There was a good deal of response to my earlier blog about the pounding that Barry Halper has taken online about revelations of authenticity questions concerning some of the items in that historic 199 auction.
I was taken to task – perhaps fairly – about a reference I made to vague, unspecified agendas from some of those coming down hard on Halper. In fairness, I probably should have qualified that with a caveat about “some of the people,” since there are, of course, exceptions.
(Ty Cobb artwork at right by Ron Stark; www.ronstarkstudios.com)
I was alluding to the various postings about questioned authenticity; Ron Cobb, a noted researcher and a member of the august Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), rightly noted that his own work that seems to challenge Halper is more directed at controversial Ty Cobb biographer Al Stump.
Ron Cobb has been quite widely praised for his ongoing efforts to debunk much of the apparent mythology that may trace its genesis to Stump, and like others I applaud such undertakings. The historical record is fluid enough that it demands that kind of rigor, even if it's well after the fact.
I could add that the fact the public gets so much of its historical information from television and movies makes the efforts to shed light on the real Ty Cobb all the more vital. There are millions of Americans who – if queried on the topic – would offer a view of the Kennedy assassination based almost exclusively on the screenplay of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK.”
In terms of preserving for the ages an accurate (I originally typed “fair and balanced,” but quickly realized the term has been contaminated and is essentially useless) picture of Ty Cobb, Ron Cobb (no relation) has a monumental task on his hands if the goal is to truly debunk much of what was provided in the Stump book and later movie.
I wish him well.