When Ruth and Cobb hit the links

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on January 5, 2012:

The long eyes of history may have resolved the debate in these past sixty years or so, but, when they were still living, there was plenty of debate about who was the greatest player of all time, Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. In the inaugural voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, for example, it was Cobb who received the greatest number of votes, not Ruth (222 to 215, out of 226 votes cast). As you might expect, it was Cobb’s skill at small ball (stealing bases, bunting, etc.) that old-timers clung to in the debate while the younger crowd marvelled at Ruth’s power.

But it wasn’t just on the baseball diamond that these debates raged. As the two greats enjoyed their retirements, they each took up the game of golf and, apparently, became quite good. Cobb, for example, was able to play plenty of his rounds at the renowned Augusta National and even shot an 81 in a group with Sammy Byrd and Sam Snead there. Fans, as they are wont to do, carried their baseball debates over onto the links. Finally, in the summer of 1941, the retirement “feud” between Cobb and Ruth came to a head when Cobb challenged the Babe to a series of charity golf events for the war effort.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15788

Originally published: January 5, 2012. Last Updated: January 5, 2012.