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

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

 
Old 10-07-01, 12:45 AM
  #51  
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Originally posted by Sykes
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.
Whether someone is throwing at you or not, you're 2-3 times more likely to be HBP today. Getting hit is getting hit. The numbers just don't support this theory of yours. You can find much better things than HBP to make your point.
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Old 10-07-01, 03:41 AM
  #52  
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Originally posted by uberjoe


Nope. Ruth played 154.

Nope. The question Wasn't how many games Ruth played in, it was how many games were played in Ruth's TIME. The season was and still is 162 games.
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Old 10-07-01, 04:16 AM
  #53  
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Originally posted by Thrush



Nope. The question Wasn't how many games Ruth played in, it was how many games were played in Ruth's TIME. The season was and still is 162 games.
Actually the season hasn't always been 162 games. In 1927, for example, it was 154 games plus 4 for the world series.
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Old 10-07-01, 08:34 AM
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Babe Ruth was an avid beer drinker and partier. Nowadays if he played he'd most likely take supliments. He also played less games.

Bonds and McGwire... The players of today are better athletes.

We should let this to rest. Wait till you get to heaven. I'm sure these guys will be playing ball up there. Who knows it may not be Ruth, Gehrig, Maris, McGwire, Sosa or Bonds with the all time HR in a season in da skies it could be someone totally different.
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Old 10-07-01, 08:40 AM
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Originally posted by juiio


Whether someone is throwing at you or not, you're 2-3 times more likely to be HBP today. Getting hit is getting hit. The numbers just don't support this theory of yours. You can find much better things than HBP to make your point.
Knockdowns don't count, huh?

Today a knockdown pitch is virtually non-existent. It brings an automatic warning or ejection.

I hope its not your argument that the idiotic rule that applies today, applied in 1920s.
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Old 10-07-01, 09:45 AM
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Originally posted by Thrush



Nope. The question Wasn't how many games Ruth played in, it was how many games were played in Ruth's TIME. The season was and still is 162 games.
Nope, the season was 154 games until 1961 when they added two teams, and expanded the season to 162 games to accomadate them. Hence the whole asterisk debate about Roger Maris' record.
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Old 10-07-01, 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by Thrush
"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.
First of all, consider the source here. This is a columnist for MSNBC--which automatically qualifies him as an expert on baseball?

It is obvious before one gets very far into this arrogant, one-note article that only resource he has at his disposal is an uneducated public all too willing to accept hyperbole and misinformation as gospel; especially when it is coupled with our peculiar, ego-feeding, latter-day superiority complex.
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.
I've got news for this fellow, but the strikezone in 1930 was no smaller than it was in the late '60s--from the bottom of the knee to the top of the shoulders. The difference was that the hitters of the '30s weren't so one-dimensional that they required a league-office-mandated reduction of the strikezone and a lowered mound to have a chance at the plate.
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.
Hmm, interesting, considering the ball was deader, the strikezone was 1/3 of the size larger, talent was concentrated into 47% less teams, pitchers had a free hand to bounce all the speedballs off a hitter's unprotected anatomies they wanted, and that the ballparks were significantly bigger 70 years ago.
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.
Mankind does itself a disservice by puffing itself up with dreams about intrinsic superiority (which is a lesson we should have learned from Hitler), rashly dismissing the achievements of those who came before us because we cannot detach ourselves from the naive delusion that everything gets better. Preconceived ideas as to our own superiority condemn ourselves to repeating the mistakes of the past rather than learning from them. I say we get off our complacent high horse, and learn to challenge some of the propaganda the boob tube and self-important celebrities spout to us unwashed masses. We need to bear in mind that a majority opinion does not necessarily equate to a truth.

FWIW, the reason that the fact that athletes in other sports are generally superior than their antecedants does not necessarily apply to baseball is because the athletic training methods and technological aids which have been developed in our time, while well devised for most other athletic pursuits, are ill-designed for baseball kinetics.

This is really a subject not nearly as convenient or black-and-white as many would like it to be, and far too complex and comprehensive to go into on a forum message board. Suffice it for me to single out one of the three most necessary kinetic actions for excelling at baseball: throwing.

Many talk of how advanced training methods have increased arm strength. But what about Nolan Ryan, arguably the hardest throwing pitcher of our time? He grew up on a farm, bereft of any advanced exercise equipment whatsoever, save for those which have existed for thousands of years: throwing and running. Even when he reached the major leagues, the only "high-tech" apparatus he introduced into his workout was a stationary bike--another calisthetic which has also either existed or been simulated for a very long time. Roger Clemens? Same story. How about all of the powerful throwing arms which come out of Latin American countries, where a baseball glove is considered a luxury?

The fact is, as Leo Mazzone has stressed to his Cy Young-winning pitchers for years, "There simply is no replacement for picking up a ball and throwing it." For all of our "technology", these scientists have failed to yet come up with any exercise which can effectively simulate, let alone improve upon, the tremendous elastic-muscle building workout which is simple throwing. In fact, it can easily be shown that today's popular weight-lifting programs are a decisive detriment to throwing prowess. Remember the rifle Sammy Sosa used to possess? Ken Caminiti? Mark McGwire? Juan Gonzalez? Chipper Jones? Jose Canseco? Gone, due to power-lifting-minded, improper training methods.

Our baseball forefathers, in fact, possessed infinitely stronger throwing wings than their average modern counterpart. Honus Wagner could throw the ball over 400 ft. in the air; so could Joe Jackson; and even miniscule, obscure players, like Al Nixon (5'7" 160 lbs.) or John Hatfield (5'9" 165 lbs.). Why? Because they were doing what Latin American kids do now, and what America's youth doesn't: get out there every day, and throw, throw, throw, throw, throw (just as they dedicate hours daily to swinging, hitting, pitching, catching, running, etc.--is it any wonder that they are by far the fastest growing demographic in MLB?)
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.
One could just as easily argue that no record which is set with a talent pool thinned out by over 47% cannot be considered legit. Blacks comprise 15% of the MLB racial demographic'; Latinos, 26%; and those from other regions, less than 1%. Obviously, this racial diversity has not compensated for the deficit caused by expansion.
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.
The ball used in 1930 was indeed the liveliest that had yet been introduced, but it was still a far cry from the nitro ball that is in use today. It is grudgingly confessed by golf equipment manufacturers that the introduction of computer technology has significantly added spring to the balls and clubs made today. This same technology was adopted by ML baseball manufacturers in 1990 (as well as bat manufacturers around that time). Coincidence that accusations of a juiced ball began to fly not too long after this?

Also, check out Robert K. Adair's dissertation on the "coefficient of restitution" in today's baseballs in his own Physics of Baseball (1990).
And hitters in 1930 did not have to contend with big, symmetrical ballparks like Royals Stadium... 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 absurdity of this argument has already been revealed by the first post of this thread. Average fence distances were considerably deeper in every direction (including foul territory), save for the rightfield line, where two balllparks (Polo Grounds--259; & Baker Bowl--280) significantly brought in the average. It wasn't until the mid-30's that outfield boundaries began to be appreciably shortened.
Grass was longer and outfielders slower, so more line drives and flies fell in for hits.
That outfielders were slower can also be easily debated, especially as strategical emphasis did not begin to decisively swing from defense to offense until it dawned on field bosses that HR-hitting wasn't just a fad that was going to go away (this took until well into the 30's). Outfielders were still expected to cover a lot of ground and be able to reach the plate with their throws; and could not earn their position on hitting alone, as hundreds do today.

Don't solely rely on the popular later image of Ruth, for instance, as a beer-bellied egg on stilts to stereotype ballhawks of yore. In fact, he set a 1923 putout record in rightfield that stood for several years.
Infields were less uniform, so there were more bad-bounce hits.
There also wasn't Astroturf, which frequently turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples.
Relief pitching hadnít been invented, so there were more tired starters trying to finish ballgames.
Further evidence of this guy's ignorance, relief pitching was in full swing by the 20's. The first full-time relievers were emerging in Ruth's day. Before and after this, the lion's share of fireman duties fell to starters who were not pitching that day, particularly the staff aces (as John Smoltz, and, formerly, Dennis Eckersley, do today). From 1912-13, in addition to his 629 innings as a starter, HOFer Walter Johnson also racked up 86 innings in relief, allowing a scant 3 earned runs (0.31 ERA). He closed out his 21-year career with 366 IP and 2.19 ERA in relief respectively. Other HOF hurlers, such as "Three Finger" Brown, Ed Walsh, and Lefty Grove, finished their careers with relief ERAs which were similar to or lower than their starting numbers (1.90, 1.88, 2.92). They were specially trained to be workhorses in that vanished way, so they could handle the load.
Batters didnít have to deal with split-fingered fastballs and sliders.
Today, they don't have to deal with spitballs or consistently flamethrowing pitchers, either; nor such a concentrated crop of qualilty pitching.
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.
As I have already demonstrated, you cannot judge baseball on the terms of every other sport, as it contains many physical and strategic aspects that are unique among the pastimes. An athlete superbly fit for track, football, or power-lifting does not necessarily translate to an athlete superbly fit for baseball (as players such as Herb Washington, Josh Booty, or Jose Canseco should have taught us).
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.
How is it that the vast majority of the infield putout records have been set in deadball eras? How is it that the lion's share of outfield putout records have been set in lively-ball eras?

While there is a grain of truth that many pitchers had to relearn their craft, the home run was but one fragment of it. The banning of doctored pitches, introduction of more fresh baseballs into games, minor crackdowns on beanballs, and--most of all--the lively-ball, played as much, and more, of a significant role.

Last edited by Sykes; 10-07-01 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 10-07-01, 02:52 PM
  #58  
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Originally posted by Thrush
Uh, 162 per season same as today. I dont see your point.
Sorry, pal, the 154 game season was employed by both leagues for 60 years (except for '18-'19, because of the war), until 1961, when expansion convinced the commissioner's office that eight more games needed henceforth to be tacked onto the schedule.
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..).
Would you call amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, or opium, "performance-enhancing drugs"? Neither would your local pharmacist.
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Old 10-07-01, 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by juiio
Whether someone is throwing at you or not, you're 2-3 times more likely to be HBP today. Getting hit is getting hit. The numbers just don't support this theory of yours. You can find much better things than HBP to make your point.
I can, and I have, used other things besides the lack of hitter protection to make my point. The reason I concentrate on it here is because I feel that it is a factor which has been much neglected; yet, cannot be overemphasised when comparing the conditions of different areas.

I am not arguing that the proliferation of body armor and batter protection directives have negated the fear factor at the plate. Far from it. However, I think it goes without saying that these security measures have lessened it to a significant degree. When was the last time you heard of a pitch-induced injury qualify as life-threatening? You ask a modern hitter to stand in the batters box without helmet, without body armor, and without the protection of heavy-handed umpires, and face Randy Johnson, lets see how confidently they plant themselves inches from the plate, and go diving across it for low and away pitches. There is a reason why Pedro Martinez is the most effective pitcher of our time, beyond his marvelous stuff and command.

Furthermore, one of the reasons that HBP totals are so skewed in favor of today's players is because Rule 6.08 B2 is no longer strictly enforced; to wit, "The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base...when...[h]e is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless...[he] makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball."

Rule enforcements ebb and flow, and this is one rule that is no longer enforced. How often do we see a batter take one in the thigh or armored-elbow without thought for dodging it, yet he is awarded first base? How often do we see the ump order a batter back to the plate for another at-bat? As but one example of these quasi-cyborgs whom have relished the laxity of this rule, Craig Biggio has made a living out of this. However, back when it flowed, umpires were anal about "hitter's intent." Examination of game accounts from the old days reveals how often 6.08 B2 was stringently enforced. (For instance, in the final game of the '28 season, "Goose" Goslin attempted to protect his hair-thin hold on the batting title by complacently taking a stray one off his hip. The ump forced him to bat again, as he made no attempt to evade the pitch. Fortunately for him, he singled.)

Finally, cold figures be damned, HBP totals don't necessarily begin to indicate how many brush-back and knock-down pitches a hurler can throw. Do you think Pedro Martinez's HBP figures give us an accurate portrait of the most "headhunting" pitcher of our time?

Last edited by Sykes; 10-07-01 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 10-07-01, 09:30 PM
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There's way too many factors involved to be able to determine how athletes in this case would fair in each others time.

Since this whole thread is so one sided against Bonds, I'll list off some examples in his favor (though you can go on with all kinds of examples either way, so many it's once again too hard to figure out):

Bonds is a much better athlete than Ruth, easily. Ruth was a fat lush. If he had taken better care of himself, he'd have done better. But he didn't. His fault.

As for pitchers, well, today, there's much more oppurtunities for good pitchers to be able to make it to the majors. Back in Ruth's day, there were a lot more factors to keep a good pitcher from making a career out of it. Thing like the Great Depression, worse general health, etc.

Perhaps one of the biggest: integration. Ruth only got to face a dilluted all white baseball populace. Imagine if guys like Satchell Page (or at least closer to him than a lot of white guys in talent) were able to picth in MLB back then.

On top of integration, there's a lot of international players these days. Guys from all of Latin America (which is well known for its high rate of quality pitchers), Asia, Australia, etc.

Despite what some here think, Pac Bell is a pitcher's park with fewer HR's than most other parks. Barry Bonds has more HR at Pac Bell than all visiting layers combined.

There are more pitch types these days than in Ruth's time (i.e. sliders, circle change, ect.)

Bonds actually hit more HR on the road than at home, another sign that his home park isn't hitter friendly.


Anway, I could go on, but like I said, there's just no effective way of comparing the two vs each others times. Fo rall of those reasons I gave people can (and have in this thread) come up with Ruth arguments. But it's impossible to know with any exactness (if at all) how each point would affect the quality of play for each player.

In the end, both Ruth and Bonds had incredible seasons. They're both some of the best players of their and all time.

As for the argument of the players these days aren't as good as they were back then: bull. That's just cynical sentimentalness. It reminds me of a quote I saw by Jeff Bagwell somewhere where he realted that Yogi Berra was complaining that the balls these days are juiced. So Jeff asks him "What the most HR's you ever hit in a year Yogi?" to which Yogi replies 40-something (I forget the exact number). Then Jeff says "A guy 5' high" gesturing to his chest with his hand "who hits 40 HR's is telling me the ball is juiced? It's just not fair. We're not allowed to be as a good of ball players today." The guys these days are better conditioned, have great technology available to them, etc. If anything, overall, players are better as a whole these days. Not much probably, just a little.
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Old 10-07-01, 11:23 PM
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A few points here:

I think it's a bit misleading to call Bonds a better athlete than Ruth.

Being a better athlete does not necessarily mean one is a better baseball player.

For example, Michael Jordan is clearly a great athlete, but during his brief stint with baseball, he was a horrible outfielder and a Class A hitter at best.

Consider guys like John Kruk, Cecil Fielder, even Tony Gwynn towards the end of his career. Being "heavy" doesn't necessarily affect hitting ability.

Most imporatantly, many people forget that Ruth was a very dominant PITCHER before he became too valuable a hitter not to play everyday.

Ruth = best player of all time.

Bonds = still not as good as the Say Hey Kid.
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Old 10-07-01, 11:31 PM
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OK, athlete vs pysical condition. I'd say he's in better condition than Ruth. And yes, Ruth is still the best baseball player of all time, easily. But Bonds is probably the second best all time now, ahead of Mays who is then third. This season has moved him past Mays. That's using the Total Baseball player rankings, which are very thorough. And Ruth will never be caught because the fact that he was a good pitcher puts him far ahead.

"Consider guys like John Kruk, Cecil Fielder, even Tony Gwynn towards the end of his career. Being "heavy" doesn't necessarily affect hitting ability."

Sure, a player can still be good while heavy. But the heavy certainly doesn't help. Kruk was around for about 15 minutes and Gwynn always was overrated as a hitter. It's too bad that his weight helped kill his knees, forcing him to retire.

Last edited by 1138; 10-08-01 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 10-08-01, 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by 1138
Bonds is a much better athlete than Ruth, easily. Ruth was a fat lush. If he had taken better care of himself, he'd have done better. But he didn't. His fault.
Ruth did not indeed take care of himself nearly as well as he should have. However, unsurprisingly, you are falling into the trap of accepting the easy stereotype that is promoted on TV and coffee-table books. By your same hasty logic, Kirby Puckett couldn't have been a great athlete, because he was a double cheeseburger on legs. Luis Gonzalez shouldn't have been able to hit 57 HRs, because he's skinny as a broomstick. Billy Wagner can't have great velocity, because he's a miniscule 5'8", 165 lbs.

Ruth was a great baseball athlete, as great as Bonds; better, in certain areas. He had more hitting power than any player before or since (he holds the fungo-hitting record at 447 ft.). He had a tremendously strong and deadly accurate throwing arm (remember, he used to be a fireballing pitcher). He had good running speed as a young player. His flawless instincts for the game made him an wide-ranging outfielder.

Tests done on him in 1921 left scientists to pronounce him "super-human." His coordination of eye, brain, nerve system, and muscle they found to be 90% compared to 60% for the average man. His eyes were 12% faster, ears 10% faster, and his nerves steadier than 499 out of 500 persons. His attention and quickness of perception were 1 1/2 times above average and his quickness and accuracy 10% above normal.

Would Ruth win any power-lifting, track, or marathon-running competitions with Bonds? No. But, as I have gone to great lengths to illustrate above, prowess in certain of these athletic pursuits do not necessarily translate to a superior baseball athlete.
As for pitchers, well, today, there's much more oppurtunities for good pitchers to be able to make it to the majors. Back in Ruth's day, there were a lot more factors to keep a good pitcher from making a career out of it. Thing like the Great Depression, worse general health, etc.
This statement is either patently absurd, or obscurely worded; for I'm not sure what to make of it.

For the record, you need to bear in mind that Ruth's emergence as the first modern HR-hitter occured at the salad days of the deadball era, when the pitcher was king, and every little boy in America wanted to be one. Ever heard of Joe Jackson? Began as a pitcher. George Sisler? Began as a pitcher. Lou Gehrig? Ditto. Tris Speaker? Goose Goslin? Hal Chase? Or even a humble guy named George Herman Ruth?

Have today's baseball youth been glued to their television sets this season to witness the exploits of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, or Greg Maddux? Sure, some. But walk through any playground, sandlot, schoolyard, or mall, and tell me you don't see the names of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Thomas, Rodriguez, Griffey, Ramirez, Giambi, or the like, plastered across the backs of more jerseys than otherwise.
Perhaps one of the biggest: integration. Ruth only got to face a dilluted all white baseball populace. Imagine if guys like Satchell Page (or at least closer to him than a lot of white guys in talent) were able to picth in MLB back then.

On top of integration, there's a lot of international players these days. Guys from all of Latin America (which is well known for its high rate of quality pitchers), Asia, Australia, etc.
Did you miss my post above where I addressed this?

Again, while among the most frequently cited defenses of today's baseball talent pool, cultural and anthropological study suggests this factor to be, at best, overrated; at worst, negligible.

Here is a thought-provoking article related to the subject: http://www.baseballresearch.com/diversity.htm
Despite what some here think, Pac Bell is a pitcher's park with fewer HR's than most other parks. Barry Bonds has more HR at Pac Bell than all visiting layers combined... Bonds actually hit more HR on the road than at home, another sign that his home park isn't hitter friendly.
Er, sorry, he hit 37 at home and 36 on the road.

At any rate, my intention with the illustration wasn't to paint Pac Bell, or Busch, as unique in their time period as hitter's paradises. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone ot the trouble of also listing immediately below league average ballpark dimensions for their respective era. The fact is, according to 1927 standards, every 21st century ballpark is a hitter's park (excepting only Comerica). In other words, saying that Pac Bell is a pitcher's park is like saying the Emperor has no clothes at a Monte Carlo beach.
There are more pitch types these days than in Ruth's time (i.e. sliders, circle change, ect.)
Um, no. There were no fewer pitch types in Ruth's day than there are now, only less--and archaic--names.

The slider possibly existed as far back as Amos Rusie; it certainly was in wide use by the '20s, although it was known as the "nickel-curve" (three-time 20-game winner George Uhle coined it's modern designation). Speedballer "Bullet Joe" Bush threw an early version of the split-finger (then called the forkball) in the teens. Variations of the circle-change (which was once categorized as a knuckleball) was thrown by such legends as Eddie Cicotte and Waite Hoyt.

At that, today's hitters don't have to contend with mysterious pitches known as "spitballs", "shine balls", "talcum balls", "tobacco balls", etc. Before a 1915 crackdown, pitchers were allowed to cut up the ball to give it "wings" on it's way to the plate.
As for the argument of the players these days aren't as good as they were back then: bull. That's just cynical sentimentalness. It reminds me of a quote I saw by Jeff Bagwell somewhere where he realted that Yogi Berra was complaining that the balls these days are juiced. So Jeff asks him "What the most HR's you ever hit in a year Yogi?" to which Yogi replies 40-something (I forget the exact number). Then Jeff says "A guy 5' high" gesturing to his chest with his hand "who hits 40 HR's is telling me the ball is juiced? It's just not fair. We're not allowed to be as a good of ball players today." The guys these days are better conditioned, have great technology available to them, etc. If anything, overall, players are better as a whole these days. Not much probably, just a little.
What a way to end a garrulous argument, with a dismissive, stereotypical generalization. (FWIW, if Yogi indeed told Bagwell that he had tallied a 40-HR season, he was yanking his chain. Berra never topped the 30 mark in his career. )
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Old 10-08-01, 12:19 AM
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Originally posted by 1138
Bonds is probably the second best all time now, ahead of Mays who is then third. This season has moved him past Mays. That's using the Total Baseball player rankings, which are very thorough.
very thorough
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Old 10-08-01, 01:00 AM
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Oh, so it' s OK when you reference Total Baseball, but when I do, it's a joke? Nice way to win an argument...

"But, as I have gone to great lengths to illustrate above, prowess in certain of these athletic pursuits do not necessarily translate to a superior baseball athlete."

No, being in shape doesn't mean you're a good baseball player. And I even said that a player can be good despite lack of physical fitness. Maybe you should read the post more thoroughly. I never said or inferred that. However, when you have the talent to play baseball (as all MLB players do), it sure as hell does help to be in shape. Don't you think that if Ruth had been in better shape, he would have done better?

"For the record, you need to bear in mind that Ruth's emergence as the first modern HR-hitter occured at the salad days of the deadball era, when the pitcher was king, and every little boy in America wanted to be one."

Here's some quick numbers:

AVG OPB SLG
1927 AL: .285 .348 .399
1928 AL: .281 .341 .397
1929 AL: .284 .347 .407

1920 AL: .284 .343 .387
1921 AL: .292 .352 .408
1922 AL: .285 .344 .398

2000 NL: .266 .338 .432
1999 NL: .268 .340 .429
1998 NL: .262 .328 .410

Wow. If the this was the era of pitchers, why is the offense relatively comparable? Could it be that maybe offense tends to fluctuate throughout baseball history and Ruth and Gehrig actually played in a ffense friendly time? Nawww... And before you say it, I'm not saying that Ruth didn't dominate his time. Not only did he have good years, but he had them consistently and for a long time. Same as Bonds has done.


"This statement is either patently absurd, or obscurely worded; for I'm not sure what to make of it."

Well, maybe you should read it again. The ability to seek out and find talent in Ruth's days wasn't nearly as thorugh and exhaustive as it is today. And things like the Great Depression and other socialogical influences prevented more of the talent from egtting to the majors.

"Er, sorry, he hit 37 at home and 36 on the road.

At any rate, my intention with the illustration wasn't to paint Pac Bell, or Busch, as unique in their time period as hitter's paradises. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone ot the trouble of also listing immediately below league average ballpark dimensions for their respective era. The fact is, according to 1927 standards, every 21st century ballpark is a hitter's park (excepting only Comerica). In other words, saying that Pac Bell is a pitcher's park is like saying the Emperor has no clothes at a Monte Carlo beach."

Er sorry what? "The fact is, according to 1927 standards, every 21st century ballpark is a hitter's park." Are you kidding me? For every Coors field or Enron, there's field like the Polo gorunds. Very short down the lines and huge center fields. Great for hitting in.

"Um, no. There were no fewer pitch types in Ruth's day than there are now, only less--and archaic--names."

That were thrown by a few guys here and there.

"What a way to end a garrulous argument, with a dismissive, stereotypical generalization."

Whatever.
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Old 10-08-01, 01:45 AM
  #66  
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"Here is a thought-provoking article related to the subject: http://www.baseballresearch.com/diversity.htm"

Which actually doesn't say what you think it does. It says diversity doesn't help a team winning %. Which it shouldn't. Baseball success is about numbers, not race or ethinicity. It doesn't matter how many blacks, whites, asians, or hispanics you have on a team. The only thing that natters is tehir talent.

It makes absolutely no claims that intergrated baseball isn't any tougher than non-integrated baseball. Maybe you should read your own sources before you use them? Ya think?
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Old 10-08-01, 01:56 AM
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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/current/eqa.html

The important part to get from that link is this:

All-time Best EqA Ruth 1920: .419
All-time Best EqR Ruth 1923: 184
All-time Best RARP Ruth 1921: 129

And then this:

Code:
Name         EQA   EQR   RARP
Barry Bonds  .430  194.1 143.5
Let's run down the numbers:

.419 vs .430 Winner? Bonds
184 vs 194.1 Winner? Bonds
129 vs 143.5 Winner? Bonds

Just for you laymen, here's a rundown of those terms (I've highlighted the important parts in bold italics):

EQA -- Equivalent Average.

EQA is a measure of the player's total offensive performance, fully adjusted for the era and park in which he played. The scale of EQA is very similar to that of batting average; a .300 EQA is almost exactly as common, historically, as a .300 batting average. An average player has an EQA of .260 by definition. It is calculated from EQR per out; the constants 0.2 and 0.4 are simply scaling factors.
EQA = (0.2 * EQR / Out) ^ (0.4)
EQR -- Equivalent Runs.

EQR are the adjusted version of UEQR, accounting for differences in home park and league offensive levels, with the aim of providing a statistic that can be reasonably compared across different leagues and eras. It is calculated by placing an individual's UEQR into a team setting (see WAA), and then converting those numbers into an Ideal League setting. Assuming WAApct is known, then
X = (WAApct / (1 - WAApct)) ^ (0.5)

EQR = .17235 * {( X - 1) * 27 * GPL + Out}
RARP -- Runs Above Replacement Position.

The number of EqR more or less than a Replacement Hitter for that position would have while making the same number of outs.
BTW, all of Ruth's numbers were the single season record until this year when Bonds broke them.

Also, here's a link you can use for any other terms used in those definitions.
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Old 10-08-01, 02:19 AM
  #68  
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Originally posted by 1138
"Here is a thought-provoking article related to the subject: http://www.baseballresearch.com/diversity.htm"

Which actually doesn't say what you think it does. It says diversity doesn't help a team winning %. Which it shouldn't. Baseball success is about numbers, not race or ethinicity. It doesn't matter how many blacks, whites, asians, or hispanics you have on a team. The only thing that natters is tehir talent.

It makes absolutely no claims that intergrated baseball isn't any tougher than non-integrated baseball. Maybe you should read your own sources before you use them? Ya think?
Integration in theory doesn't help one team because every team is integrated (some more than others, however, which gives some teams an advantage. Think a team like the Royals would have a good chance to sign a free agent Dominican star or the top Japanese player?).

However integration obviously affects one persons stats. For example, if there weren't any players on any team from outside the USA, there would have to be minor leaguers on the major league roster to fill those spots that woudln't be on the team with today's integration. Current pitchers would face some batters who wouldn't be in the leagues otherwise and current hitters would face pitchers who wouldn't make it in today's age.
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Old 10-08-01, 02:35 AM
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Exactly.
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Old 10-08-01, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by 1138
Oh, so it' s OK when you reference Total Baseball, but when I do, it's a joke? Nice way to win an argument...
If you would have noticed, my laughter was directed at your citation of sabermetrics (which is perfect for fantasy baseball, but absolutely useless without proper context for determining real-life greatness) to support your argument, not your reference to Total Baseball; of which, you might have also noticed, my citation referred to an article.
No, being in shape doesn't mean you're a good baseball player. And I even said that a player can be good despite lack of physical fitness. Maybe you should read the post more thoroughly. I never said or inferred that. However, when you have the talent to play baseball (as all MLB players do), it sure as hell does help to be in shape. Don't you think that if Ruth had been in better shape, he would have done better?
You seem to be mistaking being "in shape" with being properly conditioned. What I'm saying is that there are a slew of players in MLB right now who are perfectly conditioned to compete in power-lifting, football, track-and-field competitions, etc.; yet, are relatively ill-conditioned for baseball. And, as a whole, today's players are not nearly as well conditioned to play baseball as their counterparts of yore were.

To quote Tony Kubek, former SS of the Yankees (and I don't pretend this to be verbatim), "Today's players are bigger, and look better in their uniforms. But they're not necessarily stronger in a baseball sense. They're spending all their time in the weight room, when they should be down on the field throwing, running, and swinging." (emphasis mine)

It is much easier for out-of-condition players to get by now than it used to be (shifts in physical emphases, smaller outfields to cover, low value on hustle, superior medical attention, night baseball, etc.), so this factor isn't as visible as it appears. As mentioned before, this is a subject far too complex and comprehensive for me to be able to get into at length here. Suffice me to say that a big part of the secret lies in the difference between "maximum strength" and "explosive strength."
Here's some quick numbers:

AVG OPB SLG
1927 AL: .285 .348 .399
1928 AL: .281 .341 .397
1929 AL: .284 .347 .407

1920 AL: .284 .343 .387
1921 AL: .292 .352 .408
1922 AL: .285 .344 .398

2000 NL: .266 .338 .432
1999 NL: .268 .340 .429
1998 NL: .262 .328 .410

Wow. If the this was the era of pitchers, why is the offense relatively comparable? Could it be that maybe offense tends to fluctuate throughout baseball history and Ruth and Gehrig actually played in a ffense friendly time? Nawww... And before you say it, I'm not saying that Ruth didn't dominate his time. Not only did he have good years, but he had them consistently and for a long time. Same as Bonds has done.
I said that Ruth's emergence ("coming into view") as the first modern HR threat was in the pitchers' salad days (close of the teens), not his. It is widely manifest that, until offense took the obvious upper hand in the '20s, the most romantic and coveted athletic position in America was the baseball pitcher (only the pugilist posed a comparable threat). Newspapers of the day carried colorful accounts of the heroic exploits of Cy Young, Amos Rusie, Kid Nichols, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Addie Joss, etc. All across the nation, little boys on sandlots jockeyed for the imposing platform that stood atop a mountain of earth. Strategical emphases of the day encouraged boys to first-and-foremost develop their pitching skills. Professional leagues, jealous of pitching depth, recruited from small towns and urban areas nationwide. The pitching talent pool was at a zenith it would never reach again.

At the time of Babe Ruth's emergence and the offense-friendly stipulations passed in 1920, HR-hitting seemed a fad. But as boys began to abandon their toe plates and jockey for yet another turn at the bat, the national pitching crop began to be on the wane. A shift in public sympathies away from the once romantic moundsman toward the spontaneous slugger altered aspirations of the country's baseball youth, to the point where it has culminated today into ridiculously one-sided proportions.

These cultural factors have affected the makeup of the game to a scale which cannot be overemphasised.
Well, maybe you should read it again. The ability to seek out and find talent in Ruth's days wasn't nearly as thorugh and exhaustive as it is today. And things like the Great Depression and other socialogical influences prevented more of the talent from egtting to the majors.
Now that you have revised your assertion to "talent" from merely "pitching talent", this statement now makes sense (though it is incorrect).

I fail to see how the Great Depression stifled the talent influx. If anything, it brought about a growth, as professional baseball player was one of the few prominent well-paying and steady employments left to oppressed folk. Getting paid to play a boy's game must have seemed a mighty lucrative option for many who had only known poverty.

As to the scouting conditions, I could also argue that now no longer exists the vast network of local teams for every town that had at least 1,000 inhabitants in it, which prevailed in the old days. America's appetite for baseball was once insatiable. In 1911, 51 minor leagues of all classes (AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, and E) embarked on an organized baseball season. Nowadays, many high schools and colleges don't even have a baseball program, let alone their town. Even the more popular Little League has trouble staying afloat in countless communities.
Er sorry what? "The fact is, according to 1927 standards, every 21st century ballpark is a hitter's park." Are you kidding me? For every Coors field or Enron, there's field like the Polo gorunds. Very short down the lines and huge center fields. Great for hitting in.
The distance figures I provided in my original post show that the average AL ballpark in 1927 was resolutely pitcher-oriented (339 LF, 406 LC, 459 C, 385 RC, 328 RF). By comparison, the average modern day NL park is a freaking bandbox (332, 373, 404, 374, 332).

Individually, here are the figures for '27 AL parks:
Code:
City   Park                                 LF    LC    C     RC     RF
BOS    Fenway Park                         321   370   488   415     359
NY     Yankee Stadium                      281   465   490   400     295
PHI    Shibe Park                          312   375   468   375     307
WAS    Griffith Stadium                    358   425   421   390     320
CLE    League Park*                        376   420   450   348     290
DET    Navin Field                         341   N/A   467   N/A     371
CHI    Comiskey Park                       365   410   455   410     365
STL    Sportsman's Park                    355   380   430   356     315
* - 45 ft. wall in RF.
By 1998 standards, none of these parks can be truly classified as a "hitter's park" (although Sportsman's park was undeniably very friendly for LH batters). On the other hand, there is but one NL ballpark today which has a centerfield deeper than 410 (Coors), and a mere two which sport power-alleys deeper than 385 (Coors, which has a mile-high elevation; and Pac Bell, which is 420 to RC, but very short everywhere else).

Please consult Philip J. Lowry's Green Cathedrals (1992); Total Baseball; aerial photographs, scale drawings, and original blueprints.
That were thrown by a few guys here and there.
Mmm, nope.

BTW, relief pitchers now comprise more than half of today's pitching rosters. How many of them can throw more than two pitches? A guy here and there?

Last edited by Sykes; 10-08-01 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-08-01, 11:07 AM
  #71  
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Originally posted by Shop Smart Shop S-Mart
Pack Bell was made for softball. That park is just barely bigger than a friggin little league park.
Not true...

although the right-field line is only 307... the wind comes around the stadium and knocks balls down over there. very few home runs have been due to the short distance down the line. as for the rest of the park, it is not all that small, maybe you are thinking of enron... pac bell has one of the lower scoring averages in the league and is considered has been considered a pitchers park so far.
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Old 10-08-01, 11:24 AM
  #72  
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Originally posted by 1138
"Here is a thought-provoking article related to the subject: http://www.baseballresearch.com/diversity.htm"

Which actually doesn't say what you think it does. It says diversity doesn't help a team winning %. Which it shouldn't.

It makes absolutely no claims that intergrated baseball isn't any tougher than non-integrated baseball. Maybe you should read your own sources before you use them? Ya think?
Please read what I wrote. I said it was related to the subject, not that it tackled it. My intention in pointing you to it was merely what I expressed, to provoke some thought.

FWIW, for those who claim that pre-integration baseball produced an enormously diluted talent pool, the data in this article can be used to dispute that. By their logic, an increase in integration translates to an increase in the quality of play. Yet, the team's which were the most integrated performed no better than teams which were not, or significantly less so. Shouldn't they have, though, if integration were the panacea to baseball's talent problem as many believe?

My linking to this article was simply to show that, once again, these issues are not as black-and-white nor self-evident as they are frequently made out to be.
Baseball success is about numbers, not race or ethinicity. It doesn't matter how many blacks, whites, asians, or hispanics you have on a team. The only thing that natters is tehir talent.
Which is exactly why I am saying pre-integration baseball shouldn't necessarily be considered a watered-down game.
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Old 10-08-01, 11:32 AM
  #73  
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Originally posted by 1138
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/current/eqa.html

The important part to get from that link is this:

All-time Best EqA Ruth 1920: .419...

BTW, all of Ruth's numbers were the single season record until this year when Bonds broke them.

Also, here's a link you can use for any other terms used in those definitions.
I'm sorry, but I place little value on these algebraic formulas when measuring greatness. The game is played by people, not on paper.

Some statistics which do matter:
3.0 sec. - "Ginger" Beaumont's record time to first (1901)
13.2 sec. - Evar Swanson's record time to round the bases (1931)
445' 10" - Glen Gorbous' record distance for baseball throw (1956)
447' - Babe Ruth's record distance for fungo (1929).


Last edited by Sykes; 10-08-01 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 10-08-01, 11:33 AM
  #74  
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Originally posted by Sykes
I'm sorry, but I place little value on these algebraic formulas when measuring greatness. The game is played by people, not on paper.

Some statistics which do matter:
13.2 sec. - Evar Swanson's record time to round the bases (1931)
445' 10" - Glen Gorbous' record distance for baseball throw (1956)
447' - Babe Ruth's record distance for fungo (1929).

Ah, now I understand. You like statistics that support you, and you dislike statistics that's don't. Makes sense.
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Old 10-08-01, 11:37 AM
  #75  
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Originally posted by uberjoe
Ah, now I understand. You like statistics that support you, and you dislike statistics that's don't. Makes sense.
These aren't true statistics, per se. They are measurements which gauge physical skill. Even scouts will tell you to take statistics with a grain of salt; that these are the only numbers that really matter.
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