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Thread: Ty Cobb General Thread

  1. #21
    Originally posted by ElHalo
    Um... what?

    Since you're talking about the Polo Grounds, I must assume you're talking about 1920-22, the only years Ruth played in the Polo Grounds.

    So you say Ruth was "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths" then? Again, I say... Um... what?

    In 1920, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases. He was second to Wally Pipp in triples (Ruth had 12, Pipp had 14). In 1921, Babe Ruth led the Yankees in stolen bases AGAIN, and also led the Yankees in triples (tied with Bob Meusel at 16). In 1922, Ruth was injured for a good amount of time, so his stolen bases were down, but he still hit 8 triples, good for third on the team.

    So, I ask again... how was Ruth "fat, fairly slow, and inept on the basepaths"?
    Yes- 20-22, because we were talking about him in comparison to Sisler.

    Perhaps I've overstated it on "fairly slow", but I don't think so. Maybe people can tell me that is untrue. The other two assumptions seem to hold.

    1. Marshall Smelsler "The Life That Ruth Built" pgs. 340-41. (On the 26' World Series debacle, due to Ruth's incompetence. A microcosm of a career.

    2. 123 stolen bases, lifetime, and 117 CS.

    3. Reading quotes from contemporaries about Ruth's baserunning various places, such as Bill's files. He was better than one would expect from someone so heavy, but still far from good.

    4. On "fat" and also on "farily slow"- seeing film of him and him running, and reading about him weighing close to 250 at various points in his career (Robert Creamer).

  2. #22
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    Originally posted by csh19792001

    I'm presenting you with logic and expecting you to use your intuitive baseball knowledge to understand this. It should be self-implicit and self revealed from all your years of watching baseball. Again, do I have stats to show how much worse? No, because stats arent applicable here.

    Most of the time, a strikeout is the worst out that can happen, and the most selfish.

    I read the article. I just didn't agree with it.

    I've watched baseball for many years, yes. And yes, there are times, in close games with less than two outs and a guy on third, that I'm praying for just a popout.

    But there are just as many times, when a guy's taken a weak swing at a pitch and sailed a lazy chopper to short, starting an inning ending double play, that I've wished they would have just taken the third strike.

    Sorry, but until I see some kind of statistical evidence showing me that productive groundouts/flyouts are more prevalent than double/triple plays and advancing to first on dropped third strikes, I'll continue to believe that one is just as good as the other.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  3. #23
    Originally posted by csh19792001
    I'm presenting you with logic and expecting you to use your intuitive baseball knowledge to understand this. It should be self-implicit and self revealed from all your years of watching baseball. Again, do I have stats to show how much worse? No, because stats arent applicable here.

    Most of the time, a strikeout is the worst out that can happen, and the most selfish.
    It seems as if this argument is just wrong. Check out this article http://premium.baseballprospectus.co...articleid=2617

  4. #24
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    Originally posted by csh19792001
    Yes- 20-22, because we were talking about him in comparison to Sisler.

    Perhaps I've overstated it on "fairly slow", but I don't think so. Maybe people can tell me that is untrue. The other two assumptions seem to hold.

    1. Marshall Smelsler "The Life That Ruth Built" pgs. 340-41. (On the 26' World Series debacle, due to Ruth's incompetence. A microcosm of a career.

    2. 123 stolen bases, lifetime, and 117 CS.

    3. Reading quotes from contemporaries about Ruth's baserunning various places, such as Bill's files. He was better than one would expect from someone so heavy, but still far from good.

    4. On "fat" and also on "farily slow"- seeing film of him and him running, and reading about him weighing close to 250 at various points in his career (Robert Creamer).
    Well, he's listed at 6'2" and 215"... which doesn't really seem all that fat to me. And as far as him weighing close to 250... Roger Clemens weighs close to 250, but I don't think anyone would really call him "fat."... Sure, Ruth was overweight at times, but he was never a David Wells.

    And as for the SB's... he had a career SB% of 51. Not great, sure. Let's look at the league numbers (that we have CS' for...). I'll start with 1920... the CS numbers are shady before then.

    1920: 51.5%
    1921: 55.6%
    1922: 56.9%
    1923: 55.0%
    1924: 56.3%
    ...

    You get the idea. The SB% numbers hovered right around 55%... meaning that Ruth was below average, but hardly incompetent, at basestealing.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  5. #25
    Originally posted by ElHalo
    Well, he's listed at 6'2" and 215"... which doesn't really seem all that fat to me. And as far as him weighing close to 250... Roger Clemens weighs close to 250, but I don't think anyone would really call him "fat."... Sure, Ruth was overweight at times, but he was never a David Wells.

    And as for the SB's... he had a career SB% of 51. Not great, sure. Let's look at the league numbers (that we have CS' for...). I'll start with 1920... the CS numbers are shady before then.

    1920: 51.5%
    1921: 55.6%
    1922: 56.9%
    1923: 55.0%
    1924: 56.3%
    ...

    You get the idea. The SB% numbers hovered right around 55%... meaning that Ruth was below average, but hardly incompetent, at basestealing.
    Halo-
    Where did you get the league numbers? What are they for Babe's career, vs. his career pct? Interesting stuff.

    Two things seriously missing are strikeouts and CS. They had to go back and figure out RBI's before the 20's, even!!

    I don't put hardly any stock in the listed weights- they have Frank Howard at 255- when everyone agrees that he was closer to 280, at surely more at the end of his career. They have Cobb at 175, when in his prime he was never under 190. They have Mo Vaughn at 230 and Fielder at 240- both of which, you and I know to be ridiculous.

    Their listings for Mantle and Gehrig seem to be way off, too.

    I'm getting the weight info from just seeing pics of the Babe (and some film, esp from 25' on), and from what I read in the Smesler and Creamer biopics. Clemens is a fitness fanatic, btw. He is famous for his hellish, 3 hour workouts. He doesn't have a huge belly, like Ruth did, esp. (look at pics of him on the 27 and 28 Yanks). I think Clemens was always just built like a football player- just husky. They babe (according to Smesler), was 185 when he came up. He grew fat early. I don't think Clemens ever weighed under 220. He's put on weight as he has gone on, to be sure.

    So Babe was never really obese, like Wells or Fielder, (or the guys that played him in the movies ), but he was pretty close at times, from what I've seen. Certainly a far, far cry from a somebody with great speed.
    Last edited by csh19792001; 04-05-2004 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #26
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    Baseballreference.com has SB and CS numbers for each league for each year... once you have those, it's pretty easy to calculate SB% (SB / (SB + CS)).

    And yeah, admittedly, Ruth was a pretty hefty guy... but then again, so am I, so maybe I have a soft spot for him.

    But yeah, while Ruth was probably heavier and more out of shape than a lot of other ballplayers... he was also a far, far cry from John Goodman, which is the image a lot of people have of the Babe (i.e., an obese, lumbering oaf).
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  7. #27
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    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    RMB,

    I do appreciate anyone who rates Ty well. But I also asked ElHalo how he comes to his conclusions. Which makes me curious, as stats place Cobb in 2nd at the worst.
    It kind of got buried, Mr. Burgess, but if you check the post at the top of the 4th page in this thread, I explained why I put Hornsby, Williams, Mays, and Gehrig ahead of Cobb. Ruth... well, I figure you know those reasons.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  8. #28
    Originally posted by ElHalo
    Baseballreference.com has SB and CS numbers for each league for each year... once you have those, it's pretty easy to calculate SB% (SB / (SB + CS)).

    And yeah, admittedly, Ruth was a pretty hefty guy... but then again, so am I, so maybe I have a soft spot for him.

    But yeah, while Ruth was probably heavier and more out of shape than a lot of other ballplayers... he was also a far, far cry from John Goodman, which is the image a lot of people have of the Babe (i.e., an obese, lumbering oaf).

    Oh, for sure. The movies are a joke. Even if he was fat, you dont have all those XBHits without being able to run fairly well.

  9. #29
    Originally posted by bf-lurker
    It seems as if this argument is just wrong. Check out this article http://premium.baseballprospectus.co...articleid=2617
    Interesting scatterplots.

    However, this disproves none of the points in the Harold Friend article. This is on a MACRO level, or team wise.


    I'm talking micro level (eliminating many, many extraneous (potentially confounding) variables) In other words, what we are talking about here is in individual instances, and most plausible scenarios show (by logic) that a K is worse than a hit-out far more often than not.

    FROM THE ARTICLE- "Of course, causation is a sticky subject, so try not to misinterpret the above data as "proof" that increased strikeouts cause an improvement in a player's secondary skills. It's just that where one group shows up, often so does the other."

    And also, it deleteriously effect PRIMARY skills!!! Forget the tenuous link between this and SECONDARY skills.

    For instance, this does not take into account era differences, where runs per game were higher, creating more at bats, creating more strikeouts (more possibilities)!!! It amalgamates 1950-2000, which is specious and dissmissive.

    If you abide by this metric, however.... Notice, the distinct negative correlation between K's and BA and K's vs. OBP. Quite detrimental.

    PURIST perspective objections (the artistic, visceral, NON STATISTICAL side of the game)-

    Besides, strikeouts are usually boring!!!!!!! Walks are frequently boring. This is antithetical to the original intent of the game- to put the ball in play, make contact, and make things happen. The reason a K is an embarrasment is because it is a selfish failure and the worst out one can make. You arent giving anything a chance. Very little good can come of it.

    Last edited by csh19792001; 04-05-2004 at 08:28 PM.

  10. #30
    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    So, when you adjust things, Cobb is about 20 points ahead of everyone else, LIFETIME. That's fairly ridiculous, on the scale that batting average is based on. And the only guys within 20 points are Gwynn, who was hitting singles for 20 years while everyone else was going for homers, and Ted Williams, who many consider to be the greatest hitter ever.

    I think it's time for people to realize how ridiculous and impossible .367 is, for a career. And this is WITHOUT even realizing (in addition) that he led in slugging 8 times, OPS+ 11 times, and was a top notch CFer and the greatest baserunner of all time. EVEN if he just went for singles and/or focused entirely on hitting, it would be incredulous.


    Only 2 people have even hit over .360 THREE YEARS IN A ROW since 1931. And one was Larry Walker, who has a lifetime .393 BA at Coors Field.

    A little perspective.... Todd Helton (.337 lifetime). First, he is in mid-career (BA almost always drops 10-30 points during the decline phase), and playing in Colorado (Helton's career BA is .378 at Coors, .294 away). He is the ONLY GUY WITHIN THIRTY POINTS playing right now. The NEXT guys are at .323 lifetime (and again, mid career, before the decline phase).

    The only guy within the last 45 years to come within 25 points of Cobb was Williams. Best record in baseball, especially considering everything else Ty endured (and accomplished) while accomplishing it. And you wonder why 230 experts called him the greatest ever.
    Last edited by csh19792001; 04-05-2004 at 08:46 PM.

  11. #31
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    Originally posted by csh19792001
    PURIST perspective objections (the artistic, visceral, NON STATISTICAL side of the game)-

    Wait... there's a non statistical side of baseball?

    Since when? Why did no one ever tell me?
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  12. #32
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    One thing I'll interject in there...

    It's a little difficult sometimes to establish a players' greatness until long, long after they've retired... which is of course the only explaination I can see for putting Collins over Hornsby.

    Then again, he was definitely one of the old school of baseball, not a big reader of Moneyball ... Me personally, now, if I had the chance to create an all time team... my first wish would be to be able to use cloned players, so I can have multiples of one guy. And I'd set up my teams like this:

    1st team:
    C: Babe Ruth
    1B: Babe Ruth
    2B: Babe Ruth
    SS: Babe Ruth
    3B: Babe Ruth
    LF: Babe Ruth
    CF: Babe Ruth
    RF: Babe Ruth
    P: Babe Ruth

    2nd team:
    C: Ted Williams
    1B: Ted Williams
    2B: Ted Williams
    SS: Ted Williams
    3B: Ted Williams
    LF: Ted Williams
    CF: Ted Williams
    RF: Ted Williams
    P: Walter Johnson (Teddy can't pitch, so I had to cheat a little)
    DH: Ted Williams

    Now, I know my teams would have some defensive problems, especially at Catcher in the infield... but I more than think that their offensive attributes would more than make up for it.

    And I think, in all seriousness and all honesty, that either one of these teams would beat any team you could possibly make up of any players ever. The offensive prowess would be more than enough to make up for defensive liabilites.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  13. #33
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    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    ElHalo,

    If you truly believe that either of those two teams could actually win a game, the only physician who might POSSIBLY assist you, is presently incarcerated. His name is Dr. Kervorkian.

    If either of your two "teams" were ever in the field, the innings would never, ever end. Seriously. I could see one of your OF Babes calling, "I'll take it", and all nine of them, crash together and crack their skulls.

    Bill Burgess
    Like I said, not only do I believe that they could actually win a game, I believe that they'd never lose a game.

    I really do mean it when I say that I believe hitting is far, far, far more important than defense and baserunning.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  14. #34
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    Originally posted by RuthMayBond
    Not that a Yankee fan is any prize, but I actually have to stick up for Burgess on this one. I'd be bunting on Teddy at third and first all day. Then when they all spit at the crowd and all get tossed
    Here's how I think about it:

    Sure, the difference between this team and your average team on defense is pretty striking. But even so... the difference between this team and an average team on defense would be, at most... three runs a game? More some games, less others. I can't possibly imagine it being any higher than that.

    The difference in offense between this team and your typical team will be far, far greater than three runs a game.

    So we win. A lot.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  15. #35
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    One of these days, I'll really have to do a mathematical study of this.

    But it really is my firm, firm, FIRM belief that unless a guy throws the ball into the stands every time he touches it, Chuck Knoblauch style, or snares up every ball that's hit even remotely near him, Mazeroski style... their defense is largely irrelevant. The difference between the tenth percentile of major league defender and the ninetieth percentile, fielding wise, isn't all that relavent. A few runs a month.

    And if they can hit like Babe, you overlook a few runs a month.

    Now, admittedly, Babe might have a hard time learning catcher... but I'd love to see him try.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  16. #36
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    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    During the '26 series, Babe couldn't touch Alexander with a 10 foot pole.

    RMB:
    Maybe but he hit .300 w/4 HR in the series

    During the last game, no Yankee could put the ball out of the infield.

    RMB:
    But they almost won the game. I don't think a Cobb man wants to be talking about someone else's World Series problems

  17. #37
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    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    Do you think your team of Babes could beat my team of Wagners?

    Bill Burgess
    Well, see, there's a question now. As you said, Wagner did indeed field a bunch of different positions, and he was at least halfway decent at most of them. And Wagner was quite a hitter.

    Here's the basic point I'm trying to make with my team full of Babe's, though: If you rate every player on a scale of 0-100 at hitting, and 0-100 at fielding...

    I'd argue that if you've got a choice between a player who's a 90 at hitting and an 80 at fielding, or player who's a 95 at hitting and a 20 at fielding... you pick the second guy, because hitting really is that much more important.

    It is entirely possible, however, that Wagner would be a 90 at most positions on the field, and Babe would be a 0 at Catcher or SS. We're not really sure. I'm inclined to think the Babe had enough natural ability that if you gave him a year or two to work at it, he could be at least as good a middle infielder as, say, Tony Lazerri... and then yeah, I'd take him over Wagner (because even if Wagner could hit at 95 and field at 90, Babe could hit at 100 at field at 20... and that's more valuable, in mind).
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  18. #38
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    Originally posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    Most importantly, could Babe have did what he did, without such a formidable bulkwark hitting behind him, in Lou Gehrig? Not too likely.
    I'm not gonna comment on your other assertions, but this one I'll tackle.

    Lou Gehrig's rookie year was 1925. Before 1925, Babe did this for the Yankees:

    1920: .376/.532/.847 158 R, 54 HR, 137 RBI
    1921: .378/.512/.846 177 R, 59 HR, 171 RBI
    1922: .315/.434/.672 94 R, 35 HR, 99 RBI (missed 44 games to injury)
    1923: .393/.545/.764 151 R, 41 HR, 131 RBI
    1924: .378/.513/.739 143 R, 46 HR, 121 RBI

    You can do better than that, come on.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

  19. #39
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    Originally posted by ElHalo
    Well, see, there's a question now. As you said, Wagner did indeed field a bunch of different positions, and he was at least halfway decent at most of them. And Wagner was quite a hitter.

    Here's the basic point I'm trying to make with my team full of Babe's, though: If you rate every player on a scale of 0-100 at hitting, and 0-100 at fielding...

    I'd argue that if you've got a choice between a player who's a 90 at hitting and an 80 at fielding, or player who's a 95 at hitting and a 20 at fielding... you pick the second guy, because hitting really is that much more important.

    It is entirely possible, however, that Wagner would be a 90 at most positions on the field, and Babe would be a 0 at Catcher or SS. We're not really sure. I'm inclined to think the Babe had enough natural ability that if you gave him a year or two to work at it, he could be at least as good a middle infielder as, say, Tony Lazerri... and then yeah, I'd take him over Wagner (because even if Wagner could hit at 95 and field at 90, Babe could hit at 100 at field at 20... and that's more valuable, in mind).

    Actually you intrigued me...so I did a simulation

    10 wagners vs 10 Ruths
    I used an average pitcher for both

    for both I used a scale of A-E on fielding range and if they did not play the position I gave them a .900 F% (deadball average)

    IN 100 games...Wagner's team won 65-68-72-74-76 of those games.

    Honus when using his Fielding stats at Baseball reference was a D .985 at 1b, D.952 at 2b, C .920 at 3B, A .940 at SS, D 961 at OF

    Ruth was a D .960 at OF and E .966 at 1B

    Honus stole at will, and Ruth's generic pitcher had a nice average ERA of 1.23 since over half his Runs were unearned.

    I used 1950 type offense

    Babe averaged about a 1.700 OPS and about 70 HRS...but that was about it...

    Honus averaged 85 2bs, 28 3bs and 25 hrs...plus 70 sbs.

    I'd say defense is important, especially at SS, 2b and CF

  20. #40
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    To give our most serious consideration to the fans, is utter folly. Babe's fans were almost all new to BB and understood what they were seeing the least. Is that would you would have us pay the most attention to, Bulova? You surely aren't asking us to surrender our jugement to the lowest common denominator are you? Please remember, good friend, the Beatles easily outsold Beethoven, Shaesespeare is annually outsold by Michael Crighton, Agatha Criste, Grisham, Harry Potter author, and romance pulp writers.

    Your other point that Cobb was preferred by only those who were deadballers was 100% incorrect. Almost every single star of the 1920's in on record as favoring Cobb over Ruth. Every one. And I mean all of them, not only the earlier ones. So just for your personal benefit, I will list those players who came into the league after 1920, played ONLY modern ball, and rate Ty first.



    You should also remember, this is simply all the quotes I've been able to find. The belief that Ty was the best was so prevelant, that few felt the need to verbalize it. I forgot to include Babe himself, of 4 occasions, called Ty the best he had ever seen, or HEARD ABOUT. I haven't included the owners like Comiskey, Briggs, Yawkey, Shibe, etc. I might also mention that, personally, they might have liked Babe more than Ty. So no soft Cobb votes.

    Your suggestion that NONE of them could properly evaluate the relative gifts and greatness of these two gentlemen strikes me as cruel. To disallow their imput, and yet, let later generations, who were TOTALLY IGNORANT of them, weigh in, is somehow a form of baseball hatred. Would you exclude witnesses to a crime from testifying.
    Mr. Burgess, there were so many things I disagreed with about your post, I hardly know where to begin. But I'll start here.

    You say Ruth had 2 gifts out of 12? I'd really love to see how you define gifts. I guess one is pitching, one is power hitting/average hitting/drawing walks? What are the other 10?

    And why does somebody have to be good at all of them to be the best? I think that everyone would agree that Albert Pujols is not particularly good at fielding or baserunning, but Carlos Beltran is. And I think you'd be very, very, VERY hard pressed to find a person who'd rather have Carlos Beltran on their team than Albert Pujols. Does the best pitcher have to throw a fastball, splitter, curveball, slider, screwball, knuckleball, changeup, curve ball, etc., etc., etc., or can dominance with three or four pitches be enough? I'll tell you what, I'll take Mariano Rivera in 1999 throwing his cut fastball ahead of... well, pretty much any pitcher you can throw at me with four pitches working. Sometimes, being good at one thing, if you're really THAT good at it, can be enough to more than overcome an inability to dominate other facets.

    Next off, one of your lovely quotes. "Babe's fans were almost all new to baseball." So you're saying that Babe Ruth drew new fans into baseball. Fans who'd never seen the sport before. And droves of them, evidently.

    Isn't that the very definition of having a huge impact on the game? Drawing in new fans who'd never seen the sport before? Isn't baseball, after all, a business, designed to make money? And wasn't Babe better at acheiving that goal than any other player in history?

    Next up. Ask any casual baseball fan, and they'll tell you that the greatest living baseball player is Barry Bonds. Ask any informed baseball fan, and they're likely to tell you it's Willie Mays. Bonds himself would tell you Mays is better than him. I'd most certainly say Mays is better than him.

    But fifty years from now, how many people do you think are actually going to say that Willie Mays was better than Barry Bonds? My guess is, not too many. And you know what? They'll probably be right.

    Most of the baseball world, including myself, have a pre-conceived notion that Willie Mays is the greatest living ballplayer. And that pre-conceived notion prevents us from admitting to ourselves what's plain in front of our noses: Bonds is better. If you asked me where Bonds ranks in the all time pantheon of baseball players, I'd probably say somewhere around the twentieth spot. And it's just blatantly, PATENTLY obvious that he's better than that... but I've already got the heirarchy in my head, and it's a whole lot harder to change the hegemony than it is to get in before the heirarchy's cemented itself.

    In much the same way, ballplayers growing up in the 05-15 time KNEW that Ty Cobb was the greatest ballplayer. It was just plain as daylight to them. And no matter what anybody did, no matter what feats anybody accomplished, nothing was going to change that in their minds, because he already had that slot. You couldn't take it away from him.

    So yeah, it's entirely possible that people couldn't fully appreciate the relative greatness of Ruth and Cobb while they were watching them. In the same way that it's entirely possible that the baseball world won't be able to tell how truly great Barry Bonds is until everyone who's seen him play is tottering in a nursing home somewhere.

    And please, come on now. If you're going to make an argument about Cobb being a better player, go ahead and do so, but bringing up his war enlistment? If we really want to get into character issues, Babe has Cobb licked like a lollipop. So please don't EVEN start that nonsense.

    Next issue: Babe's lack of a decline was strictly the result of increasing offense in the 30's, not a matter of him actually having great longevity.

    You know how not true this is, right? From 1930 on, Babe's OPS+'s look like this:

    1930: 211
    1931: 219
    1932: 201
    1933: 176
    1934: 161

    So while, yes, league offense was higher from 30-34 than from 25-29 (though not that much... 4.92 rpg for the first period, 5.18 rpg for the second period, for a total increase of 5.3%), Babe was STILL unbelievably ahead of everyone else. Just for comparison's sake, his 1933 OPS+, when he was 38 years old, is ahead of the career OPS+ of all but... 3 other people ever. Williams, Bonds, Gehrig. That's it. And his 1932 OPS+ was better than anyone's ever done for a career, by a wide margin. Even his 1934 OPS+, when he was a tottering old 39 year old dodger, was better than the career totals of all but 13 other men in the history of the game.

    So no, Ruth's decline period isn't illusory.

    And one final note. Don't knock Harry Potter. I consider myself a pretty well read person. Some of the most dog eared and lovingly read and re-read volumes on my shelf are widely considered to be the greatest classics in literature; Dante, Dickens, Kafka, Shakespeare, Nabakov, Marlowe, Joyce. And Harry Potter's good stuff.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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