Ferkovich: Cobb almost lost his third .400 season due to scorekeeping controversy

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at Detroit Athletic Co. on February 20, 2014:

Only three players have hit over .400 in a season three times: Rogers Hornsby, Ed Delahanty, and Ty Cobb. The Georgia Peach hit .420 in 1911, .409 in 1912, and .401 in 1922.

That last one, however, almost didn’t happen, and was the subject of controversy at the time.

Rewind back to May 15, 1922, at a rainy Polo Grounds in New York. The Detroit Tigers were playing the New York Yankees. Cobb hit a ground ball to shortstop Everett Scott. According to one newspaper account, Scott “fumbled and kicked the ball into center field.” Official scorer John Kieran of the New York Tribune ruled it an error. Also in attendance that day was sportswriter Fred Lieb, who put it down in his scorecard as a hit. Unaware of the discrepancy between his scoring and Kieran’s, Lieb sent his box score, giving Cobb two hits on the day, to the Associated Press. Kieran’s box score, showing Cobb as getting only one hit, was delivered to the Tribune.

Read the full article here: http://blog.detroitathletic.com/2014/02/20/a-disputed-basehit-nearly-cost-ty-cobb-a-400-batting-average-in-1922/

Originally published: February 20, 2014. Last Updated: February 20, 2014.