Greatest Hitters Ever Comment Party

I'm starting a comment party about baseball in general and the Greatest Hitters Ever!

I'll post date it to October 1 [just in time to start a Play-offs comment party] so it will stay at the top, under the last call party.

So, if you are a baseball fan, jump in and let's hear your 2cents on the topic at hand!!

by Madfish Willie on April 13 :: Permalink :: Comments (20) :: Baseball
BLATHER REVIEW links with: Aaah, the sweet smell of horse-hide


Todays topic is the Greatest Hitters Ever!

Let's discuss Ted Williams - The Splendid Splinter! Perhaps the Greatest Hitter of All Time? You tell me... I know where discussion always starts... Babe Ruth.

The floor is now open!

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 2, 2004 09:57 PM

Well Willie, I heven't studied the stats like you have, so my comments are coming from a slightly ignorant point of view. Everyone who knows anything at all about baseball knows about Ted Wiliams' greatness, and EVERYONE knows who the Babe is, and Ican't say much more about that....But what about the growing trend of pitchers to intentionally walk anybody who starts to get a reputation as a hitter? It's just frickin' frustrating that they won't pitch to 'em, even though today's pitchers have the most ungodly throwing arms. I may be way off base here (heh) but I think those guys are pussies.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh on April 2, 2004 10:05 PM

Today's pitchers are pussies! Except for The Rocket

Check complete games stats... innings pitched... games started. Nobody can finish what they start and they don't start anything anymore. Time was a hitter crowding the plate got knocked on his ass, got up, brushed himself off, and knocked the crap out of the ball. Nowadays, with the ever shrinking strike zone, hitters crowd the plate, NO, they stand OVER the plate, wearing arm pads and leg pads and head pads... Fuck, this is BASEBALL not FOOTBALL. If a hitter can just stand over the plate without fear of getting knocked on his ass and it actually "hurting" him, they would have different stats. That's for sure.

I can tell you for a fact that Bob Gibson would have drilled in the batters box and then when they came out to the mound, he would have drilled them there too! Damn... I miss REAL baseball.

And don't get me started on salaries. That's a discussion for another day.

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 2, 2004 10:16 PM

Ted Williams' batting prowess isn't all that debatable. He had a lifetime AVG of .344 which ranks 6th behind Ty Cobb(.367), Rogers Hornsby(.358), Joe Jackson(.356), Ed Delahanty(.346) and Tris Speaker(.345).

Interestingly, all of the players ahead of Ted -- and most of the players immediately behind him -- played during the dead-ball era. During that time the equipment - like the balls and the gloves - were such that power was rare and hit totals were high.
In the 19th century through 1920s it was not an oddity that the league-leading hitter hit .400.
(In fact, in one year Joe Jackson hit .400+ but lost the batting title to Ty Cobb!)
The beauty of Ted's .406 mark in 1941 was that Ted hit .400 when nobody hit .400!

On the power scale he was on a par with Ruth, and very well may have topped the Bambino had he not lost 5 seasons in his prime to military service in WW2 and Korea.
He ended up with a career total of 521 HR, but, looking at his stats, would have probably added another 175-180 in those missing seasons bringing the total to around 690-700. An extra hot streak or two during those seasons and 715 was definately in reach!

Here are Ted Williams' HR totals by season:
1939: 31
1940: 23
1941: 37
1942: 36
1943: --
1944: --
1945: --
1946: 38
1947: 32
1948: 25
1949: 43
1950: 28
1951: 30
1952: 1**
1953: 13**
1954: 29
1955: 28
1956: 24
1957: 38
1958: 26
1959: 10
1960: 29

**Due to Ted's service in Korea, in 1952 and 1953 he had a combined total of 101 at-bats, 14 HRs and batted .406.

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 3, 2004 08:39 PM

I should ammend that. Ted was a par with Ruth in his potential for a lifetime total of HRs. Given that Ted's best mark was 43 HRs (in 1949), despite his consistency, he was obviously not as prolific a power hitter as Ruth (who regularly hit in the 40s and 50s and, of course, 1927, hit 60... without steroids).

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 3, 2004 08:46 PM

You beat me to the punch there.

But in the 17 seasons they both actually had as hitters, Ruth only hit less than 34 HR 2 times - '19 when he played 130 games and hit 29 which led the league and '25 when he played 98 games and hit 25. So on a season to season basis, I think my case maight be a bit stroner than yours. Now, Ruth did lead the league in SO 4 times but he also led the league in BB 11 times. A lifetime batting average of .342 is only .002 behind Williams. Plus Williams couldn't match Ruth's other power numbers eg 2B & 3B.

Overall, I would say my arguement is stronger than yours, but just because of the power numbers.

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 3, 2004 10:27 PM

Heh. I very nearly left another post rexcanting what I'd written!! But, I decided that the post could stand as a "let's discuss and celebrate great hitters" - like Ted Williams: Hitter Supreme - rather than as a case for Ted as "Greatest Hitter Ever" (which wasn't specifically made ---- yeah, it's revisionist, but only you and I know that that was what I was doing! er...'til now!!)

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 3, 2004 10:53 PM

Okay... let's concede that Ruth and Williams are the Best 2 Ever any way you rank them... Who would you consider to be the third, fourth, fifth greatest hitters?

I have a few surprises here I think. This is where the discussion can really get started.

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 4, 2004 02:24 AM

Plus we can do some what-ifs on Williams's 5 missed years in his prime and/or Ruth's early years as a damn fine pitcher. He has one of the leading lifetime ERA ever, 2-20 win seasons. Damn, could that guy play or what? I wonder how good a fielder he was. He had to just have a gun for an arm being a pitcher and all. Which brings up who is the best player ever? Much to discuss this spring, summer and fall!

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 4, 2004 02:28 AM

I just wanna know why this bar is full of old timers who can't fucking shaddap about ted willaims and baby freakin ruth! WTF?

I wanna know when Clemens is gonna finally kill somebody, if Smoltz is ever gonna pitch 9 innings again, and if Greg Maddux is actually a clone created by russian scientists working in top secret mormon laboratorys in salt lake city utah!

And By The Way, John Rocker was RIGHT about all of you damned subway eatin yanks!

Posted by: Monte Carlo on April 5, 2004 10:02 PM

Awww shit, you mean this is a HITTERS thread????

Fer cryin out loud i thought you said PICTHERS!

Well send me another pitcher of beer, and forget everything i said. Well except the bit about you boring old timers..

Hey willie, what do your scores look like if you drop all home runs, and all RBI's from homers, and only count balls hit on the ground? Homers are so boring...

Ummm, PITCHER! I said PITCHER! Fosters, Killians, I don't give a damn! Fill er up!

Posted by: Monte Carlo on April 5, 2004 10:07 PM

Well, I presume you'll be putting Ty Cobb at #3 -- just as I would.

The problem, though, with comparing hitters of different eras is that we have only the stats to go by -- and they only tell us how they performed against their particular competition. Athletes are better trained and better equipped today.
Was Cobb really a better hitter than Tony Gwynn? Or Wade Boggs? Or even Bill Madlock?
If we could somehow time-warp Cobb, in his prime, to face todays major league pitchers, for all we know he'd be lucky to hit .290.

Remember Mark Spitz? He won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympics. Yet, his best performance in '72 wouldn't even have qualified for the '88 Olympic team!

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 6, 2004 12:29 AM

Monte Carlo is a peckerhead, don't pay any attention to him.

Mark Spitz also set 7 World Records while winning those 7 Gold Medals... don' forget that! He was a totally dominate athlete is his sport. Don't you think that whatever he had inside of him to drive him to waste everyone he raced against would be just as effective today. And take into account that had he raced today, he would have had the advantages of modern sports medicine, training techniques, and technologies. He still would be kicking their ass, IMHO.

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 6, 2004 12:55 AM

Swimming??? Now we're talking SWIMMING? and some how I'M the peckerhead?

Bah, that's the last time i ever let you swipe javascripts from the master...

Posted by: Grand Prix on April 6, 2004 11:29 AM

Fair point, Madfish. But if we say that Hornsby or Cobb are near the top of the list because of their astronomical batting averages, we have to account for the fact that the fielders they were hitting through in their day had gloves the size of sock puppets. So, how can we compare Cobb's lifetime .367 batting average to Tony Gwynn's .339? Or Cobb to Stan Musial .331 AVG with 475 HRs in the '40s & '50s?
Perhaps all those pre-Ruthian (deadball era) hitters and pitchers really oughta be evaluated apart from the post-Ruthians.

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 6, 2004 06:25 PM

Yeah... forgot about those groovey gloves they used to wear. They would also leave them in the field for the other team to use. I wonder who owned the gloves? The ballteam? Certainly not the ballplayer?

I guess the point I am trying to make is this:

I athlete with superior athletic skills and determination to those around him would be just as successful in any era. How many HR you think Ruth would hit today? How high an average would Hornsby have? What would Musial's numbers be? I think they would have the same margin of superior performance to today's players as they were to players of their era.

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 6, 2004 06:37 PM

The same margin, but not the same numbers.
I suspect that we agree and are just taking two different sides of the same agreearguement.

Damn! This wa supposed to go on for six months.

Okay, new topic! Hornaby vs. Cobb. Slight advantage in power versus slight advantage in on-base percentage. Discuss...

Posted by: on April 6, 2004 10:01 PM

The same margin, but not the same numbers.
I suspect that we agree and are just taking two different sides of the same agree arguement.

Damn! This was supposed to go on for six more months.

Okay, new topic! Hornaby vs. Cobb. Slight advantage in power versus slight advantage in on-base percentage. Discuss...

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 6, 2004 10:05 PM

Yeep. HTML gremlin strikes again.

Posted by: Tuning Spork on April 6, 2004 10:10 PM

I was gonna say: Hornsby... and not even close.

Because of the power factor. But then I really got into the stats and I'm gonna have to go with Cobb, although he didn't have HR power

All Time Rank Comaprison:

Cobb #04 2B, #02 3B, #06 RBI, #39 BB, #--- SO
Hornsby #21 2B, #25 3B, #29 RBI, #85 BB, #456 SO

Hornsby's edge in HR don't offset Cobb's other power numbers, although Cobb did have 4300 more AB and 800 more games in 1 more season. To be fair to Hornsby, 5 of those seasons he played in less than 25 games.

Hornsby's 5 year run from 1921 through 1925 was perhaps the greatest sustained hitting ever seen. Hornsby's BA during those seasons: .397, .401, .384, .424, .403. The year before that run his BA was .370

I'm changing my mind in the middle of this post... and here's why...

Taking Hornsby's years in which he played "full" seasons, he clearly would have hit more 2B, HR, RBI. BA is going to be a real close race, 3B going to Cobb. Overall... as a hitter I want Hornsby!

Posted by: Madfish Willie on April 7, 2004 12:19 PM
Let's hear your bullshit

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