Snapshot of a Private Man
OME PROFESSIONAL athletes glory in fame. They seek opportunities to bring their names before the public. They embrace requests for interviews and public appearances. They pursue media discussion, revel in attention, and need constant adulation. Cy Young was not this sort of athlete. It was not that he was shy, or timid, or arrogant, or ungrateful, or ashamed. Rather, his indifference to acclaim was rooted in his own centeredness: he lived within himself, confident that he knew the difference between right and wrong, satisfied in the company of family and authentic friends, and ready to let the world judge him by his deeds. One cannot say about Cy Young that the private man was an extension of the public persona. Instead, one must conclude that the private man provided the foundation—the undergirding—for the public man.
The central person in Young's life was his wife, Robba Miller Young. 1 Four years younger than her husband, the daughter of Robert and Sue (McAbee) Miller, she had lived in Peoli, Ohio, from birth, but she had spent much of her childhood on an uncle's farm adjacent to the farm in nearby Gilmore owned by McKinzie Young Jr., Cy Young's father. I suspect that Cy and Robba were related, perhaps second cousins, for McKinzie's wife (hence, Cy's mother) had been Nancy Miller before her marriage. Robba and Cy had often played together as children, and since Cy later said that Robba had been his only girlfriend, it is likely that one reason he returned from Nebraska in 1888 was to resume his courtship with her. They were married on November 8, 1892, and made a wedding trip to the East. A photograph taken a year later during a postseason visit to the Chicago World's Fair shows the handsome couple in their early years of marriage. Although a printed description of her calls her a “stylish blonde, ” 2 her few photos suggest that her hair was actually darker