Skip to main content
Original Issue

The Question: Ed Bang, sports editor of the Cleveland "News," thinks that Ty Cobb is the greatest baseball player of all time. Who do you think is the greatest?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sportswriter
"It's Cobb or Wagner. I say Wagner because a shortstop is a much more important cog in a baseball machine. Hans was an unparalleled shortstop. He helped the pitcher, the second and third basemen and the outfielders. Wagner never had a crack at the rabbit ball. Cobb had nine years of it."

Commissioner of Baseball
"No one living today can give you an answer that others won't tear to shreds. Of the old-timers, Wagner, Cobb and Ruth were the greatest. The moderns include such greats as Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Hornsby, Frisch, Ted Williams and others. Any group arguing this will violently disagree."

Regan Furniture Co.
"It's Cobb or Wagner, but that honor rightfully belongs to Ty Cobb. In 24 years in the majors, Ty had a batting average of .367 to .329 for Hans Wagner and he played in 248 more games. Ty scored 504 more runs and made 761 more hits, and he stole more bases than the Flying Dutchman."

Sports Editor
Cleveland Press
"Babe Ruth was the greatest. Babe was really an all-round player. Not only was he the home-run king, but he was the greatest fielder in the outfield. And he was a great pitcher and infielder. I could make a case for Tris Speaker, who introduced me to my wife, but you'd think I'm prejudiced."

N. Y. Yankees
"No great player ever played every position. Hans Wagner was the greatest shortstop. Of the outstanding outfielders, Cobb made the greatest average, but was he greater than Ruth? Rogers Hornsby was the best clutch hitter I've ever seen. Eddie Collins was great, Joe Jackson terrific."

Grand Master
Knights Templar of the U.S.
"Naming the greatest player of all time is a fascinating sports controversy. I'm sure that Ty Cobb, Hans Wagner and Babe Ruth were the three greatest. I saw them all in their prime. Each had his specialty. Ruth was the home-run specialist. Cobb the most spectacular, Wagner the most consistent."

New York Daily News
"The greatest of them all was Babe Ruth. He was one of the top left-handed pitchers, holding the record for World Series consecutive scoreless innings. He was a first baseman of talent, a great outfielder with a siege-gun arm and the greatest slugger of all time. He turned a game over in one stroke."

Former player-manager Pittsburgh Pirates
"Hans Wagner. I should know. I saw them all. Experts agree that Hans was the greatest of all shortstops. But he could also play the outfield as well as Ty Cobb and he could play any infield position better than the best of them. With the rabbit ball, he'd hit 60 home runs every season."

TY COBB, Menlo Park, Calif.
"Not Babe Ruth, anyway. They've had all kinds of contests in New York in which Babe Ruth was named the greatest, but who was the first to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? I'm too modest to say. The records are there. Much as I admired Babe, I can't name him as the greatest. I feared Lou Gehrig more than Ruth, who would strike out or hit one of his 40 or 60 home runs. The greatest home-run hitter, yes. That made him a terrific mental hazard to the opposition. Joe Jackson and Frenchy Lajoie were two of the greatest natural hitters I ever saw. Frenchy seldom struck out. With the rabbit ball he would have hit more, percentagewise, than any man who ever played. Since you pin me down, I say Hans Wagner was the greatest. He could pitch, play a great outfield, burn up the base paths and hit with the greatest. And he never played with the rabbit ball to add to his home-run total. No one has ever been picked against Wagner as the greatest shortstop of all time. You can't name any other position in baseball where one player has had such a clear-cut edge over his rivals."

J. HOMER SANFORD, Forest Hills, N.Y.
"Hans Wagner was the greatest. Ty Cobb was more spectacular. So was Babe Ruth. But no one could come up to bandy-legged Hans. He was a pro among pros. He looked awkward, but he was as fast as Cobb. Ed Barrow and John McGraw both named Wagner as the greatest. They saw them all."




Do horses have intelligence?