It was a whole different game when Cy Young pitched for some years started in 1890.
Originally Posted by bryanac625
Dimaggio, there were some challengers. Two hitters with 44 games, one at 41 and one at 40.
Ruth, Aaron and Bonds, there were 3 in a range not that far apart.
The biggest difference is for what ever reason the above did what they did, we know it happened it was recorded. With Gibson we are asked to just believe it, even though there is no proof, no recorded or written record. Did he hit 450, 575, 600+, 700+ who can say, we don't know. Don't understand the other side of this debate asking those who question with good reason to just believe it.
I'm giving the only honest answer, I don't know, who here can say they do and prove it. I might add that that Young, Dimaggio, Ruth, Aaron and Bonds accomplishments pale when compared to what we are asked to believe. That one hitter could hit 800 or 900 home runs before the age of 36.
The big three at 35 years of age.
At 900 for Josh he hit 335 more than Ruth, 346 more than Aaron and 406 more than Bonds.
800 for Josh, 235 more than Ruth, 246 more than Hank and 306 more than Barry.
They, three of the heavy hitters in the game look puny to put it mildly compared to Josh.
I think sentiment is is creeping into this debate. I'm not insensitive to what took place with Josh. It was a terrible injustice that Josh was dealt, denied his chance because of skin color. But I choose to deal with the facts, we don't know.
Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 09-14-2007 at 08:41 PM.
Of course the records of these players are well documented. What I meant was I wonder how they humanly achieved these numbers. For instance, I don't think every batter Cy Young faced on his road to 511 wins was big-league material; much the same as others have alleged about the quality of the Negro Leagues. Whatever Gibson's real HR total was, perhaps many of those dingers came from pitches thrown by minor-league quality pitchers.
Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3
I think get what your saying, the level of talent in Cy Youngs time but it still goes back to the fact that what ever the level of talent we know it happened, it's in the books. If one wants to say the level of talent in Young's time was low, they can say that, they can say it was terrible but we still have proof of numbers. The issue to me in this case is now what is the number and can it be proven. I have yet to see any reliable stats that show Gibson's total home runs that is even close to 900, 800 or even 400. Do I think he hit more than 400, I do but how many no one seems to know.
Originally Posted by bryanac625
This could go on for all time and in the end it ends up with the same conclusion, no one has the proof, the answer.
In the case of what I am discussing in my last three posts (# 50, 52 and this post) what I am saying- all I am saying, and perhaps it is a digress from the original discussion- is that it is incredible how these people (Young, DiMaggio, Ruth, the 750+ homer guys) did what they did when most players in the game have not even come close. Was Cy Young an immortal? I don't know, but I would say he was helped by the "dead" ball, the spitball, all-daytime games over only a portion of the country, and actually being able to pitch an entire game as opposed to being limted by a pitch count.
Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3
Or what did DiMaggio do to hit in 56 games, which would have been 73 if that Indians 3B not played so deep in game #57? How come no one else has achieved that feat? Could it even be done again?
I am fully aware of the records that are documented. After the Red Sox won it all in 2004, I thought about the fact that someone could go back and look at every out of game 4 of the WS and prove the Cardinals lost that game and the Sox won it. Now, in Gibson's case, the argument is whether or not anyone can prove he hit almost 800 HRs.
Forget for a moment the "almost 800" HR total. Ask yourself this: was he an incredible hitter? Isn't he the only man ever to hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium? Is it true that he really did hit 72 homers in one season, according to Cool Papa Bell? Many people in the Negro Leagues said he had an incredible swing and incredible power. What, were they all on a conspiracy to lie about a mediocre hitter who was served up really fat pitches by a pitcher told to give up the home run ball?
Was Josh Gibson a credit to the game, or a liabilty? If the Yankee Stadium thing was true, if Buck Oneil's comments about the power of Ruth and the control of Ted Williams is true, and if he really did hit 72 homers as Papa Bell said, he was a credit to the game. I don't know what kind of a person he was, but I would say he was more a credit to the game than Ty Cobb. I agree with Dan Okrent that Cobb "in his totality was an embarrassment to baseball." I would take Gibson on my team (albeit the younger Gibson) any day over a creep like Cobb. But hey, I'm a black man and Cobb wouldn't play with me anyway.
Last edited by bryanac625; 09-15-2007 at 03:23 PM.
This very much reminds me of a "discussion" I had with my college roommate, who was failing freshman biology at Ohio State. See, he was a dedicated catholic, and refused to believe in anything based on evolution. I kept asking him how he explained obvious evidence to the contrary, he kept saying because it says so in the Bible. Just believe indeed.
Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3
The key to how many HR Gibson hit in his life is, how many games did he play & who did he play against? It would seem from previous posts in this thread, his appearances in Negro League, & various Latin American Winter leagues are pretty well documented. At least they give resonably close approximate numbers to work with. Previous posts give 224 NeL HR, 2 barnstorming against white MLB pitchers, 44 in the Mexican League, 2 HR in the Dominican Republic, 14 in Cuba and 19 in Puerto Rico. Thats 305 right there. The key is barnstorming. Who did Gibson's clubs play while barnstorming & in exhibitions? How many games a year? What was the level of competition? The non-elite teams of Negro baseball? The local (probably white) clubs of cities they visited? ("the town teams") If they played enough baseball, & more to the point, played enough low quality clubs, he might have really reached 800 or 900. Its going to take a LOT more mining of old newpapers ancient box scores & game write ups to determine it, with many probably lost to history permanently. But... no way did he hit anything like 800 or 900 against good quality top flight competition. It doesnt diminish him as a hitter at all to say that either. There is a recent thread on long HRs over on the history forum btw, that disproves rather conclusively the idea that Gibson hit one out of Yankee Stadium. Saying that doesnt detract from the man either. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the man could flat out hit & play at the level of an MLB HOF superstar. That should be more than enough credit for anyone, regardless of race. We dont need to give him a red cape & blue tights. The genuine truth should more than suffice. Wasnt it Clark Griffith who wanted to sign him for the Senators? Its too bad he couldnt have brought himself to do it. Perhaps Judge Landis would have stopped him, I dont know. Perhaps Landis DID stop him. I wonder if he (Griffith) ever floated the idea to Landis, or if any other owner did so (on the QT) about signing other top black talent of the day?
Originally Posted by Calif_Eagle
Thats exactly what I have said and posted. If he did hit 900 how many games did he play and more important what was the level of those he played again. Do I have to say it again..... I guess so... no one is taking anything away from Josh. If he didn't hit 900... if he did against "some" a lower calber pitching.... it takes nothing away from his greatness... why can't we get that one out of the way. He was still a great player and if given the chance he would have proved it in MLB.
There seems to be a problem here because of the skin color of Josh... as though some who question anything about the man.... the talk about that out of Yankee Stadium home run or the 900 home runs....as though I and some others are not giving him a fair shake. There are a great number of others MLB player who have their numbers questioned because ot the times they played in and for other reasons, conditions in the game the ball, rule changes and other reasons. no different then the case dealing with Josh. It has nothing to do with skin color.
We say he was a great HOF-caliber hitter, but that he did not hit 800-900 homers "against good quality top flight competition." Then we say the Negro Leagues were not as good as MLB. That's the part that I don't get.
Originally Posted by Calif_Eagle
Clark Griffith was opposed to integrating the Senators, but not for the same reasons as Judge Landis. Griffith decided he could make more money hosting both the Senators and the Grays at Griffith Stadium. Unfortunately, another moment in the long history of bad decisions in Washington, DC baseball. The team did not integrate until 1954, signing Carlos Paula.
Wasnt it Clark Griffith who wanted to sign him for the Senators? Its too bad he couldnt have brought himself to do it. Perhaps Judge Landis would have stopped him, I dont know. Perhaps Landis DID stop him. I wonder if he (Griffith) ever floated the idea to Landis, or if any other owner did so (on the QT) about signing other top black talent of the day?
Last edited by bryanac625; 09-17-2007 at 07:40 AM.
Griffith attended more Negro league games than every other man in organized baseball combined. Griffith did show some interest, cursory or not, in signing Gibson and others but D.C. was a segregated city and Griffith never pushed the issue for more reasons than that.
Griffith always said he wasn't going to be pushed into signing a black player - he was going to do it on his schedule - whatever that meant (he probably didn't know). IMO he should have integrated sooner and the fact that he didn't just shows the contradictory aspects of a person's decision making. He had worked out Charlie Grant in 1901 with McGraw. He was the first to sign Cuban players and he kept signing Spanish-speaking players when in all liklihood he and everyone else questioned their Castillan heritage.
As mentioned he attended many Negro league games at Griffith Stadium and he was deeply involved in the African American community in D.C. He was also organized baseball's point man when it came to discussing issues with black baseball and reporters (simply because Landis wouldn't). Eventually, Griffith received some flack after supposedly "shining on" Sam Lacy and others but it is obvious now that Griffith really wasn't an innovator when it came to incorporating black Americans into the majors. He was also merely the face of organized baseball (which wasn't progressive in the area) in the matter.
Griffith did make a lot of money from renting Griffith Stadium but the cash flow was seriously waning by 1944-45. He wanted to find a way to increase that revenue - not destroy it altogether. He also had a rapport with Negro league owners (particularly Cum Posy) and that partially lies at the heart of his conflict with Rickey (who sided with Posey's foe Greenlee) in 1945.
Rickey's actions were a serious threat to black baseball. He lied to and manipulated all of the leaders of black baseball (including Greenlee). In the end Rickey used the connections he made and knowledge he learned to take players who were under contract to others. He did this banking on the fact that black owners would have little recourse because it would actually set back the cause in general.
Black owners knew that they would lose one day when black were included into organized baseball. Deep down, they all accepted this. They also knew all about financial troubles, losing players, disbanding and rebuilding. The essence of the problem for them was how Rickey did his deeds. White men had traditionally been a major controlling factor over black teams simply because white promoters owned the fields. Obviously, this caused resentment and left an after-taste. Then, a white man from the Dodgers comes in a takes their players without compensation and threatens to destroy their very existence. And, he does this with contempt - telling the leagues that they were just charlatans and didn't garner his respect. Now that's duplicity at its finest.
When I counted up his documented 305 homers, based on the totals given by other posters in this thread, in my mind I considered all 305 as having been against top flight competition, giving the Negro Leagues and the Winter Leagues the benefit of the doubt. Some might disagree about the caliber of pitching in the NeNL & NeAL, I tend to think more or less that he faced a high enough standard for those HR's to meet the "top flight" standard. In those days baseball was the King sport by far, with college & pro football & basketball not siphoning off tremendous quantities of top flight black athletes as they do today. Not only did both of those sports discriminate, but they were also very much shoestring operations compared to the MLB of the 1st half of the 20th Century. College Football was big time, but was making very few spots available to blacks. So, if a young black man of those days wanted to play a sport professionally, it would seem to me that the Negro Leagues were the top of the hill for that era. As for the barnstorming HR's well... I tend to think they played a lot of teams out there on the road that were not of high level caliber, black and white teams alike. But I am always open to be persuaded by evidence that I am wrong.
Originally Posted by bryanac625
I don't think Gibson played enough "league" games to have 800-900 homers against the top flight competition at the time available to Negro Leaguers. The Negro Leaguers might have played 150-200 games per season if you factor in the doubleheaders / barnstorming trips and league games. After interviewing some Negro League players this past month, this was more of the case of their schedule. Every player I spoke to that played alongside Gibson only had marvelous things to say about him. The truth is, we'll never know, but there were plenty first hand accounts to document the prodigious power he had.
I know that it's already been said, but the above post is a pile of ignorance (even when the rampant misspellings are ignored). No one on this thread has said anything vile or disgraceful and none of us are racists. We are simply serious baseball fans who don't believe a tall tale about a man on whom accurate statistics were not kept when the evidence brings it's validity into question. I don't question Josh Gibson's HR total because he was black - that would be racist. I question his alleged 800-900 HR total because records indicate that he hit 180-240 HR in official Negro League games (which, for the sake of the debate, I will consider equal in the level of play to Major League games at the time). The rest of them were hit against barnstorming teams that no one can convince me played at a Major League level. Oh yeah, and HE DIED AT AGE 35! Do I think Josh Gibson would've been a star player in the Major Leagues had he had the opportunity to play? Absolutely. Do I think ANYONE could hit 900 legit Major League worthy HR by the age of 35? NO! That's all I have to say about that. As for Babe Ruth and the level of play in the Major Leagues during that era...Babe Ruth started hitting 50 HR when a typical league leading total was 15. Granted he was swinging for the fences more than others, but he wasn't sacrificing batting average points - he was hitting upwards of .350. You can't convince me that anyone who could hit 50 HR and drive in 150 without losing points on their average would consciously not do it, thus I believe Babe Ruth was far and away the best hitter of the era and of all time. If you think that letting black pitchers pitch to him would've limited him to 350 career HR, well then I don't think I can even reason with you enough to convince you otherwise. The fact that non-white players (who now make up 40% of MLB) weren't allowed to play in the Major Leagues would've diluted the talent...if not for the fact that there were only 16 teams (as opposed to 30 today). Thus there were many fewer spots available on MLB rosters and guys who make it as a middle reliever or utility infielder today weren't making it back then. No records set before 1947 deserve asterisks. As awful as segregation was, we can't hold it against the players who played during it's reign. It is part of the game's history, just like extending the schedule from 154 to 162 games. We haven't tagged records set after 1960 with asterisks. The only reason Maris' record was almost given one was that he set it in the first year after the schedule was extended and he was a quiet guy from North Dakota. But Ichiro's 262 hits didn't get one, even though the previous record was set before 1961. Barry Bonds' 232 walks didn't get one, even though the previous record was set pre 1960 AND Bonds was likely on steroids. Simply put, there are no asterisks in baseball. I'm off of this soap box.
Originally Posted by SBBL
There are many contributing factors to every record -and non-record in both leagues, and many have been pointed out well on this thread.
I think it bears keeping in mind that Negro League teams could not carry 20+ players on a roster, and that to stay on one, you had to be versatile and one of the best available. When you can only carry ~15 or so players on the bus, if you didn't perform consistently you were let go for an up-and-comer who was anxious to prove himself. Thus, to say the NeLs were watered down is rather dubious. There weren't that many viable 1st-tier teams, true, but there were only 16 MLB teams during the segregation era as well.
As far as developing talent, black town teams and semi-pro circuits were plenty ubiquitous then just as white ones were, and this was where the NeL major teams found their talent. Considering the playing and traveling conditions and the number of openings on the payrolls of Negro majors, one would have to conclude that breaking into a major NeL lineup was as tough as it was in MLB - one had to be pretty doggone determined and talented to make the Grays, the Crawfords, the Monarchs, American Giants, Eagles, etc.
I also think the points made about MLB's talent of the time are credible - take Ruth's list of 1927 homers, for example. He hit 4 of those off of Milt Gaston, a journeyman who was basically an 11-year mediocrity at best. (4.55 career ERA, W-L 97-164). You can go down the list of the Babe's 1927 season and see a lot of this. This is not to disparage the Babe, mind you, who would have been a big-time hitter on any field, but it does beg the question of whether a lot of these nobody pitchers would have had a MLB job had the league been integrated in, say, 1920 or '25. With indisputably dominating guys like Paige, Joe Williams, Leon Day, Ray Brown, etc., excluded, I think it's safe to say that Ruth was swinging against a 'watered down' pitching stable through much of his career. Likewise, some of the dominant MLB pitchers might not have fared as well had they had to face the likes of Charleston, Leonard, Bell, Wells, Gibson, Mackey, Suttles, etc.
In the same way some speculate about Ruth's numbers had he been moved to OF before 1920, or May's #s had he not lost a year to the Army at his peak, it is certainly credible to believe that a Gibson may have rivaled Ruth, or a Joe Williams may have rivaled Walter Johnson, or that Paige may have been the Bob Gibson of his time. We'll never know, because of the way things were - and that's a shame. Whether Gibson hit 900 home runs, against whom, and where, is certainly interesting fodder, but it's just as fair game to question the records of guys like the Babe, for the very same reasons.
I think it's accurate to say that both league's records from that era are disproportionate since neither league included all of the best players on the same fields.
Last edited by JohnHenry; 11-03-2007 at 10:41 AM.
Agreed, these points have been debated for the longest time. Not just Ruth and Gibson...............Ruth...Aaron..............Rut h...........Bonds and thoughts on how Gibson may have performed if given his chance at MLB, quite well I am sure and barring injury a HOF player, a disgrace he and other blacks never had their chance simply because of skin color.
Originally Posted by JohnHenry
The thing with the 900 home runs is there is no way to ever know the real number. I doubt it, hard to believe any hitter could hit 100 + more home runs than Barry Bonds and almost 150 more than Hank Aaron and he died at the age of 35. We have valid numbers on Ruth, Aaron and Bonds.
As for Ruth feasting on certain pitchers "cousins" I would think that most home run hitters in any era took it out on the lower level of pitchers.......the same pitchers all other hitters in their time batted against.
Now we get into other areas again. Is it true that Ruth faced so much inferior pitching, in some cases yes. He did also hit 10 home runs off of Walter Johnson and Ruth did not become a regular outfielder until his 6th season. He did hit 9 home runs off of one of the best Lefty Grove and the first time Ruth faced Grove was in Ruth's 12th season.
Ruth also lost one against Grove in 1930, hitting a ball that cleared the wall at Shibe but struck speakers, Ruth was given a double.
I do believe the overall pitching is better in todays game but that is some what tempered by the fact that there are some in the game who would not be here if not for expansion.
If we are to accept 100 percent the claim by some that todays pitching is so superior to those in Ruth's time we would have to conclude the following. Any of todays hitters who can hit 50 or close to 60 if hitting against the 1920s pitchers would have to be capable of hitting 70 or more.
On the other hand if Ruth was hitting against todays pitching maybe he would hit in the high 40's and possibly a 50 plus season. That just doesn't make sense.
How it be any other way if we accept the claim that todays pitcher are so superior to those of long ago. If thats true todays sluggers 60+ not out of reach if they played back then and Ruth, it would be a struggle for him to get to the 50s' in todays game.
I think your last paragraph wraps it up neatly............neither league included the best players......................
Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 11-04-2007 at 10:15 AM.