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  • Greatest Hitters of All Time

    OK. I am so pleased with our improved polling process that I am going to restart our former Greatest Hitter series. We had gotten up to #25, and then I discontinued it for lack of better participation.

    We had gotten 23 voters, and Mike Schmidt received 7 votes (30%) to win. I thought that was completely meaningless, and didn't prove anything worth pursuing. But with our new process, maybe we can do better. Hope so!
    -----------------------------
    For the record, here are our former rankings, just in case anyone is interested.

    1. Babe Ruth---------68 votes - 95.77%
    1. Ted Williams-------68 - 95.77%
    3. Ty Cobb-----------52 - 73.24%
    4. Rogers Hornsby----36 - 50.70%
    5. Lou Gehrig---------32 - 45.07%
    6. Barry Bonds
    7. Mickey Mantle
    8. Stan Musial
    9. Hank Aaron
    10. Willie Mays
    11. Jimmy Foxx
    12. Honus Wagner
    13. Frank Thomas
    14. Tris Speaker
    15. Frank Robinson
    16. Joe DiMaggio
    17. Joe Jackson
    18. Josh Gibson
    19. Nap Lajoie
    20. Mel Ott
    21. Oscar Charleston
    22. Alexander Rodriguez
    23. Dan Brouthers
    24. Mike Schmidt
    ------------------------------------------------------
    I am asking everyone to submit your ballots with your Top 5 Greatest Hitters of All Time. We will credit them with 5 points for 1st place, 4 for second, etc.

    This time, I will also provide a Form Chart for our convenience. All rounds will be listed in the order of support that they drew from the previous round. We are only voting for the #1 Greatest Hitter in this Round #1. But please submit your Top 5 Hitters. I love our new format.

    Round 2 will begin March 24, 2008.

    This series is based on hitting only. Please disregard their fielding/running.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-16-2008, 07:22 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by frehleyscomet
    Musial's hall of fame moniter is number 1. Musial had more total bases and extra base hits. Musial had over 3600 hits. Musial won seven batting titles compared to only one for Ruth. Musial won 3 MVP's and was runner-up 4 times. Musial won multiple championships without playing on a yankee team. Pretty impressive.
    Musial was an absolute stud. I love him as a player and consider him underrated by the general public. However, this is a tough case for you here.

    More total bases and extra base hits.....

    For thirteen straight years starting in 1943, Musial got more AB than Babe's career high of 540. What kind of numbers might Ruth have put up if he got roughly 600 AB every year like Stan? I think you need to look at rate stats rather than counting stats. Simply stating how many hits he had. That's nice but he also had 2,574 more career AB. Ruth would have won ten, more than likely eleven MVP's had the award been given out properly and as for Stan not being a Yankee...that's fine and dandy but the Yankees were a middle of the road team before Ruth showed up. And batting titles? Kinda funny when you can hit over .370 six times (Musial did it once), including .393 and win only one batting title. Holding that against someone is pretty silly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by frehleyscomet
      Musial had more total bases and extra base hits.
      Total Bases per AB:
      Ruth: 0.690 - 23% better
      Musial: 0.559

      XBH per AB:
      Ruth: 0.161 - 29% better
      Musial: 0.125

      The only stats you give to credit Musial over Ruth, Ruth actually had a better per AB number for, by significant margins. Musial had more than 2500 more AB's, but for rating the hitting ability of players its probably more accurate to adjust AB's to level the playing field.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can't fathom Cobb over Ruth, but it is what it is I guess.

        Ruth
        Williams
        Cobb
        Gehrig
        Bonds

        This is w/o PADJ
        Ball game over. World Series over! Yankees win thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees win!

        Comment


        • #5
          Bill,

          Before I vote can you give the jist of what you mean by "greatest" hitter? I think Sultan has a good point about whether or not footspeed is part of being a great hitter. Take Ichiro for instance. He's a great contact hitter. But his speed allows him to get many more infield hits than the average player. If Ichiro didn't have his blazing speed his BA would probably be substantially lower. So is Ichiro really a great contact hitter or does his speed inflate his BA and just give the impression that his a great contact hitter? Even with average footspeed I'm sure Ichiro still bats well over .300. But' I'm not sure he gets those gaudy single season hit totals. But this may not apply to Cobb since he had much more power than Ichiro.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

          Comment


          • #6
            Im kind of confused as to the rules of this poll. Are we judging hitters by how good they were at their best, or their career as a whole, or a combination of both? Also are we juding hitting SKILL, or their hitting with regards to sabermetric 'value'? This is highly important, because you can have a guy like Jim Thome, who doesnt have that much 'skill' hitting wise..he strikes out a lot and doesnt hit for a great average..but he is very valuable offensively due to his walks and home runs. Ichiro is probably a better 'hitter' than Thome, as his bat control and batting average show, but he isnt as valuable offensively. Is drawing walks considered part of being a great hitter? should batting average be considered at all? Also, nobody answered whether we take positon into account. Im assuming we are, because i see Schmidt and A-rod on the top 24 of the last poll. Theres is no way those guys would be top 24 all time hitters without considering their position. I can think of 10 better hitters than A-rod just during his own era. what about steroids? should we penalize the playeers who juiced? where would guys like Gwynn, Boggs, and Carew fit in?
            Also, how can Josh Gibson be on it? we dont know how he could have hit in the major leagues. Plus he was a catcher, so even if we assume he was at the same batting skill level of these other guys ( a HUGE assumption), it is highly unlikely he would have lasted long enough in the major leagues as catcher to have to sustain it for as long as those other players.
            Last edited by willshad; 03-17-2008, 12:22 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              OK. I will try to clarify what this poll is trying to accomplish. We are trying to select 'The Greatest Hitters of All Time'.

              1. Define that however your gut informs you. Each of you should do your best to come up with whatever criteria that you most believe is important.

              I, personally, try to balance peak/longevity as best I can. I also try to balance contact/power as best I can.

              By hitting, I mean anything a batter does in the batter's box. Anything. A batter's plate judgment/discipline is a part of his hitting. Hence, Joe Sewell had a good hitting skill by not swinging at pitches a fraction off the plate. Same with Ted Williams. NOT swinging is a hitting skill. Walking is a hitting skill.

              Speed down the line is also an integral part of one's hitting, as is stretching a single into a double. Running speed is a hitting skill because it allows one to gain hits that he couldn't otherwise get.

              Getting hit by a pitch is a hitting skill. So, plate crowding by Henderson/Bonds, etc. is a hitting skill and factors into hitting.

              I normally try to not define things this finely, but since you're asking, we might as well put it all on the table. The above is how I define hitting.

              WHATEVER one does in the batter's box, until he arrives on a base, is included in one's 'hitting'.

              Is that fine enough for our definitions? I define hitting broadly, not narrowly. If someone defines 'hitting' by what happens when they swing, that is a 'narrow definition'. But today, here, I use the 'broad definition'.

              All I wrote above is how Bill Burgess defines hitting. But I also allow everyone to disagree with me. If Randy wishes to define hitting narrowly, that is fine with me. If everyone here wants to disagree with me, please do. Do as you like. Whatever you want. I know what I mean, but I don't want to impose my personal definitions, as above on any other member. You're free to think. Define how you want.

              The rules here are that there are no rules. Each remains free to define hitting howsoever they need to. Or, you may adopt my broad definition. As you like.

              Bill Burgess
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-24-2008, 07:14 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                The five greatest hitters of all time include, in decreasing order:

                Ty Cobb
                Babe Ruth
                Rogers Hornsby
                Lou Gehrig
                Ted Williams
                Baseball articles you might not like but should read.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Please don't get carried away, but it is not sudden. I have always considered Cobb the greatest player and the greatest hitter of all time, but as the years have passed, I recognized that Ruth was pretty good, but my criterion for a hitter is to make contact and reach base after contact. No one was better than Cobb at doing that.

                  Admittedly, it is simplistic, because there are ways to reach base other than by making contact, but "hitter" means one who hits the ball, and when he swung and the ball was in fair territory, Cobb reached base more frequently than any other hitter.
                  Baseball articles you might not like but should read.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                    OK. I will try to clarify what this poll is trying to accomplish. We are trying to select 'The Greatest Hitters of All Time'.

                    1. Define that however your gut informs you. Each of you should do your best to come up with whatever criteria that you most believe is important.

                    I, personally, try to balance peak/longevity as best I can. I also try to balance contact/power as best I can.

                    By hitting, I mean anything a batter does in the batter's box. Anything. A batter's plate judgment/discipline is a part of his hitting. Hence, Joe Sewell had a good hitting skill by not swinging at pitches a fraction off the plate. Same with Ted Williams. NOT swinging is a hitting skill. Walking is a hitting skill.

                    Speed down the line is also an integral part of one's hitting, as is stretching a single into a double. Running speed is a hitting skill because it allows one to gain hits that he couldn't otherwise get.

                    Getting hit by a pitch is a hitting skill. So, plate crowding by Henderson/Bonds, etc. is a hitting skill and factors into hitting.

                    I normally try to not define things this finely, but since you're asking, we might as well put it all on the table. The above is how I define hitting.

                    WHATEVER one does in the batter's box, until he arrives on a base, is included in one's 'hitting'.

                    Is that fine enough for our definitions? I define hitting broadly, not narrowly. If someone defines 'hitting' by what happens when they swing, that is a 'narrow definition'. But today, here, I use the 'broad definition'.

                    All I wrote above is how Bill Burgess defines hitting. But I also allow everyone to disagree with me. If Randy wishes to define hitting narrowly, that is fine with me. If everyone here wants to disagree with me, please do. Do as you like. Whatever you want. I know what I mean, but I don't want to impose my personal definitions, as above on any other member. You're free to think. Define how you want.

                    The rules here are that there are no rules. Each remains free to define hitting howsoever they need to. Or, you may adopt my broad definition. As you like.

                    Bill Burgess
                    Thanks Bill. Now I can move forward with my vote.
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-17-2008, 01:34 PM.
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bill and Randy,

                      You are really quibbling over semantics, you are interpreting the question differently.

                      Judging solely on what happens in the batter's box, Cobb doesn't really have much of a shot. Judging based upon the net effects of balls put in play by the player in question, Cobb's case improves. If this becomes akin to just best offensive player altogether, Cobb's case improves still.

                      At the end of the day, regardless of how you interpret the question, the only player other than Ruth for whom I think a persuasive case can be made is Williams.

                      Contrarian,

                      Musial can't compete with Williams or Ruth here, and as far as calling Randy's argument a "what if," that's just silly. Ruth had fewer ABs because of two reasons. One, he was walked more than Musial. Two, Ruth spent several seasons as a pitcher.

                      But, let's at least account for the walks. So instead of looking at hits, let's look at times reaching base. Now, the cavernous OBP disparity is glaringly obvious by simply glancing at the BBR pages, but let's spell it out a little more explicitly.

                      So, by simply adding BBs to ABs to get a rough number of PAs we have Musial at 12571 and Ruth at 10460. If he add hits to walks to determine times reaching base, we have Musial at 5229 and Ruth at 4935. That's a difference of 294 times reaching base in 2111 ABs. Babe Ruth could have gotten on base at a .140 clip (somewhere between the career OBPs of Pedro Marinez and Randy Johnson) over 2,111 more PAs and still have had a higher OBP than Musial!

                      This is like saying, "Bill Gates has more money than me now, but what about in ten years..." Is that a hypothetical, or is it a delusion, an act of cognitive dissonance?
                      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LouGehrig View Post
                        Please don't get carried away, but it is not sudden. I have always considered Cobb the greatest player and the greatest hitter of all time, but as the years have passed, I recognized that Ruth was pretty good, but my criterion for a hitter is to make contact and reach base after contact. No one was better than Cobb at doing that.

                        Admittedly, it is simplistic, because there are ways to reach base other than by making contact, but "hitter" means one who hits the ball, and when he swung and the ball was in fair territory, Cobb reached base more frequently than any other hitter.
                        Is there a stat or recorded numbers for the batting average of any of the greats only when they make contact, put the ball in play. Some years ago I did see an article, some math dealing with that on Babe Ruth and some other greats. The writer was pointing out the career batting average of Ruth. I thought he added up Ruth's strikeouts and walks, subtracted that total from his actual 8399 at bats and calculated his batting average in that way.This was some years ago, don't recall if sacs or HBP were included.

                        1330 SO + 2062 walks= 3392 Number of times no balls put in play.

                        Actual at bats 8399 minus 3392= 5007 times he put balls in play.

                        5007 balls put in play 2873 hits= .573 batting average.
                        The writer was certainly not rewarding Babe for all those strikeouts. The article dealt with really getting wood on the ball when put in play.

                        If I recall that was the highest batting average found with that formula. I can't remember the others, Cobb, Hornsby if I recall were both .400 plus and the only other over .500+ was Ted Williams.

                        That is getting wood on the ball. As I said it was quick work, maybe some holes in it so of course I welcome comments, critical or ways to refine or improve it. I just found the article quite interesting, getting good wood on the ball when putting in play.
                        Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 03-17-2008, 06:45 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                          Is there a stat or recorded numbers for the batting average of any of the greats only when they make contact, put the ball in play. Some years ago I did see an article, some math dealing with that on Babe Ruth and some other greats. The writer was pointing out the career batting average of Ruth. I thought he added up Ruth's strikeouts and walks, subtracted that total from his actual 8399 at bats and calculated his batting average in that way.This was some years ago, don't recall if sacs or HBP were included.

                          1330 SO + 2062 walks= 3392 Number of times no balls put in play.

                          Actual at bats 8399 minus 3392= 5007 times he put balls in play.

                          5007 balls put in play 2873 hits= .573 batting average.
                          The writer was certainly not rewarding Babe for all those strikeouts. The article dealt with really getting wood on the ball when put in play.

                          If I recall that was the highest batting average found with that formula. I can't remember the others, Cobb, Hornsby if I recall were both .400 plus and the only other over .500+ was Ted Williams.

                          That is getting wood on the ball. As I said it was quick work, maybe some holes in it so of course I welcome comments, critical or ways to refine or improve it. I just found the article quite interesting, getting good wood on the ball when putting in play.
                          You don't have to subtract walks from at-bats. Walks are not included in at-bats.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ruth batted .406 on balls put in play.

                            Interestingly, his highest average came in the year with the most strikeouts.

                            That year, '23 he batted .478 on balls put in play.

                            (by the way, balls put in play includes home runs in this case).

                            Here's another stat: total bases per hit (or slugging percentage only in at-bats that yield a hit). Basically its a sign of pure power.

                            Ruth slugged 1.016 when he got a base hit, or he averaged 2 bases per hit.

                            His best year was 2.256

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Roughly for his 16 full years as a hitter, '20-'35, Ruth had a 210 OPS+ and Mays had a 160 for his top 16.

                              If we do this, we can assume that Mays longevity, and missed years can be roughly cancelled out by Ruth's first 6 years. After all, Ruth played 22 seasons. His longevity is all time great.

                              So what we have is basically a 160 hitter and a 210 hitter.

                              A centerfielder is typically given about a 10 run positional advantage on a corner outfielder. A run is about 1.2 OPS+ points.

                              And Mays averaged about +8 FRAA over an average centerfielder.

                              That would put Mays at 182.

                              Baserunning (not counting steals) AT MOST would be +8 runs average or +10 points to 192.

                              Steals for Mays would be about another +6. He might have stolen more, but then again, he might have done less of other things.

                              That would put Mays at 198 to Ruth's 210.

                              If Mays doesn't make up 12 points with league quality, then there is a serious problem.

                              I think he makes up about 20 points, though some estimates would say 30, or 15%.

                              20 would put him at 218 to Ruth's 210.

                              However, I think that Ruth was about another +4 points above average in right, and probably a little above average baserunner for his top years, maybe another +4 which once again puts them equal at 218

                              Just to quickly show what can be made up in fielding and baserunning:

                              Mays 160
                              position and fielding: +22
                              baserunning: +10
                              basestealing: +6

                              Point is, Mays, a 160 producer with the bat may be a 198 relative producer when baserunning and fielding are included.

                              Now I think that Ruth was better in his first 6 years than Mays was outside of his top 16.

                              Comment

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