Can you believe that Clemson plays their first baseball game in only three weeks? Me either – but to get ourselves appropriately prepared for baseball season, Bill and I discovered the Ty Cobb Museum, located in Royston, Georgia. Only a half hour drive from our winter workamping job in Westminster, South Carolina, the Ty Cobb Museum is housed in a wing of a medical complex that bears his name and was established through his generosity. We spent about an hour in this small, well-organized museum that focuses totally on the life and career of one of the greatest baseball players of all time. The museum houses a tremendous amount of memorabilia, personal artifacts, and visual presentations.
Ty Cobb ( 1886-1961), or the “Georgia Peach”, as he was known, was extremely self-motivated and determined. In his early years in baseball, he was seriously hazed by his teammates, and some say that this experience resulted in his well known hostile temperament. He was driven, a man on a mission, a player possessed! In addition to the long list of records he still holds, he was notorious for sliding into bases with his spikes high!
Anyone can look up the statistics related to Ty Cobb but here is a spotlight of some facts you may or may not know…
- Ty Cobb’s mother was put on trial for the shooting of his father.
- Cobb would practice his sliding for hours on end – guess it worked, as he stole over 800 bases in his career.
- His first contract with the Detroit Tigers was for $700.
- In June of 1928, Cobb stole home for the 55th and final time.
- In February of 1936, Cobb was the first player voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- In spite of his contrary personality, Ty Cobb often helped teammates financially who were down on their luck – usually for an extended period of time.
- Although Cobb was the first million dollar baseball player, he became wealthy through his investments in Coca-Cola and General Motors – not baseball.
- Cobb began the Cobb Educational Fund which still provides college assistance each year to needy Georgia students.
Before our visit, I honestly knew nothing about Ty Cobb, except what Bill shared on our way to the museum, but having been there and learning about the Georgia Peach, it is easy to agree with Casey Stengel when he described Ty Cobb as “…the most sensational player of all the players I have seen in my life…” I am now ready for baseball season – no matter how early it arrives!
Having worked up an appetite while in baseball mode, we decided to go to a very well known BBQ spot in Pendleton, SC, a small historic town right outside Clemson. The Smoking Pig is only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11a.m. until 9 p.m. We arrived around 5:30 and the parking lot was already filling up. While in line I heard one patron comment that she had never driven by The Smoking Pig when there wasn’t a line out the door! Bill’s daughter, Sarah, who graduated from Clemson had been to “The Pig” and had given us a gift card for Christmas! Although there were sandwiches and single item plates available, we opted for a combo platter, which came with two sides, so…we feasted on brisket, chopped pork, coleslaw, baked beans, French fries, and perhaps the best banana pudding I’ve ever tasted! The other side choices included sweet potato fries, a potato casserole, fried okra (one of my favorites), and more!
It was obvious that the original restaurant had gotten to the point where it could no longer accommodate the crowds, so an additional barn-like structure was also available – complete with a fire pit waiting area, and by the time we completed our dinner, there were no empty tables, and many diners were waiting – happily waiting I must add! The Smoking Pig is truly a local establishment and certainly one to which we will return!!