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The best 5 hitters.

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  • #16
    h Scott,

    My group of pesky hitters is now one (Cobb)

    Sonny

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    • #17
      Richard's point about basing the comparison around the period of peak production is interesting for sure. If you do that, it would, for me, come down to Bonds and Ruth. And I'd pick Bonds.

      It is hard to compare players from different eras. In EVERY sport where individual performance can be clearly measured (swimming, track, weightlifting, etc.) performance is so dramatically higher (today) that it is laughable to conclude anything other than today's athletes are the all-time best.

      Many seem to believe that doesn't apply to athletes participating in team sports. And I find this stunningly dislogical.

      Nyman says that ONE sport that is different today is baseball, especially hitting, because the trial and error process was so elongated for athletes in the 20s through the 60s. Because they played much more as kids. Sandlot play all day, etc. His contention is that Ruth et al could be placed smack in the middle of today's game w/ their skills as they were in the their prime, and they would dominate.

      Interesting, I remain unpersuaded. I think the expanded season, night games, cross-country travel, relief pitchers, expanded ethnicity opening the game to a broader pool of the world's athletes, the pressure of today's media, ground rule doubles NOT being a HR, the invention of the slider, and about a jillion other factors would render the previous generation all but impotent. I do think Babe would enjoy the expanded sausage menu at most MLB parks, however.

      (I would also note that the influx of Latin players in the game kind of proves Paul's point - a little. They DO play as much when young as did Ruth and his contemporaries. And it has helped them fill MLB rosters disproportionately. But at some point in their lives, they also train, use nutrition, and sleep at night - things Ruth couldn't be bothered with.)

      I'd buy a ticket, though, and wouldn't mind being wrong.


      One comparison I DO think is fair in comparing athletes of various periods:

      Hw much better were they than their contemporaries? How far did they stretch the record books?

      And here, I'd give the edge to Ruth. What was the previous HR record when he started hitting 50 every year? Maybe 24?

      In other words, I think Ruth was better than his contemporaries by a wider margin than Bonds is better than his.

      But I'd draft Bonds today.

      Regards,

      Scott

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      • #18
        I like to think of ones that emphasize certain aspects of the swing.

        My basic premise is arm action is king and there is trmendous carryover from throwing/pitching to hitting. The first great modern home run specialist was Ruth (accroding to Cobb because he was left alone to be goofy and hit however he wanted for the first few years sice he was a pitcher and a lefty).

        The Babe's swing shows how to use the same arm action is king approach in throwing and hitting.

        next Aaron is great example of righty bellyup swing that can cover up and down/in and out completely.

        Brett is a great example of the lau off the plate school of thought and this is particularly effective for lefties who tend to have low ball swing.

        Bonds shows how to perfect things as a lefty low ball (low especially as compared to the higher zone/mound for aaron's day) hitter/belly-up.light bat.more vertical than forward weight shift

        Pujols as Modern righty high ball hitter.

        Those cover the waterfront pretty well.

        Williams is interesting from the perspective ofhow to hit lefty using the dominant arm as lead arm/without the direct carryover from throwing.

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        • #19
          Williams is interesting from the perspective ofhow to hit lefty using the dominant arm as lead arm/without the direct carryover from throwing.
          As is a very disproportionate percentage of the HOF. Which hurts your theory about arm action, Tom.

          Regards,

          Scott

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          • #20
            Bonds shows how to perfect things as a lefty low ball (low especially as compared to the higher zone/mound for aaron's day) hitter/belly-up.light bat.more vertical than forward weight shift
            I think I know what you MEAN here, but "vertical weight shift" is a bizarre term on a planet with gravity. Can you please expand?

            And why would it be more relevant for a LOW BALL hitter? (to use your characterization). No reason to shift UP to hit a low ball, is there?

            Best,

            Scott

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            • #21
              Don't know how you can get clips of old hitters, but here's a Bonds one broken down frame by frame by Tony Gwynn:

              http://www.usatoday.com/sports/gallery/bonds/flash.htm

              I saw Bonds give hitting tips on TWIB with Jenny Finch a couple of years ago and then she pitched to him and he demonstrated that he can always make solid contact.

              He emphasized the quickest swing possible, taking the most direct path to the ball. No wasted motion. He equated it with catching the ball with your top hand or a boxer's punch. You would take a direct path. The top hand also controls the spin so that his swing produces backspin and longer flights of the ball.

              In common with Ted Williams, those two would say get a good pitch to hit. Bonds will take to two strikes any pitch he cannot drive. In Bonds' case, many witnesses have stated that he can call out what pitch is coming in advance 10 times in a row. That's mostly long years in the big leagues.

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              • #22
                Bonds, at his peak, hands down, best hitter that ever lived.

                Evidence........managerial fear......no one will pitch to him.

                If that happened to anyone else it was the Babe........but I don't believe to the degree of Bonds.

                Maybe drug induced, but....he is alone at the top with a nice distance between him and Babe and then a great distance between him and the rest.

                Why....quickest most efficient swing ever. Knows how to use his center in a manner unsurpassed. Has the tightest radius of rotation ever recorded.
                Last edited by Ohfor; 03-18-2006, 11:03 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Ohfor
                  Evidence........managerial fear......no one will pitch to him.
                  .
                  I think this is also another point that can't be proven due to different time periods.

                  In the older game pitchers were more 'bad ass' and would prove it! We're talking like Roger Clemens throwing at peoples heads here! Today, most (not all) pitchers are afraid of making a mistake instead of focusing on beating them. Even when Bonds is pitched to today most guys just try and sit on the outside corner and throw as few fastballs as possible, They Are Scared. And i think it plays to his advantage, especially the other managers calling for intentional walks.

                  Anybody have the number of intentional walks for the entire league from then and now???
                  "Do not dismiss what you do not understand"
                  "A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones who need the advice." - Bill Cosby
                  "There are sound intellectual grounds for holding faith positions" - Fungo 22

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Ohfor
                    If you use "best at his peak" instead of "career numbers" Bonds leads this by a wide margin.

                    And, IMHO, best at his peak is what is important to we hitting instructor wannabes.

                    Career numbers indicate who figured it out the soonest. Not interested.

                    "Best at peak" tells us just how good they got. Very interested.
                    hmm I wonder why his "peak" was so good

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                    • #25
                      Why....quickest most efficient swing ever. Knows how to use his center in a manner unsurpassed. Has the tightest radius of rotation ever recorded.

                      -------------------------------
                      -------------------------------------------------
                      Aided by the best loading pattern that created it. take the loading pattern away and couldn't turn in an airport

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                      • #26
                        You have no clue what creates a tight radius.

                        In fact, most of what I read from you lengthens the radius.

                        Good luck facing top pitching.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by bigdaddy
                          The problem with these lists is that it's difficult to compare hitters from different periods.

                          You have to take into account...travel, relief pitching etc.

                          I like Bonds if he's going to face the same pitcher 5 times per game and see that pitcher 100's of times in his career while playing all day games and never traveling into different time zones or playing day games after night games.

                          Keith
                          Nothing about this era on or off the field makes things harder. I'd take a private luxurious jet over a cramped, bumpy train any day. Didn't have to play day games after night games? No they didnt play night games, but they played many double headers, and played exhibition games on "off days." Some including myself actually prefer to play in night games. The long list of advantages all swing toward this era, no question.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by ssarge

                            And here, I'd give the edge to Ruth. What was the previous HR record when he started hitting 50 every year? Maybe 24?
                            He set the record with 29 in 1919. In '20 he outhomered every team in the AL, and set the record again with 54, the next guy (Sisler) had 19. Set the record again in '21 with 59, the next guy (Meusel) had 24. Outhomered every team in the league in '27, and set his own record again with 60.

                            First to 30, 40, 50, and 60 homers. When he hit his 700th HR, he had more than twice as many career homers as anyone else.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jbooth
                              If you are making a list of the best of ALL-TIME you have to find hitters who hit with both power and average.
                              I think the ops stat takes care of anything you want to know about a middle of the order hitter.

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                              • #30
                                The question isn't whether the greats from yesteryear could dominate now. We all agree they probably could. The question is...how would today's top players perform if they were playing 60 years ago.

                                Toady's athletes are bigger, stronger, smarter, better conditioned, faster and playing against better competition day in and day out.

                                I believe an all-star team made up of the best players from the last twenty years would EASILY beat an all-star team from say the 1920's and 1030's.

                                Baseball seems to be the only sport that has trouble admitting this. Is there any doubt in hockey, football, basketball, nascar, tennis, golf etc.?

                                Keith

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