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  • Originally posted by Windy City Fan
    All of the current major leaguers in the 20's would've experienced a numbers drop, but the bottom end players wouldn't be playing as better talent would've replaced them. So the talent becomes higher and more compact.

    To use a scale let's say there are a 100 players. The average player is rated a 50 and Ruth is a 100. That means Ruth is 200% of the average player (about his career OPS+). Now let's say the bottom 20 players average a rating of 20. Get rid of them, and replace them with the best players from the Pacific Coast League, the Negro League, the Mexican and Cuban Leagues. These replacements average a 60 rating. Now the average player in the league is rated a 58. Ruth is still a 100, but the distance between him and league is less. I hope this numerical analogy makes sense.
    Yeah, but that's exactly what it is - a numerical analogy. When using numerical fact, Ruth is ahead of the next best of his day, Gehrig, 207-182.
    Also, why would more and better hitters affect Ruth's batting? Ruth's batting numbers would go up or down due to the quality of pitching he faces, and let's just assume it would get that much better due to expansion. As it is, Ruth beat the best pitching the majors had to offer anyway.

    I just don't see it. Maybe it's just me.
    Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by torez77
      I just thought of something, Metal Ed. I had this in the back of my head before, but it hasn't come out until now. Sometimes I'm kinda slow. It kind of goes along with what I've been saying all along.
      Let's just imagine that in the 20's the league had become more diversified and the best players from all leagues came into the Majors, and thus it would have become more balanced, just as it is more balanced today. The pitching would be better. Thus, we can assume Ruth's numbers would have declined, as would have everybody else's. Get my drift, here? Ruth outdid the 2nd best in the Majors by a wide margin. So why would that margin get smaller if everybody else along with Ruth is getting worse?
      Again, it's all relative.
      That assumes an even rate of addition of pitchers and hitters. If there had been a great hitter or two added to the league, that's quite a bit different than adding two great pitchers and wholely different from adding two great hitters and two great pitchers. Then there's the quality of pitching faced to consider.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by torez77
        Yeah, but that's exactly what it is - a numerical analogy. When using numerical fact, Ruth is ahead of the next best of his day, Gehrig, 207-182.
        Also, why would more and better hitters affect Ruth's batting? Ruth's batting numbers would go up or down due to the quality of pitching he faces, and let's just assume it would get that much better due to expansion. As it is, Ruth beat the best pitching the majors had to offer anyway.

        I just don't see it. Maybe it's just me.
        Better pitchers will make everyone's raw stats decline, probably roughly equally. Better hitters will make Ruth's relative stats decline.

        To use another analogy. A guy on our softball team led the league in average and homeruns. He was about the fastest guy in the league and could play any position, including pitcher. Now get rid of the overweight 40 year olds in the league and bring in minor league or semi pro players to replae them. Let's just pretend my teammate would still be the best player in the league, but the rest of the league is a lot closer and he doesn't stand out as much.

        No one is saying Ruth wasn't the best of his day. We're just saying that his competition wasn't all that sharp, and if it was better (ala what Mays played against) Ruth's relative numbers would decline.
        "I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame."
        - Sammy Sosa

        "Get a comfy chair, Sammy, cause its gonna be a long wait."
        - Craig Ashley (AKA Windy City Fan)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by torez77
          I just thought of something, Metal Ed. I had this in the back of my head before, but it hasn't come out until now. Sometimes I'm kinda slow. It kind of goes along with what I've been saying all along.
          Let's just imagine that in the 20's the league had become more diversified and the best players from all leagues came into the Majors, and thus it would have become more balanced, just as it is more balanced today. The pitching would be better. Thus, we can assume Ruth's numbers would have declined, as would have everybody else's. Get my drift, here? Ruth outdid the 2nd best in the Majors by a wide margin. So why would that margin get smaller if everybody else along with Ruth is getting worse?
          Again, it's all relative.


          I pulled these numbers from Baseball Reference.com, to get an idea of the difference between Bonds and his no.2 guy, and Ruth and his no.2 guy. Here the spreads for OPS:


          Babe Ruth 207
          Lou Gehrig 179
          Rogers Hornsby 175
          Ty Cobb 167
          Jimmie Foxx 163

          And for Bonds:

          Barry Bonds 184
          Frank Thomas 164
          Manny Ramirez 156
          Jim Thome 151
          Jeff Bagwell 150
          Mike Piazza 150


          Ruth is up by 28 points on Gehrig, Bonds is up by 20 points on Thomas. So the gap is indeed bigger for Ruth as you say, but not by as much as one might think.

          Something I wonder about. What would the gaps be without Ruth's 1920-1921 seasons and without Bonds 2001-2004 seasons? I will have to calculate that. I suspect that a good portion of the gap can be traced to those seasons.

          So far we have been discussing only hitting. Except for Cobb and Bagwell, Bonds is the only one on the list with any baserunning and fielding skills. Frank Thomas, Bonds' No.2 guy, is flat-out horrible both as a fielder and a base runner. Holy cow is he bad. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, no.1 and no.2 respectively for their era in hitting, both have stealing-caught stealing ratios of about 50-50 (123-117 for Ruth; 102-101 for Gehrig- and the caught stealing numbers may be incomplete for this era! Just really bad base running) and both were below average in fielding range factor for the league average at the time. Hornsby couldn't turn a double play to save his life, which is a really bad trait for a second baseman, and Manny Ramirez can be comedy in action in left field. Piazza is not a good defensive catcher either. OTOH, in terms of all-around ability, the Babe has a career ERA+ of 122. It is a mid-career value due to the briefness of Ruth's pitching career, but it may ultimately be the difference maker for Ruth, depending on how one values pitching, baserunning, and fielding.

          Consider also that there may just have been a guy out there somewhere in 1920, that, if given the chance, could have gone 180-200 in the Majors at the time. All it would take is one guy. From the West or from the Caribbean or from the black population - one Ted Williams (Pacific Coast League) or one Josh Gibson (Negro Leagues).
          Metal Ed
          Registered User
          Last edited by Metal Ed; 02-23-2005, 03:15 PM.

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          • 1947 League Average - .265 Jackie Robinson leads the intergration of MLB
            1950 League Average - .261 Intergration continues to grow
            1954 League Average - .265 Mays, Aaron, and Banks break in as rookies
            1958 League Average - .262 Above players are now among the best in the league

            Now, despite the huge infusion of talent due to intergration, the league average remained relatively constant. Clearly the pitching and hitting talent balanced each other out. But what else happened? There are more players competing for less spots. So the bottom rungs are now occupied by better players. The difference between the greats (Aaron, Banks, Mays) and the lower tier is not as great. Hence their relative stats will not jump out like Ruth or Cobb.
            "I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame."
            - Sammy Sosa

            "Get a comfy chair, Sammy, cause its gonna be a long wait."
            - Craig Ashley (AKA Windy City Fan)

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            • So who do you pick as the greatest of all time, Windy City Fan?

              Comment


              • I pick Cobb. I give him and all the other old timers a timeline adjustment, but Cobb still stands out as the best of the best to me. He was a great hitter for average, one of the best ever regardless of era or timeline. He was a feared baserunner. How many baserunners today are actually feared? And he could hit for power. He led his league in HR once and had three second place finishes. He also led the league in SLG 8 times. He was a good to very good fielder in center with a strong arm.

                Moreso than that, Cobb was perhaps the smartest player to ever play. Burgess can tell you of all the teammates he helped improve, all the head games he played with his opponents. Those types of things are timeless.

                If Cobb played today, with all the modern benefits in training and medicine, with the tiny strike zones and even tinier parks, I think he'd be a guy whose average season would look like this:

                .320 30 HR 25 St 100 BB 50 K He'd also hit a ton of doubles and triples, and be a top finisher in SLG and OBP. Average that out over a twenty year career and you get a guy with a strong case for greatest ever. He'd win his share of Gold Gloves and have a stack of MVPs.

                I could be underrating his steal potential, but most modern sluggers don't run a lot anymore. His best seasons would see him hit .350+, 40 to 45 homers tops, 50 steals would easily be possible.

                These figures are gut figures, no science or number crunching behind them. Among my other top candidates, Ruth, Wagner, Mays, Bonds. I give modern players their due. Morgan has a strong case for the best 2B ever, though I could see him anywhere between 1 and 4, and personally have him at 4th right now. Bench has a strong case for top catcher, but I put Cochrane at the top (Bench in second). Griffey was on his way to being a candidate for that elite upper circle, but injuries sidetracked him. A-Rod has a strong chance to crack into that top group, but he needs to keep producing for a while. Rodriguez is a catcher that just keeps gaining position in my book. He's currently at 6th, but could move up to at least 4th when he's all done - maybe more depending on what the future has in store. Piazza's defense is enough for me to rank him outside the top 5 forever. Pitching wise, Maddux is ranked 4th all time by me, and I could argue him up to third or maybe second if I changed how I value certain things. Clemens and Johnson rank in my top ten, and Johnson could end up the best of the three. Rivera is the second greatest closer ever in my book, but I just can't see him passing up Wilhelm.
                "I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame."
                - Sammy Sosa

                "Get a comfy chair, Sammy, cause its gonna be a long wait."
                - Craig Ashley (AKA Windy City Fan)

                Comment


                • Lots of great posting here, for Ruth being the best and for some others being ahead of him on the all time list. Looks like some posters really spent some time researching and comparing stats, lots of great posting on this subject. It appears that the main focus is on the hitting. It may be a bit repetitive but I go back to my main point. I agree that Ruth would not be as dominent if the level of the game was higher in his time period. Here comes the repetitive portion, let me say it again, compare him to any hitters in any period and he still comes to the top as a hitter/slugger, his only competition Ted Williams. There are great hitters and great sluggers but only two come to mind that combined both.

                  I should also add I do not compare them to the greats who played in the dead ball era, Cobb and Wagner to name two. It would be unfair to compare any post 1920 hitter to any pre 1920 hitter. Cobb and Wagner I am sure would have been higher up on the list particularly in the slugging department if they played after 1920, Cobb played some but mostly in the dead ball era.

                  So to keep focusing on Ruth and the gap between him and those in his time to me is not the issue here and gets off the subject, put him next to any hitter, in any era. This guy did hit 714 home runs and yet there are only 4 hitters ahead of him in career batting average, modern times post 1900. Think of it, lots of great contact hitters in the high powered 1920-1930s and only 4 hitters with a higher batting average than a man with 700+ home runs, swinging from the heels, most of the time.

                  We're speaking of a hitter with 700+ home runs, eleven seasons with 40+ home runs and he had only 49 career home runs as he entered his 7th season and never hit 40 until that 7th season.

                  I would not expect most modern hitters to out distance the league in todays game as Ruth did, so lets get that out of the way, thats not the issue, it's comparing hitters from all time periods, not just their time. I don't give Ruth any more points for his domination in his time slot, he does not need them to come to the top.
                  SHOELESSJOE3
                  Registered User
                  Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-23-2005, 09:35 PM.

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                  • Originally posted by Metal Ed
                    5) Some random ballplayer comments:

                    f) Most players of the era saw Mays as better than Mantle, but those damn stat revisionists would say that Mantle was better, weighing his slugging over Mays' fielding. God-know-how-many players and managers and coaches of the era called Mays "the greatest baseball player I have ever seen", even though the Win Share system says that Mantle had a higher rate of Win Shares/per game.

                    When Bob Costas starts creaming in his pants, talking about how kids today can't imagine how good Mickey Mantle was in 1956 because none of today's heroes are as good as his childhood hero, I stop paying attention.

                    10) Going back to the topic of things stats can't measure, and things beyond a player's actual stat line, has anyone mentioned Yogi Berra yet? Has anyone looked at how much the pitchers on the Yankees in the 50's improved when he was catching them? How much they sucked before they came to the Yankees? And how much they sucked after they left the Yankees? Ever wonder about the sheer impact Berra had on all those championship teams of the 50's, and how little it is reflected by his actual numbers?
                    f) Mantle probably was better . . . at his peak. But Mays lasted longer and was better defensively. Mantle was pretty darn good in '56, only leading his league in R, HR, TB, RBI, Runs Produced, BA, SLG, OPS, OPS+, Batter Runs+, Runs Created, and Total Average.

                    10) The Yanks were around 3rd/4th in ERA+ right before Berra came and until 1952 (Berra was catching them before the 50s). They also added under Berra's time, AReynolds, Lopat, Raschi, Ford ... Their pitching wasn't bad in '63 & '64 after Berra stopped catching, but after that management let the team go to pot.
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

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                    • Awesome, Metal Ed! Possibly the most insightful post on baseball I've ever read! Wow!
                      I'm probably Babe's biggest supporter on this board. I love to discuss which player is better than who, but it is and always has been my opinion that Babe is the greatest when you add everything up. You made a great point in your post, that when determining the greatest we should not listen to all the varying opinions of yesteryear and choose which one we like best, especially when he didn't see them play, but go by the best input that we baseball nuts are blessed to have available to us - the statistics! Sure, we can read tirelessly about baseball history, and many of those facts must be taken into account. Some may be facts, some may be myth, we weren't there. As I said before, all playing conditions are relative to the era that they were in. Ruth had his advantages and disadvantages, Cobb had his advantages and disadvantages, Bonds had his, and so on and so forth. I haven't read or heard anything that suggests it was tougher for any one of these gentlemen to succeed.

                      When discussing Babe, of course, much of his greatness comes from his extraordinary hitting. Was he as good a runner or fielder as most of the others brought up in the greatest-ever conversation - Cobb, Bonds, Mays, Mantle, etc. Hell, no! But I've always said he was pretty darn good for his size and health! I'm not handicapping him - it's the truth. Look at his stolen base and triple numbers - are they indicative of a fat, gluttonous drunk? How much better would he have been if he was in shape? I don't pretend to know, but it makes you think that Ruth was more well-rounded of an athlete than he appeared to be. In the field, Ruth was a liability but certainly not a detriment to his team, and his arm was above average because of his pitching. Ah, pitching!
                      No one in baseball history has ever come close to making the transition from HOF pitcher to HOF hitter. True Roy Hobbs fashion! I don't see anyone on the horizon who will anytime soon either! This ranks Ruth as an all-around baseball player with anyone, and establishes him as truly one-of-a-kind!

                      Anyway, those are my thoughts in a nutshell. Excellent post, Ed, and I look forward to reading more!
                      torez77
                      Registered User
                      Last edited by torez77; 02-24-2005, 10:56 AM.
                      Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

                      Comment


                      • --Ruth's success as a pitcher before switching to the OF is unique, but I'm not sure it should really elevate him to a different level than the other contenders for best player ever. Just like his being the only player actively trying to hit HR at the exact time when it became a good strategy, Ruth's timing was just right for being a pitcher/batter star.
                        --When he first came up the game was dominated by pitching and pitchers were inherently more valuable than hitters. It became clear after a few years that Ruth was an exception to that, but anytime after the live ball he would never have been tried at pitcher in the first place. It may well be that Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle or Mike Schmidt could have been great pitchers had they be asked to perform there. We can't assume they would, of course, but much like Ruth outhomering entire teams it needs to be kept in mind that his pitching came in a unique window of opportunity.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by leecemark
                          --Ruth's success as a pitcher before switching to the OF is unique, but I'm not sure it should really elevate him to a different level than the other contenders for best player ever. Just like his being the only player actively trying to hit HR at the exact time when it became a good strategy, Ruth's timing was just right for being a pitcher/batter star.
                          --.
                          Look at another way. What if Ruth came up in the live ball era and was hitting the live ball all his career just as others who came after 1920. If that were the case this discussion might not even be taking place. By the time the live ball era came in, by the time trick deliveries were banned and clean white balls were used almost one quarter of Ruth's career was over and he had only 49 career home runs.

                          We can't keep diminishing Ruth for the time he came into the league, as a pitcher or a hitter.

                          May I say it again, take him out of his era, put him ine any era and he is still at or near the top as the premier hitter slugger over a whole career. Cases can be made for others being better all around even though many think Ruth's superior hitting can even things out, but as an all around hitter, there is no equal hitter/slugger.
                          SHOELESSJOE3
                          Registered User
                          Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-24-2005, 12:59 PM.

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                          • Originally posted by Metal Ed
                            Realnod: Have you ever heard of a guy named Michaell Schell? He has two books that I think you need to check out. Do a search for them, you may find them interesting. Also, what does your screen name mean?
                            This guy know his stuff and uses a different approach in evaluating hitters. I've been in touch with Mike via email over the last couple of years. He is a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina . I had sent him some stats on Babe Ruth last year that I would hope he incorporates in his new book. I recieved an email from him a month ago and learned that his new book will be available in March of this year, may even be in some book stores now.

                            The title is " Baseballs All- Time Best Sluggers." This book will use adjusted totals for EXBs including home runs. In his email he said he fully expects Babe Ruth to be #1 and Ted Williams #2 and he does not speculate any further. I should add that he made that speculation before the 2004 season, so who can say, possibly Barry's great 2004 season may make changes in the ranking.

                            I would say that any who purchase this book will find that Mike has a unique way at looking at the game and evaluating the hitters.
                            SHOELESSJOE3
                            Registered User
                            Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 02-24-2005, 01:22 PM.

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                            • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3
                              This guy know his stuff and uses a different approach in evaluating hitters. I've been in touch with Mike via email over the last couple of years. He is a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina . I had sent him some stats on Babe Ruth that I would hope he incorporates in his new book. I recieved an email from him a month ago and learned that his new book will be available in March of this year, may even be in some book stores now.

                              The tile is Baseballs All- Time Best Sluggers. This book will use adjusted totals for EXBs including home runs. In his email he said he fully expects Babe Ruth to be #1 and Ted Williams #2 and he does not speculate any further. I should add that he made that speculation before the 2004 season, so who can say, possibly Barry's great 2004 season may make changes in the ranking.

                              I would say that any who purchase this book will find that Mike has a unique way at looking at the game and evaluating the hitters.

                              I already have the book. I pre-ordered it in early February and I got it a few weeks ago. I didn't realize that it hadn't come out in bookstores yet.

                              All I will say is, fans of the Babe will not be disappointed.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Metal Ed
                                I already have the book. I pre-ordered it in early February and I got it a few weeks ago. I didn't realize that it hadn't come out in bookstores yet.

                                All I will say is, fans of the Babe will not be disappointed.
                                Thanks Ed, Mike sent me an email a while ago and told me it would be out in February. I called Borders and Barnes and Noble a week ago and they told me it would not be available until March.

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