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  #51  
Old 08-02-2021, 07:24 PM
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Perhaps the basketball conversation belongs in a different thread. To bring this one back to the topic in the OP:

I think what Ohtani is doing is far more impressive and valuable than a triple crown season. I just don't see any possible way that anyone other than Ohtani gets the MVP unless he gets injured or somehow forgets how to hit or pitch. But if he keeps up what he's been doing this season, there's no way in hell Vlad gets the MVP over him even if he wins the triple crown. I just don't see it happening.
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  #52  
Old 08-02-2021, 07:28 PM
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Ruth played exhibition games against Negro League teams and he was just as dominant. Ruth played in an era with only 16 teams compared to 30 teams today. The idea that he somehow played against weaker competition is an opinion that can't be backed up by facts.
The US has more than 3x as many people now AND the game is integrated AND the game is worldwide. The idea he DIDN'T play against weaker competition can't be backed up by facts.

Not to mention the OBVIOUS differences in physical strength and skill development.

Last edited by Tabe; 08-02-2021 at 07:31 PM.
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  #53  
Old 08-02-2021, 07:30 PM
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This is a hilarious take. Teams in the 60s shot lower percentages because they sucked at shooting. Go watch some film. Half these guys look like my wife when she shoots a basketball. It's a complete joke. Russell and Wilt averaged an estimated 8-9 blocked shots per game. It's not because they were immortals, it's because they were blocking shots from YMCA guys. Olajuwan probably would have blocked 15 shots per game back then.

Here's my hot take - Bill Russell is probably the single most overrated athlete of any sport in any era.

I'm not saying Bill Russell sucked. He was very good. Possibly top 20 all-time in my book. But some people talk about him like he's the GOAT, which is completely ridiculous. Wilt was by FAR the better player and it wasn't even close.
Thank you. Could not agree more.
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  #54  
Old 08-02-2021, 07:46 PM
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Of course he played against weaker competition. That's not difficult to prove. Just look at the ratio of the size of the available pool of talent that players were drawn from vs the number of players who played in the league. Baseball is an international sport today. Your talking 10-fold the talent pool today but only twice as many teams. It's not even remotely close.
How many great athletes back then opted for football or basketball?
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  #55  
Old 08-02-2021, 07:54 PM
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There are several important differences about how the game was played and what the ballpark dimensions were in Babe Ruth's era that are probably worth mentioning.

As someone noted above, there were some parks that were massive. Westside Grounds was 560' to center field (but Ruth didn't play there), and Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds was an astonishing 635' to center field (but again, Ruth never played there. This was before his time).

The game itself was completely different back then though. It was all about getting on base and advancing runners. Players would bunt or chop the ball (the "Baltimore Chop") to get on base and then try to steal 2nd and 3rd nearly every time. Stolen base numbers from that era will never be duplicated. Nobody even tried to hit home runs back then. It was considered a fool's errand. The balls were "dead". They'd use the same ball for almost the entire game. Fans had to throw them back if they caught a foul ball to keep the game going. They'd basically use the same ball until the cover came off. When Ruth came along and started hitting home runs (remember, he led the league with 11 HRs in 1918) it wasn't seen as a winning strategy. So when he started crushing homers in 1919 and 1920, he was also one of only a few people who were even trying to do it. All the other players were still trying to bunt/chop/slash their way on base so they could steal 2nd and 3rd and get bunted home. But Babe Ruth was too fat and slow to run the bases, so he knew if he was going to score he'd have to hit it out of the park or get a double and rely on someone else to bring him in. It was a different mentality. You can't really compare the number of home runs he hit to the other players at that time because they simply weren't trying to hit them.

In 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 home runs for Boston, only 9 of those were at Fenway Park, the other 20 were on the road. At the time, Fenway had a 313.5' right field. And remember, Ruth was a left-handed pull hitter. The vast majority of his home runs were down the right-field line. They only played against 7 different teams during the regular season back then. And in 1919, Polo Grounds had a right-field fence of 258' and Sportsman's Park was 270'.

Also, pitching was a lot different back then. Walter Johnson was king. He threw serious heat for the era (measured at 89 mph, though some anecdotal tales estimate that he threw in the 90s). Nobody could hit him. Everyone else? Most of these guys threw fastballs in the low to mid-80s on a good day, and the best of the best were throwing high 80s. Players struck out because of spitballs and "emery board balls", not because of heat.

It was just an entirely different game. You simply cannot compare the eras. Ruth was the GOAT, no question. I'm not trying to discredit his accomplishments or abilities. I'm just saying you simply can't make fair comparisons across different eras. People try to do the same with Wilt Chamberlain and modern basketball greats. Wilt played against 6'2" white guys from the YMCA. It just wasn't the same game.

The quality of bats and balls make a huge difference as well. Equipment, nutrition, modern sports medicine, everything has come a long way since then.

My 2 cents.
Walter Johnson was measured at 89 mph? I’ve never read that… do you have a source for that?
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  #56  
Old 08-03-2021, 07:04 AM
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There's no reason to believe that the most dominant major league pitchers were only throwing in the low 80s. Rube Waddell was a freight train. I highly doubt he struck out all those guys throwing high school fast balls.
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  #57  
Old 08-03-2021, 07:22 AM
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In 1917, a Bridgeport, Connecticut munitions laboratory recorded Johnson's fastball at 134 feet per second,which is equal to 91 miles per hour (146 km/h), a velocity that may have been unmatched in his day, with the possible exception of Smoky Joe Wood.

And this.
https://theaceofspaeder.com/2019/01/...-threw-88-mph/
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Last edited by Peter_Spaeth; 08-03-2021 at 07:23 AM.
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  #58  
Old 08-03-2021, 07:28 AM
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Bob Feller debuts 20 years later. Had the arm come that far in that time? I don't think people generally view Feller as throwing in the high 80s.
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  #59  
Old 08-03-2021, 07:28 AM
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double post

Last edited by packs; 08-03-2021 at 07:28 AM.
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  #60  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
In 1917, a Bridgeport, Connecticut munitions laboratory recorded Johnson's fastball at 134 feet per second,which is equal to 91 miles per hour (146 km/h), a velocity that may have been unmatched in his day, with the possible exception of Smoky Joe Wood.

And this.
https://theaceofspaeder.com/2019/01/...-threw-88-mph/
Very interesting - thanks. Likely that Johnson had lost a few mph off his fastball by 1919, so maybe he threw around 93 at his peak.

Feller was timed at @ 98 mph.

Last edited by Ricky; 08-03-2021 at 10:18 AM.
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  #61  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:52 AM
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There's no reason to believe that the most dominant major league pitchers were only throwing in the low 80s. Rube Waddell was a freight train. I highly doubt he struck out all those guys throwing high school fast balls.
It's not completely crazy - these guys were swinging bats that were extremely heavy. Joe Jackson's weighed 48oz. Ruth used a 42oz model before switching to a 38oz model. Cobb used bats that weighed up to 40oz. Mike Trout, by contrast, uses a bat that weighs 30oz.
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  #62  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:55 AM
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3509K, but it took him 5914 IP. So he was striking out what, 5.3 per 9 innings. Koufax, by contrast, was over 9.
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Last edited by Peter_Spaeth; 08-03-2021 at 10:57 AM.
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  #63  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:59 AM
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It's not completely crazy - these guys were swinging bats that were extremely heavy. Joe Jackson's weighed 48oz. Ruth used a 42oz model before switching to a 38oz model. Cobb used bats that weighed up to 40oz. Mike Trout, by contrast, uses a bat that weighs 30oz.
Mike Trout isn't using anything as he sits and sits and sits and sits some more.

He missed 39 games in 2017 with a torn thumb ligament. He missed 19 games in 2018 because of wrist inflammation. He missed 19 more games in 2019 after foot surgery. And now he’s expected to miss six to eight weeks in 2021 with a calf strain, suffered while jogging on the basepaths Monday night.

That six to eight weeks, of course, is now running longer.

https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2021/5...aking-pursuits
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  #64  
Old 08-03-2021, 11:14 AM
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It's not completely crazy - these guys were swinging bats that were extremely heavy. Joe Jackson's weighed 48oz. Ruth used a 42oz model before switching to a 38oz model. Cobb used bats that weighed up to 40oz. Mike Trout, by contrast, uses a bat that weighs 30oz.
Yeah but it's still a human body. Look at photos of Gehrig. The guy never stepped into a modern gym in his life but he was a brick.
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  #65  
Old 08-04-2021, 02:30 AM
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I believe that this m113 supplement was originally issued in April 1915, the caption has Johnson throwing at 122 feet per second, which equates to 83 mph
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Johnson Walter Arm-1913-m113.jpg (77.8 KB, 145 views)
File Type: jpg Johnson Walter Arm-1913-m113 caption.jpg (51.2 KB, 144 views)
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  #66  
Old 08-04-2021, 06:05 AM
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Great information on the pitching speeds of the pictures in those days. I never knew some of them actually had the pitches speed determined in those ways.
Amazing
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  #67  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:12 AM
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Nobody ever claims that Howie Morenz and Eddie Shore were in the same class as Gretzky and Orr, or that Nat Holman and George Mikan were remotely las good as Jordan and Jabbar, or that Red Grange was the equal of Jim Brown. What is it about baseball that makes people so romanticize the ancients and to insist they were better, or equal, in absolute terms?
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  #68  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:32 AM
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I think baseball had it's Michael Jordans and Wayne Gretzkys far earlier in its lifespan than basketball and hockey. Nothing could convince me that Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig wouldn't have been monsters in any era. Do you think Cobb wouldn't be able to handle a guy like Aroldis Chapman? He'd have to adjust for sure but he hit 366 over three decades of changes to the game in his own time.

Last edited by packs; 08-04-2021 at 08:34 AM.
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  #69  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:36 AM
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I think baseball had it's Michael Jordans and Wayne Gretzkys far earlier in its lifespan than basketball and hockey. Nothing could convince me that Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig wouldn't have been monsters in any era. Do you think Cobb wouldn't be able to handle a guy like Aroldis Chapman? He'd have to adjust for sure but he hit 366 over three decades of changes to the game in his own time.
Just hard to know. In every other endeavor human athletic performance is dramatically different from 100 years ago, why would baseball be different? It doesn't take anything away from the players of that era to judge them relative to their time. But people want to think you could pick up Cobb and Ruth as they were and drop them into today's game. Why? Why is baseball different?
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  #70  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:47 AM
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I think it's because at its core the game is essentially the same. There are more specialized pitchers now and there's the shift and analytics but the mound is the same distance and the fences have been moved in.

But in football a person from 1930 would not recognize the game anymore. Same is true for basketball. I don't know enough about hockey to know how the game might have changed over time.
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  #71  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:51 AM
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I think it's because at its core the game is essentially the same. There are more specialized pitchers now and there's the shift and analytics but the mound is the same distance and the fences have been moved in.

But in football a person from 1930 would not recognize the game anymore. Same is true for basketball. I don't know enough about hockey to know how the game might have changed over time.
I see your point but Isn't tennis the same game? But you surely don't think Bill Tilden could handle Roger Federer. The track and field events are the same, you run as fast you can or jump as far or as high as you can. Soccer is the same game, but nobody is going to confuse Dixie Dean with Lionel Messi. Swimming?
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  #72  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:53 AM
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I see your point but Isn't tennis the same game? But you surely don't think Bill Tilden could handle Roger Federer. The track and field events are the same, you run as fast you can or jump as far or as high as you can. Soccer is the same game, but nobody is going to confuse Dixie Dean with Lionel Messi.
I really don't know enough about those sports to say.

I think for baseball the waters get much murkier when it comes to pitchers. Would Walter Johnson have been the same pitcher today? I have no idea. But when it comes to hitting and timing, I don't think much has changed over time in that respect. The ball is moving faster more often but if you're an elite guy like Cobb I think you adjust.
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  #73  
Old 08-04-2021, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Just hard to know. In every other endeavor human athletic performance is dramatically different from 100 years ago, why would baseball be different? It doesn't take anything away from the players of that era to judge them relative to their time. But people want to think you could pick up Cobb and Ruth and drop them into today's game. Why?
I agree with Peter (for once). I've already mentioned Jim Thorpe earlier, the baseball, football and track star.

Many track and field events are primarily individual records. Tell me in what event would Thorpe have qualified to represent the USA in the Olympics in 2021.

We all love the history of baseball, but one hundred years is a long time to hold a track record. Bob Beamon's long jump at altitude in 1968 is the only one that comes close and not very close at that (only 23 years).

Perhaps Jim Thorpe wouldn't be lapped by a four minute miler, but it wouldn't be close at the finish.

George Mikan played with all those little white guys. What if Kevin Durant played in the 50s. Yikes!!!!

Otto Graham vs Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Long odds indeed.

Many major league baseball players in the 50s were heavy drinkers and sold used cars in the off-season. Do you really think they could hit Aroldis Chapman? When was the last time a major league player even owned a used car, let alone sold one?

Or go back 150 years if you want to. Would not drones and smart bombs have made a difference in the outcome of the Civil War if only the Confederates had had them? Gettysburg could have been obliterated before lunch on the first day.

Athens was nearly wiped out in the Peloponnesian War not by the Spartans, but by an infectious disease, a mere 2 1/2 millennia ago. I believe the world record in the marathon is better now than it was during the Peloponnesian War.

Romanticize all you want about Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner et al, but I would venture to say that most Triple A batters today could do as well against Walter Johnson as they are doing now against Triple A hurlers.

I will not give any examples but politicians may be the exception.
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  #74  
Old 08-04-2021, 10:03 AM
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I agree with Peter (for once). I've already mentioned Jim Thorpe earlier, the baseball, football and track star.

Many track and field events are primarily individual records. Tell me in what event would Thorpe have qualified to represent the USA in the Olympics in 2021.

We all love the history of baseball, but one hundred years is a long time to hold a track record. Bob Beamon's long jump at altitude in 1968 is the only one that comes close and not very close at that (only 23 years).

Perhaps Jim Thorpe wouldn't be lapped by a four minute miler, but it wouldn't be close at the finish.

George Mikan played with all those little white guys. What if Kevin Durant played in the 50s. Yikes!!!!

Otto Graham vs Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Long odds indeed.

Many major league baseball players in the 50s were heavy drinkers and sold used cars in the off-season. Do you really think they could hit Aroldis Chapman? When was the last time a major league player even owned a used car, let alone sell one?

Or go back 150 years if you want to. Would not drones and smart bombs have made a difference in the outcome of the Civil War if only the Confederates had had them? Gettysburg could have been obliterated before lunch on the first day.

Athens was nearly wiped out in the Peloponnesian War not by the Spartans, but by an infectious disease, a mere 2 1/2 millennia ago. I believe the world record in the marathon is better now than it was during the Peloponnesian War.

Romanticize all you want about Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner et al, but I would venture to say that most Triple A batters today could do as well against Walter Johnson as they are doing now against Triple A hurlers.

I will not give any examples but politicians may be the exception.
I can't love this more Frank.

I agree, we can't mince facts and romanticize that eras are compatable in any direction. While I can easily surmise that Ruth would likely be average or possibly below in todays world with the skills he had at his peak. Who knows what he would be if the same person were born on 1994 and lived a life used to today's speeds and training?

We can guess that Trout could have been a god with his current abilities in 1928, who would he have been afforded the same training and health regimen of Ruth?

Same for all sports, if I place Gretzky in the checking of the 50's can he weather to score? Could Lebron handle the violence of the 80's defense? It can be argued that Jordan could not as he could not win a championship until the officiating changed.

Era's cannot be compared front or back, so it seems like a waste to try but it happens every night in sports bars around the country as the night goes on.

We should enjoy each for what they were and be able to appreciate the past and the present as each is incomparable.
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  #75  
Old 08-04-2021, 10:40 AM
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I think some of those things are true but we're talking about hitting a baseball. It will always come down to timing and I don't think a guy like say Bill Terry would have a problem adjusting timing for anyone throwing him the ball.

Last edited by packs; 08-04-2021 at 10:43 AM.
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  #76  
Old 08-04-2021, 10:50 AM
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Ohtani is 5-1

6 whopping decisions.

Wins are against Texas, Seattle, Detroit, Boston and Colorado - big deal.

Jeff Springs of Tampa is also 5-1, who? exactly.


Ohtani is a nice 6th starter.
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  #77  
Old 08-04-2021, 10:56 AM
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Babe Ruth vs Ohtani Career pitching

Ruth
94-46
2.28 era

3-0 in 2 WS with 0.87 era

Owetani
9-4
3.58 era

hasn't sniffed a playoff game (when everybody and their sister gets into the playoffs these days) let alone a WS

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Last edited by Shoeless Moe; 08-04-2021 at 10:57 AM.
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  #78  
Old 08-04-2021, 11:42 AM
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Babe Ruth vs Ohtani Career pitching

Ruth
94-46
2.28 era

3-0 in 2 WS with 0.87 era

Owetani
9-4
3.58 era

hasn't sniffed a playoff game (when everybody and their sister gets into the playoffs these days) let alone a WS

GOODNIGHT!
10-4, you said it.

To think and state that Walter Johnson threw his heater 83 MPH is total BS nonsense. That's little kid stuff, then and now. Total BS.
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  #79  
Old 08-04-2021, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Shoeless Moe View Post
Ohtani is 5-1

6 whopping decisions.

Wins are against Texas, Seattle, Detroit, Boston and Colorado - big deal.

Jeff Springs of Tampa is also 5-1, who? exactly.


Ohtani is a nice 6th starter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless Moe View Post
Babe Ruth vs Ohtani Career pitching

Ruth
94-46
2.28 era

3-0 in 2 WS with 0.87 era

Owetani
9-4
3.58 era

hasn't sniffed a playoff game (when everybody and their sister gets into the playoffs these days) let alone a WS

GOODNIGHT!
GOOD MORNING!

era as a word does not mean earned run average

and babe ruth is not a candy bar

I think you missed the point about comparing records 100 years apart

Against the pitching Ruth faced in 1919 as a batter, I would guess that Ohtani would hit more than 714 HRs.

Given the pitching that Ohtani is facing as a batter, I would guess that Ruth would hit less than 714 HRs.

This does not mean Ohtani is a better player than Ruth. It does not mean Ohtani will play for 20 years. It does not mean that Ruth should not be in the HOF.

The thread merely looks at the obstacles both faced by pitching and hitting daily in the same season, even though the seasons are 102 years apart and today’s game is different in many, many ways from 1919.

Babe Ruth said he couldn’t do it forever and it is likely that Ohtani will not either.

To mention their names in the same sentence is not balderdash though.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:08 PM
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Against the pitching Ruth faced in 1919 as a batter, I would guess that Ohtani would hit more than 714 HRs.
Nonsense! Just delusional nonsense.

Where did people today get the idea that MLB pitchers back then threw little league speed, when there were only 8 teams in each league, and the gene pool wasn't watered down?

Read Ritter's book to gain some insight into 19 teens and 20s pitching. I put more credence on reality rather than on speculation decades removed.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:19 PM
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I brought it up earlier but Bob Feller debuts in 1936, only a decade after Walter retires. I don't think anyone says Bob Feller threw in the 80s. Is it reasonable to think that the human body evolved so much in such little time? Bob Feller was 17 years old in 1936.

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Old 08-04-2021, 12:34 PM
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I brought it up earlier but Bob Feller debuts in 1936, only a decade after Walter retires. I don't think anyone says Bob Feller threw in the 80s. Is it reasonable to think that the human body evolved so much in such little time? Bob Feller was 17 years old in 1936.
I wonder how fast Grove threw, that would be interesting.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:41 PM
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That's another good example. Bob Feller was measured at 98 in 1946. I don't know how accurate that reading was either and even if it was, I think it's safe to assume he probably threw harder when he had less mileage.

If it is to be believe that Walter was throwing in the low 80s, and Walter retires 20 years before Feller is recorded at 98, how can that evolution be explained? Isn't it more likely the measurements for Walter were flawed?
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by packs View Post
I brought it up earlier but Bob Feller debuts in 1936, only a decade after Walter retires. I don't think anyone says Bob Feller threw in the 80s. Is it reasonable to think that the human body evolved so much in such little time? Bob Feller was 17 years old in 1936.
Walter Johnson was 49 years old in 1936. I think it's reasonable to think the arm developed that much in 32 years.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:44 PM
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Why? People are still throwing 98 to 100, which is where Feller was measured all the way back in 1946. It is 2021. In nearly 80 years the human body is still at the same peak when it comes to elite heat. Bob Feller was an elite arm in his time and would still be considered an elite arm now. How can 80 years change nothing but mountains were moved between Johnson and Feller?

The human body is only capable of so much. I would contend that elite arms have always thrown close to 100 mph and 100 years from now they will still be throwing 100 mph.

Steve Dalkowski might have been the hardest thrower in history and it wasn't due to any type of modern training. He just had the arm and his arm would have been the same no matter when he was born.

Last edited by packs; 08-04-2021 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:45 PM
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I think it is kinda cool we are comparing the Babe to a Japanese ballplayer.
I lived in Tokyo for 9 years during the 70's and 80's and can assure you that the Japanese are every bit as passionate about baseball as we are. While there, I became a die-hard, or as die-hard as possible being a gaijin (outsider), fan of the Tokyo Giants and attended many a game. I loved the custom of fans returning foul balls which are collected by an army of very pretty girls. Don't think that would work at Fenway. And while Nagashima, Oh, Ichiro and soon Ohtani are national icons, I don't believe they are held in the same esteem as Ruth, nor ever will be.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
Why? People are still throwing 98 to 100, which is where Feller was measured all the way back in 1946. It is 2021. In nearly 80 years the human body is still at the same peak when it comes to elite heat. Bob Feller was an elite arm in his time and would still be considered an elite arm now. How can 80 years change nothing but mountains were moved between Johnson and Feller?

The human body is only capable of so much. I would contend that elite arms have always thrown close to 100 mph and 100 years from now they will still be throwing 100 mph.

Steve Dalkowski might have been the hardest thrower in history and it wasn't due to any type of modern training. He just had the arm and his arm would have been the same no matter when he was born.
Another point that may support you is that the longest home runs don't really seem to be any longer than they were well back in the day. Something I haven't figured out.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:25 PM
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Also a good point. The human body can only do so much in the context of baseball. It can only throw so hard and it can only hit the ball so far. I think these are universal truths for this sport. That's not to say that the body hasn't evolved to dominate other sports in other ways.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
Also a good point. The human body can only do so much in the context of baseball. It can only throw so hard and it can only hit the ball so far. I think these are universal truths for this sport. That's not to say that the body hasn't evolved to dominate other sports in other ways.
Bottom Line to Me is I enjoy the History of sports and all those amazing players and I can only hope that many of these current players achieve greatness so I can enjoy them now and my kids/grandkids can enjoy them in the future
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:30 PM
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Not so sure dropping a modern day BB player into the game 100 years ago is the equivalent and proper comparison as having that same player being born 120-125 years ago and then growing up during those earlier times, subject to the training and techniques back then, let alone the differences the cultural and economic impact would have on their development. And then lets see how that modern day BB player would then fare playing 100 years ago, if he even played at all.

You guys are looking at just taking someone out of context and dropping them into a completely different situation and expecting a true and proper comparison can ever be made....it can't. Humans over the last few hundred years alone have changed and grown bigger, stronger, and faster due to advances in medicine, nutrition, and even economics. Don't discount things like the industrial revolution and advances in farming allowing for more nutritious food to be mass produced and available for more people than ever before to help in developing those bigger, stronger athletes of today, or the mechanization of society and the change from a formerly agrarian world society affording modern people more freedom and leisure time to play and train for sports now than they ever did in past history. Who's to say if Mike Trout were born 125 years ago if his family situation back then would even allow him time to ever play baseball, or if he had to work to support himself or his family instead. Ballplayers at the top levels back then didn't make the kind of money, relative to everyone else, that they do today. So you didn't have people seeking out and nurtuing young athletic talent like they do today, and put those young people into training regimens at earlier and earlier ages than ever before.

Combine that all with the underlying competetive nature of humans overall and the fact that records and achievements reached 50 or 100 years ago are now looked at and chased by modern athletes who strive to best them and train and practice even harder and more focused than ever just to do that. Those athletes of 50-100 years ago weren't necessarilly motivated or thinking the same way as they were the ones setting those records and achievements that others are now trying to best, or they had already bested those records and achievements set by even earlier athletes, and so could now relax and not necessarily worry and focus on taking their record even higher. Just imagine Ty Cobb growing up after Pete Rose and then setting his sights on besting Rose's all-time hits record.

And there is also the equipment and other intangible factors playing into all this. Balls, bats, gloves, even shoes, uniforms and things like sunglasses impact the way the game is now played. Players 100 years ago didn't have any of these advantages, which even though they may be more subtle, still help out the modern players and their play. And even the way players traveled between games could impact their performances. Back then there were long train rides instead of modern jet flights, and so on.

And lastly, you eventually come to some point where for certain physical, athletic achievements there is a pinnacle the human body can reach, and for some, we've pretty much reached those pinnacles of human performance already. For example, I've read somewhere that based on the human body, the absolute maximum speed someone could ever throw a baseball at was about 110MPH. No current human physiology will ever do that, but instead, you have more players now throwing into the upper 90's and even the 100's than ever before. And while it can be argued that if you took one of these modern pitchers and dropped him into a game 100 years ago, he'd likely blow everyone away.......at first. Don't forget that back then nobody threw baseballs that fast so the hitters of the day were never able to practice hitting against pitchers like that, nor needed to, and adjust accordingly. Its all more relative in baseball than in any other major sport. You take basketball or football, and it is basically about size, strength, and speed. Athletes in those sports from 50-100 years ago wouldn't stand much of a chance against the players in those same sports today, with probably a few exceptions for some of the all-time elite players from back in the day. Baseball though doesn't seem to have the overall glaring differences in the size, speed, and strength of players today versus those of 100 years ago. I'm sure the overall, average BB players of today would be slightly larger than those of 100 years ago, but that difference is more reflective of the fact and difference that the average male of 100 years ago is smaller than the average male of today.

We'll never be able to see any of these switches of players between eras occur to see how they would work out, but that is what makes the discussions so interesting. So maybe the best we can ever do is look at all the advanced analytics and statistics that baseball has available, and use that to compare how well a player performed relative to other players during the era they played in, and use that to compare against how well a player from a different era performed versus other players from his time.

Last edited by BobC; 08-04-2021 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by packs View Post
Also a good point. The human body can only do so much in the context of baseball. It can only throw so hard and it can only hit the ball so far. I think these are universal truths for this sport. That's not to say that the body hasn't evolved to dominate other sports in other ways.
There are probably theoretical limits to track and field, swimming, etc. and I do think the increments by which records are broken have become pretty tiny, so maybe eventually we'll get to the limit there. That said, back in the day I was running (not competitively but I did follow it), I never would have believed the current marathon times were possible.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:26 PM
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Another point that may support you is that the longest home runs don't really seem to be any longer than they were well back in the day. Something I haven't figured out.
I am not sure if Peter's remark was meant to be tongue-in-cheek but you can put me in the camp that is skeptical of the idea that players in the 1920s were hitting multiple 500+ foot home runs even though this is not done with regularity today. People can run faster, jump higher, lift heavier weights, hit a golf ball farther...but cannot hit a baseball farther than people 100 years ago?

Wouldn't the more likely answer be that earlier measurements were largely anecdotal or based on estimates ("some kid said the ball landed here", "I saw Babe hit them over the railroad tracks which must be 600 feet away") or were measured from where a ball stopped rolling. Versus today where we can fairly accurately say how far a ball would have traveled based on exit velocity and launch angle (which I assume is how they come up with current distances since a ball rarely actually lands at the stated distance).

To me Babe Ruth's home run achievements stand alone, especially in comparison to other players of his era. He was the outlier of all outliers. I just don't think we need to make stuff up for this to be true. And saying that there is a similarity between 1919 Ruth and 2021 Ohtani (a starting pitcher who also played a position and hit a lot of home runs) doesn't take away from either player's accomplishments. I think it adds to both players. Ruth because he did something (in a season) that has not happened again for so long and Ohtani because he is doing something (in a season) that was last done by the consensus greatest player ever.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:32 PM
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I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Dimensions of old stadiums were far larger to the deepest part of the park than today's stadiums. Many of the home runs hit today would have been long fly balls in any other era. If people are hitting the ball farther today, then why did the fences get moved in?

To create offense, of course. Chicks dig the long ball, etc. But my point is that people aren't hitting the ball further. The game has catered to the opposite.

I think you're also skipping over some important details in what you're saying. Golf, for instance, has completely overhauled it's tools. Nobody hitting a golf ball today is using similar materials to someone 100 years ago. But baseball is relatively unchanged. The ball is wound differently, but it's the same weight it's always been. Bats are still made out of the same wood they've always been made out of. The mound is still the same distance away.

Last edited by packs; 08-04-2021 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:40 PM
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Wasn't being tongue in cheek. People measured home runs back then, thus the term, tape measure shot. Wasn't just anecdote and tall tale. Ruth hit some balls out of parks like Forbes Field (his last game), no? And I think one of his way back with Boston was measured at close to 600. Move the discussion forward, is anyone hitting them further than Kingman did 40 years ago?
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:52 PM
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Okay, maybe I should be less skeptical. I think the term tape-measure came from Mantle's home run out of Griffith Stadium in 1953, but I can't say for sure home runs were not accurately measured in 1921. Although, would people really think of doing that at the time? And for every home run Babe Ruth was said to have hit over 500 feet?

I guess the upshot for me is that I also can't figure out why, for an athletic feat that basically requires strength and coordination, people do not hit the ball farther than they used to.

My conclusion was that maybe they didn't really hit the ball as far as people say they did. But, absolutely, I could be wrong about that. Especially because essentially I am saying we don't really know how far they hit the ball back then.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:54 PM
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
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I think you're also skipping over some important details in what you're saying. Golf, for instance, has completely overhauled it's tools. Nobody hitting a golf ball today is using similar materials to someone 100 years ago. But baseball is relatively unchanged. The ball is wound differently, but it's the same weight it's always been. Bats are still made out of the same wood they've always been made out of. The mound is still the same distance away.
Yes, I was thinking about that with golf, that would explain it (I didn't want to overload my post). But I guess what I was saying is that with essentially the same material, people today are not hitting the ball farther than distances reported 100 years ago.

I guess my inclination was to conclude that the distances reported may not have been accurate. But I guess one can also conclude that players today (except for maybe Stanton, Ohtani, and Judge) cannot hit the ball as far as players used to be able to hit them. I really don't know, of course.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:03 PM
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Can we at least agree that Ohtani is having a pretty good season? But that Babe Ruth was a better player?
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:23 PM
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Ohtani is having a great season. I watch him play every chance I get. Are players today better than players of the past? NO. You can not compare different era's. Think of the equipment used. Could today's players catch a ball in the early day gloves? Todays glover are at least twice the size, and they still have trouble catching a ball. They wouldn't even know how to catch in one of those old gloves. That why the old saying was two hands catching. How about bats? could todays players hit with the old clunky bats they used back then? I'll bet the early players would have loved to get their hands on one of the new skinny bats. The baseball were not yet as hard as today, yet they could hit em a mile. And last but not least the pitchers. ERA doesn't mean much today as starting pitchers last only five or six innings before being replaced by a reliever. The old timers pitched a game from start to finish whether it be nine innings or fifteen innings. Players from all eras would play just as well as each other. You can't compare era's now or ever. Same game, same way to play.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless Moe View Post
Babe Ruth vs Ohtani Career pitching

Ruth
94-46
2.28 era

3-0 in 2 WS with 0.87 era

Owetani
9-4
3.58 era

hasn't sniffed a playoff game (when everybody and their sister gets into the playoffs these days) let alone a WS

GOODNIGHT!
Ruth pitched in the dead ball era though. Not even remotely close to an apples to apples comparison.
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