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*Babe Ruth Thread*

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  • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    Ted Williams is his only rival if speaking about a hitter for average and power.
    People assume Ted played in an integrated league, but the irony is that Williams hardly faced black pitching, and VERY few black players were regulars in the AL during the second half of his career. Williams never even had a black teammate until the end of 1959!

    Isn't that insane??

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    • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
      I have covered that many times in that past. That Babe would not dominate as he did if playing in integrated baseball. But that in no way means he would be an also ran or just a "regular hitter". It means he would have more competition.
      How many Negro Leaguers might very well have hit for power and average like Ruth, but never had a shot?

      Gibson and Charleston come to mind immediately.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
        Thats true about Aaron and he did not play every game at home, look at the AL Parks in the 1910's-1920's.
        How'd Aaron and Mays do in the parks Ruth played at least a handful of games in?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
          Babe hit very good at Fenway, even with that distant right field bleachers, once he became a regular player.


          Don't have the numbers, going from memory on the following.
          Most home runs by a visiting player.
          Mantle and Ruth tied with 37 or 38. If I recall then it was Killebrew, Kaline and Joe Dimaggio.
          Ruth is the only left handed hitter on the list, have no split on Mick, how many RH and LH, should be easy to find.
          Also, I would assume Ruth had the least number of bats of those players, Dimaggio might be close with the least.
          Ruth was a visitor for 15 seasons 1920-1934. Also right field, right center field and dead center was deeper when he played, Fenway dimensions brought in a couple of times in the 1930s, I believe 1934 and again in 1939.

          Here are his 1927 numbers, only one season small sample. Onlt two to RF, a couple to deep RCF, three to LCF.
          Ruth was ready to hit by the age of 20, as evidenced by his 4 HR in 92 at-bats in 1915 despite batting only once every 4 games. His 424 HRs for 30-39 includes two severely declining years and the year of his belly ache. So why would somebody believe that he couldn't put up another 400 HRs from ages 20-29 during his prime?

          Williams could very well be the best hitter ever. Aaron was very special. He outhit Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt during their prime despite being 38-40 years old himself. However, Williams outhit Aaron substantially from 1954-1960 despite Williams broken down body(ages 35-41)
          During those 7 years, Williams avg/obp/slug/OPS+ were .337/.477/.624/188, from ages 35-41. Aaron during those same years went .318/.369/.560 /152 from ages 20-26. Thus, Williams during the twilight of his career dominated Aaron at the plate. Williams' OPS+ of 188 is insane, especially considering the fact that he was well past his prime. And Ironically, his career OPS+ was only 190. So it's not like Ted Williams watched his OPS+ dwindle heavily despite tougher competition. And the American league was still dominating the World Series up through 1961, 1 year after Williams retired. Although Aaron may very well be one of the top 3 hitters ever, let's not diminish the Babe just yet.
          Last edited by pheasant; 02-04-2012, 04:06 PM.

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          • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
            People assume Ted played in an integrated league, but the irony is that Williams hardly faced black pitching, and VERY few black players were regulars in the AL during the second half of his career. Williams never even had a black teammate until the end of 1959!

            Isn't that insane??

            It is,it was insane and a shame the AL did lag behind on the black player issue.

            Just did a quick glance, rough estimate. Looking at the black pitchers in the NL in Mays and Aaron's time, minimum 1500 innings, there were not that many black pitchers in the NL. Sure I may have missed some and also how many of them were very good. Gibson, Fergy Jenkins of course, some others Don Newcomb, Sam Jones, Bob Veal, Don Wilson and some I may have missed. Also some of these black pitchers were not in the league that long, Newcomb gone in 1961, Sam Jones in 1964. Some that I did not list were way down on the ERA list.

            The black pitcher in the NL in those year on the ERA list Gibson 3, Veale 10, Jenkins 14 and Don Wilson 15.
            A rough count but I came up with Hank facing some of the better black pitchers around 600+ PA's and 500+ at bats. Again I'm sure with closer research some one can post more accurate numbers.

            Bottom line though Mays and Aaron faced more black pitchers than Ted for example, it's not like they faced a great number. And again, some of the black pitchers were just like some white pitchers, not that high in quality.

            I certainly don't think that was because black pitchers were inferior to white pitchers. There was just a smaller pool of black pitchers in those years and later we would see a higher number of very good black pitchers.
            Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-04-2012, 08:06 PM.

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            • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
              On the issue of integration:


              1948 - 3 (1 NL, 2 AL)
              .
              I was under the impression that when the 1948 season opened only the Dodgers and Indians had black players on their rosters.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                At least in numerical terms, these questions are pretty much answered in the Schell book. He adjusts it for the offensive context of the times, and does it by timeframes. The book was written in 2004.

                Maybe we can synthesize these and figure out which was the worst overall. I'll try to include the ones that recur, and omit those that were only the best/worst for only a short span of time. I'll look at post 1900 parks only.

                Worst Parks for Runs
                #1. County Stadium (1953-58)
                #2. Dodger Stadium (1962-68)
                #3. Qualcomm (1998-2003)

                Honorable Mention- #4. Dodger Stadium (1994-2003)

                Worst Park for Home Runs
                #1. South Side Park III (White Sox, 1901-09)
                #2. Crosley Field (1920-33)
                #3. Griffith Stadium (1914-55) (that's 40 years)

                When looked at overall, Griffith was the easily the worst park for homerun hitting in modern baseball history.


                Worst for Batting Average
                #1. South Side Park III (1901-1909)
                #2. Dodger Stadium (1994-present)
                #3. Crosley Field (1938-45)

                (Also high on the list- Qualcomm- 1998-2003)

                Worst parks for Doubles/Triples
                #1. Polo Grounds V (1926-57)
                #2. Dodger Stadium (1969-2003)
                #3. South Side Park (1901-09)

                Best parks for strikeouts (for pitchers)
                #1. Polo Grounds IV (1891-1910)
                #2. Yankee Stadium (1923-36) (This has to be distorted a ton by Ruth)
                #3. Ebbets Field (1922-35)

                (#4 in the modern era- Qualcomm 1998-2003)

                Worst Parks for OPS
                #1. South Side Park III (White Sox, 1901-09)
                #2. Griffith Stadium (1914-35)
                #3. Crosley Field (1920-33)

                Honorable Mention- Dodger Stadium (1962-present)- shows up twice in the top 10.

                Just eyeballing it, it looks like overall, the worst seem to be Dodger Stadium, Crosley, Qualcomm, the old White Sox Park are up there. Griffith was a death sentence for homerun hitters, and brutal for power hitters overall.

                I might go with South Side or Dodger Stadium as the best pitcher park in modern history.
                I do have that book, great book, Schell realy did his homework on this one.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                  If we're going to do this, we gotta play the "what if" with the others, too:

                  -Mays missed about 266 games prior to his MVP 1954 season. That's almost two full seasons. Hit then 41 and 51 homers his first two years back. Should have at least 75 more homers.

                  -Aaron played in the worst home run park (since 1900) from 1954-1966. Source: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7932.html

                  Someone like Aaron or Mays playing in the Barry Bonds era would have hit many more home runs...irrespective of steroids. Anyone can hit 30 now. Hank and Mays were hitting 40-50 a year during the height of the second dead-ball era, with the high mound, no brush-back warnings, and not nearly as much triple-A relief pitching as there was in Barry's era.

                  And...paramount to all of this.... Ruth, Cobb, Wagner never played against an African American, and hardly any Latin or Asian players. Look at how quickly the NL got stronger when compared to the AL, in the 15 years after Jackie broke in. Look at the results of the All Star game.

                  From 1949-62...look at the guys who started winning the MVP perennially after the NL integrated; 11 out of 14 years a Black man won the MVP. Over in the AL ZERO MVP's from African Americans until 1963.
                  First never to deny Babe had some more favorable conditions than some modern hitters, but it's not all one sided, modern hitters also have some favorable conditions over past players. We could probably dig deep and find that all era's had some less and more favorable conditions thsn other time periods, equipment changes, ball changes, rule changes and more.
                  On the subject of Mays, good point he did lose some valuable time, Hank in a not so good hitters park for a part of his career.


                  I think the following does kind of even out some of the above. Ruth did have less playing time as an every day player, far less career at bats than Hank and Willie

                  At bats
                  Hank 12,364---3965 more than Babe An average seasonal at bats of around 550 = about 6 more years playing time than Ruth.
                  Willie 10,881---2482
                  Ruth 8399

                  Some numbers when Hank and Willie at a point in their career were close ro Babe's career 8399 at bats and how many home runs they had at that time.

                  Ruth 8399 at bats 714. When Aaron was at 8889 at bats he had 510 home runs.
                  When Mays was at 8632 at bats he had 564 home runs, at that time a better pace than Aaron.

                  So again, who gets the spot, who lost the most, very complicated to come up with a firm answer.
                  The most fortunate one here was Aaron. Ruth losing some years pitching, Willie who I could see reaching 700, he lost time in the service.
                  Just the breaks, Willliams, Dimaggio, Willie all lost some valuable time,especially Ted. Aaron and Bonds, no breaks of time in their career.
                  Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-05-2012, 07:59 AM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                    At least in numerical terms, these questions are pretty much answered in the Schell book. He adjusts it for the offensive context of the times, and does it by timeframes. The book was written in 2004.

                    Best parks for strikeouts (for pitchers)
                    #1. Polo Grounds IV (1891-1910)
                    #2. Yankee Stadium (1923-36) (This has to be distorted a ton by Ruth)
                    #3. Ebbets Field (1922-35)

                    ,.
                    Wonder what factor figures in here. Is it the back drop in centerfield, the "batter's eye". There are for sure other factors but I think this also plays into, the strikeouts in some parks. Yankee Stadium in the 1930s 1940s when packed and many sitting in CF, day games not the best for the batter to pick up the ball. Jimmie Foxx complained in a Sunday doubleheader he never picked up more than a few pitches from the pitcher on that day, something like 5 strikeouts on that day.

                    We all heard the story about the dream trade, Dimaggio going to Fenway and Ted going to Yankee Stadium. Ted did hit for .300+ there but in his own words, he did not like hitting a Yankee Stadium. If I recall, did not like all the smoke, the high stands and the shadows. Also felt like if he did play there, they would just pitch him away, not pull the ball and would issue him many walks, just get him out of the way and set the next batter for a possible DP.

                    Of some advantage to for todays hitters Many parks with a black or green back drop in centerfield, some with a hill with green grass. I'm sure that's a plus for todays hitters, picking up the ball from the pitcher's hand.
                    I don't recall seeing as much of that in the time Hank and Willie played.
                    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-05-2012, 10:57 AM.

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                    • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                      How'd Aaron and Mays do in the parks Ruth played at least a handful of games in?
                      If your speaking of the Polo Grounds and home runs only, I think Hank hit fairly well there, not the greatest.
                      I think Willie did hit the long ball pretty good, of course it was his home park.
                      Anyone having any numbers, total home runs and more telling AB/HR ratio at the Polo.

                      Comment


                      • Willie at the Polo Grounds
                        Home runs----home 77-----------road 75.
                        Only 56 more at bats on the road than at home, better HR ratio at home but not that big a gap.
                        I think when some think of Willie at the Polo, he must have really feasted on that short line distance, doesn't look that way. That odd configuration at the Polo Grounds, hit a a ball to the power alley and they could die there and as we know centerfield out of reach. Only a few balls ever reached the bleachers just to the right and left of dead center.

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                        • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                          Even if Ruth had simply been a full-time outfielder by 1915, I believe he could have hit 30 HRs a year from 1915-1919, assuming if he played in NY instead of Boston. As it was, he hit 29 HRs in 1919 in Boston while still going 9-5 on the mound. That's 150 HRs instead of 49 HRs during that time frame, which puts him at 815 for a career. Had he been born 5 yrs later and started in 1920, then I believe he would have hit 865 for a career and that's not unreasonable at at. As it was, he smashed 424 HRs from ages 30-39. He would have done better from 20-29.
                          You may have been aware, those 29 home runs came in a 130 game schedule, 432 at bats.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                            You may have been aware, those 29 home runs came in a 130 game schedule, 432 at bats.
                            I didn't realize that. I just figured that Ruth had a little bit of rest. That is very interesting. I figured he could have hit 30 HRs a year during the 1915-1919 time frame since I believe that his pitching and playing the outfield hurt his batting in 1919. He did complain about the workload that year. Prior to that, he never had a chance to get into a groove. With a shortened season like that, I now think that 30 HRs a year is being conservative, even for the dead ball era. As it was, he averaged 21 HRs per 460 at-bat from 1914-1919 and a third of those at-bats happened when he only got to hit every 4th game. The way I see it, Ruth had two careers. His first career was as a pitcher from 1914-1919 when he went 89-46 with an ERA+ of 125, along with a 3-0 record in the World Series with a 0.87 era(3 time World Series champ). Then, from 1920-1935, Ruth smashed 665 HRs in only 7289 ab-bats. His avg/obp/slug/OPS+ was .347/.483/.708/208. His pitching career was short, but pretty impressive. His batting career was relatively short, but extremely impressive. After Ruth finally got a World Series start in 1916 at the age of 21, he went the distance for a 2-1 win in 14 innings. Afterwards, he said "I told you that I could beat those National League bums". Babe Ruth the pitcher reminds me of Eli Manning. He was good during the regular season, but very tough in the games that really mattered. I love the fact that he was 6-2 vs the Big Train that included a couple of 1-0 shutouts. Not that the Babe was in the Big Train's league. But it's just another example of the big fellow raising his game against the very best.
                            Last edited by pheasant; 02-05-2012, 08:07 PM.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                              I didn't realize that. I just figured that Ruth had a little bit of rest. That is very interesting. I figured he could have hit 30 HRs a year during the 1915-1919 time frame since I believe that his pitching and playing the outfield hurt his batting in 1919. He did complain about the workload that year. Prior to that, he never had a chance to get into a groove. With a shortened season like that, I now think that 30 HRs a year is being conservative, even for the dead ball era. As it was, he averaged 21 HRs per 460 at-bat from 1914-1919 and a third of those at-bats happened when he only got to hit every 4th game. The way I see it, Ruth had two careers. His first career was as a pitcher from 1914-1919 when he went 89-46 with an ERA+ of 125, along with a 3-0 record in the World Series with a 0.87 era(3 time World Series champ). Then, from 1920-1935, Ruth smashed 665 HRs in only 7289 ab-bats. His avg/obp/slug/OPS+ was .347/.483/.708/208. His pitching career was short, but pretty impressive. His batting career was relatively short, but extremely impressive. After Ruth finally got a World Series start in 1916 at the age of 21, he went the distance for a 2-1 win in 14 innings. Afterwards, he said "I told you that I could beat those National League bums". Babe Ruth the pitcher reminds me of Eli Manning. He was good during the regular season, but very tough in the games that really mattered. I love the fact that he was 6-2 vs the Big Train that included a couple of 1-0 shutouts. Not that the Babe was in the Big Train's league. But it's just another example of the big fellow raising his game against the very best.
                              One game where Johnson was the winning pitcher over Babe. Babe was the starting pitcher, Johnson came in relief in the 9th inning, Washington won the game in the 10th inning.

                              Talk about a pitcher losing a tough one. Washington was up by one run and Boston batting in the 10th inning Babe already had a single, two doubles and one triple. Batting against Johnson in the 10th inning Babe hit his third double but was then thrown out trying to steal third.

                              He was 5 for 5, single, 3 doubles a triple and the losing pitcher in 10 innings

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                                I didn't realize that. I just figured that Ruth had a little bit of rest. That is very interesting. I figured he could have hit 30 HRs a year during the 1915-1919 time frame since I believe that his pitching and playing the outfield hurt his batting in 1919. He did complain about the workload that year. Prior to that, he never had a chance to get into a groove. With a shortened season like that, I now think that 30 HRs a year is being conservative, even for the dead ball era. As it was, he averaged 21 HRs per 460 at-bat from 1914-1919 and a third of those at-bats happened when he only got to hit every 4th game. The way I see it, Ruth had two careers. His first career was as a pitcher from 1914-1919 when he went 89-46 with an ERA+ of 125, along with a 3-0 record in the World Series with a 0.87 era(3 time World Series champ). Then, from 1920-1935, Ruth smashed 665 HRs in only 7289 ab-bats. His avg/obp/slug/OPS+ was .347/.483/.708/208. His pitching career was short, but pretty impressive. His batting career was relatively short, but extremely impressive. After Ruth finally got a World Series start in 1916 at the age of 21, he went the distance for a 2-1 win in 14 innings. Afterwards, he said "I told you that I could beat those National League bums". Babe Ruth the pitcher reminds me of Eli Manning. He was good during the regular season, but very tough in the games that really mattered. I love the fact that he was 6-2 vs the Big Train that included a couple of 1-0 shutouts. Not that the Babe was in the Big Train's league. But it's just another example of the big fellow raising his game against the very best.
                                One way to judge his pitching. In the years 1915-16-17 he was a pitcher only and here is how he stood in the AL pver those years. He did have a high number of walks 311 but his low hits per inning kept most of the runners from not scoring as evidenced by his low ERA. He had the lowest HIT/9Inn in both leagues.
                                Anyway, look who was the only pitcher better than him, one of the greatest Walter Johnson. If we look at his numbers compared to both leagues, he still looks good, the only NL pitcher better than him, Grover Cleveland Alexander. We will never know what might have been had he stayed with pitching but it's obvious by his numbers he had the potential to do good as a pitcher.
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