Nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” Tyrus Raymond Cobb was one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. He was also mean, vindictive, selfish, vain, paranoid, a bully, and a racist — in short, one of the game’s most badly disturbed personalities. Despite the enormity of his statistical accomplishments on the ballfield, he had few friends in the game. And when he died, only three baseball people showed up at the funeral.
He was, at times, capable of kindness and philanthropy. As a memorial to his parents, Cobb donated $100,000 toward the building of a modern hospital for his hometown of Royston, Georgia. In January of 1950, Cobb traveled from his California home to Royston for the dedication of Cobb Memorial Hospital. Cobb was presented with a gold key to the hospital (with which his second wife, Frances Fairburn Cobb, formally opened the doors) and this silver-plated cup, mounted on its original wood base with a plaque inscribed “Humanitarian of the Year: Tyrus Raymond Cobb,” courtesy of the Royston Chamber of Commerce. Although he was the recipient of countless athletic accolades during his career, it is believed that this was the only award ever bestowed on Ty Cobb for “humanitarianism,” as the quality or state of being humane was a trait rarely associated with “The Georgia Peach.” For several years after Cobb’s passing in 1961, the humanitarian award and gold key were displayed in a showcase at Cobb Memorial Hospital, along with other mementos from the ballplayer’s career.