on April 5, 2019:
I’ve been asked recently (see this comment) whether Ty Cobb ever faced Cannonball Dick Redding. In a 1932 interview with the Chicago Defender (posted here by Ryan Whirty) Redding himself said (or at least implied) that he had played against Cobb in Cuba. Many of the claims in that article are maybe a bit exaggerated, and some are simply false—this one is in the latter category. Ty Cobb only played baseball in Cuba once, in 1910. Redding came to Cuba several times, beginning in the 1911/12 winter season, and he never faced the Detroit Tigers or Cobb there.
In fact, according to many sources, after the 1910 series in Havana, Cobb vowed never to play against black players again. I’ve so far been unable to figure out where this story originated. In any case Charles Alexander affirms that Cobb never did face black players again in his career, and I’ve never seen anyone suggest otherwise.
So no, there’s no known instance of Cobb facing off against Redding in a game. However—John Holway wrote that Cobb once “refused to hit against [Redding] in batting practice,” but gave no specifics. I have found just such an incident, though not in batting practice.
Read the full article here: https://agatetype.typepad.com/agate_type/2019/04/cobb-redding-1916.html?fbclid=IwAR0-T9XpzAa1G-UF3u1ew1kPkRtB3SBscUd6oYoYzvIMRccSGsoHQ_b2444
Originally published: April 5, 2019. Last Updated: April 5, 2019.