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Would Babe Have Hit 104 Home Runs?

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  • Would Babe Have Hit 104 Home Runs?

    Author and historian Bill Jenkinson estimates that, based on Ruth's hits in 1921, if he had played in modern ballparks, he would have hit 104 home runs. This is 42% more than the single season record of 73.

    If not 104, about how many would the Babe have hit in his best HR season, playing under modern conditions?
    201
    Less than 50 HR
    13.43%
    27
    50-59
    12.44%
    25
    60-69
    18.91%
    38
    70-73
    3.98%
    8
    74-79
    18.91%
    38
    80-89
    16.42%
    33
    90-99
    4.48%
    9
    100-103
    0.50%
    1
    104 or more
    10.95%
    22
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

  • #2
    Bonds has faced more diluted pitching due to expansion, had more medical benefits, chartered jets, etc. If Ruth had all those luxuries, I'm guessing he probably could have hit between 70 and 80.

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    • #3
      Sorry, I'll clarify here. We are not time-machining Ruth, but rather presuming he had all his same skills, but became a baseball player in the modern day. Let's say, for argument's sake, that his rookie year was 1986, same as Barry Bonds.
      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

      - Alvin Dark

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Erik Bedard View Post
        Bonds has faced more diluted pitching due to expansion, had more medical benefits, chartered jets, etc. If Ruth had all those luxuries, I'm guessing he probably could have hit between 70 and 80.

        Ruth faced a league of 100% deadball pitchers to start with. Some threw hard, but it was different.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
          Sorry, I'll clarify here. We are not time-machining Ruth, but rather presuming he had all his same skills, but became a baseball player in the modern day. Let's say, for argument's sake, that his rookie year was 1986, same as Barry Bonds.
          Does the Babe get to use steroids too?

          Are we also using the small modern strike zone, and does he also get to use body armor?

          Are we also using the post 1995 rabbit ball, that was tested and found to travel 12% further than the baseball previously in use?

          Does Babe also get to play a double digit portion of his road games in high altitude Coors Field in Colorado?
          JRB
          Registered User
          Last edited by JRB; 07-20-2007, 05:21 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JRB View Post
            Does the Babe get to use steroids too?

            Are we also using the small modern strike zone, and does he also get to use body armor?

            Are we also using the post 1995 rabbit ball, that was tested and found to travel 12% further than the baseball previously in use?
            He could use steroids, but let's presume he didn't. And he has all the advantages of the modern player.
            "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

            - Alvin Dark

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
              Sorry, I'll clarify here. We are not time-machining Ruth, but rather presuming he had all his same skills, but became a baseball player in the modern day. Let's say, for argument's sake, that his rookie year was 1986, same as Barry Bonds.
              If he swung the same way he would have struck out a lot against modern stuff-there's just no way around it, mechanically he would have to have swung somehat differently-making contact and letting his natural strength produce the power.

              He also would have walked a lot. I suspect he would have hit with a little better than Albert Pujols rates but with 140 walks a year so he might not have hit 60 (because he might not have gotten enough at bats).

              My guess is that for his prime 10 years '20, '21, '23, '24, '26-31 he probably would have hit around .325, and had an average of 45-50 home runs a year, but in only around 400 at bats, along with close to 200 walks a year.

              Maybe topping out at .360 with 60 home runs. He could have hit 70-80 but I truly think that he would have had to sacrifice his average to go to that extreme (.290)

              Who knows though. The best bet is that he would have matched Pujols plus been a little better as a hitter because he was left handed, but when you get that dangerous, the walks and percentages just cascade.

              Another comparison is that he would have been a little better hitter than Frank Thomas in his 7-8 prime years-probably .340/45 home runs.
              brett
              Registered User
              Last edited by brett; 07-20-2007, 08:25 PM.

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              • #8
                Bonds pre-steroid absolute peak was 46 homeruns (though he usually hit considerably less). I believe, with all modern non-steroidal advantages Ruth would have easily been able to surpass 46, and I believe he would be a strong candidate in at least a few seasons to do as well as he did in the 1920's. A lot would depend on lineup protection, because they would just simply be walking him all the time unless he had some big bats behind him.

                I think that if we placed The Babe in his peak years with use of the super-rabbit post 1995 baseball than he most likely would have exceeded his 1920's best.

                Brett and others have done a good job in previous threads in showing that Bonds was an excellent all around player even before steroids. However, in terms of home run power Bonds was able to go from a pre-steroid peak of 46 to a post steroid peak of 73, which is an increase of well over 50%. If you apply the same percentage increase to Ruth, then with benefit of steroids he would have likely been able to hit around 90 home runs or more.

                c JRB

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JRB View Post
                  Bonds pre-steroid absolute peak was 46 homeruns (though he usually hit considerably less). I believe, with all modern non-steroidal advantages Ruth would have easily been able to surpass 46, and I believe he would be a strong candidate in at least a few seasons to do as well as he did in the 1920's. A lot would depend on lineup protection, because they would just simply be walking him all the time unless he had some big bats behind him.

                  I think that if we placed The Babe in his peak years with use of the super-rabbit post 1995 baseball than he most likely would have exceeded his 1920's best.

                  Brett and others have done a good job in previous threads in showing that Bonds was an excellent all around player even before steroids. However, in terms of home run power Bonds was able to go from a pre-steroid peak of 46 to a post steroid peak of 73, which is an increase of well over 50%. If you apply the same percentage increase to Ruth, then with benefit of steroids he would have likely been able to hit around 90 home runs or more.

                  c JRB
                  There is a difference though. Bonds fly to grounder (and line drive) ratio has changed. To bump Ruth up by the same ratio I think requires an assumption that he would have tried to hit more in the air as well.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If we make all the necessary adjustments, I'd say Babe Ruth would hit around 70-80 HRs/season, instead of his 50-60.

                    Some of the adjustments that would be required, to make the exercise reasonable are as follows.

                    1. He would benefit from the smaller strike zone.
                    2. He would benefit from the expansion pitchers (and hitters, for contrast).
                    3. He would benefit from lasic eye surgery.
                    4. He would benefit from modern training knowledge. (Nutritional supplements, Nautilus, private trainer

                    On the other hand, these factors would also need to be considered.

                    1. He would need to switch to a lighter stick, and adopt a much more compact stroke, to get around on the much faster pitching.
                    2. As his hitting efficiency improved, he would stop being pitched to, like Bonds in his best seasons. And the reduced ABs would work against his raw HR totals.

                    All of this assumes we give Babe the benefit of the doubt in avoiding the temptations of steroids, curfew-free late nights, over-eating, liquor, STDs, etc.
                    Bill Burgess
                    Registered User
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-06-2008, 09:45 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                      Sorry, I'll clarify here. We are not time-machining Ruth, but rather presuming he had all his same skills, but became a baseball player in the modern day. Let's say, for argument's sake, that his rookie year was 1986, same as Barry Bonds.
                      With Ruth's heavy bat and all these 95+ MPH relievers he's have a tough time.
                      Honus Wagner Rules
                      xFIP?! I laugh at you!
                      Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 07-20-2007, 06:23 PM.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JRB View Post
                        Are we also using the post 1995 rabbit ball, that was tested and found to travel 12% further than the baseball previously in use?
                        Can you post a link to this study? I'd like to read it.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ruth also never saw the split-finger.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JRB View Post
                            Bonds pre-steroid absolute peak was 46 homeruns (though he usually hit considerably less). I believe, with all modern non-steroidal advantages Ruth would have easily been able to surpass 46, and I believe he would be a strong candidate in at least a few seasons to do as well as he did in the 1920's. A lot would depend on lineup protection, because they would just simply be walking him all the time unless he had some big bats behind him.

                            I think that if we placed The Babe in his peak years with use of the super-rabbit post 1995 baseball than he most likely would have exceeded his 1920's best.

                            Brett and others have done a good job in previous threads in showing that Bonds was an excellent all around player even before steroids. However, in terms of home run power Bonds was able to go from a pre-steroid peak of 46 to a post steroid peak of 73, which is an increase of well over 50%. If you apply the same percentage increase to Ruth, then with benefit of steroids he would have likely been able to hit around 90 home runs or more.

                            c JRB
                            You are forgetting one thing. In 1994 Bonds hit 37 HRs in a short season. Over a 162 game schedule that comes out to about 53-54 HRs. And given Bonds tendency of playing extremely well in August-September, I have no doubt he would have been there with Matt Williams chasing 61 HRs in 1994.
                            Honus Wagner Rules
                            xFIP?! I laugh at you!
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 07-20-2007, 06:30 PM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If Ruth transported his phenomenal batting skills to the rigged game we've witnessed over the last two decades, he would have averaged 70-something homers a year, and likely peaked over at over a hundred.

                              Ruth not only had unparalled power, he also had incredible vision and reflexes. This is why he could hit those old balls so far, so often - despite the huge strike zone he had to deal with. To this day, no one has hit a ball as far as Ruth. Nor has anybody ever approached the frequency of his "tape measure" shots. No one today has power comparing to Ruth.

                              Transporting Babe Ruth into an era fueled by puny strike zones, juiced balls and short fences alone would boost his average above 60 homers-a-year. Afford him all the lawful medical advances and training available today, his performance not only spikes up further, his longevity is greatly enhanced, also. Give him the body armor & far less aggressive pitching, and you can add another flock of homers.

                              And then there's the steroids. Let's just put it this way: How many home runs did Brady Anderson hit? Was that 50, I heard?

                              The only limit on Ruth in today's game would be how many good pitches he got. With so many other players having been able to them hit out in the home run derby era, that problem could be minimized. Heck, you could even put Brady at cleanup - or, you could have some real fun and bring in Gehrig. My vote is contingent on the premise that anyone would actually ever pitch to Ruth.

                              Attached Files
                              TRfromBR
                              ..Let's Play Ball..
                              Last edited by TRfromBR; 07-20-2007, 06:44 PM.

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