Viewpoint / Letters : Rose's Remarks Didn't Tell the Entire Story

Concerning Pete Rose's remarks about Ty Cobb making more errors than any other outfielder (Morning Briefing, July 27), that's showing only one side of the coin.

Cobb played 2,938 games as an outfielder, more than anyone in the history of the game. To say Rose has the highest lifetime fielding average is misleading because Rose has spent two-thirds of his career in the infield.

Cobb played in an era where fielding averages were about 20 points less than they are today. You noted Max Carey held the National League record for errors. What you failed to mention was that Carey led outfielders in putouts nine times, a record. He led in assists four times, surpassed only by Roberto Clemente.

The fact is that Cobb never led the league in errors in any of his 24 seasons in the majors. But Tris Speaker did once. So did Joe DiMaggio. Cobb once led the league in putouts, once in assists and tied once for fielding average. His 392 lifetime assists are second only to Speaker.

Many of Cobb's errors came from reckless gambles rather than playing it safe. How many hit-stopping catches did Cobb make with his speed on balls Rose would allow to fall for singles?



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