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Hank Aaron vs. Tris Speaker

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  • Hank Aaron vs. Tris Speaker

    What an incredible matchup!

    Hank Aaron, with his 3,700+ hits, 755 home runs, 2,000+ runs scored and all-time record 2,297 RBI sure was one heck of a player.

    But Tris Speaker, with his .345 batting average, 3,500+ hits, 1,800+ runs scored and all-time record 792 doubles was pretty darn good, too!

    But which was was better?
    31
    Hank Aaron
    96.77%
    30
    Tris Speaker
    3.23%
    1

  • #2
    This is a great matchup. Tris Speaker was better at his position and it was a much more valuable one. I think Hank Aaron more than closes the gap with his great bat. I have to ding Speaker for not hitting more HRs during the Live Ball era. Also, Speaker's road stats were rather pedestrian from 1918 until he retired. He went .320/.408/.464 on the road from 1918 on, most of that in the Live Ball era. Speaker's stats were greatly boosted at home with the short right field fence(290 feet) and right center(317) in Cleveland. Hank Aaron's power gives him the edge.

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    • #3
      Speaker was great, but Ithink there were 2 CF's in his time who were greater (Ty Cobb & Oscar Charleston) and Shoeless Joe was pretty great too. Speakers' doubles record still standing 70-80 years later is pretty impressive, but I would go with Hammerin' Hank in this one: more power in a vastly more competitive league

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      • #4
        Wow! I didn't expect Hammerin' Hank to be up 8-0 at this point. Granted, I picked him. But I have them very close in the rankings.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pheasant View Post
          Wow! I didn't expect Hammerin' Hank to be up 8-0 at this point. Granted, I picked him. But I have them very close in the rankings.
          Me either. I actually thought this one might have been kind of close.

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          • #6
            Well they are close but I would put Hank @ 6-8 and Speaker @ 10. So its close all time but definitive.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pheasant View Post
              This is a great matchup. Tris Speaker was better at his position and it was a much more valuable one. I think Hank Aaron more than closes the gap with his great bat. I have to ding Speaker for not hitting more HRs during the Live Ball era. Also, Speaker's road stats were rather pedestrian from 1918 until he retired. He went .320/.408/.464 on the road from 1918 on, most of that in the Live Ball era. Speaker's stats were greatly boosted at home with the short right field fence(290 feet) and right center(317) in Cleveland. Hank Aaron's power gives him the edge.
              When the live ball era started, Speaker was already 32 years old. He then posted averages of .362, .378, .380, .344, and .389, and led in doubles four times in a row. he also led in on base percentage twice during this time, despite having a prime babe Ruth as competition. he averaged about 7.5 WAR a season from 1920-1923. In 1925 he had 6.2 WAR in only 117 games.

              Keep in mind, these are his decline years.

              And you are holding these years against him because he didn't hit more home runs???????????

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              • #8
                Originally posted by willshad View Post
                When the live ball era started, Speaker was already 32 years old. He then posted averages of .362, .378, .380, .344, and .389, and led in doubles four times in a row. he also led in on base percentage twice during this time, despite having a prime babe Ruth as competition. he averaged about 7.5 WAR a season from 1920-1923. In 1925 he had 6.2 WAR in only 117 games.

                Keep in mind, these are his decline years.

                And you are holding these years against him because he didn't hit more home runs???????????

                Also keep in mind that WAR vastly underrates Speaker's defense. Somehow he only scores 2.5 defensive WAR for his career, despite being regarded as perhaps the finest fielding center fielder ever. Mays has over 18 and Andruw Jones has over 24.

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                • #9
                  Two all time great players- both played second fiddle to someone else- Speaker to Cobb, Aaron to Mays.

                  I see Aaron as 7-8 alltime among position players, Speaker at 11-12. Aaron a small edge as a hitter, Speaker an edge on defense, and probably a tossup on the bases. Both had very long productive stretches- Aaron's probably was a bit longer, and that's what gives him the edge. Can't go wrong ith either one.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BigRon View Post
                    Two all time great players- both played second fiddle to someone else- Speaker to Cobb, Aaron to Mays.

                    I see Aaron as 7-8 alltime among position players, Speaker at 11-12. Aaron a small edge as a hitter, Speaker an edge on defense, and probably a tossup on the bases. Both had very long productive stretches- Aaron's probably was a bit longer, and that's what gives him the edge. Can't go wrong ith either one.
                    I agree. I have Aaron at #7 and Speaker at #9 (though I'm of the minority group to place him above Mantle).
                    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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                    • #11
                      Did a Search for Aaron vs Speaker...took awhile to get to it, but found it. Among the many vs threads I found...I even found a Speaker vs Speaker!!! compliments of our good friends Adam (HWR). Anyway....

                      I would like to hear from those who have Speaker ahead of Aaron, and why. I'm hoping to learn something I don't already know. I'm not saying it's a murder scene, but I have Aaron comfortably ahead. Only slightly ahead before I consider ballpark and era. Those things create the gap.

                      I know how great Speaker was in his era. For most of his career he was allowed to play shallow and perform fielding feats that even among his peers, were considered masterful. He was also an excellent base-runner in a more helter-skelter time period.

                      If Aaron played defense in that time period, everything more confined, the actual playing zone shrunk, and more aggressive baserunners, does anyone doubt he could have stood out above his fielding peers the same way? Perhaps not in the CF realm but he was a marvelous athlete that could have shined even more in that environment imo.

                      Any thoughts?

                      Edit, I hadn't voted yet, so didn't see the results. It appears as nearly nobody has Speaker ahead of Aaron. My apologies.

                      53chartInfo.jpg
                      Code:
                      Speaker     182/171/153/143 (124 - three)      3.321        113     88      4.796 (88.50) (6.48/6.08)        187             85.58 (4.64)    31.99      58.22
                      
                      Aaron       182/165/154/150 (126 - six)        3.579        102     98      4.303 (92.30) (5.98/5.70)        178             91.56 (4.27)    31.50      55.88
                      Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 04-07-2014, 06:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
                        Did a Search for Aaron vs Speaker...took awhile to get to it, but found it. Among the many vs threads I found...I even found a Speaker vs Speaker!!! compliments of our good friends Adam (HWR). Anyway....

                        I would like to hear from those who have Speaker ahead of Aaron, and why. I'm hoping to learn something I don't already know. I'm not saying it's a murder scene, but I have Aaron comfortably ahead. Only slightly ahead before I consider ballpark and era. Those things create the gap.

                        I know how great Speaker was in his era. For most of his career he was allowed to play shallow and perform fielding feats that even among his peers, were considered masterful. He was also an excellent base-runner in a more helter-skelter time period.

                        If Aaron played defense in that time period, everything more confined, the actual playing zone shrunk, and more aggressive baserunners, does anyone doubt he could have stood out above his fielding peers the same way? Perhaps not in the CF realm but he was a marvelous athlete that could have shined even more in that environment imo.

                        Any thoughts?

                        Edit, I hadn't voted yet, so didn't see the results. It appears as nearly nobody has Speaker ahead of Aaron. My apologies.

                        [ATTACH]137676[/ATTACH]
                        Code:
                        Speaker     182/171/153/143 (124 - three)      3.321        113     88      4.796 (88.50) (6.48/6.08)        187             85.58 (4.64)    31.99      58.22
                        
                        Aaron       182/165/154/150 (126 - six)        3.579        102     98      4.303 (92.30) (5.98/5.70)        178             91.56 (4.27)    31.50      55.88

                        The case for Speaker over Aaron is the same as the case for Mays over Aaron. They were similar quality as hitters and on the bases, but Speaker played a more valuable position and played it at an all time great level. I am more curious as to how someone could have Aaron ahead, using reasoning other than 'league quality'.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd take Ross Barnes over both of them. From 1871-76 he averaged per 162:

                          287 runs, 328 hits, 60 doubles, 22 triples, 3 HR, 144 RBI and was 17/21 stealing bases.

                          Aaron and Speaker never touched that.
                          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Willshad
                            ...
                            Ctrl and either - or + will change page zoom. Gotta be at 100% for it to lineup.

                            You know I'm not a huge LQ guy, especially when considering the greats. To think they would be as affected as others is just plain silly.

                            Having said that, Speakers main advantages are fielding and baserunning, both a product of the environment. Tried to make the point in my previous post, and maybe I did a slip-shod job of it, but Speaker has serious skills....but skills that were suited for the deadball game. He played extremely shallow, close to the infield. He could never do that in Aaron's era.

                            His baserunning would also come down to earth, not just because of others in the league, but because the mindset of baserunners changed.

                            When it comes to hitting, not only did he have a platoon advantage that Aaron never enjoyed, but he benefitted from his home park immensely (.367/.327 BA). Those are things to consider.

                            We don't have splits for Speakers first five full years (and no details from relievers apparently) but bb-ref shows speaker from 1914 on....

                            6234 PA vs righties (.353/.440/.516)
                            2527 PA vs Lefties (.331/.420/.475)

                            We have more accurate numbers for Hank.

                            vs RHP as RHB - 9977 PA (.299/.362/.537)
                            vs LHP as RHB - 3554 PA (.319/.405/.604)

                            Aaron slugged 62 points higher in nearly 4x more PA vs the same armed pitcher as They batted, in an environment where strikeouts are higher, relievers are better, and outfielders play deeper.

                            Platoon is a huge issue that I don't feel gets enough weight, along with park factors.
                            Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 04-07-2014, 08:33 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
                              I'd take Ross Barnes over both of them. From 1871-76 he averaged per 162:

                              287 runs, 328 hits, 60 doubles, 22 triples, 3 HR, 144 RBI and was 17/21 stealing bases.

                              Aaron and Speaker never touched that.
                              Was Barnes the Mike Trout of his time? In his first 331 games he had a whopping 24.8 WAR. This is even better than Trout has done. I bet early on in his career they were predicting that he would easily be the best player who ever lived, easily surpassing....umm who exactly were the greatest players before 1871?
                              Last edited by willshad; 04-07-2014, 08:02 PM.

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