Warning: I am not a sabermetrician, nor do I understand sabermetrics, nor do I want to understand sabermetrics. This is a fight of good old fashioned plain stats. It's also not very good.

I feel like every time I have a conversation about modern baseball with somebody my age, Trout gets brought up, not simply as a great player, but as potentially the greatest player ever. I'm not talking about cheerful cries of "GOAT!" I'm talking about wholehearted belief that Trout is blowing everybody else out of the water, so to speak. I've heard it a lot, to which I always say "Cobb was entirely better," to which I get one of three responses: the first being, "It's not comparable, it was a different era," the second being, "Cobb is overrated, Trout is just better" and the third, funniest of all, and I promise you I really did get this once (albeit from a high school freshman), "Who?"

I think I'm particularly defensive about my position, given that I'm a teenager myself, and people don't expect teenagers to prefer vintage baseball to the way it's done nowadays. (And chicks are supposed to dig the long ball!) So, as it turns out, I'm defensive enough about it that I want to lay it all out. Plus, I'm extremely bored, and looking over baseball stats always gives me some excitement. So this is my treatise, everybody.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that Trout is currently in his tenth season, while Cobb played twenty-four. Does Trout have to play twenty-four seasons to theoretically be the best? No way. Addie Joss (hey, fellow Addie!) only played nine seasons, but I feel comfortable saying he was one of the all-time greats. But, for a better comparison between Trout and Cobb, we'd need to see the full arc of Trout's career. If Trout is still playing at age 41, as Cobb did, what will his statistics be? Will he still be putting out impressive numbers, as Cobb did (.323, good job old man!), or will he have fallen off or retired? We can't know. So, that certainly affects things, at least as far as his career numbers go.

But, I feel comfortable saying that unless something absolutely amazing happens, unless Trout emerges in a ball of flame next season and hits .500 and then never lets up, he won't ever be as good as Cobb. And, I think I can make a good showing of that.

Given his short career thus far, let's just compare his 8 full seasons (not counting his first nor the current season) to Cobb's first 8 seasons, and disregard the rest of Cobb's career. Let's live in an alternate universe for a moment where Cobb fell off the face of the earth in 1913, never to be seen again. They both started at around the same time; Cobb debuted at 18, and Trout at 19. They played in two very separate environments, but I promise I'll cover that in a minute.

Let's start with just straightforward stats. In Cobb's first 8 full seasons (1906-1913), he hit .371, with 743 RBI in total, a .422 OBP, and 46 home runs. In Trout's first full 8 seasons (2012-2019), he hit .307, with 736 RBI in total, a .424 OBP, and 280 home runs. Cobb's batting average is better by .64 points, and he drove in 7 more runs, and had an OBP worse than Trout's by the negligible .2 points. Obviously, the massive difference is home runs. No competition there. Trout blows Cobb away with 234 more home runs.

As far as batting average goes, we have a clear winner in Cobb. .64 is quite a bit of difference. A lot of people don't think batting average is particularly important anymore, and while I couldn't disagree more, I don't think that's particularly important to my argument. What is important, though, is the era in which these two guys played. Or, rather, the ERA in which they played. (Get it?) In Cobb's first eight years, the league ERA each year was between 2.66 and 3.37. In Trout's, it was between 4.07 and 4.83! So Trout isn't disadvantaged by his era; rather, he has the edge there.

Well, it must be in the number of hits, right? There are fewer hits nowadays, but more home runs, leading to the inflated average? Not so. In Cobb's eight seasons, the average H/9 of the league was 8.35, and in Trout's, it was 8.69! The reality is, Trout is playing in an era where, on average, teams get more hits, and score more runs, and yet his average is .64 lower. Now, if you really don't think batting average matters, that's fine. But you would think that if a guy is the best player of all time, he'd be closer to his contender, especially in an era with easier pitching!

How about RBI? Well, I think Cobb absolutely ran away with it. That's not immediately apparent; after all, he only beat Trout by 7. But think about it this way. Trout is playing in the era of the longball. The ball is hopped up, replaced constantly as to allow it to fly, and the ballparks are smaller. Cobb, meanwhile, played in the deadball era, and, at least in his first eight years, would frequently hit a misshapen, lumpy, brown ball around a field with outrageously deep outfields. Trout has the obvious home run advantage, and home runs not only score runners, they score you.

So I'm going to adjust for home runs, crudely, but, I hope, at least somewhat effectively. Trout hit 280 home runs, and each time he hit a home run, he drove in himself. This means that 280 of his RBIs are Mike Trout, giving him a total of 456 men batted in who were not Mike Trout. But Ty Cobb only hit 46 home runs. Only 46 of Ty Cobb's 743 RBIs were Ty Cobb, giving Ty Cobb a total of 697 men batted in who were not Ty Cobb. So, in eight seasons, Ty Cobb batted in 697 runners who weren't him; Trout batted in 456. That's a difference of 241 runs. That's pretty massive. Cobb has the edge. Even if you completely disregard my adjustment, Cobb STILL beats Trout by 7!

Here's a stat I failed to mention earlier: in Cobb's first eight years, he scored 790 runs, and in Trout's, he scored 883. Cobb loses by a pretty big margin, but you'd think it would be much bigger! Remember that Trout had the advantage of 280 home runs that Cobb literally could not have even come close to, due to the state of the ball and the size of the ballparks. Think about this. Without the benefit of home runs, Cobb scored 744 runs, and Trout scored 603. Why did Cobb score so many more runs? Was it because his team was so much better at batting him in? Hardly. Cobb's Tigers hit .266 as a team in that span, while Trout's Angels hit .254 behind him. Certainly the Tigers had a higher batting average, but since it's only higher by .12 points, this doesn't explain the entire 141 run difference. .12 points does not 141 runs make. Why was Cobb able to score from the basepaths 141 times more than Trout?

BASE STEALING. Cobb stole like an insane person, but it worked. Cobb stole 451 bases in those eight years, to Trout's 196. That's 255 extra bases. Cobb stole his way into scoring position at his leisure, leading to an increase in his number of runs scored. He didn't have the advantage of being able to hit so many home runs, but he made things happen for himself despite that. (Also, he stole home 28 times in those eight years. Trout has never stolen home. Does stealing home affect who's the better player? Not really, but stealing home is awesome, so Cobb gets points from me.)

(Important note: one could argue that I'm disadvantaging Trout here by eliminating all of his home runs. Those were hits, you may say, and even if we're getting rid of the homers, they should be turned into doubles, or singles, or something. However, keep in mind that a lot of these homers would just be long outs now! Certainly some of them, 70% is my layman's guess, would fall for singles, doubles or triples, with an inside-the-parker thrown in now and again. But, with a batting average of .307 compared to Cobb's .371, even if you turned every single Trout home run into a triple, this would not even come close to closing the gap between Trout and Cobb.)

Finally, just to round everything out, OBP. They basically have the same OBP, but one must acknowledge that Cobb's is slightly smaller. This is due, mostly, to the fact that Trout, over his eight year span, walked more than twice as often as Cobb, with 794 walks to Cobb's 334. However, it is noteworthy that despite doubling Cobb's number of walks, he was still only able to just barely eke out a lead, with the .2 point difference in OBP being remarkably small. (Also, not to get too into the nitty-gritty, but any pitcher with two brain cells is much more likely to walk Trout than Cobb. Walking Trout diminishes his risk, given that he could easily hit a home run otherwise. Walking Cobb increases his risk, given that he was a cyclone on the basepaths.)

So, that's it. There's my case for Cobb's supremacy over Trout. This epic battle of two food items has come to a close. If anybody disagrees, or thinks this write-up sucks, let me know. It was entirely born out of boredom. Have a great night everybody!

I feel like every time I have a conversation about modern baseball with somebody my age, Trout gets brought up, not simply as a great player, but as potentially the greatest player ever. I'm not talking about cheerful cries of "GOAT!" I'm talking about wholehearted belief that Trout is blowing everybody else out of the water, so to speak. I've heard it a lot, to which I always say "Cobb was entirely better," to which I get one of three responses: the first being, "It's not comparable, it was a different era," the second being, "Cobb is overrated, Trout is just better" and the third, funniest of all, and I promise you I really did get this once (albeit from a high school freshman), "Who?"

I think I'm particularly defensive about my position, given that I'm a teenager myself, and people don't expect teenagers to prefer vintage baseball to the way it's done nowadays. (And chicks are supposed to dig the long ball!) So, as it turns out, I'm defensive enough about it that I want to lay it all out. Plus, I'm extremely bored, and looking over baseball stats always gives me some excitement. So this is my treatise, everybody.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that Trout is currently in his tenth season, while Cobb played twenty-four. Does Trout have to play twenty-four seasons to theoretically be the best? No way. Addie Joss (hey, fellow Addie!) only played nine seasons, but I feel comfortable saying he was one of the all-time greats. But, for a better comparison between Trout and Cobb, we'd need to see the full arc of Trout's career. If Trout is still playing at age 41, as Cobb did, what will his statistics be? Will he still be putting out impressive numbers, as Cobb did (.323, good job old man!), or will he have fallen off or retired? We can't know. So, that certainly affects things, at least as far as his career numbers go.

But, I feel comfortable saying that unless something absolutely amazing happens, unless Trout emerges in a ball of flame next season and hits .500 and then never lets up, he won't ever be as good as Cobb. And, I think I can make a good showing of that.

Given his short career thus far, let's just compare his 8 full seasons (not counting his first nor the current season) to Cobb's first 8 seasons, and disregard the rest of Cobb's career. Let's live in an alternate universe for a moment where Cobb fell off the face of the earth in 1913, never to be seen again. They both started at around the same time; Cobb debuted at 18, and Trout at 19. They played in two very separate environments, but I promise I'll cover that in a minute.

Let's start with just straightforward stats. In Cobb's first 8 full seasons (1906-1913), he hit .371, with 743 RBI in total, a .422 OBP, and 46 home runs. In Trout's first full 8 seasons (2012-2019), he hit .307, with 736 RBI in total, a .424 OBP, and 280 home runs. Cobb's batting average is better by .64 points, and he drove in 7 more runs, and had an OBP worse than Trout's by the negligible .2 points. Obviously, the massive difference is home runs. No competition there. Trout blows Cobb away with 234 more home runs.

As far as batting average goes, we have a clear winner in Cobb. .64 is quite a bit of difference. A lot of people don't think batting average is particularly important anymore, and while I couldn't disagree more, I don't think that's particularly important to my argument. What is important, though, is the era in which these two guys played. Or, rather, the ERA in which they played. (Get it?) In Cobb's first eight years, the league ERA each year was between 2.66 and 3.37. In Trout's, it was between 4.07 and 4.83! So Trout isn't disadvantaged by his era; rather, he has the edge there.

Well, it must be in the number of hits, right? There are fewer hits nowadays, but more home runs, leading to the inflated average? Not so. In Cobb's eight seasons, the average H/9 of the league was 8.35, and in Trout's, it was 8.69! The reality is, Trout is playing in an era where, on average, teams get more hits, and score more runs, and yet his average is .64 lower. Now, if you really don't think batting average matters, that's fine. But you would think that if a guy is the best player of all time, he'd be closer to his contender, especially in an era with easier pitching!

How about RBI? Well, I think Cobb absolutely ran away with it. That's not immediately apparent; after all, he only beat Trout by 7. But think about it this way. Trout is playing in the era of the longball. The ball is hopped up, replaced constantly as to allow it to fly, and the ballparks are smaller. Cobb, meanwhile, played in the deadball era, and, at least in his first eight years, would frequently hit a misshapen, lumpy, brown ball around a field with outrageously deep outfields. Trout has the obvious home run advantage, and home runs not only score runners, they score you.

So I'm going to adjust for home runs, crudely, but, I hope, at least somewhat effectively. Trout hit 280 home runs, and each time he hit a home run, he drove in himself. This means that 280 of his RBIs are Mike Trout, giving him a total of 456 men batted in who were not Mike Trout. But Ty Cobb only hit 46 home runs. Only 46 of Ty Cobb's 743 RBIs were Ty Cobb, giving Ty Cobb a total of 697 men batted in who were not Ty Cobb. So, in eight seasons, Ty Cobb batted in 697 runners who weren't him; Trout batted in 456. That's a difference of 241 runs. That's pretty massive. Cobb has the edge. Even if you completely disregard my adjustment, Cobb STILL beats Trout by 7!

Here's a stat I failed to mention earlier: in Cobb's first eight years, he scored 790 runs, and in Trout's, he scored 883. Cobb loses by a pretty big margin, but you'd think it would be much bigger! Remember that Trout had the advantage of 280 home runs that Cobb literally could not have even come close to, due to the state of the ball and the size of the ballparks. Think about this. Without the benefit of home runs, Cobb scored 744 runs, and Trout scored 603. Why did Cobb score so many more runs? Was it because his team was so much better at batting him in? Hardly. Cobb's Tigers hit .266 as a team in that span, while Trout's Angels hit .254 behind him. Certainly the Tigers had a higher batting average, but since it's only higher by .12 points, this doesn't explain the entire 141 run difference. .12 points does not 141 runs make. Why was Cobb able to score from the basepaths 141 times more than Trout?

BASE STEALING. Cobb stole like an insane person, but it worked. Cobb stole 451 bases in those eight years, to Trout's 196. That's 255 extra bases. Cobb stole his way into scoring position at his leisure, leading to an increase in his number of runs scored. He didn't have the advantage of being able to hit so many home runs, but he made things happen for himself despite that. (Also, he stole home 28 times in those eight years. Trout has never stolen home. Does stealing home affect who's the better player? Not really, but stealing home is awesome, so Cobb gets points from me.)

(Important note: one could argue that I'm disadvantaging Trout here by eliminating all of his home runs. Those were hits, you may say, and even if we're getting rid of the homers, they should be turned into doubles, or singles, or something. However, keep in mind that a lot of these homers would just be long outs now! Certainly some of them, 70% is my layman's guess, would fall for singles, doubles or triples, with an inside-the-parker thrown in now and again. But, with a batting average of .307 compared to Cobb's .371, even if you turned every single Trout home run into a triple, this would not even come close to closing the gap between Trout and Cobb.)

Finally, just to round everything out, OBP. They basically have the same OBP, but one must acknowledge that Cobb's is slightly smaller. This is due, mostly, to the fact that Trout, over his eight year span, walked more than twice as often as Cobb, with 794 walks to Cobb's 334. However, it is noteworthy that despite doubling Cobb's number of walks, he was still only able to just barely eke out a lead, with the .2 point difference in OBP being remarkably small. (Also, not to get too into the nitty-gritty, but any pitcher with two brain cells is much more likely to walk Trout than Cobb. Walking Trout diminishes his risk, given that he could easily hit a home run otherwise. Walking Cobb increases his risk, given that he was a cyclone on the basepaths.)

So, that's it. There's my case for Cobb's supremacy over Trout. This epic battle of two food items has come to a close. If anybody disagrees, or thinks this write-up sucks, let me know. It was entirely born out of boredom. Have a great night everybody!

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