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Barry vs Babe

Old 10-11-02, 01:15 PM
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Barry vs Babe

bring on the debate!

http://espn.go.com/page2/s/whitlock/021010.html

As Barry Bonds hammers away at the myth that he's a poor postseason player, he's also hammering away at the myth that Babe Ruth should be regarded as the game's most legendary slugger.
Babe Ruth played before integration. It has always bothered me that, given the obvious impact of African-American and Latino ballplayers, we somehow manage to place pre-integration major-leaguers on the same accomplishment platforms as the post-Jackie Robinson players.
Willie Mays can keep his "greatest player" title. Ted Williams deserves his "greatest hitter" crown. And, for now, Hank Aaron retains his "home run king" moniker.

But from now on, when we talk about baseball superstar, baseball legend, when we talk about the slugger who defined the game -- and please don't ever forget that baseball, like America's other national pastime, the adult entertainment industry, is a game defined by the man carrying the biggest stick -- we should begin the conversation with Barry, not Babe

Of course, we all know Barry just completed the closest thing we'll ever see to a perfect season at the plate. Power, discipline and consistency have never converged at the same time the way it did for Bonds in 2002. It will probably never happen again. You know the numbers. The man hit .370, which at 38 made him the oldest first-time batting champion and the oldest man to win the National League batting crown. He cracked 46 home runs, 110 RBI, drew 198 walks, recorded an off-the-charts .582 on-base percentage and a .799 slugging percentage. Ruth couldn't even do that in the watered-down majors he dominated.
Bonds' supporting cast has been passed around the majors more than a phat blunt riding shotgun in Randy Moss' Lexus.
Bonds' Giants are more like Michael Jordan's Bulls. Baker is Phil Jackson. And Kent is Scottie Pippen, a fraud who has no idea how good he's got it hitting in front of Bonds
If Barry wins the World Series, I'm planning to petition Congress to pass a law forbidding Babe Ruth's name to appear in the same sentence with Barry's.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:16 PM
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Barry never out-homered entire teams. Nuff said.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:22 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
Barry never out-homered entire teams. Nuff said.
yea.. and MJ never scored 100 points in a game
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Old 10-11-02, 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
yea.. and MJ never scored 100 points in a game

Valid argument if I thought MJ was the greatest hoops player ever. NOT!
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Old 10-11-02, 01:26 PM
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quote:
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Bonds' supporting cast has been passed around the majors more than a phat blunt riding shotgun in Randy Moss' Lexus.
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Very funny stuff!!
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Old 10-11-02, 01:30 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
Valid argument if I thought MJ was the greatest hoops player ever. NOT!
ok.. then you represent the 1%.. nuff said

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Old 10-11-02, 01:33 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
ok.. then you represent the 1%.. nuff said


1%? Yeah, right. Maybe if the entire planet worked for ESPN and NBC, 99% would disagree with me.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:45 PM
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He makes a good argument, at least. Babe playing in those days is a lot like Wilt playing against of much shorter white kids in the NBA for so long.

I'd give the nod to Bonds *IF* he had more than 2 years of being some sort of god-like hitter. He's been in the league for a looong time and he was merely just a good player half of those years. We tend to get blinded by his recent performance in '01 and '02 and forget that he wasn't as good as he is now for most of his career.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:46 PM
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Both players are good, but since they played in different eras, I think its almost like comparing apples and oranges.

When Babe played, the league sucked, but then again, Babe was a guy who smoked cigars and was FAT. That's why it was amazing that he dominated when he did.

Barry is playing when everyone has personal trainers, off season workouts, and strict training regimens. Which is why Barry is so amazing in this era.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:47 PM
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Great rebuttal argument from Thomas Boswell:

Bonds's Feats Are Ruthian, But He's No Babe -- Yet

By Thomas Boswell
Wednesday, October 9, 2002; Page D01

Since the late Shirley Povich isn't around to do the job right, I'll just have to defend his friend, Babe Ruth, all by myself. And it won't be easy.

On Monday, as Barry Bonds's third home run of the series helped the Giants knock the Braves from the playoffs, Atlanta skipper Bobby Cox graciously said that Bonds was the best player who ever lived.

Plenty of others -- who never came within a generation of seeing Babe Ruth play -- are saying it, or working up the gumption to say it, too. But they're wrong. Not by much. But by enough.

In our rush to give Bonds his due for back-to-back seasons with almost unimaginable statistics, we're missing a big distinction. What Bonds is actually in the process of doing is so amazing that it deserves to be seen clearly: Bonds is trying to be the best baseball player since Babe Ruth.

And he's close to accomplishing it. That's why the next few days and weeks are so vital to his quest. Bonds needs to reach a World Series, and probably win one, to separate him from the likes of Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Aaron. Don't clutter the debate beyond that.

In the past two years, Bonds has done baseball the great service of challenging our imaginations and making us revisit our basic definitions. In 2001, he set the all-time record for home runs (73) and slugging percentage (.863). In 2002, he set the all-time on-base percentage record (.582) and broke his own record for walks (198).

All those records once belonged to Ruth.

Yet many have, correctly, sensed that both of Bonds's seasons should be put together. He's never hit 50 homers except in '01. His 46 this season were more like a peak Bonds year. On the other hand, his .370 batting average and on-base mark this season highlight how incredibly efficient and selective he's become.

In the past two years combined, Bonds has hit 119 home runs, driven in 247 runs, scored 246 runs, batted .347, slugged .822, walked 375 times and got on base 55 percent of the time. The rest of his career, though of Hall of Fame quality, doesn't approach that level.

How does that compare to Ruth? In 1920 and 1921, when nobody else could even hit 20 home runs and many ballparks were vast, Ruth hit 113 home runs, drove in 308 runs, scored 335 runs, batted .377, slugged .846, walked 292 times and was on base 52 percent of the time. Unless you want to ignore a gap of 144 runs produced and 30 points in batting average, Ruth's best back-to-back years were better. And, if he'd wanted, he could have gone back to being the best left-handed pitcher in the league.

And, believe it or not, the young Ruth was probably faster than the old Bonds. The last two years, Bonds had 22 steals and four triples. From 1920 to '21, Ruth had 31 steals, 25 triples and 80 doubles.

More to the point, Ruth didn't just have two seasons where he played near this level. In 1927-28, he had 114 homers, 306 RBI, 321 runs and a .340 average. Bonds has only driven in 130 runs once and has never scored that many. In his 10 best seasons, Ruth averaged 150 RBI and 151 runs. Part of that was due to being in the Yankees lineup. But most of it was due to being Ruth. And the Babe only played in 154 games a year, not 162.

So, let's leave the Babe out of this. He took 10 teams to pennants, including three as a star Red Sox pitcher. He saved the game from the Black Sox scandal. They built Yankee Stadium because of him. And the Babe smiled, caroused and laughed 24/7, except when he was visiting sick kids.

Now that we've finished that subject, we can focus on what should matter. Barry Bonds, who doesn't smile much, laugh (or carouse) much at all, is passing legends with every feat.

DiMaggio, for example, led the Yankees to 10 pennants and will always have the New York media machine to mythologize him. But ask any manager who ever lived if he'd rather have a player clobber 73 homers or hit in 56 straight games.

To appreciate Bonds's majesty, it's much better to see how far he stands above players who are considered legends, rather than diminishing him by discovering that he's not quite as tall as Ruth.

For example, Bonds squashes DiMaggio. DiMaggio only hit 33 homers twice. Bonds has done it 12 of the past 13 years. DiMaggio stole 30 bases -- in his career. Bonds has 493. DiMaggio averaged 61 walks. Bonds approaches that by Memorial Day.

If Bonds had played for the Yankees from 1936 to 1951, they'd probably have won 13 pennants. At the start, Joe had Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, Frank Crosetti, Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. By the end, he had Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Whitey Ford and Eddie Lopat.

Bonds has Jeff Kent. And sometimes they make Barry bat behind Kent to "protect him." Ruth had Gehrig to cover his back and get him pitches to hit every day. Barry has Benito Santiago.

As we watch Bonds's quest to reach a series, starting tonight in St. Louis, remember he's not just playing against the Cards. He's playing against the memory of Williams, who was a better career hitter, but couldn't run, field or throw and only played in one World Series.

Bonds is also playing against the memory of Aaron and his own godfather, Mays, who were both complete five-tool superstars. But Hank's and Willie's highest slugging percentages were .669 and .667, respectively, not .863. Each drew 90 walks -- just once in their careers. Does that tell you how much they were feared? Correct answer: much less than Bonds. And Bonds has only 78 less career steals than Mays (338) and Aaron (240) combined.

No wonder, as he jogged off the field after scoring two of the Giants' three runs in their 3-1 Game 5 win Monday night, Bonds actually had a smile on his face. Then, as his teammates formed a huge huddle and jumped with joy, Bonds actually joined them.

Though not for long. Barry Bonds still has things to do, incredible deeds to complete. And he must make up time, so much time, for all the years when he played the aloof grouch and defiantly deflected praise or even proper recognition of his gifts.

Hard as it is to believe, Bonds has never had a national stage a fraction as large as the one he now occupies.

His old Pirates played for the pennant three times. But back then, who knew he was much better than Andy Van Slyke? Now, only Babe Ruth is clearly better. Ever.

Barry Bonds knows it. And, at 38, he wants desperately to show you while he still can. You might be glad you watched.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by Dee, tee ess... See?
He makes a good argument, at least. Babe playing in those days is a lot like Wilt playing against of much shorter white kids in the NBA for so long.

I'd give the nod to Bonds *IF* he had more than 2 years of being some sort of god-like hitter. He's been in the league for a looong time and he was merely just a good player half of those years. We tend to get blinded by his recent performance in '01 and '02 and forget that he wasn't as good as he is now for most of his career.
I don't think Barry really even considered himself a homerun hitter until these past few years. I dont even know if he STILL considers himself a homerun hitter.

He always modeled himself after Willie Mays, as more of a complete 5-tool player. Which is why he always liked guys like Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey Jr, and Gary Sheffield as friends - because they played like he did - they hit for average, they hit some home runs, they played good defense, etc.

Yes, he's a slugger, but throughout his career, he hasn't always tried to be a home run hitter. Its just that now, later in his career, he's got such a good eye and his swing is so sweet that the balls are going out.

edit: So anyway, I guess my final conclusion is that the Babe is a greater slugger, but Barry may be the greatest all-around player of all time.

Last edited by mnguye10; 10-11-02 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Dee, tee ess... See?

I'd give the nod to Bonds *IF* he had more than 2 years of being some sort of god-like hitter. He's been in the league for a looong time and he was merely just a good player half of those years. We tend to get blinded by his recent performance in '01 and '02 and forget that he wasn't as good as he is now for most of his career.
comparatively speaking.. his stats are #1 for the entire decade of the 90s
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Old 10-11-02, 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by mnguye10
Both players are good, but since they played in different eras, I think its almost like comparing apples and oranges.

When Babe played, the league sucked, but then again, Babe was a guy who smoked cigars and was FAT. That's why it was amazing that he dominated when he did.

Barry is playing when everyone has personal trainers, off season workouts, and strict training regimens. Which is why Barry is so amazing in this era.
I agree its impossible to compare players of different eras

but.. if you can say babe was the greatest slugger of all time.. you are comparing him to everyone all time.
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Old 10-11-02, 01:57 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
I agree its impossible to compare players of different eras

but.. if you can say babe was the greatest slugger of all time.. you are comparing him to everyone all time.

I compare them to the counterparts of the day. Ruth hit 714 HR during his career. Who was the next highest from 1915-1940? Gehrig with 493. Ruth was 45% higher than the next highest player. Ruth was that much more of a slugger than everyone playing against the same pitchers and in the same parks.

Let's be conservative and say that Sosa (whose career pretty much overlaps Bonds) gets to 600. That would mean that Bonds would have to hit 870 HRs to have as big of a variance as Ruth had against his contemporaries.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
comparatively speaking.. his stats are #1 for the entire decade of the 90s
Yes, but if you think about it, there really weren't that many 5-star players that played the entire decade of the 90s.

Canseco had his shot but turned into a loser, McGwire was decimated by injuries, etc. Griffey came up in the early nineties but didn't really get his groove on until a couple years of the decade were gone.

Besides, best of the decade doesn't necessarily mean best of all-time, which is what many consider the Babe to be.

Personally, I consider the greatest player of all time to be Willie Mays. Greatest hitter of all time is Ted Williams. Most valuable player to the game of all time? Babe Ruth.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by Dee, tee ess... See?

Besides, best of the decade doesn't necessarily mean best of all-time, which is what many consider the Babe to be.

Personally, I consider the greatest player of all time to be Willie Mays. Greatest hitter of all time is Ted Williams. Most valuable player to the game of all time? Babe Ruth.
i wasnt saying that best of a decade meant best of all time.. i was addressing the fact that you said he didnt have great numbers before the past 2 seasons.. because he did have the best numbers for the entire decade of the 90s.. and his career numbers are astronomical

these past 2 seasons have been so far ahead of what anyone has ever done.. he cant be punished that he entire career hasnt been that dominating.. if anyone ever had a career, putting up the type of numbers that barry has in the past 2 seasons.. we would have to rename the league after them.

but the arguement wasnt greatest player of all time.. the article I posted.. was greatest slugger of all time..
hank is the homerun king (for now)
ted williams is the greatest hitter of all time
babe may be the best player of all time (bonds is coming on strong)
but its hard to argue against bonds as the greatest slugger of all time.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:06 PM
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It really is apples and oranges though. Even if you compare the player against their respective peers, it's still apples and oranges. Ruth decimated his colleagues but that's not surprising -- most of his colleagues were inferior players. Diluted talent pool, lack of foreign stars, lack of ANYBODY that wasn't white..

And there weren't specialized pitchers back then either.

But ballparks were much bigger.

But pitchers didn't have anything more than a fastball and a curveball back then.

But players now have the benefit of science and technology.

And so on..

We can go back and forth and nobody is going to be able to come up with a convincing argument because baseball today is nothing like it was 70 years ago. The only thing that has remained the same is the distance between the bases.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff

these past 2 seasons have been so far ahead of what anyone has ever done..



Bonds slugged .822 over the last 2 seasons.
Ruth slugged .846 in 1920-21.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
i wasnt saying that best of a decade meant best of all time.. i was addressing the fact that you said he didnt have great numbers before the past 2 seasons.. because he did have the best numbers for the entire decade of the 90s.. and his career numbers are astronomical

these past 2 seasons have been so far ahead of what anyone has ever done.. he cant be punished that he entire career hasnt been that dominating.. if anyone ever had a career, putting up the type of numbers that barry has in the past 2 seasons.. we would have to rename the league after them.

but the arguement wasnt greatest player of all time.. the article I posted.. was greatest slugger of all time..
hank is the homerun king (for now)
ted williams is the greatest hitter of all time
babe may be the best player of all time (bonds is coming on strong)
but its hard to argue against bonds as the greatest slugger of all time.
I'm not saying he didn't have great numbers in the 90's. He did. But he didn't come close to putting the numbers he's putting up now. And for me to consider Bonds as the best ever, I need to see at least 5-7 years of numbers similar to the ones he's putting up now. 2 years worth of extraordinary numbers puts him in the top 5 of all time, but it doesn't quite get him over the hump.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog


Bonds slugged .822 over the last 2 seasons.
Ruth slugged .846 in 1920-21.

Of course, we all know Barry just completed the closest thing we'll ever see to a perfect season at the plate. Power, discipline and consistency have never converged at the same time the way it did for Bonds in 2002. It will probably never happen again. You know the numbers. The man hit .370, which at 38 made him the oldest first-time batting champion and the oldest man to win the National League batting crown. He cracked 46 home runs, 110 RBI, drew 198 walks, recorded an off-the-charts .582 on-base percentage and a .799 slugging percentage. Ruth couldn't even do that in the watered-down majors he dominated.
that was this year.. and last year was even bigger
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Old 10-11-02, 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by Dee, tee ess... See?
I'm not saying he didn't have great numbers in the 90's. He did. But he didn't come close to putting the numbers he's putting up now. And for me to consider Bonds as the best ever, I need to see at least 5-7 years of numbers similar to the ones he's putting up now. 2 years worth of extraordinary numbers puts him in the top 5 of all time, but it doesn't quite get him over the hump.
but the problem is.. the past 2 seasons, have been by far the best seasons anyone has ever put up in the history of the game..
its kindof tough to say that someone should have 5-7 years worth of seasons that high
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Old 10-11-02, 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
but the problem is.. the past 2 seasons, have been by far the best seasons anyone has ever put up in the history of the game..
its kindof tough to say that someone should have 5-7 years worth of seasons that high
What's amazing is that Barry's doing it at age 37 and 38, while the Babe did it in his prime.

I still think the Babe is the greatest slugger of all time, but Barry is right there, and he may be the most complete, best all-around player of all time.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:16 PM
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Originally posted by twikoff
that was this year.. and last year was even bigger

The problem is that 1-year does not win the argument.

As for watered-down majors, how does this writer justify that? Just because blacks didn't play? There were only 16 teams in the Ruth era. Now there are almost twice as many. Pitching is so diluted now and ballparks are no bigger than match boxes. It's funny because I really like Jason Whitlock. If he was arguing for the best player, I would be more apt to agree with him, but if he is limiting the discussion to best slugger, I don't see how the answer can be Bonds.

Last edited by Red Dog; 10-11-02 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:18 PM
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There's one thing that Barry will never have -- the status of a legend. Even 80 years from now, Barry may be remembered, but George Herman will still be revered.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
The problem is that 1-year does not win the argument.

As for watered-down majors, how does this writer justify that? Just because blacks didn't play? There were only 16 teams in the Ruth era. Now there are almost twice as many. Pitching is so diluted now and ballparks are no bigger than match boxes.
Im not talking about one year.. look at his career numbers
yea, he has had the 2 more dominating seasons ever.. but his career numbers are extremely impressive as well..

watered down, meaning that the best players were not in the league.. the league was not integrated.. so you had the 'best' players from a certain class.. and that was it..
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