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Would Babe Have Hit 104 Home Runs?

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  • Here's an article saying the weight of the ball in 1914, 1923, and 1925 was 5.04, 5.07, and 5.34 oz, respectively:
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    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

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    • Ubi, would you mind PMing me regarding how to post images of PDF files onto BBF?
      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

      - Alvin Dark

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      • Wow great stuff Astrosfan. They even post the COR.

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        • Originally posted by BC227 View Post
          Also, to answer your question, I will admit that the Babe was a great player. I believe that he was a great player in a highly offensive era, resulting in a superb home run frequency that will probably never be matched. Apparently he also hit the ball farther than anyone ever. I know I will get blasted for this, but this is the point where my doubt creeps in. I admit that I have never read this Bill Jenkinson book, and I now plan on it - but I just have a lot of trouble believing that Babe Ruth hit a 'deadball' over 100' farther than today's players hit a ball, and that he did it on a regular basis. I just can't believe this with the absolute certainty that you do.

          Once again, I know that I will probably get scolded for this, and the numbers may be absolute fact, but too often have the players of old gotten the benefit of folklore and legend to make their accomplishments seem to be tenfold of what they really were. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Ruth is one of the greatest players of all time, I just don't believe that he is a Hercules who is part God and did what no man will ever even dream of matching when it comes to hitting a baseball for distance.
          I don't think there was ever as consistent a long ball hitter than Ruth. Right off the bat he was hitting balls out of sight.

          With that out of the way, I can't say for sure he hit so many balls further than any other slugger in the history of the game.

          My thought he could hit a ball as far as hitter ever did and he did it with regularity.

          Aaron hit 41 more home runs than Ruth but Hank although consistent did not hit many tape measure jobs.

          Barry hit more than Ruth and since 2000 has hit some very long home runs. Prior to that he was not hitting them that long with regularity.

          Mays close with 660 but he did not hit that many tape measure home runs.

          Mac hit some long ones but Ruth played longer and hit 131 more home runs than Mac.

          Foxx could hit with Ruth but Ruth hit 180 more home runs than Jimmie.

          Ruth not only hit some of the longest but he hit a good number more than most others, more chance he hit more long ones than any other hitter.

          We will never know who hit the single longest home run ever but I doubt there would be that much of a difference between the longest, second longest or third longest.
          Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-31-2007, 09:19 PM.

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          • Originally posted by BC227 View Post
            Also, to answer your question, I will admit that the Babe was a great player. I believe that he was a great player in a highly offensive era, resulting in a superb home run frequency that will probably never be matched. Apparently he also hit the ball farther than anyone ever. I know I will get blasted for this, but this is the point where my doubt creeps in. I admit that I have never read this Bill Jenkinson book, and I now plan on it - but I just have a lot of trouble believing that Babe Ruth hit a 'deadball' over 100' farther than today's players hit a ball, and that he did it on a regular basis. I just can't believe this with the absolute certainty that you do.

            Once again, I know that I will probably get scolded for this, and the numbers may be absolute fact, but too often have the players of old gotten the benefit of folklore and legend to make their accomplishments seem to be tenfold of what they really were. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Ruth is one of the greatest players of all time, I just don't believe that he is a Hercules who is part God and did what no man will ever even dream of matching when it comes to hitting a baseball for distance.

            Nothing wrong at all with healthy skepticism, BC227. Bill Jenkinson himself, I beleive, used to be a leading proponent of doubting claims concerning the purported lengths of Ruth's longest shots. As the leading expert on tape measure shots, I recall years back that he had written some articles questioning prominent estimations of historic home runs by Ruth, Mantle, and others. I think Baseball Almanac may be one of the sites where his earlier work can be viewed in this regard, as well as the Baseball Encyclopedia. I think also this scepticism of his adds enhanced credibility to the findings of his new 2007 landmark study on Ruth, which unequivocally establish the preeminence of Ruth as the most powerful hitter who ever lived.

            With respect to Ruth's gifts, I do suspect he was better naturally than most if not all players before or since. But, if he wasn't, this adds even more mystery to why he was able to out slug everyone before or since.*

            * I haven't and wouldn't characterize the longest balls Ruth hit as "deadballs." I don't believe he hit a "deadball" 100' farther than today's sluggers hit the new and improved MLB ball.

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            • According to the article Astrosfan posted and according to the research done by Popular Mechanics the balls from 80 years ago were actually livelier then balls used in 2000.

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              • Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                According to the article Astrosfan posted and according to the research done by Popular Mechanics the balls from 80 years ago were actually livelier then balls used in 2000.

                Question, was there a drop test from that 13.5 feet performed on balls from recent years that could be compared to those balls from 1914-1923-1925.

                Also correct me if wrong, were all those balls tested in that article from the National League only.

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                • Why would they have to be dropped from the exact same height? Does gravity work differently at different heights? The COR is a number based on the elasticity or inelasticity of an object.

                  Here is a link to the baseball conversation. Since if we are going to get into the nitty-gritty of the baseball again we should do it over there.
                  Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-31-2007, 10:05 PM.

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                  • Comparing the most powerful batters of the last twenty years to Ruth yields excellent insight into how very powerful he was. Let's start with Canseco.*

                    Canseco came up in September 1985 to the A's. He had already been using steroids extensively, and it showed. In his first month, he hit five home runs, three of which were huge - 450, 480, and one that traveled 474, but would have went around 500, if not impeded. For the rest of his 17-year career, though, Jose never exceeded 500'. So, Canseco started off [suspiciously] competitive to Ruth as a young man, but never amped up to the Babe's distances or frequency.

                    Sosa started late, at age 30, with his longer home runs. He did hit a few over 500', but all wind-aided. His limit, without wind, has been about 480'. Hence, he's not really comparable to Ruth.

                    McGwire only hit about 455' until age 31. After that, from 1995, he had a four-year window where he hit an amazing eighteen shots beyond 500', with his longest two coming in May of 1998, both right at 535'. So, McGwire, for four years hit close to Ruth's level. But, Ruth hit at that level for 18 years! ... and McGwire never hit quite as far as Ruth. Plus, of course, McGwire was taking PED's during this four year peak.

                    Before, 1998, Barry Bonds hit with neither the frequency or power of Ruth. In fact, he was nowhere near Ruth. Subsequently, Bonds has hit with great frequency, but rarely with historic power. In total, Ruth hit 198 home runs exceeding 450' in length, whereas Bonds has only hit 36. And this doesn't include the many shots that Ruth hit over 450', for long outs, a phenomena Bonds, nor any of the other players above, ever had to deal with.

                    Thus it's clear, Ruth outhit all these fellows.



                    * I left Puljols and others out of this discussion only because I have insufficient data on their long distance homers. To my knowledge, though, none of today's best sluggers compare to Ruth, either.

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                    • Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                      Why would they have to be dropped from the exact same height? Does gravity work differently at different heights? The COR is a number based on the elasticity or inelasticity of an object.

                      Here is a link to the baseball conversation. Since if we are going to get into the nitty-gritty of the baseball again we should do it over there.
                      No gravity does not. I just think any test any comparison should use the exact same conditions.
                      Anyone know if the balls tested were from the NL only, thats what I gathered from reading the article.

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                      • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post

                        I just think any test any comparison should use the exact same conditions.
                        Anyone know if the balls tested were from the NL only, thats what I gathered from reading the article.
                        You're right, Shoeless Joe. Comparing results between two studies has more meaning and validity when testing controls, variables and methodologies are consistent. It appears the methods used in the tests referenced above were extemely simple , would therefore be simple to duplicate. But, it should be noted that the report was specifically described as "preliminary" and "incomplete." Thus, its actual value and accuracy is not known.

                        In addition to the above concerns, this test was evidently limited to National League balls, which we all know were in question at various times, because of surreptitious league efforts to compete with Babe Ruth. For these reasons, I am not surprised [NL President] Curtiss left the country for two-months immediately following the publication of this article.

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                        • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                          Who could believe that so so hitters like all or nothing McGwire could hit 70 one time and Sammy so so could hit 60+ home runs 3 times and Ruth one of the best hiters ever big and strong to boot, could not hit 70 or more. Where is the logic? How about Luis Gonzalez with 57.
                          McGwire wasn't a "so-so" home run hitter. Unlike Sammy Sosa, Big Mac hit for home runs his entire career. His rookie year he hit 49, hit 500 in fewest at-bats, and has the all-time home run to at-bat ratio. This whole time travel thing is a bit unfair. How many would McGwire hit in 1880, if he could time travel and bring his steroids and personal trainer with him? I'm guessing 130.
                          Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                          • Originally posted by White Knight View Post

                            McGwire wasn't a "so-so" home run hitter. Unlike Sammy Sosa, Big Mac hit for home runs his entire career.
                            So you say Sosa is so-so?

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                            • Originally posted by TRfromBR View Post
                              So you say Sosa is so-so?
                              No, but I'd certainly put Mac as the more consistant HR hitter throught his career. Besides when he missed lots of games being on the DL, his only bad HR year was 1991, when he hit 22. His final year in 2001 he hit 29 in half the season, and still managed a HR ratio of 10.3. I cried like aq baby when he retired. I so wanted him to be the one to break Aaron's record. He should be just retiring now, with 900 career home runs. But nooooooooooooo, someone has to get hurt and retire early!
                              Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                              • Originally posted by White Knight View Post
                                No, but I'd certainly put Mac as the more consistant HR hitter throught his career. Besides when he missed lots of games being on the DL, his only bad HR year was 1991, when he hit 22. His final year in 2001 he hit 29 in half the season, and still managed a HR ratio of 10.3. I cried like aq baby when he retired. I so wanted him to be the one to break Aaron's record. He should be just retiring now, with 900 career home runs. But nooooooooooooo, someone has to get hurt and retire early!
                                Big Mac could certainly tag a ball, White Knight. No doubt about that.
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