Since Charleston exists in the play as a (somewhat clunky) dramaturgical device, he comes off a bit annoying, despite Jackson's earnest acting efforts. After all, the character is outnumbered three-to-one by a towering figure. Blessing's writing is at its most illuminating with the three Cobbs, and at its most exciting in the character of the Peach. Matthew Mabe's fiery portrayal doesn't hurt either; he makes the famously confident player both arrogant and appealing. Similarly, Michael Cullen brings an air of nobility to the defeated, aging Cobb; Michael Sabatino is fine as the underwritten Ty.
What we get in Cobb--remarkably, in such a short time--is a glimpse inside the man. This was a man who let his self-confidence destroy his personal relationships. A man whose possibly adulterous mother shot and killed his father (she claims she mistook him for an intruder) the very week Cobb became a major leaguer. A man who slept with a shotgun for fear of his teammates. A man who, in his mind, lived in the shadow of the homerun-hitting legend Babe Ruth. In spite of all Cobb's bravado--and he truly believed he was great--he was bitter that the fans didn't recognize his talent. They were too intoxicated by Ruth's showmanship. In his own mind (and those of many baseball historians, in fact), Cobb created the game. Ruth certainly changed it forever, but it was Cobb's to begin with.
Now, I attend most of my games in the House That Ruth Built, a.k.a. Yankee Stadium. Despite the fact that I grew up with the Tigers (most memorably, Sparky Anderson's 1984 World Championship team), I now root for the Bronx Bombers. But I still bow to the legacy of Cobb. And thankfully, so does Blessing. Now that the season is in full swing, there couldn't be a better time to take in this hard-hitting play. Bring a few baseball fans, and lift a glass to the Georgia Peach. Just leave the peanuts and Cracker Jack at home.