J. Conrad Guest

One Hot January
January's Thaw
January's Paradigm
The Cobb Legacy
Chaotic Theory
A Retrospect in Death
500 Miles to Go
A World Without Music
Forever a Philanderer
All Things Cigars
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About The Cobb Legacy

Apex Reviews has awarded The Cobb Legacy its highest rating of 5 stars, hailing the book as “... an eye-opening tale of drama, scandal, and intrigue highlighting the living, breathing history of a fatally-flawed, intrepid folk hero.”


The Cobb Legacy is now available for download for your Kindle, Nook, EPUB, MOBI or in PDF. Normally priced at $2.99, download The Cobb Legacy today for only $1.99. From the Pulse Publishing website, insert the promo code “FFTCLJCG” when prompted and you’ll be able to download The Cobb Legacy.


Check out my latest interview in support of The Cobb Legacy.


Read my interview in support of The Cobb Legacy, on Susan Whitfield’s Blog.

Ty Cobb was a fierce competitor—the Detroit Free Press described him as “daring to the point of dementia.” During his playing days he set 90 Major League Baseball records, and his career batting average (.367) and most batting titles (12) will likely never be eclipsed. Yet his legacy as a ballplayer is overshadowed by his temper as well as his no holds barred style of play. He was loathed by his own team mates as well as the opposition. Ernest Hemingway wrote of Cobb: “The greatest of all ballplayers—and an absolute shit.” While Joe DiMaggio said of him: “Every time I hear of this guy again—I wonder how he was possible.”

Al Stump, in his biography, Cobb, revealed something of the many demons that drove Cobb to greatness. Cobb’s father was killed, by his mother, a week before Ty became a major league ballplayer. Although she was acquitted on the grounds it was accidental, who can know what Cobb thought. His father, who was against his son playing ball, told him only not to return home a failure. He never did, but he did lament, after his playing days were done, that his father never got to see him play.

It’s strange how the ghosts of our parents haunt us.


J. Conrad demonstrates the hands apart grip Cobb made famous

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I once wanted to play baseball, but my parents would have none of that. They may have crushed the dream but not my love affair with the game. After I turned 40, I knew my dream of playing ball was gone, and so it seemed natural, after finishing the January books, that I'd write a baseball novel. Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings was the result.


I’ve long been fascinated with Ty Cobb the ballplayer. Al Stump’s biography was brought to the screen in 1994, with Tommy Lee Jones in the title role. When I saw the film I became fascinated by Cobb the man. I completed The Cobb Legacy in 2010. More than a murder mystery, The Cobb Legacy is the story of a man's search to connect with his dying father while also coming to terms with his adulterous affair and impending divorce, and doubting that love with an old friend can be his. A dash of the paranormal is also part of the story.



A great photo of the warrior, Cobb, frozen in time

Excerpt ...

One of the greatest baseball photographs ever taken, Ty Cobb sliding under the tag at third base

C is for Cobb,

Who grew spikes and not corn,

And made basemen

Wish they weren’t born

Ogden Nash, Sport Magazine, January 1949


“Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It’s no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It’s a struggle for supremacy, survival of the fittest.”

Ty Cobb


“If you and I are going to get along, don’t increase my tension.”

Ty Cobb


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”


1 Corinthians 13:4-5






Royston, Georgia, August 8, 1905


“They killed him when he was still young. They blew his head off the same week I became a major-leaguer. He never got to see me play. Not one game, not an inning. But I knew he was watching me ... and I never let him down. Never.”

Tyrus Raymond Cobb




Amanda had just loosened the belt on her robe when she heard a creak from the balcony outside the second story bedroom window. Her oldest boy was playing baseball in Augusta, while the younger two, another son and a daughter, were at friends’ houses.

She retied her robe and quickly stepped, barefoot, over to the bed, where she squatted and felt under the bed for the double-barreled shotgun her husband kept for protection; William was out of town on business. Standing, Amanda strained to cock first one barrel and then the other on the heavy shotgun. Struggling to aim the twin at the window, she tilted her head to listen, over the rush of running water from the bathroom, for sounds from the balcony. She heard a faint scratching at the window and was grateful that she’d had the foresight to lock the doors and windows.

A moment later, the round, white face of William appeared at the glass.

The water suddenly stopped its mad rush and silence, as it often did, filled the void between Amanda and William.

William appeared startled by the sight of his wife armed with the shotgun, but then Amanda watched her husband’s gaze move from the twin barrels aimed at his midsection to a place just over her right shoulder. A moment later his dark eyes narrowed on Amanda’s face.

The pane of glass now separating them, save for its transparency, seemed, to Amanda, a sort of metaphor for what their marriage had become. Meeting her husband’s anger bravely, Amanda felt a corner of her mouth twitch and rise slightly. Too late, William realized his grim fate.

Amanda savored, for a moment, the transition from stern cruelty that normally resided on her husband’s face to fear before she pulled the first trigger. Recoiling from the blast, she heard the shattering of glass and saw a gaping red hole appear in William’s abdomen.

William stumbled backward, landing hard against the balcony railing, and stutter-stepped forward again with a groan, framed within the remnants of the window. The pistol with which he’d armed himself for the occasion clattered to the balcony.

Amanda pulled the second trigger, and the top of William’s head exploded.

Turning to look behind her, to where her husband had confirmed the town’s talk of her duplicity, Amanda told her lover, “You need to go, quickly. There’ll be questions.”


Additional excerpts can be read on my blog.

You’re listening to Why Try to Change Me Now? from The Best is Yet to Come: The Songs of Cy Coleman, sung by Fiona Apple.

Photos of J. Conrad Guest courtesy of Sommerville Photographie