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  • Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    In his above arguments, I think that what csh19792001 is trying to say is that Babe Ruth's Relative Slugging average got locked in at such a ridiculously high level is that the league stubbornly refused to adjust to modern scoring values.

    Sabremetricians have long held that the tool that Joe Jackson/Babe Ruth brought to the party, the grooved power-swing, is something that has been proven to have essential value. I have written many times that the refusal of the leagues' top hitters to include it in their arsenal, their hitting attack, was what allowed Babe Ruth to run up the score on the rest of the league.

    It seems that the rest of the league's best hitters were hypnotized/mesmerized by Babe Ruth's style. They had all been weaned as children that the basics of good hitting forbid going for distance. It led to long fly outs, and low BAs. It was like their catechism. Part of their sports' scriptures.

    They really, really resented that Babe Ruth was making it work. He was like proving their religion false. They kept waiting for the pitchers to 'get his number', for him to start crashing and burning. They were extremely confused by his 1919-21 success. In 1922, everyone finally pointed and said, "See, we told you so." It was all just a lucky streak, a passing fad.

    If you reread my post #1093, you will get the feel for what the other hitters were thinking of Babe Ruth's success.

    But just in case you're too lazy to read it, here is the salient sentence, "In this event the brief reign of Babe Ruth, though highly profitable to the New York Club, will be memorable only for its evil effect upon the sport as a whole, as his constant exploitation as a home run hitter stimulated a home run craze in both public and players that led to temporary abandonment of scientific play; and militated vastly against team work and discipline; and, worst of all, made a popular hero of a specialty player who lacks every qualification of a truly great player."

    But, when Babe returned to his successful ways in 1923-24, that is the point when everyone, including Cobb, Speaker and Collins, and all the managers/execs started to realize, with a sinking feeling in the pit of their collective guts, that Babe Ruth was, indeed, for real. My post #1093, clearly shows that even Babe's harshest critic, Francis Ritcher, was finally convinced.

    It was following Ruth's epic 1923-24 climax/crescendo that some of the hitters of the world started to come around and start to copy him.

    But not the best hitters. The Old Guard, and the New Guard stubbornly refused to adjust or add the 'grooved power-swing' to their hitting attacks.

    Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Wheat, Roush were the old guard and refused. The New Guard consisted of B. Terry, O'Doul, the Waners.

    Some who did evolve were Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, Babe Herman, Hack Wilson, and Hank Greenberg a little later.

    I have always wished that the contact hitters had adjusted. Not to try to become Babe Ruths, because that would not have been in their best interests. But to include a power swing. There is no reason for Cobb, Speaker, Wheat, etc. to not adopt a power swing on occasion. Like Musial, T. Williams, Aaron, Mays, Clemente.

    In other words, not to go for distance with every swing, but to at least have a more forceful swing when the pitch called for it. To evolve into a mid-range pop guy. Musial, Williams, DiMaggio, Aaron were not true power hitters. They did not try to hit homers with every pitch. That is what I'm talking about for the hitters of the 20's.

    I once started a thread about the 20, trying to talk about what we're discussing now. Here is the link.---The 1920's: A Sport in Transition

    If the league in the 20's had been able to transition along with Babe Ruth, his historic OPS+ figure would have been much closer to earth. Babe Ruth was not Superman. He was a pioneer. He showed the others what was possible with an open mind.

    Of course, as Chris mentioned above, the league's pitchers did not have the tools to cope with Babe Ruth. They did not have the breaking balls to remedy the power game. That would evolve later.

    Babe would have been held vulnerable by the knuckle-ball. To have a ball float up their, with no stable flight-path, fluttering like a butterfly, wobbling like a whiffle-ball, makes centering the ball on the sweet spot virtually impossible. It was remedies like that that the AL in the 20's lacked. Does anyone know what Mickey Mantle hit against Hoyt Wilhelm? I think that might prove my point.
    Great post. but in fact it was not until williams that a player managed to combine both styles I think. Williams pointed out that he would use the power approach of the babe(who used it on any swing) on "hitters counts and and early in the count(were he would sit on his pitch) and would go to the opposite field inside out swing of cobb with two strikes(I think cobb even told him about that or at least inspired him).

    basically williams was the ultimate hitter who would bring the two together which is really rare. Still of course the babe was the better hitter even tough not as complete as ted because ted was not as talented physically as the babe and maybe not as cobb either(didn't have his speed and ability to go the other way).

    from the science of hitting on the williams shift:
    "Ty Cobb wrote me a two-page letter, outlining how he would do it. We met at Yankee Stadium
    during the 1947 World Series, and he took me around behind a telephone booth and we talked.
    He said, “Oh, boy, Ted, if they had ever pulled that stuff on me, that drastic shift . . . ,” and his
    mouth was watering, seeing in his mind’s eye the immortal Ty Cobb lashing the ball into that
    open range in left field."
    Last edited by dominik; 09-12-2010, 12:16 PM.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by dominik View Post
      Great post. but in fact it was not until Williams that a player managed to combine both styles I think.
      Only partially true, in my supremely-humble opinion, Joe. There were a very small number of hitters in Babe's time, who were able to combine great power/high BA in their peak seasons. But not a lot.
      And the difference between them and Ruth was that Babe was able to do it for an entire career, while the rest of them could do it only in their best, peak seasons. That was the greatness of Ruth. He did for a career, what other could only do during their peak years.

      But that's not to say that they were as good a hitter as the Babe. Just that they were in his class in their peak years, but Babe was the leading hitter in that exalted hitting class because of his consistency over 15 consecutive years.

      I once made a chart of great hitting seasons. I will edit that chart to show the Babe Ruth-class hitting seasons of other hitters in his time.

      This chart is by no means complete, as I limited myself to about 1 season for most of the others, while I put in several by the Babe. I could have easily added some more seasons by Gehrig, Foxx, Wilson and Simmons. But I think my point is made. The league had caught up with the Babe by 1930, even though the league wasn't producing an individual whose record was even nearly as good as the Babe's was.

      Babe's record was much better due to his getting a big head start, 1918-24, before his peers started to copy the grooved power-swing. It took the league a transition period before his rivals started to get the knack and gain some traction.

      That is NOT to say that anyone was as good a hitter. My point is that once the others started getting the hang of including the 'grooved power-swing' in their normal routines', the league's best hitters started to churn out Babe Ruth-class hitting seasons with regularity. Each contributed several elite-class seasons. But only Babe Ruth put so many elite seasons together, to comprise an entire career. That is why we refer to him as the One and only. I hope my point is clear.

      I hope that Joe doesn't correct me by stating that only Ruth put together an entire career of elite seasons while the others only had several seasons at that elite level!

      Ruth's great contribution to the game was the 'grooved power-swing', a cutting-edge new tool. It permanently changed the way the game was played. That and his transcendent fame, which extended to most of the English-speaking world, and even Japan.

      Some of the Greatest Hitting Seasons Ever: Listed according to OPS+.
      Seasons pre-1920 are high-lighted in red, for convenience.
      Code:
      ----------------Rel.SLG-Rel.OBP--Rel.BA.-OPS+-INK--PCA-----WS--TPR
      Ruth, 1920-------2.18----1.52-----1.32---256---16--28.83---51--10.0
      Ruth,1921--------2.07----1.43-----1.29---239---16--24.79---53---9.8
      Ruth, 1923-------1.96----1.55-----1.39---239---16--22.2----55--11.2
      Gehrig,1927------1.91----1.34-----1.30---221---07--17.17---44---9.1
      Ruth, 1924-------1.86----1.43-----1.30---220---16--20.8----45---8.5
      Hornsby,1922-----1.78----1.31-----1.37---207---23--20.37---42---9.2
      Foxx,1932--------1.85----1.35-----1.31---205---14--18.54---40---7.2
      Sisler,1920------1.63----1.29-----1.43---181---08--15.40---33---7.6
      Hack Wilson,1930-1.61----1.27-----1.17---178---13--15.81---35---4.9
      Simmons,1930-----1.68----1.20-----1.32---176---07--12.94---36---4.5
      Greenberg, 1937--1.60----1.29-----1.19---172---04--12.38---33---5.5
      Babe Herman,1930-1.51----1.26-----1.29---170---00--16.26---32---3.5
      Sisler, 1922-----1.49----1.34-----1.47---170---13--14.08---29---5.2
      DiMaggio,1937----1.62----1.16-----1.23---168---07--12.78---39---5.9
      Ott, 1929--------1.49----1.25-----1.11---165---02--13.15---31---5.2
      *WS=Win Shares
      *TPR=Total Baseball's stat, Total Player Rating
      *PCA=Matt Souder's stat system=Pythagorean Comparative Analysis
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-12-2010, 02:52 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
        Buck Freeman was recognized as a slugger and he wasn't considered a great player, very early in the deadball era.

        Sam Crawford is commonly called a slugger whose triples and inside-the-park homeruns would have been over-the-fence homeruns later. By the time he played alongside Cobb everyone recognized that he was a great player.

        Gavy Cravath is commonly credited or charged with tailoring his swing in order to hit homeruns, as a righty batter in Minneapolis and Philadelphia ballparks with short rightfield fences.

        Zack Wheat told someone that he had slugged all his life (tried to hit the ball as hard as he could?). Maybe he didn't uppercut.

        ...
        Crawford, Cravath, Wheat, and Joe Jackson all did their share of sacrifice hitting. Freeman, not so much. Babe Ruth really stands out here, from 1918 when he started to play a lot of outfield, after a normal 13 sacrifices in 400 PA while exclusively a pitcher, 1915-17.
        This is a great list of the outliers and mavericks; that's why they're explicitly mentioned as guys who might have employed a *somewhat* Ruthian approach.

        Ed Delahanty is another.

        Comment


        • In 1917, the last prewar season with a 154-game schedule, the Yankees led the AL in team homers with 27 and Detroit followed with 25. Wally Pipp was the individual leader with 9.

          By 1920, every team in the league except the Red Sox hit at least thirty. Three players hit nine home runs and eleven were in double figures.

          Tilly Walker was on the leader boards for home runs consistently from the mid teens to the early twenties, in fact seven times between 1914 and 1922. From 1914 to 1917, though, he averaged four home runs a season. From 1918 to 1920 he averaged almost 13, and then he hit 23 in 1921 and 37 in 1922. Yet he wasn't really significantly higher on the board when he was averaging 30 home runs a year than he had been when he was averaging four.

          It only makes sense to suppose that it took the league as a whole to catch on to what Ruth was doing, but there's something going on here that was broader than any one man and started a lot earlier than 1925.d
          “Money, money, money; that is the article I am looking after now more than anything else. It is the only thing that will shape my course (‘religion is nowhere’).” - Ross Barnes

          Comment


          • This is a memorable illustration because Walker's ranks in league by homeruns and by "AB per HR" were so steady while his raw numbers improved. Indeed, 1919 to 1922 he ranked third by AB per HR each year while that measure declined 45-34-24-15. In 1914 he had been fourth at 86 AB per HR.
            : Tilly Walker at baseball-reference

            Statistically this is a cheap shot because the numbers are so small, especially given that Ruth was far in the lead. For four years precisely one other qualifying batter ranked slightly ahead of Walker: Elmer Smith, George Sisler, Ken Williams, Ken Williams (no longer very far behind Ruth in the last season). That must be a coincidence; I feel sure that the longterm comparison between 1914-15 and 1921-22 is no coincidence, however.
            Last edited by Paul Wendt; 09-13-2010, 09:20 AM.

            Comment


            • I started this discussion because Strawberry posted on this on another thread.
              Originally posted by StrawberryField
              Babe Ruth is greater than Ty Cobb hands down. Babe Ruth rendered Ty Cobbs deadball era game obsolete. Leading the league in batting avg, stolen bases, triples, and placing highly in doubles and not hitting the longball is a formula for losing baseball. Just look at the 2009 Mets.
              So, I assumed we might discuss Cobb/Ruth in a friendly way. So, why have you guys turned this into another tedious Babe Ruth Thread??? So boring. So tedious.

              And as per usual, addicted to how many homers he hit: vs. the league, vs. Cobb, vs. the future, vs. anything possible.

              I posted fantastic couter-arguments, and no one can respond. No one can debate. No one can refute. Just Babe. Only Babe. Blah, blah, blah.

              But just to show you I haven't given up on your ability to refute my posts, I will repost them and invite the house to debate, if you can.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-13-2010, 10:09 AM.

              Comment


              • Did Babe Ruth post better hitting stats than Ty Cobb did. Shucks, it's not even close. Does that prove he was the better hitter? Maybe he was, but the Ty/Babe hitting case is anything but clear-cut.
                But a birdy tells me that maybe several of you might have a tough time accepting that. So, for the umpteenth time, I will unwind the Pro-Cobb side of the argument, and then you can tell me how wrong I am. Or how stubborn.

                First, I will itemize some of the advantages that Babe had over Ty.

                1. Lively Ball: In 1919, Babe was 24, and just entering his most productive phase. He was being gifted, unintentionally, with a more tightly-wound ball-core, which made his particular hitting style MUCH more effective.
                When Ty was 24, in 1911, he was also gifted, with a ball that had a cork-center. So, he too improved greatly. But the ball Babe got was significantly more lively than the one Ty got to swing at.

                2. Outlawed Trick Pitches: During the winter meetings, 1919-20, the baseball execs voted to outlaw all the things the pitchers had been allowed to get away with. Scuffing, freezing, defacing, rubbing in mud/dirt, etc. So, all the 1920-onward hitters didn't have to deal with balls that came fluttering up to the plate like knuckle-balls. In 1920, Ruth was 25, and Cobb was 33. Just enough of a difference to let Ruth whale on the ball and Cobb to start to fade.

                Continuing with item #2, the new livelier ball helped Ruth and it helped Cobb too, but not in the same way. It boosted Ty's BA, but since he wasn't ever going for distance, it didn't boost his HR production. But his balls were going faster through the infield, so fielders had a harder time catching up with his grounders. But Babe also got that boost, in both his distances and his hard grounders. His pop-ups also traveled further.

                3. Fresh Balls in Play: In late 1920, a pitch by Carl Mays hit and killed Cleveland SS Ray Chapman. In response to this unfortunate incident, the league structure issued a rule that required the umpires to throw out any balls that hit the dirt or got any kind of discoloration on it. They have continued that stupid rule to this day.

                Prior to that incident, foul balls were retrieved by park ushers, as were home run balls. Games were normally played with 4-5 balls. Research has shown that every time a ball is crushed, it loses some resiliency. That was the real reason the league execs made that rule. They were doing all in their power to encourage hitting. The fans were swooning, the attendance was booming, so they were doing what they could to please the fans.

                This rule helped Ruth more than it helped Cobb. Fresh balls traveled faster/further and helped power hitters more than slap hitters/bunters. In fact, it hurt bunters. Made it easier to throw them out.

                4. Foul Lines: Babe's RF foul-line for 1920-22, was the Polo Grounds, and was only 252 feet. So, all Babe's pop-ups down the RF line were called homers, not easy fly outs. Babe's, 1923-34 RF foul-line was Yankee Stadium. and was 296 feet. Same logic applies.
                Cobb's RF foul-line, 1912-26 was Navin Field, and was 370 feet. So, pop-ups that would have been called homers in NYC, were called loud outs in Detroit.

                5. Better Ball Park: Babe got to play his Yankee years in the 2 ballparks that were able to hold the most fans in the game. With more fans watching you, cheering you on, rooting hard for you, that is helpful in bringing out your best efforts. The Polo Grounds, when Babe played his home game there held 55,000 fans and Yankee Stadium was able to cram in 80,000 occasionally. That is a lot of people watching you. Made you feel like you were in the World Series or Olympics.

                Actually, Cobb got to benefit from that when his Tigers arrived in the Big Apple in the 20's. His team was always highly anticipated by the New York fans, and they fought the better team to a draw over and over.

                But at home, Cobb's ballpark, Navin Field, was not to be compared to the NY super-structures. Detroit was a pretty little market, and Ty was probably playing his game, during his prime to maybe 10,000 fans while Ruth got probably twice that, and often 3 times that. Navin Field held 23,000. From 1905-11, Ty played in Bennett Park, which held 14,000 fans. They called it a bandbox.

                The Polo Grounds held 55,000 fans, and when Yankee Stadium opened, it held 58,000. But at one 1928 game, it actually held 82,000 fans!

                Another factor to be considered is that when Ty played in the 1920's, he was a manager from 1921-26. That one fact alone cannot help one's hitting. Distracting his attention from his own game, he was forced to focus on the team, even off the field. Whereas before, he could concentrate all his attention off the field to his own playing, he then had to think about 24 other players and try to assist them.

                That kind of responsibility cannot assist your own game or stats. It can only distract.

                And also, when the lively ball came in in 1919, it did buoy the fading stats of the Old Guard. Cobb, Speaker, Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, Zack Wheat, Edd Roush. I don't deny that.

                But, by the same token, when the Babe started his own fade-out, they juiced the ball again, 1929-30, Lively Ball Phase 2. That move by the league execs served to buoy Babe's stats from fading, just like it did all the other hitters of the day; Gehrig, Foxx, Hack Wilson, Simmons, Klein, B. Terry, O'Doul, Babe Herman, Lindstrom, Cochrane, etc. And it helped the sluggers more than it did the BA hitters.

                So, from the above, I hope that it is clear that Babe Ruth enjoyed some advantages over Ty Cobb in producing their hitting stats.

                Imagine if in 1907, Cobb had suddenly got his balls juiced to the 1919 levels, didn't have to deal with doctored flutterballs, got fresh balls kept in play, got traded to New York and got to perform his stuff in a huge Yankee Stadium, in front of 50,000 fans instead of his usual 10,000.

                And then give him a 250 foot RF foul-line to call his pop-ups down the RF line 'home runs'.

                Does anyone doubt those conditions would have maximized his hitting stats?

                Conditions, conditions, conditions. Anyone in favor of a level playing field? When comparing stats, make sure you're not comparing apples and oranges.

                OK. There it is. Now you can all call me wrong, stubborn, or worse.

                Comment


                • Imagine if in 1907, Cobb had suddenly got his balls juiced to the 1919 levels, didn't have to deal with doctored flutterballs, got fresh balls kept in play, got traded to New York and got to perform his stuff in a huge Yankee Stadium, in front of 50,000 fans instead of his usual 10,000. And then give him a 250 foot RF foul-line and call his pop-ups down the RF line 'home runs'.

                  Now put Babe in 1900-1920, with the deadest ball ever, with a 370 foot RF foul-line, without fresh balls in play, swinging at doctored flutter-balls that took weird dips, playing before only about 10,000 fans per game?

                  Further, give Ruth Cobb's teammates, and give Cobb Ruth's teammates. How many World Series would each get to then?

                  NOW, how would their respective hitting stats look? Level playing field, anyone?
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-13-2010, 10:18 AM.

                  Comment


                  • Another thought. What if in 1929, after Miller Huggins' death, Yankees' GM Ed Barrow had forgiven Babe and appointed him Yankee manager. Would Babe's decline phase have been as gracefully productive, given he had to manage? Would that added distraction have affected his stats? You tell me.
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-13-2010, 01:09 PM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                      Another thought. What if in 1929, after Miller Huggins death, Yankees' GM Ed Barrow had forgiven Babe and appointed him Yankee manager. Would Babe's decline phase have been as gracefully productive, given he had to manage? Would that added distraction have affected his stats? You tell me.
                      Perehaps yes. But I never understood the argument that Ruth was owed or deserved the Yankees managerial job? He spent a good part of his career thumbing his nose at Yankee management.
                      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
                        Perehaps yes. But I never understood the argument that Ruth was owed or deserved the Yankees managerial job? He spent a good part of his career thumbing his nose at Yankee management.
                        Isn't that kinda why he never got the job, there or anywhere?

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Beady View Post
                          In 1917, the last prewar season with a 154-game schedule, the Yankees led the AL in team homers with 27 and Detroit followed with 25. Wally Pipp was the individual leader with 9.

                          By 1920, every team in the league except the Red Sox hit at least thirty. Three players hit nine home runs and eleven were in double figures.

                          Tilly Walker was on the leader boards for home runs consistently from the mid teens to the early twenties, in fact seven times between 1914 and 1922. From 1914 to 1917, though, he averaged four home runs a season. From 1918 to 1920 he averaged almost 13, and then he hit 23 in 1921 and 37 in 1922. Yet he wasn't really significantly higher on the board when he was averaging 30 home runs a year than he had been when he was averaging four.

                          It only makes sense to suppose that it took the league as a whole to catch on to what Ruth was doing, but there's something going on here that was broader than any one man and started a lot earlier than 1925.d
                          True, I think Babe's style accellerated the swinging for the fence approach but for sure baseball was already leaning in that direction, even in the late 1910"s

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
                            Isn't that kinda why he never got the job, there or anywhere?
                            Sure. But lots of folks lament that Ruth never got to manage in the majors. Well, that was Ruth's own fault for being a jerk to managment for years. That he expected the Yankees to come calling him to manage the teams seem to show Ruth didn't understand the reality of his postion within the Yankee organization.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
                              Isn't that kinda why he never got the job, there or anywhere?
                              Face it, we will never really know what the Yanks reasoning was. Even if in his early years he rubbed them the wrong way, why would other teams not give him a shot.

                              Other stories that pop up now and then.................some owners did not like Ruth because they saw him as the player who got the ball rolling for players getting some big bucks.

                              Another one, Landis and some owners frowned on Babe playing exhibition games against black players.
                              When Ruth spoke it was always news, even small talk found it's way into the newspapers.
                              But not this time...........1933 interview, I do have a copy of this one, Babe praising black players, telling how "their sparkling brilliancy" could increase attendance.
                              That article appeared in only one newpaper, a black one, The Pittsburgh Courier>
                              Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 09-13-2010, 01:04 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                                Another thought. What if in 1929, after Miller Huggins death, Yankees' GM Ed Barrow had forgiven Babe and appointed him Yankee manager. Would Babe's decline phase have been as gracefully productive, given he had to manage? Would that added distraction have affected his stats? You tell me.
                                Sure it would Bill, but whats the point. That would only be factored in in evaluating him, more would be concentrated on his years before taking on a dual role.

                                Comment

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