The Detroit Tigers will play their 122nd big league season this year, and Ty Cobb remains their greatest player by basically any measure. He’s honored with a statue in his hometown, and another at the Tigers’ facility in Lakeland, Florida. That statue at Joker Marchant Stadium was gifted to the Tigers in 2020. At the time the local paper, The Ledger, wrote that the statue had a “mysterious past.” It came via the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame, which in turn got it “from the employees’ break room of Xcelience, now Capsugel, a Tampa-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company, in exchange for a charitable donation.”
Two years later, The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen has unraveled a bit of the mystery, including why multiple versions of the statue (without Cobb’s name) have been for sale: The statue appears to be made by Siam Handicraft Group, a Thailand-based company that forges statues for mass production. The name on the Cobb statue, “Jim Davidson” is fake; it is a (bronze) pen name used to make forgeries. “It’s not him,” Cindy Cobb McGowin, Ty Cobb’s granddaughter, told The Athletic. “It’s a frickin’ knockoff.” Oops!
Though the head of the Ted Williams Museum told Stavenhagen that the Thai Cobb statue “looks just like him to me,” it’s pretty easy to see that it is closer to Scary Lucy than Ty Cobb. Here is a photo of a plaque taken from the final game at Tiger Stadium in 1999.
And here is the Thai Cobb statue.
Not quite Ty Cobb. It does look a little silly. However, I think I have rectified the problem. I ran the photo of the statue through one of Adobe Photoshop’s neural filters, increased the happiness by 45—whatever that means—and got this.
Looks great to me! If The Tigers are looking to license this touch-up, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.