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  • Originally posted by gator92 View Post
    Something to keep in mind about comparisons of eras: the conditions are not really the same, so you can't necessarily look at an across the board physical difference and assume that it must result in an across the board distance difference. Some possible differences:
    - bat weight (actually this is not just a possibility, Ruth did swing a much heavier bat than most do today)
    - baseball variation; I can't prove it, but I suspect that the coefficient of restitution for the baseballs varied more in the past than it does today, with much more closely monitored, standardized processes for ball manufacture. More variation would give you more extra-bouncy balls and more extra-dead balls, and thus more opportunity for longer homers.
    - wind; in the 1920's and 1930's, all games were played in the afternoon, which is a windier time of day, on average, than night. Furthermore, city areas were less built up back then, which means the prevalence of tall buildings near the parks would have been less likely to break up and impede the flow of wind near the park. Lots of old homers were hit with the assistance of strong winds, while it's very uncommon to see strong winds impact the game nowadays outside of Wrigley Field. Taller ballparks shield the field from what wind does make it into the city centers to a much greater degree today as well.

    Even if you're skeptical of Ruth's distances, you ought to concede that some factors present in his time were conducive for long homers.

    I do agree with the general comment about unreliability of witnesses, and I generally refrain from trying to "measure" homers where the landing point was hidden from the fans at the game, or where the landing point is in an open area without landmarks, while not claiming to know the truth myself. This isn't strictly a past vs. present thing, though, as I have never tried to analyze the Dunn homer that was estimated at 535 feet in Cincinnati; you can't see it on video, and the landing point report I consider unreliable. Some homers (and a lot from the distant past)we're never going to be sure of.
    There also had to be some balls hit against the wind, make sense.

    Comment


    • Lou Brock 1962:
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Lpeters199 View Post
        Lou Brock 1962:
        How do we figure this, Lou was not a slugger and about 170 Lbs. Just goes to show if conditions are right and some real good wood on the ball some not so heavy hitters can hit tape measure jobs. Didn't Hank Aaron hit one in the same area the next day. Figure that one, two guys days apart hitting balls in the area where one had not been hit since the 1950s. Adcock, don't recall the year maybe 1953-54. I think Joe's was hit to the left of that open area in dead center.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
          There also had to be some balls hit against the wind, make sense.
          Gator92 did a fantastic job here to help explain how Ruth may very well have (regularly) greatly outdistanced guys like McGwire, Bonds, and the bevy of 500+ HR players from the past 50 years. Physical specimens who made the average slugger from long bygone eras look pathetic.

          Hell, gator92 ought to know, it's his website!!

          Comment


          • On Coogan's Bluff and a game in 1950 at the Polo Grounds:

            "I hit the longest triple in baseball history...it hopped over the 483 sign in dead center." -Ralph Kiner

            June 6th, 1915, the NY Times title states "Cobb's Home Run a Record Drive" off of RHP Ray Fisher....it also states is was the longest HR ever hit at The Polo Grounds, but that's typical of the time...all anecdotal, facts absent or conjectured. Could have been hit 420 feet, Could have been hit 500 feet....

            Comment


            • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
              Gator92 did a fantastic job here to help explain how Ruth may very well have (regularly) greatly outdistanced guys like McGwire, Bonds, and the bevy of 500+ HR players from the past 50 years. Physical specimens who made the average slugger from long bygone eras look pathetic.

              Hell, gator92 ought to know, it's his website!!
              Babe Ruth, for most of his career, used bats weighing between 40 oz. and 47 oz. He never used a bat less than 40 oz. until his waning final seasons. Reading about this and Ruth's own words about bat selection, it appears that Ruth, much like Ted Williams, was a real student of bat dynamics and leverage.

              Many, even in Ruth's time, and after 1921, turned to the lighter bats because the consensus was that they were easier to swing "fast," generating bat speed into the ball. Ruth seemed to appreciate the importance of "moment of inertia" [MOI] and swing-weight factors that determined the relative ease with which hitters could get bats "moving fast through the ball."

              The closer the MOI [balance point, center of gravity] is to the handle, the lighter the bat "feels," and the easier it is to "generate" regardless of the raw weight of the bat itself. So Ruth had raw strength, good eyes and natural ability, timing and the momentum of extra bat "mass" in attacking the pitched ball. All these forces raised the bat speed and the distance potential for "the Babe."

              I wouldn't be quick to question stories of blasts hit by Ruth after during or after 1921. I'm guessing that, being human, he might be constrained to a 600' +/- distance "cap" barring gale winds behind him.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by leewileyfan View Post
                Babe Ruth, for most of his career, used bats weighing between 40 oz. and 47 oz. He never used a bat less than 40 oz. until his waning final seasons. Reading about this and Ruth's own words about bat selection, it appears that Ruth, much like Ted Williams, was a real student of bat dynamics and leverage.Many, even in Ruth's time, and after 1921, turned to the lighter bats because the consensus was that they were easier to swing "fast," generating bat speed into the ball. Ruth seemed to appreciate the importance of "moment of inertia" [MOI] and swing-weight factors that determined the relative ease with which hitters could get bats "moving fast through the ball."

                The closer the MOI [balance point, center of gravity] is to the handle, the lighter the bat "feels," and the easier it is to "generate" regardless of the raw weight of the bat itself. So Ruth had raw strength, good eyes and natural ability, timing and the momentum of extra bat "mass" in attacking the pitched ball. All these forces raised the bat speed and the distance potential for "the Babe."

                I wouldn't be quick to question stories of blasts hit by Ruth after during or after 1921. I'm guessing that, being human, he might be constrained to a 600' +/- distance "cap" barring gale winds behind him.
                I think that gets kind of lost when speaking of Babe. It wasn't all about power, he had all the qualities that make a great hitter for average and probably got lots of good wood on the ball, add his strength to that, some long drives. 1923 he was 4 hits short of batting .400.
                His career .340 BABIP is outstanding, remember we're not talking about a contact or light hitter, great for a guy who often swung from the heels.
                Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-01-2012, 04:33 AM.

                Comment


                • You bring up some interesting points, but make the false statistical assumption that ALL BALLPLAYERS have the same general level of power. If that were true, your hypothesis might carry more weight. But they don't! Statistics about what other players did can in no way be attributed to what other performers have done. There always have been, and I believe always will be, those individuals whose abilities fall well outside of the bell-curve of talent. This is merely a fact of nature. Otherwise, why have a Guinness Book of Records and such? Bill Jenkinson in no way minimizes the difficulty of hitting a yarnball 500 feet on the fly. It is damned near impossible for any normal human being to do so. Yet we know that it has been and will continue to be done. If it can be done and has been done, then the issue of how many times an individual does it cannot be based on the statistics and abilities of other players, but only on the individual capabilities of the given player. In other words, if a given player can hit the ball that far, that in no way means that all of his compatriots should be able do so too! Distance hitting is not an egalitarian pursuit. Likewise, why have some players batted .400, while others, good as they were, didn't quite reach that figure?

                  Admittedly, the case of Babe Ruth is an unusual one. He was born 117 years ago and he is by all accounts considered the first modern slugger - the archetype as it were for today's home run hitters. In what other sport has the ancient archetype still been the standard by which all others are judged? None. Yet that fact alone does not detract from the truth of it. The glory of the old ball parks was that they were usually open to the outfield and if you cleared the stands the ball usually had some distance to travel before striking an object above ground level. In 1915 Ruth, a 20 year old pitcher at the time, drove a ball over the right field stands so far that it struck the sidewalk on the far side of Grand Avenue. The fence was about 310' and the stands about 40' wide. Grand Avenue was huge (4 street car tracks ran down the middle of it) at 120'. You do the math. In 1918 in an exhibition game on March 17 in Hot Springs, Arkansas hit a ball out of the local park, across the road, and into an alligator farm pond. The remnants of the park are in place, so we know where home plate was and the alligator farm, a long-time tourist attraction is still there with the ponds in the same location. The ball landed in the far pond, but even if contemporary accounts are inaccurate and it landed in the closer pond, the distance is still in excess of 500'. In 1919 in a Tampa exhibition game Ruth hit the ball over the outer fence of the race track surrounding the field. That fence was at least 500' away. Then there is the Detroit centerfield shot in 1921, the deep right cf shot to the left of the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium in 1924, the 1926 Detroit shot onto the cab roof half-way down the block on Plum St. The 1927 shot over the newly constructed double-decked roof at Comiskey (remember, in those days the right-field line was 365' away, much further than in later years) into the middle of the parking lot across the street. This was witnessed first hand by a number of sports writers perched on the new roof. The May 22, 1930 blast at Philadelphia that cleared 20th Street a 2-story brownstone, back yards between the brownstones, a second 2-story brownstone, Opal Street and went through a second-story window on the far side of Opal. The building is still there. Distance to window - about 530'. Finally, No. 714 at Pittsburgh which struck the roof of a house (the residents wondered what hit their house). Distance to front door as measured by Pittsburgh engineering students - 529'. By the way, Pittsburgh writers believed that No. 713, a line shot into the second deck in deep rcf was destined for an easy 500' had it not struck the stand. The only guess work in these drives is not whether they went 500', but much farther than 500' did they travel. If this one man was capable of hitting these drives, which are truly shorn of guesswork, he was surely capable of hitting others and the statistics of lesser talents cannot legitimately be used to collaterally attack such facts.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by stuarthouse View Post
                    You bring up some interesting points, but make the false statistical assumption that ALL BALLPLAYERS have the same general level of power. If that were true, your hypothesis might carry more weight. But they don't!
                    stuarthouse: It might help if you were a bit more specific about who "You" is. To my knowledge, nobody here made a "false statistical assumption that ALL BALLPLAYERS have the same level of power." What "hypothesis" are you attacking?

                    If you are addressing me, tell me where I qualify for the above challenges. If you are addressing others, who have cited blasts by many players other than Babe Ruth, how do several players over the course of a century equate to "ALL BALLPLAYERS?"

                    Comment


                    • There also had to be some balls hit against the wind, make sense.
                      I'm not sure my point came across correctly, so let me elaborate. When you have greater variability in conditions (whether this is the COR of the baseball, the speed & direction of the wind, etc.), you get more instances of optimal long-distance conditions than you would if variability is less. So, by virtue of playing in the 1920's to 1930's, Ruth got a lot more chances to hit homers with strong winds at his back than do players today. (NOTE: He also got more chances to hit with wind against him, but that's not important, since on those days, Ruth was never going to hit any tape-measure homers, notwithstanding any nonsensical stories about him hitting a 500 foot homer into a 15 mph wind at Navin/Briggs/Tiger, or was that supposed to have been Mantle, I forget? Ridiculous hyperbole that is beneath us all).

                      By virtue of playing when tight quality control of the COR of baseballs was less likely, Ruth almost certainly got more chances to hit a particularly "live" ball than do players today. (Note: he also probably hit more against particularly dead balls than do players today, but again, that doesn't matter, because those dead baseballs were never going to be his longest homers, no matter what he did).

                      When those two high-variability factors came together (strong tail wind, lively ball), the stage was set for Ruth to hit a really long homer; all he had to do was swing really hard (check), and connect with the right trajectory/direction (which happened plenty often, obviously), and there goes a really long homer. Modern players can swing hard, and get the right connection, but they are almost never hitting with a gale at their back, and the balls are never going to be extra lively, so they are not likely to be able to duplicate Ruth's homers, even if they are as strong as he was (possible, certainly), and make the same kind of contact he did (more difficult, as Ruth was amazingly good, but perhaps still possible at a lesser frequency).
                      ESPN Home Run Tracker
                      Home run distances for every home run hit in MLB

                      http://www.hittrackeronline.com

                      Comment


                      • Let me also pre-empt the protest of Ruth fans who may bristle at the idea that I am suggesting that his longest homers are wind-aided. I'm not saying that "Ruth needed wind to hit long homers", I am saying that the especially long homers most likely came about only because he caught a ball just right AND had some wind at his back - the wind is what separated those homers from the rest of his optimally-struck balls. The wind is the "frosting on the cake"...
                        ESPN Home Run Tracker
                        Home run distances for every home run hit in MLB

                        http://www.hittrackeronline.com

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by leewileyfan View Post
                          Yeah. But he used an aluminum bat. Right?
                          He was 12 years old. Cut Cody some slack!
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                            On Coogan's Bluff and a game in 1950 at the Polo Grounds:

                            "I hit the longest triple in baseball history...it hopped over the 483 sign in dead center." -Ralph Kiner

                            June 6th, 1915, the NY Times title states "Cobb's Home Run a Record Drive" off of RHP Ray Fisher....it also states is was the longest HR ever hit at The Polo Grounds, but that's typical of the time...all anecdotal, facts absent or conjectured. Could have been hit 420 feet, Could have been hit 500 feet....
                            The long triple:
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • Mantle home run of June 18th 1956
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by elmer; 02-01-2012, 12:56 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                                He was 12 years old. Cut Cody some slack!
                                What has he done for us lately?

                                Comment

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