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JSPES, Vol. 41, No. 4 (Winter 2016)
pp. 68–86

Ty Cobb Revisited – A Reminder of a Perennial Question: Whom Are We to Believe?

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University (Retired)

Ty Cobb is said to have been “the best baseball player of all time.” For nearly a century, his extraordinary ability has been overshadowed by his reputation as arguably the sport’s nastiest player. Now, Charles Leerhsen’s book Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty takes another look, and finds a man who, though a fierce competitor, was not the ogre commonly pictured. The book deserves a review in its own right, but we have seen a broader significance that points to a perennial problem that is more than ever present today. The question of “Whom are we to believe?” comes up with regard to a great many things we think we know or are given to believe. This article will rather randomly introduce (though not attempt to resolve) several such issues. Readers will find each interesting, important and provocative in its own right; but each is offered here because cumulatively they illustrate the extent to which we live behind a mental veil. A miasma of untruths, questionable truisms, partisan judgments, and pregnant silences points to an epistemological quandary that clouds our apprehension of reality.