Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

*Babe Ruth Thread*

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
    Dude, Adam...that's gonna have to go into the Ultimate Babe Ruth Thread....too friggin good
    I forgot how campy Voyagers! was. But it was a great to see a Babe Ruth story.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

    Comment


    • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
      Saved this TV Guide, in my Babe scrapbook, can't believe it, over 30 years ago.
      Funny how they used a photo of the real Babe Ruth.
      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
        I forgot how campy Voyagers! was. But it was a great to see a Babe Ruth story.
        Ruth was depicted at different points in his career, IIRC. He was the kids' hero, who was totally wide-eyed whenever the two were on screen together.
        Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
        Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
        Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
        Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
        Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
          Posted by: [email protected]

          John B. Sheridan on Relative Value of a Player:

          John Brinsley Sheridan, St. Louis sports writer, 1888-1929
          Sporting News, December 8, 1927, pp. 4, column 6



          "A very good friend, and competent critic, writes from Houston,Tex., that so long as charge is made for admission to see baseball games, players are entitled to salaries commensurate with the paid attendance, that it is the players, who draw the money paid for admission to baseball games. I cannot wholly agree with this position. While it is true that Ruth, as a member of a championship team, does attract huge crowds, Ruth on the Boston Red Sox or St. Louis Browns would lose a great part of his drawing power.

          Ruth is the only player I have known, except Waddell, to possess extraordinary personal drawing powers. Ruth plays every day. Waddell pitched once in four days. Spectators never were informed exactly as to what day he would pitch. Often when the day of Rube's appearance was announced, he failed to show up. Cobb, I figured, did draw 700 more people to the average game than the Detroit team minus Cobb would have drawn. Outside of Ruth, Waddell and Cobb, I have not known any individual player to draw large crowds.

          Mike Kelly, Anson, Mathewson, Walter Johnson, were all more or less drawing cards. All of these men, except Johnson were members of teams always high in the championship races. They drew well with a championship team.

          Put Ruth, Cobb, Kelly, Anson, Mathewson, Waddell, on a tail-end team on a barnstorming team in a bush park, no high-powered publicity, to what degree would their drawing powers be diminished? Let any of these men drop out of the limelight of the big leagues, and what would they draw? It is, in my opinion, entirely logical to attribute to the player, the players, or the team all drawing power displayed by the teams. Organized Baseball, regular scheduled games, good teams, in winning form, to play against, form the basis of the baseball structure. It is all very well to say "Americans love baseball." Not so. Americans do love organized league baseball. They don't care much for unorganized lot baseball, not even if every player on the lots was a Ruth.

          Organization is the fundamental of the drawing power of baseball. Take away organization and you take away the drawing power of baseball. Ruth will pass on, as Kelly and Anson passed on, yet Organized Baseball will continue to attract its millions. Take away organization and a million unorganized Ruths will not draw the big money they will draw as members of Organized Baseball.

          Then comes as part of organization, the good baseball city, the good team, the good park, a good press--the grand old ballyhoo.

          The people who invest money, who organize winning teams, who construct good parks, who have good relation with the public and with the press, the result of is a favorable press, the great organized ballyhoo, contribute much to the drawing power of the individual player or of the teams.

          When I remember the days of Fielder Jones' White Sox, the amazing personal attractiveness and, popularity of Comiskey, the manner in which that personally made and held friends, the Woodland bands, organized rooting, I believe that Comiskey's labor contributed much to the drawing powers of the White Sox. But for Ed Walsh, the White Sox did not possess a single outstanding individual drawing card. As a winning team, they constituted a strong, collective drawing card. As individuals, as a team they played winning but unattractive baseball.

          The newspaper ballyhoo is of enormous importance. True, to draw, to create interest, to make ballyhooo possible, you must have (1) a winning team; (2) play an attractive style of baseball; (3) possess players who make good copy for the newspapers; (4) be fortunate enough to have with you baseball writers who are capable of putting on a good ballyhoo. A pleasant, commodious, clean, comfortable accessible park, has decided values in drawing power.

          What value would Ruth have in the small Cubs' park at Chicago, compared to the enormous value he possesses in the huge Yankee Stadium? One-half, I believe, because Wrigley Field can accommodate only one-half as many people as the Yankee Stadium.

          What is the value of the mere name New York as a drawing card? Considerable. That is a New York team will draw more people than a St. Louis, Detroit, Washington or Cincinnati team of equal standing and playing attractiveness. The words New York Cast have a distinct drawing value.

          Ruth certainly does draw large additional sums at the gate as a component part of a potential world's championship team, of a New York team, as the best "ballyhooed" man in the world. What percentage of Ruth's unquestionable drawing power are attributable to (1) Ruth himself; (2) a world's championship team; (3) New York Cast; (4) the ballyhoo; (5) good teams to play against; (6) good parks to play in?

          The fact that an attractive player, who does possess a drawing value of his own is a member of a New York team confers enormous drawing values upon him. The very name New York--the metropolis--has a distinct value. New York is the center of an enormous stable and floating population; of an amusement seeking population; such as no other city in the United States has. New York is the center of news distribution, of features, special stories, cartoons and all the rest of the ballyhoo.

          The attractive player on a New York team gets the benefit of all this huge volume of publicity, of the enormous concentrated population, of the metropolitan district of the huge buying crowds, convention-attending crowds, of the crowds attracted by the general ballyhoo, which has attained infinitely greater volume in New York than anywhere else in the world. Surely, no one would claim that the ballplayer, individually, is entitled to cash in on these things

          If drawing capacity counted, Lou Gehrig would not get $5,000. a year, although Gehrig followed Ruth closely in home runs, hit in more runs than Ruth did, etc. I have seen 15,000 women out, free on ladies day, to see Ruth. At the time, Gehrig was leading Ruth in home runs. No one seemed to know that Gehrig was in the game that day. It was Ruth, or the ballyhoo about Ruth, the Abysmal Brute ballyhoo, the stories told about his Rabeinisan life, of his exploits d'amour, not Gehrig, who drew the crowds.

          Summing up, I'd say that the drawing power of Ruth is constituted thus:

          Personality and prowess (Ruth himself)..... 25%
          Prestige of a winning club in New York...... 30%
          Good stands, pleasant surrounding............10%
          Ballyhoo.......................................... ....35%
          ----------------------------------------100% total"
          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Posted by: Sultan_1895-1948

          Just my 2 cents on this:

          If we're talking about a players drawing card ability, then I'd break this down like this:

          Personality and prowess (Ruth himself)..... 45%
          Prestige of a winning club in New York..... 20%
          Good stand, pleasant surrounding......... 5%
          Ballyhoo ....................................... 30%
          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Posted by: [email protected]

          Code:
          -----------Yankees--------------------Giants 
          Year-------Attendance-----------------Attendance
          1918	     282,000    4th (126 g)   256,000 2nd  (124 g)
          1919	     619,000    3rd (141 g)   708,000 2nd  (140 g)
          1920	   1,289,000    3rd 	      929,000 2nd
          1921	   [COLOR="red"]1,230,000    1st	      973,000 1st[/COLOR]
          1922	   [COLOR="red"]1,026,000    1st	      945,000 1st[/COLOR]
          1923	   [COLOR="red"]1,007,000    1st	      820,000 1st[/COLOR]
          1924	   [COLOR="red"]1,053,000    1st	      844,000 1st[/COLOR]
          1925	     697,000    7th	      778,000 2nd
          1926	   [COLOR="red"]1,027,000    1st[/COLOR]	      700,000 5th
          1927	   [COLOR="red"]1,164,000    1st[/COLOR]	      858,000 3rd
          1928	   [COLOR="red"]1,072,000    1st[/COLOR]	      916,000 2nd
          1929	     960,000    2nd	      868,000 3rd
          1918 Red Sox - 249,513 - 126 games (war-shortened) - 1,980 per game - 1st place
          1919 Red Sox - 417,291 - 140 games (war-shortened) - 2,980 per game - 6th place
          1920 Red Sox - 402,445 - 154 games (full season) ----- 2,613 per game - 5th place
          Hey Bill, the first section of this is particularly interesting. It speaks to the article you posted, regarding the supposed diminished drawing power of Ruth, if not for large stadium or an organized professional team.

          --------------------------------
          Bill Jenkinson


          Chapter 8Conclusions and ProjectionsExcerpts

          So, is it time to project what babe Ruth would do if he were playing today? Not yet. There are still a few other points to discuss first. We still need to talk about the process of researching Ruth and the difficulty in trying to quantify him. Every year, more people pass away who had actual personal experience with him. As of now, there are very few men alive who took the field with or against him. Essentially, we are left with individuals who merely watched him play when they were children. Can we count on what they say? Are childhood memories historically reliable? We have a natural tendency to imbue our lives with romanticized importance, especially as we grow old.

          What, then, is the role of oral history in a treatise like this? Should it be ignored? No. But it needs to be considered only as a starting point for evaluation and investigation. The story being told may be apocryphal. Then again, it may be true. In the case of Babe Ruth, this is particularly relevant. There is so much oral history relating to him that it is almost overwhelming. The man's persona has incredible staying power, and his legacy endures in the countless locations that he visited. There is a specific 1923 incident in Philadelphia that is particularly revealing. I first heard about it from an aging area resident and was then able to corroborate the details from documented primary sources.

          After playing the Athletics at Shibe Park on September 4, 1923, Babe went directly to a waiting cab that sped across town to the Kensington section of the city. The Catholic parish of Ascension of Our Lord had a top amateur baseball team, but had gone into debt providing them with a quality field on which to play. Assistant Pastor William Casey was an unofficial chaplain to the Athletics and had asked Ruth on a prior visit if he would consider playing a few innings as part of a fund-raiser. Of course Babe consented, but with one condition. He wanted to play the entire game. So plans were set in motion, and the game was scheduled for 6:00 P.M. the day after Labor Day, when the Yankees returned to Philadelphia.

          An ascension uniform was specially made for Ruth and placed in a local store window as a promotion. Word spread around the neighborhood that Babe Ruth was coming; all 7,000 tickets were sold. Thousands of other requests went unfulfilled. Upon arrival, Ruth quickly changed uniforms and stepped onto a field that buzzed with electric anticipation. There may have been 7,000 anxious fans crammed into the small ballpark, but about that many more were situated everywhere within view of the field. People stood on housetops, hung out of windows, perched in trees, and congregated on factory roofs to watch the world's premier ballplayer perform in their backyard. At least 2,000 more lined up along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks beyond the left field to watch from a distance. Babe played first base and batted fourth for Ascension, who took the field against Lit brothers, a department store team and one of the best amateur nines in the area.

          When the day began, the Ascension club was $6,500 in debt. But Father Casey knew in advance that Ruth's participation would guarantee a financial windfall. So he presented Babe with a diamond stickpin at home plate before the Bambino's first at-bat in the second inning. Ruth flied out to left field. The Lit Brothers pitcher was a tough left-hander named Gransbach, who performed like a pro the entire game. Ruth batted again in the fourth frame with his squad trailing 2-0, and this time he really connected. His rising line drive sailed high over the nearby right field fence and disappeared so far in the distance that nobody saw where it landed. Father Casey, who had played college ball at St. Bonaventure's blinked in disbelief from the bench. When he was finally able to speak, the beloved cleric said in reverential tones: "That ball has left our parish." To this day there are still neighborhood people talking about that drive, and it wasn't even a homer. The right field fence was too close to award four bases for any ball clearing it. There was a flagpole about 100 feet from the foul line, and anything to the right of it was limited to two bases. Babe's blast passed about two feet to the right of the Stars and Stripes. A bemused Ruth was sent back to second base.

          Ascension could have used the run, because they lost the game 2-1. Later in the game, Babe grounded out, but did score his team's only run after his ninth-inning fly went so high that the left-fielder got dizzy trying to catch it. When the game ended, Babe was covered in dirt and sweat from his exertions. His team had lost, but nobody cared. Ruth had been magnificent. He dove for balls in the field, and ran the bases like a demon. Between innings, he signed baseballs (about five dozen), which were then auctioned for five bucks a piece. Standard autographs were given by the hundreds. Babe also hit fungos over the left field fence to the kids waiting by the train tracks. As usual, he was mobbed trying to leave the field and carried by the happy throng to Father Casey's automobile. Instead of being in the red by thousands of dollars, the Ascension club was in the black with plenty to spare. As they rode away, the grateful clergyman asked Ruth how he could repay him. Babe responded: "Say, Father, are you kidding me?"

          --------------------------------------------------------------------

          Another of my personal favorites is the tale of Babe Ruth at Shibe Park on May 22, 1930. And why not? My own father was there, and told me about it when I was a child. Decades later, while I did the formal research, I felt as though I had been there myself. According to my dad, he went to the doubleheader with his uncle, who didn't have much money in those Depression times. Dad was fourteen and a passionate fan of the World Champion Athletics. He knew that Ruth had belted three home runs the day before and couldn't wait to see the rematch between Babe and his beloved A's. So he was crushed when his uncle opted to buy the fifty-cent rooftop seats across Twentieth Street from right field. He wasn't even inside the stadium. His malaise lasted until the third inning, when Ruth batted for the second time.

          Then he saw the ball leap from Babe's bat, followed closely by a gunshot-like sound. On and on the ball sped directly toward him, but, in an instant, it whizzed far over his head. I can still picture my father closing his eyes, reliving the moment, and yanking his head backward as he pantomimed his attempt to follow the improbable flight of the ball. This was the Ruthian home run that landed on Opal Street, after flying well over 500 feet. Until that moment, Dad felt disconnected from the events inside the ballpark. He was just too far away to feel any sense of the action. But Babe Ruth and his powerful swing changed things instantly. Dad said to me; "That big sonovabich just pulled me inside the park with him. All of a sudden, it was like I was in the infield." What son of a baseball family wouldn't cherish a story like that?

          --------------------------------------------------------------------

          The good news is that there are still enough authenticated Babe Ruth stories to fill five books like this. Whether talking about his twenty-two years of official baseball, his long list of unofficial games, his raw power, or his commanding personality, there is always more to say. Remember the second time that Babe broke down? First, he collapsed from that mysterious stomach ailment in 1925, and then he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1929. We have already discussed much of what led to Ruth's 1929 problem, but the strangest link in that chain is now ready for review. It will also assist us in a final evaluation of Babe Ruth's greatness. On May 19 at Yankee Stadium, Babe was involved in an incident that may be the oddest and most tragic that ever occurred in a Major League ballpark.

          Two innings after Ruth lined a home run into the right field seats, an explosively violent thunderstorm rumbled through the Bronx. Frightened fans in those open bleachers stampeded toward and exit that simply could not accommodate the volume. Within seconds, those rushing from the upper rows collided with those who got there first, knocking many of them down. Before another minute had elapsed, a grotesque pile of human flesh formed inside the overtaxed exit. By the time the suffering horde had been separated, more than one hundred fans had been injured. Tragically, one man was already dead, and seventeen-year-old Eleanor Price was mortally injured. Most of the 50,000 folks inside the stadium didn't even know what had happened. By then, almost all of the players had retreated into the locker-room, but Babe Ruth had remained in the dugout. He recognized that a crisis was unfolding and called for doctors from the stands. When Babe saw a police officer carrying Ms. Price across the field, he ran out to assist. Ambulances were hurriedly summoned, but they would take twenty minutes to arrive. What should be done in the meantime? It was decided to convey the stricken teen to the Yankee clubhouse. When the emergency personnel rushed into the locker-room, it was already too late. There lay Eleanor in the arms of Babe Ruth, who was devastated by his inability to save her.

          But how could this scene have happened? Why was a critically injured person being held by an uneducated athlete? Doctor S. Greenwald had responded to Ruth's summons and was tending to her. but he had no equipment. There was little that he could do, except raise her spirits. That's where Babe Ruth came in. Babe intuitively understood that his uncanny gift for imbuing people with hope was her best chance. It was an impossible task, but he willingly accepted it. So, he knelt on the floor and gently stroked the girls' head in a desperate effort to save her life. And when he failed, he paid a heavy price. The four previous months since his first wife had died in a fire had been emotionally draining for Ruth. This intimate encounter with senseless death was the final straw. Three days later, Babe visited the seriously injured at Lincoln Hospital, but he was a shell of his usual effervescent self. Ten days after that, Ruth was broken in body and spirit.

          I believe that almost any else would have been through for the season. But not Babe Ruth. Before the month of June ended, he was the same invincible warrior of old, personally vanquishing the great Lefty Grove. This bizarre one-month episode is actually Babe Ruth in microcosm. It tells us why he was so transcendent as both an athlete and a personality. Yes, he was supremely physically gifted, but Ruth was more than an athletic machine. Regardless of his humble and sometimes troubled youth, Babe grew up unafraid to try anything - even holding a dying girl in his arms in the faint hope that he could help her.

          As I completed this book, I did what I suppose all authors do. I reviewed everything to make sure that I had been as accurate as possible. In that wrapping-up process, I again contacted Dr. Charles Yesalis, who had helped me with various issues relating to sports, medicine, and the performance of elite athletes. He believes that there are only marginal physical differences, if any, between the top tier of world-class athletes and those rare individuals who become the absolute best. He theorized that Babe Ruth did what he did by way of both neurological superiority and behavioral uniqueness. I couldn't comment on the neurological aspect of this thesis, but I asked him about the aforementioned incident with the dying girl at Yankee Stadium. He responded by saying: "That's exactly what I'm referring to. That behavior would have to carry over to his on-field performance."

          In fact, a similar even had occurred with Ruth on a train ride through the Midwest during his 1928 barnstorming tour. A passenger suffered a heart attack between town, and Babe spent thirty minutes trying to revive him. This was before formal CPR training, and Ruth probably had no idea of exactly what to do. But he tried anyway. Then there was the time in 1932 when Ruth went alligator hunting in central Florida prior to spring training. He and his three companions were hip deep in swamp muck when a poisonous water moccasin attacked them. The others tried to flee, but Babe simply addressed the threat by shooting the snake through the head with a single shot from his .30-.30 rifle.

          The two on-field events that first come to mind are Babe's World Series moments in 1926 and 1932. In '26 his attempt to steal second base resulted in failure, thereby ending the season. The '32 event was Ruth's "called shot" when he blasted an unforgettable home run under considerable duress. Whether he won or lost, succeeded or failed, this unique man always responded to critical situations in the same way. He simply acted without any apparent fear or consideration of failure. Yesalis belies that it was an innate gift, something that Babe Ruth could not have been taught. Regardless of its origin, this rare trait was crucial in achieving his extraordinary athletic success.

          Combining courage, indomitable spirit, and exceptional ability made Babe Ruth the greatest athlete in American history. Oddly, however, it was Babe's limitations that helped make him so popular. If people only saw extraordinary natural gifts, they certainly would have admired Ruth, but they would not have related to him. Instead, they saw a flawed man with a bloated physique. He was intemperate, coarse, and profane. But he was also generous, loyal, and kind. Babe would be the proverbial bull in the china shop. Other times, he was gentle as a kitten. Life had a way of knocking him down, but he never stayed down for long. Babe always got up and swung for the fences. And people everywhere loved him for it. The rich and powerful flocked to him because he was the most celebrated person in the country. And despite the wealth, fame, and privilege that he earned for himself, common folk felt connected to him. They didn't just care for him; they were one with him.
          Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 07-05-2013, 12:24 AM.

          Comment


          • "The livelier ball may have influenced the situation to some extent, but the livelier ball is a thing so elusive that offers the scantiest evidence...We are irrestistibly impelled, therefore, to see in Babe Ruth the true cause for the amazing advance in home runs." - F.C. Lane

            "If Ruth benefitted from a rabbit ball being sneaked into play in 1919, he was the only one in Organized Baseball to cash in." - William Curran, baseball historian

            "One reason why many fans and reporters suspected a consipiracy was the Reach and Spalding tended to be secretive about their business dealings. For example, in the 1920s, few knew that Spalding had bought Reach. A great deal of time was wasted discussing the difference between National League and American League balls, when in fact they were produced by the same company to identical specifications. Still, when it came to changes in the ball - in 1911 and 1925 - the company was quite open about what it was doing and why. Nor has anyone ever presented any evidence that additional changes were ordered in some smoke-filled room of 1919." - Paul Aron

            "The inference is that at dead of night the under-secretary of the club owner sneaks to a private telephone, summons the manufacturer, and bids him pour a little strychnine of digitalis into the old apple to make its heart action quicker. The factory gets out the ball bearings, the block rubber, and the go-juice, and the home run epidemic follows." - Paul Gallico, sportswriter

            "There was a chorus of complaints form pitchers who could no longer throw a dirty ball. According to the 1922 Reach Guide, 'they were unable to curve the new balls, because they were not able to get a proper grip on them." No longer weighed down by foreign substances, balls were also slightly lighter and therefore livelier." - Paul Aron

            FROM RUTH

            “At any rate I would like to go through an entire season playing regularly every day, in some position like first base. There is no discounting the fact that a pitcher is handicapped by not taking his regular turn against the opposing twirlers…..A man needs that steady training day in and day out to put a finish on his work. The pitcher who can’t get in there in the pinch and win his own game with a healthy wallop, isn’t more than half earning his salary to my way of thinking.” – Babe Ruth interviewed for World Series Program, 1916


            "It isn't right to call me or any ballplayer an ingrate because we ask for more money. Sure, I want more, all I'm entitled to. The time of a ballplayer is short. He must get his money in a few years or lose out. Listen, a man who works for another man is not going to be paid any more than he's worth. You can bet on that. A man ought to get all he can earn. A man who knows he's making money for other people ought to get some of the profit he brings in. Don't make any difference if it's baseball or a bank or a vaudeville show. It's business, I tell you. There ain't no sentiment to it. Forget that stuff." - after 1921


            “They tell me I swing the heaviest bat in baseball. It’s not only heavy but long, about as long as the law allows. And it weighs 52 ounces. Most bats weigh under 40. My theory is the bigger the bat the faster the ball will travel. It’s really the weight of the bat that drives the ball, and I like a heavy bat. I have strength enough to swing it, and when I meet the ball, I want to feel that I have something in my hands that will make it travel.

            Do you see these hands? I got those (calluses) from gripping this old war club. When I am out after a homer, I try to make mush of this solid ash handle and I carry through with the bat. You know, in boxing when you hit a man, your fist usually stops right there. But it is possible to hit a man so hard that your fist doesn’t stop. When I carry through with the bat, it is for the same reason. The harder you grip the bat, the faster the ball will travel.”


            "What I did was to get the proper stance. I'd shift my feet so I'd be well balanced. That was the most important thing. When I saw coming the pitch I liked, I'd take a swing. The very second that I felt the bat hitching onto the ball, I would give my wrist an extra twist, and give the ball the old golf follow-through. And that was that."


            "Brother Matthias had the right idea about training a baseball club. He made every boy on the team play every position in the game, including the bench. A kid might pitch a game one day and find himself behind the bat the next, or perhaps out in the sun-field. You see, Brother Matthias' idea was to fit a boy to jump in in an emergency and make good. So whatever I may have done at bat or on the mound or in the outfield or even on the bases, I owe directly to Brother Matthias."

            "I had drifted away from the church during my harum-scarum early years in the majors. I'd go to Mass now and then and, believe me, I never missed a night without saying my prayers. But I wasn't the Catholic I had been at St. Mary's, especially after Brother Matthias died."


            "The pitcher who can't get in there in a pinch and win his own game with a healthy wallop, isn't more than half earning his salary to my way of thinking." (1916)


            "I'm paid to hit home runs. In a way, thats a handicap. To hit home runs, I've got to swing from my heels with all the power in my body. Which isn't good batting style."


            "Why choke up? The third strike can carry that agate as far as the first. Some of my longest hits have been made on the third strike, anyhow. Those guys who shorten up are not team players; they are selfish individuals who would take a chance on hitting into a double play, rather than face the shame of striking out. A club with two or three of those guys will be out of the race before the Fourth of July. They're quitters."



            "I've heard people say that the trouble with the world is, we haven't enough good leaders. I think we haven't enough great followers. I have stood side by side with great thinkers--surgeons, engineers, economists; men who deserve a great following--and have heard the crowd cheer me instead. I'm proud of my profession. I like to play baseball. I like fans, too, but I think they yelled too loudly for the wrong man. Most of the people who have really counted in my life were not famous. Nobody ever heard of them--except those who knew and loved them.... I knew and loved them.... I knew an old priest once. How I envy him. He was not trying to please a crowd. He was merely trying to please his own immortal soul.... So fame never came to him. I am listed as a famous home-runner, yet beside that obscure priest, who was so good and so wise, I never got to first base."


            Babe as told to Ferdinand Cole Lane in Baseball Magazine, 1920.

            "Do you see those mud hooks?" Ruth asked Lane one day at the Polo Grounds, extending his enormous, powerful hands to provide more evidence of his abilities. "There's a lot of strength in those hands," said the Babe, gripping the handle of a bat. "And do you notice anything about those hands?" he added, extending his palms to reveal they were covered with calluces. "I got those from gripping this old war club. The harder you grip the bat, the faster the ball will travel...When I swing to meet the baseball, I follow all the way around...In boxing, when you hit a man, your fist generally stops right there, but it is possible to hit a man so hard that your fist doesn't stop. When I carry through with the bat, it is for the same reason."

            Ruth talking about his bat -

            "It's not only heavy, but long, about as long as the law allows. My theory is the bigger the bat the faster the ball will travel. It's really the weight of the bat that drives the ball...I have strength enough to swing it and when I meet the ball, I want to feel that I have something in my hands that will make it travel."






            ABOUT RUTH

            "Babe, in a public place, had learned to feel as much at home as if he were in the back room of his own apartment. He asked for what he wanted in an unmodulated tone, told his stories without regard for their color, and took hold of whatever interested him - be it drink, a doughnut, or a passing waitress - with the uninhibited egoism of a man whose heart was pure." - Robert Smith, sportswriter



            Deathbed story, as told by Lee Allen....

            In January, 1939, learning that Colonel Ruppert lay dying in an apartment of his mansion in Manhattan, Babe phoned to ask if he could have visitors.

            "Fine, I want to see Babe," Ruppert whispered to his nurse. "Tell him to come."

            Ruth, who had always been there when Ruppert needed him, then stood by his bedside, holding his hand. Neither could think of anything to say, and Babe finally blurted out something about the Colonel getting well so they could attend the opening game together.

            Ruppert tried to say "Babe," tried to smile, but then fell asleep.

            Afterward, out in the hall, Ruth was crying.

            "Do you know," he told Al Brennan, Ruppert's secretary, "that's the first time in his life the Colonel ever called me 'Babe.' He always called me 'Ruth' before."


            From: The Life That Ruth Built - by Marshall Smelser

            Babe Ruth was no longer seen as useful in baseball except for ritual occasions which meant nothing in the records but could sell tickets. Ruth was a kind of living ornament, a living shrine, a walking reliquary of baseball records. He found it very hard being a Grand Old Man in his early forties.

            If Babe Ruth had lived into his sixties he would have mellowed into the phase of a man's life when he puts aside many of this world's commitments. Consciously or unconsciously, old people usually adjust their demands to what is possible, in order to get peace of mind. Ruth never reached that age. He lived as do aging dandies, decayed professional beauties, forgotten child screen stars, and most of the ten thousand major-league ballplayers in the first years after eclipse, fretting and in pain until they link up with reality in a healthy way. Ruth was an unwanted man and didn't live to be old enough not to care.


            "But there also were numerous occasions when the Babe made plays which he had craftily thought up beforehand. Such as the day he played left field in Detroit and trapped no less an experienced hand than Charley Gehringer into thinking a fly ball had cleared the fence for a homer instead of coming down for an easy out. This was before the present double deck stands had been erected in what then was call Navin Field. There was just a board fence in left and to the Babe one day it occurred that with a runner on second it could be possible, with a high fly ball hit out toward left, to fake all the notions of a dejected outfielder who knows a homer is about to sail over his head. So he bided his time and one afternoon it came. With Gehringer on second, a high fly soared out to left. The Babe ran back to the fence, looked up at the ball for a moment and then with a motion of utter disgust shrugged his shoulders and cast his eyes on the ground. It was a beautiful piece of acting and fooled Gehringer completely. Certain the ball was clearing the fence, the Tiger second baseman headed for home. And in that same moment Ruth darted forward, got his eyes back on that ball and caught it some five feet in front of the fence. Doubling up Gehringer at second was then a simple matter. Of course, in order to accomplish the trick an outfielder must be equipped with the gift of being able to take his eye off the ball for an appreciable length of time. But then the effervescent Babe Ruth was ever a very gifted hand at anything he tried on a ball field." – Frank Lane (Baseball Magazine, 1946)


            "In lashing at the ball, Ruth put his big body back of the smash with as perfect timing as we have ever seen. There was no hurried motion, no quick swinging, no over anxiety to connect. It all happened with the concentrated serenity of great power under perfect control." - Grantland Rice


            Paul Gallico, N.Y. Daily News, 1927 -

            "It was impossible to watch him at bat without experiencing an emotion. I have seen hundreds of ballplayers at the plate, and none of them managed to convey the message of impending doom to a pitcher that Babe Ruth did with the flick of his head, the position of his legs and the little gentle waving of the bat, feathered in his two big paws."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Grantland Rice -

            "I've seen the great ones, from Cobb through Williams, but Ruth was the only player I have known who could turn out capacity crowds every time. He did this in every city the Yankees played." (Legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice)
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Roger Peckinpaugh, Yankee SS, 1913-1921 -

            "Ballplayers weren't the celebrities they came to be later on, with a few exceptions, of course, like Cobb and Walter Johnson. But the Babe changed that. He changed everything, that guy. So many, many people became interested in baseball because of him. They would be drawing 1,500 a game in St. Louis. We'd go in there with the Babe and they'd be all over the ballpark; there would be mounted police riding the crowd back. Thousands and thousands of people coming out to see that one guy. Whatever the owners paid him, it wasn't enough--it couldn't be enough."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Lawrence Ritter and Mark Rucker -

            "Both teammates and opponents of Ruth's vividly remember the times when they played with or against him. To be able to say that they played in a game with Babe Ruth gives them a special pride and satisfaction. In their old age, it is apparent that they believe just having been on the same field with him validates their own career... indeed, to some extent, their own lives. And that, after all is said and done, is the ultimate [testament] to greatness."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Joe DiMaggio, upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame -

            "Now I've had everything... except the thrill of watching Babe Ruth play."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Rube Bressler, Reds and Dodgers 3Bman

            "There was only one Babe Ruth. He went on the ball field like he was playing in a cow pasture, with cows for an audience. He never knew what fear or nervousness was."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Shirley Povich, legendary sportswriter, speaking as a nonagenarian in 1998 -

            "The most striking thing about Ruth at bat was not simply the power that he generated, but also the beauty of his swing. He made home run hitting look so easy. There was no violence in his stroke. He put everything into it, but he never looked like he was extending himself. By the time he hit the ball, he had taken a long stride forward, and hard turned his shoulders and @ss and wrists into it, swinging through it. Exquisite timing. I can close my eyes and not only see the swing, but still admire it."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Hank Greenberg -

            "I never put myself in Ruth's class as a home-run hitter. He was head and shoulders above any home-run hitter in my era, and certainly he's in a class by himself for all time. His 714 home runs in a 22-year career--the first four as a pitcher--were hit in 3,993 fewer at bats than Hank Aaron, who broke the record and finished with 755 home runs after playing 23 years. That's not to take away from Aaron's home run record, but certainly if the Babe had played in the current baseball climate with the leagues expanded to 26 teams and the talent watered down, there's no telling how many home runs he would have hit."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1927 -

            "Anyone skeptical of the drawing power of George Herman Ruth must have been convinced yesterday. The presence of the mighty slugger and his pace-setting colleagues was sufficient to lure 35,000 customers into the rebuilt stands of Comiskey Park. Ruth failed to live up to his reputation as a home run hitter, but in batting practice the Bambino lifted a ball clear of the second tier of bleachers in right field. The crowd cheered. The architects had said that no one could ever hit a ball out of the park, but they hadn't counted on Mr. Ruth."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Ford Frick, 1927 -

            "One child can influence [Ruth] more than a dozen grown men of affairs."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Grantland Rice -

            "Babe's love of kids was sincere. In many ways he was a big kid himself. I was in his room for dinner on the eve of the World Series in Chicago in 1932.... `I've got to go for a short trip, Grant,' he said. `Where are you going, right before a World Series?' I asked. `I'll tell you, but if you print it, I'll shoot you. I'm going to take a baseball to a sick kid on the other side of town. I promised his mother and father I'd come. He is pretty sick.' The place was 20 or 30 miles away--over an hour to get there and another to get back. No publicity."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Thomas Foley, peanut vendor at Fenway, 1917-1919

            "He'd grown up a bad boy and he never wanted any of us to go through what he went through. He used to lecture us along those lines. `Do what your mother tells you to do and do what your father tells you to do.' If he heard a kid swearing, he would yell out at him, `Goddamn it, stop that goddamn swearing over there!'"
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Richard Vidner, N.Y. Times sportswriter -

            "If you weren't around in those times, I don't think you could appreciate what a figure the Babe was. He was bigger than the President."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Ray Robinson, N.Y. Times sportswriter -

            "He had the most famous face in the world. If he appeared out of the grave today, everyone would know who he was."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Donald Honig -

            "It's almost as if when anybody hits a home run today, they should pay Babe Ruth a royalty. It's like he invented it."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Don Mattingly -

            "Honestly, at one time I thought Babe Ruth was a cartoon character. I really did, I mean, I wasn't born until 1961, and I grew up in Indiana."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Walter Johnson

            When asked to compare Ruth's HR's to those of Foxx and Greenberg - "All I can say is that the balls Ruth hit out of the park got smaller, quicker, than anybody else's."


            Walter Johnson

            "He is tall, heavy and strong. His weight is in his shoulders, where it will do him the most good. He is a tremendously powerful man...He grasps the bat with an iron grip and when he meets the ball, he follows through with his full strength and weight. For his size, Joe Jackson is as hard a hitter as Ruth, but that margin of 30 pounds in weight and enormous reserve strength enables Ruth to give the ball that extra punch, which drives it further than anybody else."

            Ruth's 12th homer in 1920 was spectacular. It was the first homer Walter had allowed in over 2 years. It came with 2 men on, in the sixth inning of a 7-7 game, and gave the Yanks a 10-7 win. Johnson threw a hard curve and Ruth hit the ball off the facade of the Polo Grounds roof. The Times the next day reported that the ball "nearly tore away part of the roof." The hype machine was in full force, and Ruth's play gave them no reason not to.


            Walter Johnson

            "Ruth is the hardest hitter in the game. There can be no possible doubt on that point. He hits the ball harder and drives it further than any man I ever saw. And old timers whose memory goes back to days when baseball was little more than 'rounders,' tell me they have never seen his equal."

            "There was an odd angle to the Memorial Day games which illustrate what a curious sport baseball really is. In the first encounter, Duffy Lewis smashed a home run into the stands, which tied up the score. There was very little commotion. A minute later, Truck Hannah drove out another homer, which won the game. The excitement was nothing unusual. Then in the second game, Ruth hit his home run when the game is already won, and there is particularly nothing at stake, and the crowd gets so crazy with excitement, they are ready to tear up the stands. Strange, isn't it?"




            Lou Gehrig -

            "When Ruth's time at bat is over, and it's my turn, the fans are still buzzing about what Babe did, regardless of whether he belted a home run or struck out. They wouldn't notice if I walked up to home plate on my hands, stood on my head, and held the bat between my toes."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Judy Johnson, Negro League superstar and HOF'er , remembering the interracial barnstorming games Ruth played in--one of which, b.t.w., produced a 500-foot HR off Paige when Ruth was 43 years old -

            "He was quite a guy, always a lot of fun. All the guys really liked him, and, Lord, could he hit a baseball. I remember one of those late-season exhibition games one October back around 1929 at the old Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The right field fence wasn't far away, but Broad Street was a real wide street, and there was a train station on the opposite side. Well, twice in that game Ruth hit balls so far to right field that they almost cleared the train station. [You have to see the pictures of where they landed to appreciate this. It's absurd--BBHN.] I've seen a lot of long drives in my time--gunlike--Josh Gibson, Mule Suttles, Turkey Stearns and Jimmie Foxx, but I believe those two balls Babe hit that day [at the age of 34] were the longest I've ever seen. He was some kind of guy."
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Jimmy Austin, St. Louis Browns 3Bman

            "Now, Babe Ruth, he was different. What a warm-hearted, generous soul he was. Always friendly, always time for a laugh or a wise-crack. The Babe always had a twinkle in his eye, and when he'd hit a homer against us he'd never trot past third without giving me a wink. The Babe would give you the shirt off his back. All you had to do was ask him. The big fellow wasn't perfect. Everybody knows that. But that guy had a heart. He really did. A heart as big as a watermelon, and made out of pure gold."

            Heywood Broun, legendary American journalist -

            "His existence enlarges us just by looking at him, thinking about him, because you saw perfection. It was so glorious, it was almost painful. You were at the ballpark and Babe took that swing and the ball didn't fall down in the end, it whacked against a seat in the bleachers. I saw this, I was here, I was in the presence of greatness. And to be in the presence of greatness means that some tiny fleck of it is attached to you."


            Harry Hooper -

            "You know, I saw it happen, from beginning to end. But sometimes I still can't believe what I saw: this 19-year old kid, crude, poorly educated, only lightly brushed by the social veneer we call civilization, gradually transformed into the idol of American youth, and the symbol of baseball the world over--a man loved by more people and with an intensity of feeling that perhaps has never been equaled before or since. I saw a man transformed from a human being into something pretty close to a god."


            In 1924, the late Fred Haney was an infielder for the Tigers. In a game against the Yankees, little Fred (5'6") hit his first major league home run, a poke that just cleared the fence and one of only eight home runs he would hit in his seven-year career. When the inning was over and Fred was trotting out to his third base position, he passed Ruth as he headed to the Yankee dugout. "You may still be ahead, big boy," Fred said to him, "but I'm gainin' on you." The Babe said nothing.

            As fate would have it, Ruth came to bat for the Yankees that inning. He blasted a towering drive deep into the right field stands. As he approached third base, head down in his home run trot, he did not even look a Haney but said, "How do we stand now, kid?"


            From Babe In Red Stockings

            May 10, 1918

            His debut as a leftfielder was a success. Lamenting that it was "lonesome out there", that "it's hard to keep awake", and that there was "nothing to do" he made a "fine impression" as a left-fielder. Bob Dunbar wrote: "He handled three base hits which went to his district...in the fielding style which recalls Tris Speaker. He drove home the impression, already rather general, that he is a natural born ball player. Before the end of the season he may be playing shortstop or catching."

            May 11, 1918

            Perhaps responding to Babe's boredom in left, Barrow had him back at first base the nexct day. His bat scintillated again as he had three "screaming" hits in four at-bats, including a long double to right center which only the wind prevented from being a home run. He displayed his prowess around the first base bag in the sixth when he made a sensational stab of a line drive heading down the line turning a sure double into an out. It was all for naught as the Sox lost again 4-2.

            May 16-18, 1918

            The next three games found Babe in leftfield and batting in the clean-up position. Although he only had two hits in those three games, he continued to electrify the crowd with huge towering shots to the outfield. Twice he flied out deep to center, hitting balls that "would have been home runs in other parks."

            Playing with reckless abandon, he nearly "tore down the leftfield grandstand" going after a ball hit by Tiger pitcher Bill James.

            "Babe almost made a sensational catch of this but missed, and it is a wonder he did not mess up the entire stand by the force of his impact. He himself was unhurt. He is one of those heaven sent athletes who...instinctively handle themselves well in a jam...escaping injuries which make life a series of horrors for performers less natural, less agile." - Boston Herald 5/17/18

            The game was temporarily halted as Babe assisted rearranging the seats he had bowled over. In the third game of the series, he gathered in four flies for putouts and added two assists. On one of the assists, he hooked up with third baseman Chet Thomas to nail Ty Cobb who was "sleeping" with his head down walking back to the first base bag. Cobb had singled on the ground to leftfield when Babe quickly gathered the ball in, Ty walked back to first, not knowing that Ruth had swiftly relayed the ball to Thomas. Thomas whirled and fired the ball to first, nailing Cobb. With all this activity in left, Babe no longer felt lonely and bored patrolling Duffy's old grounds.

            June 19, 1918

            Babe exhibited some defensive prowess and showed some of his powerful arm strength when he gathered in Larry Gardner's line drive and nailed Rube Oldring at the plate in the first inning of the first game of the series. No one attempted to run on him for the rest of the series.

            Brooklyn lefty Sherry Smith talked about facing Ruth for the first time. He walked Babe four times that game, including once intentionally which set off "an awful howl from the stands."

            "If Babe got balls somewhere near where he liked to hit them, he would bat .450. He seldom gets a good ball. A pitcher is foolish to give him a good ball, especially with men on bases."


            Miller Huggins

            "Take all the adjectives there are in the language which could be used to describe a slugger, plaster them all on and then wish there were a few more for good measure. You can't describe him, you can't compare him with anybody else. He's Babe Ruth."

            Casey Stengel

            Every Ruthian blast created a new stir. It was an entirely new type of game from the scientific one that Cobb and McGraw favored. Sportswriters began focusing on Babe's new style calling it "a whale versus a shark." Which prompted Casey Stengel to reply “Nah, it's a bomb against a machine gun."

            Casey Stengel

            "Ruth got up, he was a pitcher and a minor leaguer, so I'm playing him shallow but I saw the way he swung the bat, he looked good. I better not play him shallow, I should play him regular. I stood there and the ball went about ten miles over my head. Back to the bench at the innings end and manager Wilbert Robinson said, "where the hell are you playing him?" Stengel replies, "what the hell do you mean, where am I playing him, I should have been in 15 feet, the guy's a pitcher and a minor leaguer."

            "Ruth comes up again and our center fielder Hy Myers looks over and I say, do you think I'm deep enough now, I'm back by the fence. And Ruth hits one over his head, out of sight, I never saw anything like it."


            The Times, 1920

            "Ruth has become the most alarming menace big league pitchers have ever bucked against. "An extra outfielder stationed in the upper grand stand may be necessary to curb the clouter. But that wouldn't stop Ruth, for they would also have to plant another outfielder out in Manhattan Field, and maybe before the season is over another would have to be scouting flies in Eighth Avenue"


            Ping Bodie

            July 9, 1920 was a Friday. Before the home game, the Knights of Columbus presented Ruth with a diamond-studded watch. Ping Bodie was standing near Ruth at home plate for the ceremony, and later joked, "If anyone handed me a cluster of sparklers like that, it would be my luck to have them turn out to be ice...The best I get for hitting home runs is a box of socks."


            Novelist James T. Farrell was 19 years old when he saw Ruth leaving Comiskey Park one day surrounded by more than 100 kids.

            "Wearing a blue suit and a gray cap, there was an expression of bewilderment on his moon face. He said nothing, rolled with the kids, and the strange, hysterical and noisy little mob slowly moved on the the exit gate with Ruth in the center of it. More kids rushed to the edge of the crowd and they, also, pushed and shoved, Ruth swayed from side to side, his shoulders bending one way, and then the other. As they all swirled to the gate, Ruth narrowly escaped being shoved into mustard, which had been spilled from an overturned barrel. Ruth and the kids left the park, with the big fellow still in the center of the crowd of kids."


            Buck O’Neil – (when asked, Is there one moment in all of baseball you wish you could have seen?)

            “I wish I could have been there when Babe Ruth pointed and hit the ball out of the ballpark in the 1932 World Series. I wish I could have seen that. But I did see something I admired just about as much, with Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth.

            This was in Chicago, after Ruth came out of the major leagues. He was barnstorming, playing with different teams, and he played us. Satchel was pitching and Ruth was hitting. Satchel threw Ruth the ball and Ruth hit the ball, must have been 500 feet, off of Satchel. Satchel looked at Ruth all the way around the bases and when Ruth got to home plate, you know who shook his hand? Satchel Paige shook Ruth's hand at home plate.

            They stopped the game and waited, he and Satchel talking, until the kid went out, got the ball, brought it back and Satchel had Babe Ruth autograph that ball for him. That was some kind of moment.

            Comment


            • "The home run hit he crashed today was a record breaker for distance, as it carried away the top of a chair in the Section One of the pavilions, and when the ball was last seen, it was headed for the North River." - Boston Post 6/3/15

              This ball was hit on a line into the upper deck of the Polo Grounds. Yankee Manager Donovan ordered his pitchers to intentionally walk Ruth twice that day, perhaps leading to frustration. Late in the game, Babe kicked the bench out of frustration, breaking a toe. He missed a couple pitching starts because of it. Dumb move on Ruth's part :stupidme:

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
                Superhuman, no. Larger than life, yes.
                Some of his traits and several of his career feats transcended human ability- prior or since- hence my adjuctive.

                I invoked "Superhuman" as a term connoting sheer awe and endearment.

                Comment


                • Big talk for a kid in an institution, future not looking that good........................................but already showing a world of confidence.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • Ruth's slugging percentages look like misprints. From 1920-1930, Ruth had 9 seasons in which he played 130+ games. He slugged .732 or MUCH higher in 7 of those 9 seasons. I.e, .739 was actually a bad slugging year for Ruth during his prime during the Live Ball era while playing in a neutral stadium.

                    By 1931, the league was into the long ball and Ruth was past his prime and declining rapidly. From 1931-1935(ages 36-40), Ruth's relative slugging percentage was still a whopping 154. To put this in perspective, Williams had a career relative slugging percentage of 155.. Williams best 10 year run was at 160, despite playing in a hitters' park.

                    Comment


                    • Let's look at some more of Ruth's relative slugging percentages:

                      1915-1917: rel slug% of 144. This matches up well with most Hall of Famers. Ruth did this, despite hitting part time in the Dead Era in the worst hitters' park for Lefties. Put Ruth in a neutral park and he probably would have matched Teddy's career average of 155.

                      1918: 167. This is a great number. It would be 4th on Mantle's list and 6th on Williams' list, despite his tremendous handicap at Fenway. Put Ruth in a hitters' park that year and he probably eclipses Williams' best. Note: Ruth's rel slug% on the road that year was 177. Williams' was 171 on the road in 1941. I also noted earlier that Ruth's hitting stats plummeted in 1918 once he was back to pitching every 4 days during the last 6 weeks of the season(his pitching stats skyrocketed, but his hitting stats suffered. I guess the Babe was human after all).

                      1919 181. Insane number. This eclipses Ted's career best of 179 in 1941, despite a tremendous Fenway handicap(Ruth slugged 79 pts higher on road that year). Ruth's 193 on the road this year eclipses his 1927 season of 189, a season in which no other non-juicer ever topped.

                      1920 208. MLB record that still stands, including juicers. Bonds famous 2001 seasons falls a little short at 201. Everybody else gets completely dusted by this number.

                      Ruth had fewer than 800 career PA entering the 1919 season as a the best southpaw in the game. Ruth played most of 1919 at a weight south of 200. But Ruth eventually eclipsed 200 lbs that year.

                      Ruth was in his physical prime from 1915-1918. He was actually very fast runner during those years. His lack of AB really affected his 1918-1919 seasons. Had he not pitched, he would have honed his skills much more before his weight started affecting him. Its really a shame that we didn't get to see what Ruth could have done in his physical prime with another 1500 or so PA of experience behind him. I cannot imagine a 1918-1919 Ruth with 3 full seasons of hitting under his belt.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                        I wish he had 1917-1919 as a full time outfielder. Problem is, you have to include 1916, because no manager in their right mind was gonna send a hypothetical Cy Young Award winner to the outfield full time. Not even Ruth with his slugging being well known. He was already being intentionally walked back then and managers were warning their pitchers to stay away from him. And let's remember that while Speaker was holding out at the beginning of 1916, Carrigan had Ruth spend the majority of his time in center-field. Maybe he saw something, who knows.

                        So in the ultimate what-if, I say he spends all of 1915 on the mound and pinch hitting, but by the end, it's decided that Ruth will become an outfielder. He spends the entire spring training of 1916 in the outfield, and of course, honing his hitting skills further. I think he plays solid but not gold glove caliber during that season, but his offense comes alive. Well, alive for a lefty in Fenway. I think 19-24 HR in 1916, probably 13-18 coming on the road.

                        In 1917 his outfield play is gold glove caliber, he's running the bases like a demon, and he truly breaks through at the plate. He would slug over .700 on the road, but his home SA would drag his number down to about .640 overall, with 27-32 HR, 18-23 coming on the road.

                        In 1918 he reaches 40 HR for the first time in his career, and his OBP is over .500 due to a ton of intentional walks. His all-out style of play catches up a bit. He deals with several gnagging injuries throughout the course of the season, and it affects his base running and fielding a bit. Just average in the field, albeit with a cannon arm still.

                        In 1919 he bounces back and puts up his best all-around season yet. In a neutral park he certainly would have hit 50 HR by now, but Fenway, along with not seeing many good pitches, leads to him to stay around the 42-45 mark. Instead of wanting 20,000 from Frazee, Ruth asked for 35,000 and he's still dealt to the Yanks.

                        We can guess how different his numbers would look with that early career legacy. Question is, how much different would he be viewed as an all-around player with a couple more exceptional fielding and baserunning seasons, compared to just a pitcher.

                        Too bad for 1922 and 1925. His own doing but right in the prime years, those two seasons are a black mark...

                        Just ask
                        Awesome post, Sultan. I agree wholeheartedly. The thing is, Ruth never got to hit his full potential in hitting or pitching. Ruth was in his physical peak until early 1919. Yet, he only pitched full time through 1918. How many 23 year old pitchers hit their peak at age 23? Smelser points that out nicely. By the time Ruth is with the Yankees, his weight would never again drop below 215; a good 20 pounds heavier than his prime Sox days.

                        Getting back to my favorite season, 1918. I believe it was Smelser that mentioned that Ruth was the 2nd or 3rd fastest player on the Sox team that year. He was considered a very fast runner then.

                        Ruth was ripping the cover off of the ball in 1918 until he was asked to carry his team to the Series with his full time pitching down the stretch. Until July 29th that year, he was hitting .301/.398/.629 with 44 extra base hits in only 229 AB. And this is a guy that had fewer than 400 career PA in mlb play. Why do I use 7/29/18? Because that's the date that he was pitching complete games every 4 games to carry his team. After that, his hitting suffered greatly. But let's look at his clutch pitching:

                        07/05/18 CG, won 4-3
                        07/17/18 CG, won 4-0
                        07/29/18 CG, won 3-2
                        08/01/18 CG, won 2-1
                        08/04/18 CG, won 2-1
                        08/08/18 CG, won 4-1
                        08/12/18 CG, lost 1-2
                        08/17/18, CG, won 4-2
                        08/20/18, 7IP, lost 8-4, Ruth's only bad game down the stretch
                        08/24/18, CG, won 3-1
                        08/31/18, CG, won 6-1
                        Total: 12 starts, 11 CG, 9-2 record,1.76 ERA, opponents BA=.184. Of the 11 Complete games, he gave up 2 runs or fewer in 10 of them, and 3 runs in the 11th. Then, he wins 2 more games in the World Series. How sick is this?

                        FWIW. Ruth was equally clutch in 1916-1917 on the mound. From 1916-1918, his era during the last month of the season combined was 1.65. Some people don't believe in clutch performances. But Ruth was clutch.

                        As for Ruth playing the outfield from the beginning: He probably slugs 800 HRS, despite being severely handicapped by playing a quarter of his career in the Dead Ball era in the worst hitters' park for lefties. And that still includes Ruth losing a few hundred games due to being overweight(belly ache of 1925; lost games and performance in 1924 when he ballooned past 230 lbs, and of course, from 1932 on when his knees were blown out).

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                          Awesome post, Sultan. I agree wholeheartedly. The thing is, Ruth never got to hit his full potential in hitting or pitching. Ruth was in his physical peak until early 1919. Yet, he only pitched full time through 1918. How many 23 year old pitchers hit their peak at age 23? Smelser points that out nicely. By the time Ruth is with the Yankees, his weight would never again drop below 215; a good 20 pounds heavier than his prime Sox days.

                          Getting back to my favorite season, 1918. I believe it was Smelser that mentioned that Ruth was the 2nd or 3rd fastest player on the Sox team that year. He was considered a very fast runner then.

                          Ruth was ripping the cover off of the ball in 1918 until he was asked to carry his team to the Series with his full time pitching down the stretch. Until July 29th that year, he was hitting .301/.398/.629 with 44 extra base hits in only 229 AB. And this is a guy that had fewer than 400 career PA in mlb play. Why do I use 7/29/18? Because that's the date that he was pitching complete games every 4 games to carry his team. After that, his hitting suffered greatly. But let's look at his clutch pitching:

                          07/05/18 CG, won 4-3
                          07/17/18 CG, won 4-0
                          07/29/18 CG, won 3-2
                          08/01/18 CG, won 2-1
                          08/04/18 CG, won 2-1
                          08/08/18 CG, won 4-1
                          08/12/18 CG, lost 1-2
                          08/17/18, CG, won 4-2
                          08/20/18, 7IP, lost 8-4, Ruth's only bad game down the stretch
                          08/24/18, CG, won 3-1
                          08/31/18, CG, won 6-1
                          Total: 12 starts, 11 CG, 9-2 record,1.76 ERA, opponents BA=.184. Of the 11 Complete games, he gave up 2 runs or fewer in 10 of them, and 3 runs in the 11th. Then, he wins 2 more games in the World Series. How sick is this?

                          FWIW. Ruth was equally clutch in 1916-1917 on the mound. From 1916-1918, his era during the last month of the season combined was 1.65. Some people don't believe in clutch performances. But Ruth was clutch.

                          As for Ruth playing the outfield from the beginning: He probably slugs 800 HRS, despite being severely handicapped by playing a quarter of his career in the Dead Ball era in the worst hitters' park for lefties. And that still includes Ruth losing a few hundred games due to being overweight(belly ache of 1925; lost games and performance in 1924 when he ballooned past 230 lbs, and of course, from 1932 on when his knees were blown out).
                          Duplicate post.
                          Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-29-2013, 02:51 AM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                            Awesome post, Sultan. I agree wholeheartedly. The thing is, Ruth never got to hit his full potential in hitting or pitching. Ruth was in his physical peak until early 1919. Yet, he only pitched full time through 1918. How many 23 year old pitchers hit their peak at age 23? Smelser points that out nicely. By the time Ruth is with the Yankees, his weight would never again drop below 215; a good 20 pounds heavier than his prime Sox days.

                            Getting back to my favorite season, 1918. I believe it was Smelser that mentioned that Ruth was the 2nd or 3rd fastest player on the Sox team that year. He was considered a very fast runner then.

                            Ruth was ripping the cover off of the ball in 1918 until he was asked to carry his team to the Series with his full time pitching down the stretch. Until July 29th that year, he was hitting .301/.398/.629 with 44 extra base hits in only 229 AB. And this is a guy that had fewer than 400 career PA in mlb play. Why do I use 7/29/18? Because that's the date that he was pitching complete games every 4 games to carry his team. After that, his hitting suffered greatly. But let's look at his clutch pitching:

                            07/05/18 CG, won 4-3
                            07/17/18 CG, won 4-0
                            07/29/18 CG, won 3-2
                            08/01/18 CG, won 2-1
                            08/04/18 CG, won 2-1
                            08/08/18 CG, won 4-1
                            08/12/18 CG, lost 1-2
                            08/17/18, CG, won 4-2
                            08/20/18, 7IP, lost 8-4, Ruth's only bad game down the stretch
                            08/24/18, CG, won 3-1
                            08/31/18, CG, won 6-1
                            Total: 12 starts, 11 CG, 9-2 record,1.76 ERA, opponents BA=.184. Of the 11 Complete games, he gave up 2 runs or fewer in 10 of them, and 3 runs in the 11th. Then, he wins 2 more games in the World Series. How sick is this?

                            FWIW. Ruth was equally clutch in 1916-1917 on the mound. From 1916-1918, his era during the last month of the season combined was 1.65. Some people don't believe in clutch performances. But Ruth was clutch.

                            As for Ruth playing the outfield from the beginning: He probably slugs 800 HRS, despite being severely handicapped by playing a quarter of his career in the Dead Ball era in the worst hitters' park for lefties. And that still includes Ruth losing a few hundred games due to being overweight(belly ache of 1925; lost games and performance in 1924 when he ballooned past 230 lbs, and of course, from 1932 on when his knees were blown out).
                            Babe was a bit high in BB, 3.03 per game but his 6.61 H/9Inn. was the lowest in all of baseball, a good number of those that got on by BB died on the bases.
                            Looking past the numbers, how good was he. Looking at pitchers average stats over the years he was a pitcher only1915-1916, there were only two pitchers better overall, Grover Cleveland and Walter Johnson, what else has to be said.
                            Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-29-2013, 02:50 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Badge714
                              Sultan: I'm a bit of a techno-cripple in these matters. When I find an interesting video, I just copy and paste it here. I'm still amazed at Ruth's reflexes, even at age forty. It's hard to believe that a 40 year old man could hit a 500' home run in game conditions, but Ruth did just that several times in 1935.
                              I know you've read this but others might not have. The type of perspective you can only get by putting in extremely in-depth research...luckily Jenkinson did just that. Here, he puts 1935 into better focus.

                              "A cursory look at Ruth's 1935 numbers indicates that he was ready for the scrap heap. He batted a measly .181 and hit only six home runs. But some of the extenuating circumstances have already been discussed. When you examine Babe Ruth's last years closely, it becomes apparent that, when healthy, he still played excellent offensive baseball. Ultimately, Ruth was forced out of the game by two factors. He kept getting "chest colds," and his legs were weak. How these conditions might have been avoided will be discussed in a later chapter. Now take a look at those 1935 statistics in the total context of everything that happened.

                              Ruth played in twenty-eight of the Braves' thirty-five games until his retirement, but he was either sick or injured for about twenty-five of them. In that time, he lost five home runs to unusually adverse winds, and five other times was retired on long drives that would have been homers under ordinary circumstances. Specifically, those three 400-footers in Pittsburgh would have been certain homers in any other National League Park except possibly the Polo Grounds. Other examples include two long drives to the Cubs' Chuck Klein at the base of the Jury Box in Boston on May 9 and 11. He also hit a series of line drives and hard smash groundouts that went for outs. Cardinal Hall of Fame second baseman Frankie Frisch got in the way of a few of those and testified to their brute force.

                              Over the course of a whole season, those things would have evened out. And when Ruth was finally healthy for the first time since opening day, he genuinely pounded the ball. If just half of those lost homers had gone out, he would have hit eleven by the time he quit. Even allowing for continued lost time at his earlier rate, Babe would have been on pace to hit forty-eight home runs for the season. His batting average would also likely have risen to the level of respectability. Eventually, Ruth would have lost his ability to play at the Major League level, but it hadn't happened yet. If he had the benefit of modern health care and athletic training, he almost certainly would have been productive for another two or three years."
                              Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 12-07-2013, 05:54 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Randy,

                                Did the Babe have chronic leg injuries that caused him to have weak legs when he got older? I don't remember any detailed mention of leg injuries in the Creamer biography.
                                Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                                Comment

                                Ad Widget

                                Collapse
                                Working...
                                X