Kid Elberfeld's Influence - Ty Cobb

Source: No longer functional

Bombers' last visit rekindles memories of longtime AL foes

July 6, 1999

BY RICHARD BAK
FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER

The Yankees are in town.
In the long history of baseball at Michigan and Trumbull, no other phrase has created more anticipation, excitement and heartache among Tigers fans.
The Yankees. The Bronx Bombers. Ruth, Lou and Lazzeri. Joltin' Joe, Scooter and Yogi. Casey, Roger and The Mick. Catfish, Billy and Reg-gie.
The damned Yankees.
Ty Cobb broke in at The Corner against the Yankees -- the same place where Lou Gehrig and Whitey Ford later saw their Hall of Fame careers end. It's where legendary sluggers Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle belted their longest home runs, where an unknown utility player put an end to baseball's longest afternoon with his only big-league homer.
The Yankees were the guests when television was introduced to The Corner in 1947, and again a generation later when that same medium made a national phenomenon out of a certain bird-like pitcher. The boys in pinstripes were on hand when the Tigers initiated Sunday ball at The Corner in 1907, and they were the attraction 40 years later when the largest crowd ever to attend a game there was shoehorned into Briggs Stadium.
"It was always a good series between the Yankees and Tigers," recalled Tom Tresh, who played for both clubs in the 1960s. "I think both teams respected the other. We all knew that we were in for a battle that day.
"Since I was from Detroit, playing at Tiger Stadium was a big thing for me. A lot of my friends and relatives were always there, so the games were magnified and meant more to me."
The teams began meeting in 1903, when the Yankees -- then known as the Highlanders -- replaced the Baltimore franchise in the American League. Since then, the two winningest franchises in league history have squared off more than 900 times on the Tigers' turf. Now, on the occasion of the Yankees' final visit to Tiger Stadium, here's a look back at the home half of the Tigers-Yankees rivalry.
It all started with Cobb
Appropriately, the list of memorable moments begins with Cobb. On Aug. 30, 1905, the skinny 18-year-old rookie dug in against New York's Jack Chesbro at Bennett Park. After spotting Chesbro two strikes, Cobb ripped a run-scoring double off the grizzled spitballer, the first of 4,191 hits he would accumulate during a 24-year career.
Later in the series, the Georgia Peach attempted to steal second with a headfirst slide. Waiting with the ball was a crusty e x-Tiger shortstop named Kid Elberfeld, who gave the rook "the teach," sticking his knee into Cobb's neck and rubbing his nose in the dirt. Cobb got up sputtering and red-faced, as the crowd and veteran players hooted and laughed.
Two years later, a more mature Cobb was in the outfield as the Tigers, en route to their first pennant, played their first Sunday game at Bennett Park. For years the local "blue laws," which prohibited amusements on the Sabbath, had forced the Tigers to arrange home dates outside city limits. There were no raids on this Sunday, however, as the mayor and police chief were part of the record crowd of 9,635 to watch the Tigers trim New York, 13-6.