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=Bonds, McGwire & Ruth's HR feats put into perspective=

=Bonds, McGwire & Ruth's HR feats put into perspective=

 
Old 10-05-01, 07:16 PM
  #26  
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Originally posted by classicman2
Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire are consistently hitting against pitchers who would have been lucky to be in "A" baseball in the 1950s.
Too, I seriously wonder today's so-called sluggers could've stood so confident and zoned-in against the practically nonexistant hitter protection that existed in bygone days.

Frank Chance, 1B/skippper of the Chicago Cubs at the turn of the last century, was once hit by a pitch 5 times in a doubleheader, 3 of those in the head. He did not wear a batting helmet. He did not wear body armor of any kind. He did not exit the game--and neither were the pitchers who perpetrated it asked to leave. I have told this story before, but I think it helps to point up the often aggressively-lethal conditions which the hitters of yore were forced to perform in.

Last edited by Sykes; 10-05-01 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:20 PM
  #27  
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Originally posted by uberjoe


According to the details of that article, then, there is no way that Ruth could ever have hit a homerun out to centerfield. And I doubt that is the case.
The physicists can only figure so much, true (there is cast-iron evidence that 500+ ft. HR have been hit, by Ruth and others). The point of directing you to the article was to emphasize the fact that these current home-run distance measuring programs are often, unfortunately, leavened with a lot of imagination and contradictory physics. Even the founders of these programs urge folks to take these figures with a grain of salt.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:28 PM
  #28  
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Originally posted by Sykes

Frank Chance, 1B/skippper of the Chicago Cubs at the turn of the last century, was once hit by a pitch 5 times in a doubleheader, 3 of those in the head. He did not exit the game--and neither were the pitchers who perpetrated it asked to leave. I have told this story before, but I think it helps to point up the often aggressively-lethal conditions which the hitters of yore were forced to perform in.
The most times Frank Chance was ever hit by a pitch in a season was 17 times. If that doubleheader occured in that year, you're saying that almost 1/3 of his HBPs were in 2 games?

Over Chance's 17 year career, he was hit 137 times. Thats less than 10 times per year. 17 was the most. The league leader this year (Biggio) has been hit 26 times so far. Thats almost 3 times Chance's average over his career.

The older they get, the greater the stories get. I'm guessing that in 100 years, the Johnson vs McGwire homerun will be up to around 600 feet. Doesn't necessarily make them true. Oh and by the way, I'd rather be hit by the average pitcher in 1898-1914 than the average pitcher in 2001.

Last edited by Jeremy517; 10-05-01 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:36 PM
  #29  
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Originally posted by juiio

, I'd rather be hit by the average pitcher in 1898-1914 than the average pitcher in 2001.
Why?

You're not saying that pitchers throw harder now they they use to, are you? Be careful now.

BTW: It may be an old story, but it's true. Once players didn't wear batting helmets. Once, not too long ago, pitchers actually pitched on the inside part of the plates at times - and not just hard throwers. Once upon a time, not too long ago, they didn't have the silly rule where the umpire warned pitchers if the "get a little too close" to the hitters with their pitches.

Last edited by classicman2; 10-05-01 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:42 PM
  #30  
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Originally posted by classicman2


Why?

You're not saying that pitchers throw harder now they they use to, are you? Be careful now.
Of course I meant that today's pitchers are more likely to hit you in the head with their poor control
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Old 10-05-01, 07:46 PM
  #31  
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Originally posted by juiio
The most times Frank Chance was ever hit by a pitch in a season was 17 times. If that doubleheader occured in that year, you're saying that almost 1/3 of his HBPs were in 2 games?
Yes, just as Tony Cloninger hit 60% of his 1966 season total of home runs in one game.
Over Chance's 17 year career, he was hit 137 times. Thats less than 10 times per year. 17 was the most. The league leader this year (Biggio) has been hit 26 times so far. Thats almost 3 times Chance's average over his career.
You're forgetting, though, that because of the absence of hitter protection in those days, the hitters were not able to plant both feet, crowd the plate, and lean into pitches. They couldn't do what Biggio does, sticking that armored elbow out to intercept pitches for cheap HPB's. Because their lives hung potentially on every pitch, they had to be very adroit at ducking and diving out of the way of wayward(?) balls.

Let's not forget that the only death that ever occured on a ballfield (1920) was when a notoriously headhunting pitcher--Carl Mays--nailed a batter--Ray Chapman--square in his unprotected temple with a screaming fastball. In 1892, the granddaddy of the flamethrowers, Amos Rusie, almost ended the life of Hughie Jennings, leaving him in a death-flirting coma for four days. Six years later, he did the same to a player named Artie Ball, who never played again. In 1911, the legendary Walter Johnson ended the career of fielding hot-shot Lee Tannehill by shattering his wrist beyond repair. The next season, another hapless victim named Jack Martin had his jaw shattered in five places, and lost seven teeth, by one of the Big Train's astray smokeballs. In 1915, he knocked Detroit's Oscar Vitt unconscious for 10 minutes--with his curveball! And bear in mind that neither pitcher was known as a headhunter.
I'd rather be hit by the average pitcher in 1898-1914 than the average pitcher in 2001.
Why?
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Old 10-05-01, 07:48 PM
  #32  
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Originally posted by classicman2
Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire are consistently hitting against pitchers who would have been lucky to be in "A" baseball in the 1950s.
First I agree that overall baseball was better before the 1960's then now, and that the best players were better then. But I cant agree with the above statement. There are way too many variables in play. Its true that there are more teams now, but the population pool of players is significantly more. (Considering America, Central & South America, and Asia). Also the advancement in communication technology has led to much greater advances in scouting, so better players are found and advanced through which may not have been always true in the past. I guess I just dont know a way to prove this point either way. I think a comparison between the mid 70's thru mid 80's to now is a fairer comparison.

As to the overall game today, I think that the average player today is better. Attributed to better conditioning, nutrition, and technology. But I think that the game itself was better and more "pure" back when.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:52 PM
  #33  
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Originally posted by classicman2

Once upon a time, not too long ago, they didn't have the silly rule where the umpire warned pitchers if the "get a little too close" to the hitters with their pitches.
I think we can ALL agree that this is getting way out of hand today.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:54 PM
  #34  
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Pack Bell was made for softball. That park is just barely bigger than a friggin little league park.
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Old 10-05-01, 07:59 PM
  #35  
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Originally posted by Sykes


Let's not forget that the only death that ever occured on a ballfield (1920) was when a notoriously headhunting pitcher--Carl Mays--nailed a batter--Ray Chapman--square in his unprotected temple with a screaming fastball. In 1892, the granddaddy of the flamethrowers, Amos Rusie, almost ended the life of Hughie Jennings, leaving him in a death-flirting coma for four days. Six years later, he did the same to a player named Artie Ball, who never played again. In 1911, the legendary Walter Johnson ended the career of fielding hot-shot Lee Tannehill by shattering his wrist beyond repair. The next season, another hapless victim named Jack Martin had his jaw shattered in five places, and lost seven teeth, by one of the Big Train's astray smokeballs. In 1915, he knocked Detroit's Oscar Vitt unconscious for 10 minutes--with his curveball! And bear in mind that neither pitcher was known as a headhunter.Why?
And? People still get hit by baseballs today. You can still have your life altered in .4 seconds. Go stand in the box and take a 100 MPH fastball off the back. Ask Griffey how he had his wrist broken twice by offspeed pitches. Your post doesn't actually prove anything other than baseballs hurt when they hit you.

People get hit much more often now than they did back then, even if you extrapolate it over 162 games. (Bad pitching, remember?) Some people may wear body armor, but not most people, and even if you took off the number of body armor hits, its still way more than back then. Back to 1927.... 12 HBP (in 140 games for this player) led the league. In 1911, EIGHT led the league. Eight in 158 games for Dick Hoblitzel.

Pitchers almost assuredly pitched inside more often back then, but saying people then had more reason to be afraid because of HBPs is just silly because its not true at all. But don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Last edited by Jeremy517; 10-05-01 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 10-05-01, 08:04 PM
  #36  
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Originally posted by uberjoe
I have another question for everyone out there: why do people make a big deal out of the number of homeruns in the new, smaller parks, but nobody points out that their old-time heroes got to hit singles, doubles, and triples in those gigantic outfields? There is no way anyone but the greatest of fielders could cover a decent amount of the outfield. So, maybe Ruth would have had more homers, but would he have hit in the .340s? And what about the fact that all the major batting average numbers were hit in the first half of the century, but dropped as power numbers went up?

Is there any one out there who thinks that Ruth's overall numbers might have gone down in smaller parks? There were a lot bigger gaps to hit 'em to back then.
Although I could go on as to a number of reasons why such would not be the case, allow me to point to just one of the equalizing ballpark factors that I failed to mention in my original post: the size of the foul-zones of yore.

Bonds, McGwire, and today's players encounter in no stadium backstop which is further than ~65 ft. back of home plate (Pac Bell's is a measly 47 ft.); and the nearest seats are often closer than 50 ft.

In Ruth's day, and earlier, few backstops were closer than ~80 ft. to home plate (Yankee Stadium's was 82 ft.); and there were 90, 98, 110, and 120 ft. backstops around the league; and the closest seats down the lines were very often up to 90+ feet away. Experts have speculated that Oakland Coliseum's cavernous foul zones shave anywhere from 5-7 points off of home batting averages. How many fewer, then, when this was the more or less the rule and not the exception?

By contrast, how many extra chances are Bonds and McGwire getting at making hits and homers in today's super-cozy ballparks?
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Old 10-05-01, 08:11 PM
  #37  
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I don't think that extra foul space comes even close to compensating for an extra 100 feet to the wall in the outfield. Not by distance, and not by total area.
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Old 10-05-01, 08:22 PM
  #38  
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Originally posted by juiio


And? People still get hit by baseballs today. You can still have your life altered in .4 seconds. Go stand in the box and take a 100 MPH fastball off the back. Ask Griffey how he had his wrist broken twice by offspeed pitches. Your post doesn't actually prove anything other than baseballs hurt when they hit you.

People get hit much more often now than they did back then, even if you extrapolate it over 162 games. (Bad pitching, remember?) Some people may wear body armor, but not most people, and even if you took off the number of body armor hits, its still way more than back then. Back to 1927.... 12 HBP (in 140 games for this player) led the league. In 1911, EIGHT led the league. Eight in 158 games for Dick Hoblitzel.

Pitchers almost assuredly pitched inside more often back then, but saying people then had more reason to be afraid because of HBPs is just silly because its not true at all. But don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.
You're missing my point. Which is that, unlike today, where often-accidental far inside pitches are frequently met with a stern, hasty warning, banishment, fine, and/or suspension from league officials, headhunting action was freely CONDONED by the establishment in the old days.

You ever seen the movie Field of Dreams? Where the ingenuous Archie Graham solicits a warning from the umpire for flagrant beanballs by the Sox's Eddie Cicotte. The ump glances out toward the mound. "Sure," he spits back to the precocious youngster, "watch out you don't get killed." This sums up perfectly the prevailing ambivalence to the batter's health in those days.

If you were seen digging in, you hit the dirt. If you dove across the plate at an outside pitch, you hit the dirt. If you took too big a swing on a 3-0 count, you hit the dirt. Often, pitchers didn't need these excuses to singe the whiskers off the batter's chin. (Incidentally, one fact that is never mentioned about Ruth's so-called "Called Shot" home run--which wasn't called, by the way--was the fact that in Ruth's next at-bat, he received such a blazer off his right forearm that it swelled up so bad that he had to leave the game, and couldn't sign autographs for the next couple of days.)

Better yet, go stand in against flamethrowers none too concerned with your well-being without batting helmet, without body armor, without arbiter protection, and I'll show you someone who dives out of that batter's box mighty quick.
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Old 10-05-01, 08:25 PM
  #39  
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Originally posted by uberjoe
I don't think that extra foul space comes even close to compensating for an extra 100 feet to the wall in the outfield. Not by distance, and not by total area.
A deader ball, a strikezone nearly twice the size, headhunting plate conditions, and ballhawking outfielders help a little, too.
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Old 10-05-01, 10:19 PM
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71...time to bump this thread.
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Old 10-05-01, 11:31 PM
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Hitters in Ruth's era didnt have to contend with the multitude of relief pitchers that hitters face today. If a pitcher started a game he finished it. It didnt matter if he was getting shelved. Not to mention the 3 day rotations as opposed to five. Hitters had a better opportunity to take advantage of a struggling and tired pitcher to pad their stats than they do today. In todays game a hitter could easily face 4 or more pitchers in one game.
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Old 10-05-01, 11:41 PM
  #42  
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Originally posted by Thrush
Hitters in Ruth's era didnt have to contend with the multitude of relief pitchers that hitters face today. If a pitcher started a game he finished it. It didnt matter if he was getting shelved. Not to mention the 3 day rotations as opposed to five. Hitters had a better opportunity to take advantage of a struggling and tired pitcher to pad their stats than they do today. In todays game a hitter could easily face 4 or more pitchers in one game.
While an immensely popular bit of baseball "buzz logic", the "relief pitcher myth" doesn't bear close scrutiny.

I suggest you consult the article "Relief Pitching Strategy, 1952-1992", by Bill Ferber, reprinted in the 4th edition of Total Baseball, 1995.


Click for larger image.

Yankee Stadium I (1923-1936) --- Busch Stadium (current) --- Pacific Bell Park (current)

1927 American League avg.*............................1998 National League avg.*
339 LF, 406 LC, 459 C, 385 RC, 328 RF............................332 LF, 373 LC, 404 C, 374 RC, 332 RF

* - Based upon nearest possible estimate.

Last edited by Sykes; 10-05-01 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 10-06-01, 07:29 AM
  #43  
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Originally posted by Thrush
Hitters in Ruth's era didnt have to contend with the multitude of relief pitchers that hitters face today. If a pitcher started a game he finished it. It didnt matter if he was getting shelved. Not to mention the 3 day rotations as opposed to five. Hitters had a better opportunity to take advantage of a struggling and tired pitcher to pad their stats than they do today. In todays game a hitter could easily face 4 or more pitchers in one game.
In a 4 games series, hitters in Ruth's era had to face 3 or even 4quality major league starters.

Hitters in Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire era, in a 4 game series, will be unfortunate if they even have to even 2 quality major league starters.

No one can seriously argue that pitching has not been diluted over the last number of years.

Many, many starting pitchers in the major leagues now would be in the minor leagues in past eras.
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Old 10-06-01, 08:00 PM
  #44  
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Originally posted by Sykes
While an immensely popular bit of baseball "buzz logic", the "relief pitcher myth" doesn't bear close scrutiny.

I suggest you consult the article "Relief Pitching Strategy, 1952-1992", by Bill Ferber, reprinted in the 4th edition of Total Baseball, 1995.
Taken from this article : http://msnbc.com/news/197855.asp


"itís not just Ruth who continues to live larger in myth than he would if he were alive and playing today. Cy Young would be lucky to win 300 games in todayís game. Ty Cobb would have a real hard time hitting .350, let alone .400. And Hack Wilson, he of the 56 home runs and 190 RBIs in 1930? Heís in rehab somewhere, entertaining his fellow addicts with stories about the great season when he hit 45 homers and knocked in 120. And if Wilson had played in the late 1960s, when the ball was dead and the strike zone bigger than Oklahoma, he would have been delighted to have 100 RBIs.
Turn it around and put todayís stars in uniform 70 years ago, and itís the same. Ken Griffey Jr. turns into Joe DiMaggio, only better. Tony Gwynn hits .400 three straight seasons and bats .370 for his career. And McGwire? Heck, he doesnít strain to get to 60 home runs. He peaks at 80 dingers, maybe 90.
Baseball does itself a huge disservice when it continues to allow people to believe that the old days were better. Fans of every other sport get to think that the people they are watching are the best. Sprinters and marathoners are the fastest ever. Basketball players jump higher and pass more spectacularly than ever. Football quarterbacks, receivers and running backs continually rewrite the record books, eclipsing such greats as Sammy Baugh and Jim Brown.
But baseball and its fans continue dumbly on, talking about how great the old guys were while they remain blind to the greatest players ever right in front of them.
Even given that it is impossible to compare athletes across generations, there are sound reasons for saying that. The most obvious is that the players who put up the legendary numbers in the í20s and í30s did not have to play against anyone who wasnít white. Blacks were banned, and no one had thought to rummage around Latin America for players. No record set without the likes of Satchel Paige on the mound and Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson in the field is a real record.
Another is that the years when the biggest numbers went up were also the years when the ball had more energy than a 4-year-old on a sugar high. Drag out your Baseball Encyclopedia and check out the numbers for 1930, Wilsonís big year and the last year a National Leaguer ó Bill Terry ó hit .400.
The entire league hit .303 that season, which meant that a .295 hitter was below average. Only two pitchers ó Lefty Grove and Dazzy Vance ó in all of baseball had ERAs under 3.00, so donít talk about how lousy todayís pitchers are.
And hitters in 1930 did not have to contend with big, symmetrical ballparks like Royals Stadium. Grass was longer and outfielders slower, so more line drives and flies fell in for hits. Infields were less uniform, so there were more bad-bounce hits. Relief pitching hadnít been invented, so there were more tired starters trying to finish ballgames. Batters didnít have to deal with split-fingered fastballs and sliders. Parks had alleys and short foul lines (less than 260 feet at the Polo Grounds), and big empty places in the outfield and little foul territory, and every one of those features added hits and offense to the game, just as the new breed of retro ballparks is doing today.
The only thing the big numbers of yesteryear proves is that Ruth and his contemporaries put up bigger numbers. In no way does it even suggest they could do the same today. The history of every other sport and the evolution of the athlete demands that they do not.
Remember, when Ruth came on the scene, pitchers didnít worry about home runs at all. Many of them tried to get batters to hit fly balls, because it was usually an easy out. And for years, only Ruth was a great threat to hit the long ball. So pitchers had to relearn their craft."
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Old 10-06-01, 08:07 PM
  #45  
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The most hilarious article I have read yet!
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Old 10-06-01, 08:13 PM
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how many games were played in Ruth's time versus today?
how many players today take steroids versus in Ruth's time?
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Old 10-06-01, 08:44 PM
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Don't forget the mound used to be higher. They lowered it after the 1968 season.
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Old 10-07-01, 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by mikehunt
how many games were played in Ruth's time versus today?
Uh, 162 per season same as today. I dont see your point.

how many players today take steroids versus in Ruth's time?
Well, anabolic steroids werent around then and neither was drug testing. So conceivably they could abuse whatever drugs they had available to them (amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, opium etc..).
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Old 10-07-01, 12:43 AM
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if they played more games now it wouldn't be as big of a deal to break the old records, but since it's the same it doesn't matter


Originally posted by Thrush


Uh, 162 per season same as today. I dont see your point.



Well, anabolic steroids werent around then and neither was drug testing. So conceivably they could abuse whatever drugs they had available to them (amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, opium etc..).
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Old 10-07-01, 12:43 AM
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Originally posted by Thrush


Uh, 162 per season same as today. I dont see your point.
Nope. Ruth played 154.
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