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Babe Ruth's IBB

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  • Babe Ruth's IBB

    does anyone have a guesstimation of how many times Babe Ruth was IBB'd?

    especially in 1923, when he had 170 walks

  • #2
    Originally posted by blackout805
    does anyone have a guesstimation of how many times Babe Ruth was IBB'd?

    especially in 1923, when he had 170 walks

    Some where on this board I did post some numbers on Ruth's IBB'S. I searched for that post but as of yet could not locate it. As you may already know accounts of IBB's were not recorded until the 1950s, I believe around 1955.

    I did scan some actual game recaps and box scores from the N.Y.Times, it's quite a job so I only took it so far, so many games.

    This is what I recall if memory serves me right. I think I looked at around 22 games and found that in those 22 games Ruth totalled 14 IBB. I believe it was the season of 1923 but not sure.

    Ruth was striking fear in opponents even as a young pitcher. In 1918 as a part time outfielder, first baseman and pitcher I found the following.
    In June of that year a Sunday game against the Browns, Ruth received an IBB in his last 3 at bats. On Monday he received an IBB in his first 2 at bats giving him 5 consecutive IBB's.

    In a letter to the editor from the N.Y.TImes in 1923 one fan was complaining about Ruth and his walks. A fan from Long Island told of how he had followed the Yanks, taking his son along to some games out of town. He told of how his son never got to see Ruth hit a home run over 5 games he attended, two in NY. and on a trip to Philadelphia. His complaint, that there was no way Ruth could have reached most of the pitches thrown, it was clear that even some of Ruth's " unintentional" passes were intentional.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3
      This is what I recall if memory serves me right. I think I looked at around 22 games and found that in those 22 games Ruth totalled 14 IBB. I believe it was the season of 1923 but not sure.
      Good stuff Joe. That small window that you peeked into was more than likely the norm, starting back in '20. I think it's safe to say that of his 2062 BB's, at least half were intentional or unintentional intentional passes. Considering the size of the strike zone back then, pitchers must have really been missing badly. Knowing he could go the other way with power, they needed to be real careful. What a nightmare for pitchers starting in '27 with Gehrig behind him.

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      • #4
        In the Marshall Smesler Ruth bio, the author discusses some reserach done on Ruth's intentional passes issued in a couple of his monster early 1920's seasons.

        If anyone has that book at their disposal (I don't at the moment), I believe the information is there.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by csh19792001
          In the Marshall Smesler Ruth bio, the author discusses some reserach done on Ruth's intentional passes issued in a couple of his monster early 1920's seasons.

          If anyone has that book at their disposal (I don't at the moment), I believe the information is there.
          I do have that book and will refresh my memory on what the author said on Ruth's IBB's. The best source that I know of is the news archives which I have visited often, better than any book I have ever seen. Not to put any of these books down but the authors only touch on and make rough guesses, estimate on Ruth's IBB's. The more accurate numbers can be found in the news archives, but it would take a lifetime to go over every box score and game recap.

          On the subject of the book you mention "The Life That Ruth Built" by Marshall Smelser, it more than Rivals Creamer's " Babe The Legend Comes To Life". Both very good but Smelser digs deeper with the numbers and presents a number of views, specific game accounts, opinions on many who played with and against Ruth.
          Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 01-21-2006, 06:39 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3
            I do have that book and will refresh my memory on what the author said on Ruth's IBB's. The best source that I know of is the news archives which I have visited often, better than any book I have ever seen. Not to put any of these books down but the authors only touch on and make rough guesses, estimate on Ruth's IBB's. The more accurate numbers can be found in the news archives, but it would take a lifetime to go over every box score and game recap.

            On the subject of the book you mention "The Life That Ruth Built" by Marshall Smelser, it more than Rivals Creamer's " Babe The Legend Comes To Life". Both very good but Smelser digs deeper with the numbers and presents a number of views, specific game accounts, opinions on many who played with and against Ruth.
            I'm pretty sure it said that an independent researcher went through (and put in the dozens of hours) and figured out Ruth was intentionally walked ~90 times in 1923. It's in the book somewhere.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by csh19792001
              I'm pretty sure it said that an independent researcher went through (and put in the dozens of hours) and figured out Ruth was intentionally walked ~90 times in 1923. It's in the book somewhere.
              OK, I may have missed that, I'll take a look.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by csh19792001
                I'm pretty sure it said that an independent researcher went through (and put in the dozens of hours) and figured out Ruth was intentionally walked ~90 times in 1923. It's in the book somewhere.
                Here is what I found in that book on page 283 and dealing with IBB's.

                The exact words...Ruth, by carefull unofficial count, got 80 in 1923.

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                • #9
                  In 1923 against the Indians. Pitcher Sherrod Smith's orders from the bench.... put Ruth on Base. Out of frustration Ruth bats right handed. He take a called strike, then switches, back to batting lefty. The manager in a mound conference gives in to the pitcher Smith who now wants to pitch to Ruth. On the next pitch he homers deep to right center.

                  Four days later against the Browns. They decide to walk him in the 11th inning with two outs. Again he bats right handed. In the 13th inning they decide to walk him, he bats right handed. They take no chances, they pass him both times batting right handed.

                  In 1930, May 21 he already has 3 home runs in the game, the last one hit over the first row of houses and striking the back row of houses on 20th street. In the 9th inning pitcher Quinn is about to give him an IBB. He bats right handed, takes two strikes, turns around bats lefty and strikes out.

                  The walks are really getting to the Babe. In one game he is nearly ejected from a game after taking 4 wide ones he throws his bat in disgust. The bat strikes the dug out roof and nearly goes into the stands.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3
                    Here is what I found in that book on page 283 and dealing with IBB's.

                    The exact words...Ruth, by carefull unofficial count, got 80 in 1923.
                    There you go. Knew it was in there somewhere. :o

                    I was just looking at some game writeups on Proquest, ironically. I queried NY Times boxscores from 4/13/1923-10/2/23.

                    I found an interesting box score from Sept 18th against Speaker's Indians:

                    "(Sherrod) Smith's pitching to Babe Ruth might be called the height of caution. In four trips to the plate the master mauler drew just four bases on balls. Even when the Indians were four runs ahead, and the game safely sewed up, Smith was as nervous as a spinster alone in a big house at midnight. Afraid the Babe might accidentally tap one for a single, he refused to throw more than one ball anywhere near the plate. The one was a strike that floated over in the seventh so surprised Ruth that he let it go by unharmed."


                    It goes on to discuss that Speaker's role in the issuing the four intentional walks (which wasn't even a term then, I don't think). Ruth's line for the day (ab-r-h) was 0-0-0.

                    I'd guess that Ruth had somewhere in the vacinity of 700-800 intentional walks in his career. Barry has 607 IBB's through age 41, but he was never really close to Ruth before 2001. Add to the fact that during Ruth's best years in the early 20's, he was one of a kind, and teams/pitchers had no idea how to deal with him. I'd say 75-100 in his best years is a good estimate of his intentional walks.

                    What do the Ruth scribes here think?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by csh19792001
                      There you go. Knew it was in there somewhere. :o

                      I was just looking at some game writeups on Proquest, ironically. I queried NY Times boxscores from 4/13/1923-10/2/23.

                      I found an interesting box score from Sept 18th against Speaker's Indians:

                      "(Sherrod) Smith's pitching to Babe Ruth might be called the height of caution. In four trips to the plate the master mauler drew just four bases on balls. Even when the Indians were four runs ahead, and the game safely sewed up, Smith was as nervous as a spinster alone in a big house at midnight. Afraid the Babe might accidentally tap one for a single, he refused to throw more than one ball anywhere near the plate. The one was a strike that floated over in the seventh so surprised Ruth that he let it go by unharmed."


                      It goes on to discuss that Speaker's role in the issuing the four intentional walks (which wasn't even a term then, I don't think). Ruth's line for the day (ab-r-h) was 0-0-0.

                      I'd guess that Ruth had somewhere in the vacinity of 700-800 intentional walks in his career. Barry has 607 IBB's through age 41, but he was never really close to Ruth before 2001. Add to the fact that during Ruth's best years in the early 20's, he was one of a kind, and teams/pitchers had no idea how to deal with him. I'd say 75-100 in his best years is a good estimate of his intentional walks.

                      What do the Ruth scribes here think?
                      Also back then, it was a different game, to walk any hitter even Ruth intentionally was not the type of game back then, a wonder they did it as often as they did. It's a totally different game today, not even a second thought to just walk Barry and get him out of the way. Not to diminish the fear factor that Barry has earned, I think if he was in the game 60 or 80 years ago they would never IBB him, or anyone so often.

                      How much more could a hitter be feared as much as Ruth. It's a different game today and if Ruth was playing today he would never out homer any team but thats beside the point, we have to consider the fact that he did at that time early in his career.

                      Imagine one player hitting more home runs than some teams, what an impact, what did the fans think. Here is a hitter hitting so many home runs, a hitter hitting balls higher and further than anyone could imagine, not only home runs hitting them that went completely out of some parks. Talk about the fear factor, this guy was playing a completely different game devastating the opposition.

                      Also, later in his career the fact that Gehrig was on deck had to make walking him an even bigger risk. Pick your poison, pitch to Ruth and take your chances or walk him and face the next most powereful slugger in the game at that time.
                      Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 01-21-2006, 09:23 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Imagine in '19, what an impact 29 had. The way in which he hit them, after being the best lefty in the league, the distance and the style in which he hit them. With such a nonchelant (sp?) "I feel hitterish today" attitude, what the pitchers must have been thinking. This guy is among the batting average leaders even though he strikes out a ton (for that era), and yet if I make a mistake he can end the game, or decide the game with one swing. Whether it be left field or right field, this guy will not cut down, he will not just try to get a piece. He had the hand eye, muscle coordination, and nervous system to destroy any offering I bring. What a scary proposition. It's hard to imagine such a time. If we watch the roided up Bonds in todays game; and how careful pitchers are to him; it was that times ten back with Ruth. For all that is wrong with him, I respect how patient Bonds is, and that trait is what Ruth had. Patience, and the ability to hammer any mistake to it's fullest.

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                        • #13
                          can we reinvestigate this?

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                          • #14
                            Babe speaks IBB, September 26, 1920.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blackout View Post
                              can we reinvestigate this?
                              Are you speaking of anything specific. I would like to check number of IBB in 1923. It would take some time, not only looking at each box score but reading the game recap since the box score would only indicate walks and not if they were IBB. Also, possible some recaps might not even distinguish type of walk, not IBB or point out IBB.

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