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Discussion on Baseballs through the years

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
    Of course some might say that he was reluctant to celebrate passing Mays, because Mays is his Godfather. I'm not saying that doesn't play a part at all, for any human it's got to be a factor, but I think when comparing white Ruth to black Mays, there's something else at work there. I think Barry loves the fact that there's gonna be 3/4 black guys atop the career HR list. He doesn't care that Aaron took over 7 seasons worth of AB (based on 550) to get only 41 more homers than Ruth. He still sees Hank as the better HR hitters. Shows some bias there. And he doesn't care that he himself wouldn't be anywhere near, forget Aaron, Ruth, or Mays, he'd be behind Frank Robinson imo, without steroids and a natural decline. He doesn't care. Of course even he would never say this to the press.
    I did consider but did not mention that in my post and I believe it played into Barry's feeling on passing Mays. However I think that played a small part, a very small part, skin color was a bigger factor. A while back when asked about how he thought he would be viewed compared to Ruth when he leaves the game Barry gave some words but ended with, "don't forget I'm black and Ruth was white. Many times he has brought skin color into his statements over the years.

    Comment


    • #77
      An article from the Sporting News. March 10th, 1938
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
        Except if you read the articles of the time the ball was not changed. The leagues stated publicly that the ball was not altered. Studies came out that stated the ball was not changed. So if indeed the ball was changed they either knew and lied or found out and covered it up.


        For me though the funny thing is that we sit here and discount what players did today based on balls, bats, stadiums, healthcare, etc, etc. But look at what I just quoted. You don't think people were doing the same thing in 1921? You honestly think "traditionalist" baseball fans saw the changes that took place in the early 20's as needed and beneficial?

        Basically no one point in baseball is the true moment, the real moment when everything was authentic. There is no one era in baseball where one can point at and base everything else on how it compares to that one moment. There is no golden moment, there is opinions and choices but no Holy Grail.
        I would say and I have read that the new brand of baseball that came on to the scene in the early 20's in some minds was not needed or beneficial. In fact it was looked upon with disdain by many. The fans loved it just as many of todays fans loved the surge that took place in the early 1990's.

        I gave some reasons, some changes as to why it took place, in reply to a post that asked why we didn't look down on that change as some did the change in recent years. That was long ago and perhaps that makes no difference, the change then and the change now. It's possible had I been around at that time, had some of us been living in that time we may have reacted the same as some did in recent years.

        No way to tell what my reaction would have been had I lived back in that time.

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
          Except if you read the articles of the time the ball was not changed. The leagues stated publicly that the ball was not altered. Studies came out that stated the ball was not changed. So if indeed the ball was changed they either knew and lied or found out and covered it up.
          All of that could be true. Different stories from MLB. A better grade of yarn was now available (1919) and improvements in the manufacture of the ball. This is old stuff, for sure you and most on this board have heard this one. Maybe some new posters have not.

          Hard to believe anything MLB ever said about the ball in the long history of the game. Would they admit they changed the ball, I doubt it in all cases but one time they did reveal a change in the ball.

          In the NL winter meeting in 1929 the owners did decide to go to a different ball for the 1930 season. Lower seams, thinner cover and the NL exploded that season. Right from the start pitchers complaining about the lower seams and the thinner tighter cover, harder to grip and harder to get "stuff' on the ball. This was also the same complaints a number of pitchers made in the 1990's.

          One look at the NL league batting average and total home runs in 1930 and 1931 tells the story. In 1931 the owners went back to the old ball and the NL came back to the real world.

          The owners knew it then and they know it now, chicks are not the only ones that dig the long ball. It's a game but as we know it's also a busine$$.
          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-23-2007, 05:38 AM.

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by JRB View Post
            As far as Babe Ruth is concerned, he didn't need any of those changes. He was alread head and shoulders above the other hitters in the league, and he would have continued to dominate without any changes. I think an interesting question is how many home runs in one season do you think Ruth would have eventually hit with the dead ball (he had just hit 29 in a partial season). Would he have eventually set the record at around 40, 45, or 50?

            c JRB
            Babe Ruth never played a major league game with a dead ball. Now having said that I will say that he most certainly did play with scuffed balls, beat up balls, discolored balls, lopsided balls, and pretty much anything else one can do to the ball due to wear and tear or on purpose.

            The "new" ball, the "live" ball that would fuel the boom of the 1920's was introduced in 1910 and it had an amazing effect on the game. So much so that the leagues allowed players to "cheat" and made it allowable for a pitcher to basically do anything they wanted to a baseball in order to get around the live ball.

            At best we can say that post war machinery improved thus the consistency of the ball improved, but the ball and its characteristics were created and introduced into the league in 1910. What we saw post WWI is what replacing baseballs and not allowing pitchers to alter the ball will do to the 1910 ball.
            Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-22-2007, 10:01 PM.

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
              Babe Ruth never played a major league game with a dead ball. Now having said that I will say that he most certainly did play with scuffed balls, beat up balls, discolored balls, lopsided balls, and pretty much anything else one can do to the ball due to wear and tear or on purpose.

              The "new" ball, the "live" ball that would fuel the boom of the 1920's was introduced in 1910 and it had an amazing effect on the game. So much so that the leagues allowed players to "cheat" and made it allowable for a pitcher to basically do anything they wanted to a baseball in order to get around the live ball.

              At best we can say that post war machinery improved thus the consistency of the ball improved, but the ball and its characteristics were created and introduced into the league in 1910. What we saw post WWI is what replacing baseballs and not allowing pitchers to alter the ball will do to the 1910 ball.
              Ubi: I disagree with your characterization, which seems like semantical gamesmanship.

              It is well known that changes were made to the ball that was introduced into the AL early in the 1920 season and to the NL in late season. Australian yarn was used and wound tighter so that the ball's bounce and hardness substanially increased.

              The so-called 1910 ball to which you refer reflects the date MLB officially approved the use of a cork centered ball (which incidently had been used even before 1910). That ball was considered much more lively however it was surely trumped by the later ball. I think it is generally accepted that the "deadball" era lasted until or through 1920, and thereafter the "liveball" era began. Babe Ruth's home run hitting accomplishment in 1919 was remarkable whether you call the ball he used a "dead ball" or simply a "deader ball" (than the one subsequently used).

              c JRB

              Comment


              • #82
                One thing is sure: the ball Ruth was hitting over 500' was a much, much, much deader ball than the ones used today. No one could hit one as far as he did in his day, nor can they hit one as far today. That's how amazingly powerful he was as a hitter. Today, he'd be bashing them out of stadiums with even greater frequency.

                Perhaps the chart below will help with the analysis. Ruth was clearly in his own league.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by TRfromBR; 07-23-2007, 02:25 AM.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by JRB View Post
                  It is well known that changes were made to the ball that was introduced into the AL early in the 1920 season and to the NL in late season. Australian yarn was used and wound tighter so that the ball's bounce and hardness substanially increased.
                  It is well known? Okay show me where the proof is that a new ball was introduced in 1920.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                    It is well known? Okay show me where the proof is that a new ball was introduced in 1920.
                    Ubi: You crack me up. You mean you've never heard or read about the changes made to the ball around that time? Surely you're only feigning ignorance. However, I'll play along for now.

                    It's been discussed in numerous articles and books for many decades. Since we've been discussing Ruth let me refer you to one of his biographers, Marshall Smelser. On pages 188-89 Smelzer writes:

                    "During the First World War the Bureau of Standards studied baseballs to set rules for their purchase by the armed forces. The services bought the kind which was made to last the longest. This study of the ball would not make it lively, but for the first time the makers had all the facts they needed to make a ball with predictable performance. The makers' story is that in 1919 they got better machinery for winding yarn, and a better grade of Australian wool yarn. The new machines wound the new yarn more tightly and the ball bounded further off the bat. The makers may have been honestly ignorant of a difference for a year or so."

                    Smelzer also relates that Earnshaw Cook (author of Percentage Baseball) is convinced that the 1920 ball was 16% more resilient than earlier balls.

                    c JRB

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Every single change to the ball in those had been made public. Yet nothing was written about the "new" ball of 1920. In 1910 they put out ads stating they had a new ball. In 1925 they put out ads saying they had a new ball.
                      They tested balls from 1914, 1923, and 1925 and concluded that the elasticity was "practically the same". William Curran who wrote Big Sticks writes that no change occurred for the 1920 ball. All throughout the 20's people were looking at the ball and they could find no differences.



                      Here is what the Bureau of Standards had to say about the balls in August of 1920 Notice how they say no changes?

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        I've said this before but take a look at the offensive levels of 1911 and 1912, and for the NL 1910. Then think about what hitters were up against in 1911 and 1912. Even though they had new balls they were not replaced at anything close to the frequency of replacement in say 1921 or so. Pitchers were allowed to scuff, shine, spit on, and do whatever else they wanted to a ball and yet despite all of that offensive levels were similar to what was put up in the early 1920's.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                          How come basically two guys on drugs are the only ones who can hit 450 ft+ homers?
                          Are you joking? Can you get a list of the "reported" distances on some homers over the past decade or so? There have been many balls that went 470+, including at least a few hit by easy swinging Miguel Cabrera. Let's not be naive and think baseball can't adjust this game like a puppet on a string. Did you read this from Popular Mechanics?

                          "But while all balls were in MLB spec as far was weight (5 to 5.25 ounces) and COR, balls at the lightest and liveliest end of the tolerance specs, compared to balls at the heaviest and deadest end of the tolerances, would typically travel 49.1 ft. farther than the heavier ball, on a 400 foot hit. That's a 10 percent performance difference within MLB's own specs and could mean the difference between a lazy fly ball and a home run."
                          "By common consent, Ruth was the hardest hitter of history; a fine fielder, if not a finished one; an inspired base runner, seeming to do the right thing without thinking. He had the most perfect co-ordination of any human animal I ever knew." - Hugh Fullerton, 1936 (Chicago sports writer, 1893-1930's)

                          ROY / ERA+ Title / Cy Young / WS MVP / HR Title / Gold Glove / Comeback POY / BA Title / MVP / All Star / HOF

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            You mean the popular mechanics article in which the very next line is:
                            So while the "scientists" on the field say the difference in balls is wide and significant, the scientists in the lab conclude that the old and new balls are virtually identical.
                            With the "scientist" on the field being a pitcher.

                            Two things I would like to know which Popular Mechanics never got into. A)how many balls are at the extreme ends? What is the variation on balls? Is it that .5% of balls are at the extreme while 95% of balls are within very slight differences? They don't tell us any of that. If you think the ball is inconsistent now then what do you think was going on 88 years ago? B)What in the world does this sentence mean anyway, "would typically travel 49.1 ft. farther than the heavier ball, on a 400-ft. hit."? ARe they saying one would go 400 feet and the other 449 feet? Are they saing one would go 400 feet and the other 351 feet? Are they saying that they average ball would have gone 400 feet but one ball goes 424 feet and the other goes 375 feet? I'm willing to bet it is the last option and I'm willing to bet that they chose to show the extremes to make the bigger splash. It doesn't sound as nice or as dramatic to say that the high extreme and the low extreme can deviate from the norm by 5%.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              By the way for anyone interested in the science of bats you should check out the Baseball Research Center website. They are the place that did the testing for the PM article and for MLB in 2000. Unfortunately for us the center is a bat testing center so all the articles are on bats but they do have this blurb:
                              In 2000, the Baseball Research Center helped MLB resolve the “juiced-ball controversy.” A record number of home runs were being hit and the media and fans were poised to blame changes in the baseball. The Baseball Research Center performed a number of tests for MLB and proved that the 2000 baseball was within MLB specifications.
                              They also have a nice article on the impact of temperature on baseballs. note the differences are not that great .
                              Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-24-2007, 10:17 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                The University of Rhode Island Forensic Science Partnership's study of the comparative liveliness of Major League balls - 1995 & 2000 versus those from the 1960's and '70s - has scientifically confirmed that the modern ball has been far more lively - occasionally up to 33% bouncier! Moreover, it's findings raised very serious questions about the integrity of both the MLB and Rawlings with respect to their claims concerning the manufacture, specifications, and performance of MLB balls. They found that the balls were not manufactured according to published claims, leading to exceptionally lively balls.

                                The Baseball Research Institute, which was founded on $400,000 of funds provided by the MLB and Rawlings, did issue an MLB/Rawlings report in the same Year 2000 timeframe, but that report has been thoroughly discredited by the more independent, more thorough, and more scientifically accurate URI study.

                                An objective review of all scientific testing and data available makes it indisputably clear that the 1995 & 2000 balls manufactured by Rawlings were far more lively than the Spalding balls of the 1960's and '70s, and that Rawlings' and MLB's public descriptions of ball manufacture and performance specifications were inaccurate, leading the public to underestimate the greatly increased liveliness of the new age ball.

                                The URI findings are fully consistent with, and backed up by, overwhelming anecdotal evidence provided by many expert witnesses who have played and closely observed the game since the '50's and '60s.

                                Based on these facts, it's unmistakable that balls of the last decade have been exceptionally lively, thereby contributing to the explosion of offense we have witnessed. Since the URI study, the MLB may have taken some action to tweak back some of this increased liveliness.

                                Brown University contributed to the URI study with spectrographic analysis tests that proved the MLB & Rawlings were using different and far more lively [rubberized] materials than they publicly claimed. It has also been found that the new method of stitching and the increased tightness of the outer surface impairs pitching and therefore increases batting performance.

                                These far more livelier balls would have obviously increased Ruth's home run performance. These tests also serve to confirm the surreptitious nature of the MLB's methods and means of deluding fans into accepting the contrived offensive explosion that is modern baseball.


                                Last edited by TRfromBR; 07-25-2007, 09:19 AM.

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