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*Babe Ruth Thread*

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  • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
    Excellent articles, Shoeless. You really do a good job of bringing the Babe back to life. I'm currently reading about how the Babe smashed 104 HRs 1921. This is obviously ridiculous since each additional home run that he would have hit would have affected the way the opposing pitchers threw to him. But he did get robbed of a bunch of HRs. I haven't finished the book yet, but I am guessing that the other 33 of his 104 HRs hooked foul. I already read about 12 balls that he hit in fair territory of 450 feet that were either a double, a triple or a long out(and thus, 1921 has 71 HRs so far, according to the author). I.e, in total, he hit 37 balls 450 feet+ in fair territory The boy clearly used a softball swing, a swing that has never really been used before in baseball. I played both baseball and softball. I could hit asoftball pretty well, farther than a baseball during an actual game. With slow pitch softball, you can literally turn your body into a coil and spring loose with a very large stride while using a much heavier bat. Or you can hit with your foot in the bucket. Either way, you'll generate much more power with a softball swing. However, I found out that it takes way too long to use that approach hitting a baseball. I've tried using a heavier bat in baseball and ended up whiffing several times against 75-80 mph heat. Ruth clearly used a softball swing against pitchers during his day. He made a joke of the league. Granted, Ruth was ONLY hitting against against 85-90 mph heat and sweeping curves, which isn't great by today's standards. I'm guessing on the heat, but I can't be too far off since two high school friends of mine had been clocked at 78 and 80 and they had no special training. I could out-bench and outrun both of them(but not out-throw). I.e, throwing a baseball 80 mph is no big deal for a high school pitcher that hasn't had much training. Thus, I have to believe that pro pitchers 90 years ago would at least have been able to throw 85-90. If my beer drinking, cigarette smoking bean pole of a friend hit 80 on the gun, then I would think that the good guys in the bigs 90 years ago hit 90 mph; some(but every few) went much faster.But to do that using a softball swing approach to me is unheard of. And that swing of his was needed to blast 60 HRs back in the day with the bigger ball parks. I know that there are some people that think he played in a weak era, and thus, he couldn't hack it today. But for anyone that has played the game, he'll realize quickly like I did that hitting a fastball is the toughest th thing to do in sports. And using a softball swing against 85-90 mph heat is something that I doubt that any player could do as successfully as the Babe did with such a heavy bat and ridiculous swing. I believe that the bigger parks actually swelled batting averages in the day, but lowered HR totals. I simply can't imagine would Ruth would have done with a much lighter bat(say, 34 ounces) hitting in these small parks today. Actually, I'll try and quantify it: I believe that he'd hit around .290 with 60-65 HRs a year. Due to park size, far better trained pitchers throwing 95-100 mph, he'd need to shorten his swing drastically. But with a time machine, I want to first see Ruth swing a 42+ ounce bat using that softball swing of his. Afterall, who knows what his limits were using that swing. I'm pretty sure that he'd whiff. But the fact that he hi 85-90 mph pitches using that approach to me is insane.
    Thank you.
    Often overlooked, Ruth had to know a good deal about hitting other than just hitting balls out of parks. He might not hit ..342 today but I think he would be higher than .290. He does have the 5th highest career batting average in modern times, saying a good deal about a free swinger.

    He did have the edge in slugging in his time because he was the foreunner of the long ball and the name of the game was contact in his early years.................But he was beating 90% or better of the contact hitters, 5th highest batting average in the 1920's decade, .355. Evident of his all around hitting skill, the window breaker and yet his batting average is higher than a great number of hitters going to the playe with one thought in mind, make contact.

    I would agree the bigger parks were a plus for his batting average, outfielders playing deep, bigger area for balls to drop in front of. On the other side some very long drives in those big parks, especially centerfield, just a long out. There were a few parks in tha AL then at 430-450+ feet, Yankee Stadium 481 feet.
    He would have to make some adjustments today and he knew enough about hitting to realize that.
    Yes he faced no relievers but we have a good number of players today hitting high numbers of home runs so why would a big strong guy with a great eye not match them today.

    He had some favorable conditions but so do todays hitters, livelier ball, a joke for a strike zone, overall smaller parks.
    Every era has some more and less favorable conditions compared to other era's.
    He would be fine in todays game, so would Cobb and some others. Send Carew, Brett, Aaron and some others back to Babe's time and they do fine. Great hitters will hit in any era with some adjustments for numbers.

    We can never say with certainty how some past or recent players would do if transported to a different time period. I read an article some years back that sounded reasonable. Take the top 5 or 7 percent of the elite hitters in any era and chances are they will hit in any era.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-19-2012, 09:23 AM.

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    • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
      Thank you.
      Often overlooked, Ruth had to know a good deal about hitting other than just hitting balls out of parks. He might not hit ..342 today but I think he would be higher than .290. He does have the 5th highest career batting average in modern times, saying a good deal about a free swinger.

      He did have the edge in slugging in his time because he was the foreunner of the long ball and the name of the game was contact in his early years.................But he was beating 90% or better of the contact hitters, 5th highest batting average in the 1920's decade, .355. Evident of his all around hitting skill, the window breaker and yet his batting average is higher than a great number of hitters going to the playe with one thought in mind, make contact.

      I would agree the bigger parks were a plus for his batting average, outfielders playing deep, bigger area for balls to drop in front of. On the other side some very long drives in those big parks, especially centerfield, just a long out. There were a few parks in tha AL then at 430-450+ feet, Yankee Stadium 481 feet.
      He would have to make some adjustments today and he knew enough about hitting to realize that.
      Yes he faced no relievers but we have a good number of players today hitting high numbers of home runs so why would a big strong guy with a great eye not match them today.

      He had some favorable conditions but so do todays hitters, livelier ball, a joke for a strike zone, overall smaller parks.
      Every era has some more and less favorable conditions compared to other era's.
      He would be fine in todays game, so would Cobb and some others. Send Carew, Brett, Aaron and some others back to Babe's time and they do fine. Great hitters will hit in any era with some adjustments for numbers.

      We can never say with certainty how some past or recent players would do if transported to a different time period. I read an article some years back that sounded reasonable. Take the top 5 or 7 percent of the elite hitters in any era and chances are they will hit in any era.
      Ruth does get credit taken away from him due to being a pioneer. And I understand the reasoning, when it comes to OPS+. However, what he did is absolutely amazing and hasn't been matched since. Ruth in the Live Ball era(1919-35) still managed 694 HRs in only 7721 at-bats, which is 1 HR every 11.1 at-bats. Even Gehrig and Foxx need over 30% more at-bats to hit a home run. As a matter of fact, just about every player that didn't juice needed 30% more at-bats to hit one out. This guy was truly unique, pioneer or not. You and I may disagree on the average he'd hit. And I agree with you that he might very well hit .340 today if he shortened his swing further yet than I think he would. After all, the guy could bunt and hit to all fields. But I just happen to believe that he'd swing more for the fences and blast 60 HRs a year. But we both agree that he'd be very special, regardless of era. Of course, we cannot prove any of this, which makes this that much more fun. The hand/eye coordination this man had to play the way he did is beyond my comprehension. And by the way, Ruth's OPS+ of 194 in 1918 still isn't too shabby for a guy that wasn't a pioneer yet.

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      • Only the beginning............he lived hard and fast, many auto accidents over the years, a half dozen roll overs. It's a wonder he lived 53 years.
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        • Bill Jenkinson's book on Ruth's 104 HRs is very interesting. It reaches the furthest extent of my imagination, which is fun, but not realistic. According to Jenkinson, Ruth would have hit 1158 career HRs had he played today. Granted, he did list the distances of several balls that went 375-450 feet that were doubles, triples, or outs that would have left the average park today. So I get that, provided that this info is accurate. Then, he went so far as to list the advantages and disadvantages that a hitter would have had in the 1920s vs today. This is where the whole thing falls apart to me. He concluded that pitching was "a little harder for Ruth". This is obviously subjective and I think he's way off base. I was with him when he mentioned the Ball Parks were much bigger, the equipment was much worse, training and medicine were much worse, and so on. But there's no way that Ruth faced a little bit tougher pitching than guys today, at least not in 1921. What actually is interesting to me is Ruth's 1918 season, which really isn't covered too much in the book. That year, Ruth still slugged .555 despite playing in the Dead Ball era while batting against beat up baseballs. Spitters, shineballs, and emery balls were all legal then,despite the large strike zone. Ruth's 1918 season to me is the single best testament that Ruth would still crush pitching today. And if the length of Ruth's hits are accurate in his book, then Ruth would have hit 42 HRs in only 317 at-bats in 1918 in ball parks with today's dimensions.. Given the fact that Ruth smashed 26 doubles, 11 triples, and 11 HRs, that doesn't sound too far-fetched, although I believe that 42 is a bit inflated. By simply looking at the number of doubles and triples he hit in those big parks, I easily buy 30 HRs that year in today's parks. I.e, I see his 48 extra-base hits redistributed to 20 doubles, 3triples, and 25 HRs in today's park. And I would think that he hit at least 5 fly balls back then that would have left today's park. That gets him to 30 HRs in 317 at-bats. That to me along with his 13-7 record on the mound absolutely insane. 1918 is actually my favorite season of Ruth's, not his more impressive 1921 season.

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          • What probably cost him some home runs, no way to ever know how many, were the parks that were not double decked in those years.
            Since the parks were wide open, just bleachers, balls could travel a greater distance after passing the foul pole on the fair side of the pole. If double decked the balls would not travel very fair after passing the foul pole in fair territory.

            Until 1930 or 1931 any ball that was fair as it passed the foul pole but then hooked foul, was not a home run, it was a foul ball.
            Since he hit many so far, that increased the chance that it could hook foul after passing the foul pole.

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            • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
              . What actually is interesting to me is Ruth's 1918 season, which really isn't covered too much in the book. That year, Ruth still slugged .555 despite playing in the Dead Ball era while batting against beat up baseballs. Spitters, shineballs, and emery balls were all legal then,despite the large strike zone. Ruth's 1918 season to me is the single best testament that Ruth would still crush pitching today. And if the length of Ruth's hits are accurate in his book, then Ruth would have hit 42 HRs in only 317 at-bats in 1918 in ball parks with today's dimensions.. Given the fact that Ruth smashed 26 doubles, 11 triples, and 11 HRs, that doesn't sound too far-fetched, although I believe that 42 is a bit inflated. By simply looking at the number of doubles and triples he hit in those big parks, I easily buy 30 HRs that year in today's parks. I.e, I see his 48 extra-base hits redistributed to 20 doubles, 3triples, and 25 HRs in today's park. And I would think that he hit at least 5 fly balls back then that would have left today's park. That gets him to 30 HRs in 317 at-bats. That to me along with his 13-7 record on the mound absolutely insane. 1918 is actually my favorite season of Ruth's, not his more impressive 1921 season.
              1919 was a good one for Babe
              Pitching 9-5
              At the plate, this is for both leagues.
              130 games -432 at bats.

              He finished 7th in batting Ave.
              Doubles tied for 5th.
              Triples, 8th.
              Strikeouts 2nd.
              First in--- total bases---slugging--OBA--OPS-- Secondary Ave.--Runs created--Runs created game--RBI--Runs-Total Ave.--EBH's
              Second in walks 101, behind Jack Graney with 105. Graney had 43 more plate appearances.

              Harry Frazee blamed the Bosox poor finish in 1919 on Ruth, he was a bad boy. I agree the young Babe was hard to handle but you would think with all the potential he was already showing Harry would be more patient.
              Harry Frazee made rhe biggest blunder ever in the game and then proceeded to chip away at the rest of a very good Bosox team.

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              • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                1919 was a good one for Babe
                Pitching 9-5
                At the plate, this is for both leagues.
                130 games -432 at bats.

                He finished 7th in batting Ave.
                Doubles tied for 5th.
                Triples, 8th.
                Strikeouts 2nd.
                First in--- total bases---slugging--OBA--OPS-- Secondary Ave.--Runs created--Runs created game--RBI--Runs-Total Ave.--EBH's
                Second in walks 101, behind Jack Graney with 105. Graney had 43 more plate appearances.

                Harry Frazee blamed the Bosox poor finish in 1919 on Ruth, he was a bad boy. I agree the young Babe was hard to handle but you would think with all the potential he was already showing Harry would be more patient.
                Harry Frazee made rhe biggest blunder ever in the game and then proceeded to chip away at the rest of a very good Bosox team.
                That 1919 season is also amazing; I totally agree. It's his 2nd most amazing season to me. The only reason that I chose the 1918 season over this one is that 1919 was the introduction of the Live Ball. However, the 1919 season still had spitball pitchers and hitters batting against a brown baseball, which is tough to comprehend. And Fenway back then was impossible for lefties. I see that in 1919, Ruth slugged 20 HRs in only 232 at-bats on the road. I.e, he slugged .694 on the road. I wish I could see his Deadball 1918 road stats. I have to believe that he stilll probably slugged around .620 on the road that year against a Dead Ball. And Ruth's two World Series victories as a pitcher in 1918 makes that his most impressive year to me, in terms of versatility. 1919 is still a very close 2nd, given his record on the mound and his incredible slugging. I believe that Ruth was somewhat "washed up" by his own standards by 1925. I.e, his best seasons were from 1918-1923, excluding 1922. That suspension in 1922 really wrecked his stats for that year. He never got into a groove that year. And by 1924, he started socking on the weight. His 1924 season was still impressive. But it wasn't quite the 1918-1923 Ruthing type of year. Andhe showed signs of slipping, due to his extra weight. After all, he was nearly 30 years old that year by that time, which is old for a guy back then that trashed his body as badly as he did. Talk about wasted talent. Ruth with his talent should have hit over 800 career HRs.

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                • He holds the record for most seasons with 40 or more home runs, 11 seasons. The only two times he did not over 13 consecutive seasons 1920-1932 were the two short seasons 1922-110 games-35 HR and 1925-98 games-25 HR.

                  Most seasons 40 or more home runs
                  Ruth----------11
                  Killebrew-------8
                  Aaron----------8
                  Bonds---------8
                  Babe Ruth never had at 40 home run season until his 7th season in MLB, 1920, his career was already one quarter over. In fact in his first 6 seasons, 1914-1919 his career total was 49 home runs.


                  I would have loved to seen Killebrew play in recent years with todays suspect ball and most important, that tiny little strike zone.

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                  • Being a lifetime Twins fan, Killer is one of my all-time favorites. And he's one of the very few men that blasted homeruns 500+ feet. The high heaters that were called for strikes back in the day did him in big, I would suspect.

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                    • Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                      Being a lifetime Twins fan, Killer is one of my all-time favorites. And he's one of the very few men that blasted homeruns 500+ feet. The high heaters that were called for strikes back in the day did him in big, I would suspect.
                      Thats one of the factors overlooked, that played a part in the HR derby that came about in the 1990s. There were other factors but that was and still plays a part. Pushed into the background when the steroid talk took over.

                      The shaved off the top strike zone was a hot topic in the mid 1990s, articles every where.
                      It took away the high borderline strike that use to tie up some of the games strongest hitters, difficult to get "on top of", to drive the ball. Hitters today just let it go by, it will be called a ball.

                      Short story, Killebrew, one of my favorites. Made a bet with a friend in late June 1969, he took Reggie Jackson. For the AL leader in home runs. In late June Reggie at the time we made the bet, Reggie had 28 or 29 HRs and Killebrew trailed with 18 or 19, positive he was not in the 20's. Two days after the bet, Reggie hit 3 homers in one game increased his lead by 3 in one day early July. Not looking good for the "Killer" but I still have faith in him

                      At the end of the season, Killebrew with 49 and Reggie, if I recall 46 or 47. In fact, I think Frank Howard finished ahead of Reggie. Killebrew was so consistent with his long ball hitting.
                      Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-21-2012, 11:27 AM.

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                      • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                        Come on Bam......................slow down. Now, back to the game.
                        I'm surprised the Yankees let him drive.
                        They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                        • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                          Thats one of the factors overlooked, that played a part in the HR derby that came about in the 1990s. There were other factors but that was and still plays a part. Pushed into the background when the steroid talk took over.

                          The shaved off the top strike zone was a hot topic in the mid 1990s, articles every where.
                          It took away the high borderline strike that use to tie up some of the games strongest hitters, difficult to get "on top of", to drive the ball. Hitters today just let it go by, it will be called a ball.

                          Short story, Killebrew, one of my favorites. Made a bet with a friend in late June 1969, he took Reggie Jackson. For the AL leader in home runs. In late June Reggie at the time we made the bet, Reggie had 28 or 29 HRs and Killebrew trailed with 18 or 19, positive he was not in the 20's. Two days after the bet, Reggie hit 3 homers in one game increased his lead by 3 in one day early July. Not looking good for the "Killer" but I still have faith in him

                          At the end of the season, Killebrew with 49 and Reggie, if I recall 46 or 47. In fact, I think Frank Howard finished ahead of Reggie. Killebrew was so consistent with his long ball hitting.
                          That's right! Reggie had 47. He was actually on pace to break Babe Ruth's record that year. I believe that he had 37 HRs by the All Star break. Ironically, that 47 HRs was Reggie's career high. Killer ended up with 49 and the MVP award. I.e, you are referring to early to mid-June when Killer was trailing Reggie. Killer was going along at a fine clip. He was not slumping. But Reggie was on a monstrous pace that year.

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                          • Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
                            I'm surprised the Yankees let him drive.
                            Some of this was written into his contract. I have another folder, not accidents but over a dozen speeding tickets.
                            One of them resulted in Babe spending some hours in jai, 1921. Released in time to make the Yankee game that afternoon, his uniform was taken to the jail. He then had a police escort speed him though NY streets in time to make the game. If I recall he was hitless that day.
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                            • I like his logic..............what makes a speeder.
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