• Kurtis Tatkenhorst

May 19- Tigers told if they continue protest of Cobb's suspension, they will be banned from baseball

Updated: May 19, 2021

1912- On this day in Sports History in 1912, American League President Byron Johnson told the Detroit Tigers players that if they did not play, they would be banned from baseball. The players were on strike in protest of their teammate Ty Cobb’s suspension. Ty Cobb had been suspended at the May 15th game when he jumped into the stands and physically beat up an abusive heckler. The fan had heckled Ty Cobb by saying nasty things throughout the game before Cobb jumped into the stands in the 3rd inning and started punching him. The AL President Johnson happened to be at the game and suspended Cobb for ten games.

At the start of the next game, Ty Cobb tried walking out on the field at the start of the game. However the umpires wouldn’t let the game start with him on the field because he was suspended. When Cobb had to go off the field, the rest of the Tigers players did as well in protest of the suspension. The Tiger owner, Frank Navin, knew this was going to happen and had a team of replacement players ready to play the game. The replacement players were far from MLB caliber and they lost 24-2. Fans at the game demanded a refund for the game. This resulted in the AL President saying the Tigers players had to play or else be banned from baseball. Cobb convinced his teammates to play the next game, but was appreciative of their support.


Dow, Bill. “The Day the Tigers Went on Strike to Support Ty Cobb.” Vintage Detroit Collection Blog, 25 Feb. 2014, www.vintagedetroit.com/blog/2011/04/24/the-day-the-tigers-went-on-strike-to-support-ty-cobb/.

Weinreb, Michael. “Throwback Thursday: Ty Cobb Goes After A Heckler, And His Teammates Go On Strike.” Vice, Vice, 19 May 2016, www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnmd5q/throwback-thursday-ty-cobb-goes-after-a-heckler-and-his-teammates-go-on-strike.

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