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Greatest hitter of all-time

doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 21,667 ✭✭✭✭✭

Ted Williams, is it Ted Williams?

The name's Jones....freakin' Mustache Jones.

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  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 28,553 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not a bad Choice DD !

  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ll put forth George Herman…



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  • 2dueces2dueces Posts: 5,843 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ty Cobb

    W.C.Fields
    "I spent 50% of my money on alcohol, women, and gambling. The other half I wasted.
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    Joe Dimaggio's numbers were suppressed by his home park more than any other all time great, and in fact, the entire league overall had parks that favored left handed hitters. I'm not going to bore anyone with the statistics, but the math supports the visual aids here as well. The league splits show the favorable advantage too. Yes, I know that the league splits are also influenced by the fact that there are more RH pitchers for lefties to hit, but I go beyond that factor with another key step to show that the league did indeed favor left handed hitters more so than RH.

    In the specific case of Dimaggio, you can see below how all the RF fences would fit into the left field of Yankee Stadium. These are the distances of the right field fences around the league, flipped and superimposed into the Yankee Stadium left field. Included in there is Yankee Stadium's RF.

    If you flip left field of Yankee stadium into RF of Fenway, you can also see that Ted Williams was NOT as handcuffed by his home park as much as Dimaggio by his, as some have suggested. You can clearly see that Yankee Stadium LF was much larger than Fenway RF. In fact, Williams hit the longest home run ever at Fenway in RF, and that only clears the distance of the Yankee stadium left field by a few rows.

    Also, Centerfield is also much bigger in Yankee stadium, and deep left center field in Fenway was also quite small, and those are areas that left handed hitters like Williams benefitted from to offset his further RF.

    One of the most extreme parks in the league that favored left handed hitters was League Park in Cleveland. The visual should say it all. The splits also agree. No stats here, none needed.

    I read one of Bill James's studies about Dimaggio's home park hurting him, and his missing war years, and he came up with new career totals to highlight better how good Dimaggio was. James needed to go one step further in that study and include the fact that league's parks overall configurations hurt RH hitters, compared to their LH counterparts.

    The reality is that Joe Dimaggio is actually one of the most underrated players ever. Most don't take into account his gigantic LF, many forget he lost years to the war, and nobody takes into account the overall park configuration hurting him compared to the Left Handed hitting greats of the era, and to future RH hitters who didn't have that same problem to deal with.

    Ok, one stat. We have heard how Ruth outhomered every team in the league one year. Impressive, but other guys in the league back then out homered entire teams too, and some several teams. Gavvy Cravath out homered 7 teams by himself in TWO different years. Tillie Walker out homered five teams one year. Cy Williams out homered four. Etc. Home Runs were kind of new.

    Looking at the stadium configurations above, in 1937 Joe Dimaggio hit 19 home runs at HOME in 306 at bats. Every other RH hitter in the league had 3,029 at bats IN YANKEE STADIUM. In 3,029 at bats they only hit 32 home runs.

    Dimaggio was one home run per 16 at bats in Yankee Stadium
    The entire league of RH hitters were one home run per 94 at bats in Yankee stadium.

    That is dominance.

    Keep in mind, Dimaggo wasn't just a home run hitter. I'm sure those home run numbers would be even better if he was not also such an extreme contact and high average hitter. He also played a graceful Centerfield and was a smart hustling baserunner. He was the complete player in every facet to go along with being the best hitter(maybe close 2nd) in the league while in his prime(yes as good as Williams when you consider the park dimensions).

    When you talk about 'best players in their prime Dimaggio is as good as ANYONE, when you look at ALL the factors known and unknown.

    Here is what Bill James came up with filling in the missing war years AND considering his park detriment. What James does not account for is the league wide advantage Left Handers had over Right Handed batters. So those numbers should even be higher for Dimaggio.

    Dimaggio retired early so he will fall short career wise even with the missing war years, but if you are looking at a 12 year peak and consider the disadvantages he had for his environment compared to his league mates(and more so the left handed league mates), then he stacks up even with Ruth in just hitting. That isn't accounting for baserunning and defense advantage dimaggio had.

  • LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,567 ✭✭✭✭✭

  • countdouglascountdouglas Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭✭

    .

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 9,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think it comes down to 3 players:
    Ruth
    Williams
    Bonds

    3 different eras, though pretty close for Ruth and Williams. I could be convinced any of the 3 were the best. for me, they are pretty close.

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 9,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:
    Joe Dimaggio's numbers were suppressed by his home park more than any other all time great, and in fact, the entire league overall had parks that favored left handed hitters. I'm not going to bore anyone with the statistics, but the math supports the visual aids here as well. The league splits show the favorable advantage too. Yes, I know that the league splits are also influenced by the fact that there are more RH pitchers for lefties to hit, but I go beyond that factor with another key step to show that the league did indeed favor left handed hitters more so than RH.

    In the specific case of Dimaggio, you can see below how all the RF fences would fit into the left field of Yankee Stadium. These are the distances of the right field fences around the league, flipped and superimposed into the Yankee Stadium left field. Included in there is Yankee Stadium's RF.

    If you flip left field of Yankee stadium into RF of Fenway, you can also see that Ted Williams was NOT as handcuffed by his home park as much as Dimaggio by his, as some have suggested. You can clearly see that Yankee Stadium LF was much larger than Fenway RF. In fact, Williams hit the longest home run ever at Fenway in RF, and that only clears the distance of the Yankee stadium left field by a few rows.

    Also, Centerfield is also much bigger in Yankee stadium, and deep left center field in Fenway was also quite small, and those are areas that left handed hitters like Williams benefitted from to offset his further RF.

    One of the most extreme parks in the league that favored left handed hitters was League Park in Cleveland. The visual should say it all. The splits also agree. No stats here, none needed.

    I read one of Bill James's studies about Dimaggio's home park hurting him, and his missing war years, and he came up with new career totals to highlight better how good Dimaggio was. James needed to go one step further in that study and include the fact that league's parks overall configurations hurt RH hitters, compared to their LH counterparts.

    The reality is that Joe Dimaggio is actually one of the most underrated players ever. Most don't take into account his gigantic LF, many forget he lost years to the war, and nobody takes into account the overall park configuration hurting him compared to the Left Handed hitting greats of the era, and to future RH hitters who didn't have that same problem to deal with.

    Ok, one stat. We have heard how Ruth outhomered every team in the league one year. Impressive, but other guys in the league back then out homered entire teams too, and some several teams. Gavvy Cravath out homered 7 teams by himself in TWO different years. Tillie Walker out homered five teams one year. Cy Williams out homered four. Etc. Home Runs were kind of new.

    Looking at the stadium configurations above, in 1937 Joe Dimaggio hit 19 home runs at HOME in 306 at bats. Every other RH hitter in the league had 3,029 at bats IN YANKEE STADIUM. In 3,029 at bats they only hit 32 home runs.

    Dimaggio was one home run per 16 at bats in Yankee Stadium
    The entire league of RH hitters were one home run per 94 at bats in Yankee stadium.

    That is dominance.

    Keep in mind, Dimaggo wasn't just a home run hitter. I'm sure those home run numbers would be even better if he was not also such an extreme contact and high average hitter. He also played a graceful Centerfield and was a smart hustling baserunner. He was the complete player in every facet to go along with being the best hitter(maybe close 2nd) in the league while in his prime(yes as good as Williams when you consider the park dimensions).

    When you talk about 'best players in their prime Dimaggio is as good as ANYONE, when you look at ALL the factors known and unknown.

    Here is what Bill James came up with filling in the missing war years AND considering his park detriment. What James does not account for is the league wide advantage Left Handers had over Right Handed batters. So those numbers should even be higher for Dimaggio.

    Dimaggio retired early so he will fall short career wise even with the missing war years, but if you are looking at a 12 year peak and consider the disadvantages he had for his environment compared to his league mates(and more so the left handed league mates), then he stacks up even with Ruth in just hitting. That isn't accounting for baserunning and defense advantage dimaggio had.

    that is a very compelling case for Dimag!

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 9,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have often wondered about players who lost significant time to injury/war/early retirement and what they "could" have done in a perfect world.

    Williams without time lost for War
    Smokey Joe Wood and Koufax had their arms stayed intact
    Griffey had he not fallen apart after age 30
    Mattingly with no back injury
    Gooden/Strawberry without drug use
    could Paul Molitor have broken the hits record had he not missed so much time in the 1980s

    the list could go on and on.

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One of the best and one of the worst....


    Can you guess which is which?

  • DarinDarin Posts: 5,960 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hydrant said:
    One of the best and one of the worst....


    Can you guess which is which?

    I know dom DiMaggio is next to Ted and he was a good hitter. The other two I don’t know so one of them was pretty bad?

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    DiMaggio is very underrated.

    Rogers Hornsby should be mentioned along with Jimmie Foxx.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,236 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can confirm that it wasn't Mario Mendoza :)

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • DarinDarin Posts: 5,960 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Tris Speaker never gets mentioned.
    Maybe not the greatest but certainly walks among the great hitters of the game.

    Rabbit maranville would be one of the worst among everyday players.
    .256 career hitter when hitting
    100-150 points higher than that was very common.

  • @craig44 said:
    I have often wondered about players who lost significant time to injury/war/early retirement and what they "could" have done in a perfect world.

    Williams without time lost for War
    Smokey Joe Wood and Koufax had their arms stayed intact
    Griffey had he not fallen apart after age 30
    Mattingly with no back injury
    Gooden/Strawberry without drug use
    could Paul Molitor have broken the hits record had he not missed so much time in the 1980s

    the list could go on and on.

    Add Jimmie Foxx to that list. Basically done at 34.

    Furthermore, looking at that info above regarding DiMaggio and how the left fields in the league were bigger than the Right Fields, and then seeing that Foxx hit 58 home runs in one season...it isn't a stretch at all to believe that without that disadvantage that he would have been the all time single season Home Run leader.

    Add Greenberg too. He lost three years to the war, lost almost all of 1941, and almost all of 1936. He lost FIVE years in his prime and then came back and was done at 37. He also hit 58 home runs as a right handed hitter in one season.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 22, 2022 11:37AM

    I first want to say that Ruth is incredible. No denying that, and anything I point out isn't a knock against him, but if I had to pick one hitter to sign to a ten year contract knowing that the baseball environment could change at any time to the deadball era of 1909, to the new live ball era of 1920's/30's, or the beginning of the modern era of the late 40's....I would pick Ted Williams.

    I would also pick Williams as the most likely pre-war batter to be as good as anyone in the modern era of the last 50 years.

    Williams could thrive with the contact oriented batting of the dead ball era, during the combination of the contact/live ball era of the 20'2/30's, during the modern era, and during the ultra modern era of today.

    I am making some assumptions there of course, but that is my best guess estimate based on the hitting style/mechanics he possessed as well as the results he put up.

    I have considered so many things in analyzing the game through the centuries and at times I may say some things so direct and dry that it may seem as a dig against Ruth. I'm just considering all of the factors when I do such examinations....but do know, when push comes to shove, one can never go wrong with the Babe:

  • ajaanajaan Posts: 16,925 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Joe Jackson


    DPOTD-3
    'Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery'

    CU #3245 B.N.A. #428


    Don
  • 2dueces2dueces Posts: 5,843 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ty Cobb. End of discussion

    W.C.Fields
    "I spent 50% of my money on alcohol, women, and gambling. The other half I wasted.
  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 22, 2022 11:56AM

    @2dueces said:
    Ty Cobb. End of discussion

    I've told this story before, but so what.....
    My Grandma was born in Detroit in 1893. She was a Tigers fan to the end.....She would tell me stories about when she was a girl and the neighborhood kids would go to the Tiger Ball Park....They had no money to buy tickets...They would hang around after the game started and then a man would come out and say, "You kids can come in but you have to all sit together and don't run around and cause trouble".... That's how the kids got to see the Tigers...long ago.......

    She also told me that Ty Cobb had a BIG car and he would wave to the kids when he drove by......

    Ty Cobb....Maybe the best......Who Knows?

    My Grandma thought so,...She loved those Tigers!

  • BrickBrick Posts: 4,855 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The worst hitter is the guy on the right. I believe his name is Joe Shlabotnik.

    Collecting 1960 Topps Baseball in PSA 8
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    Ralph

  • firstbase23firstbase23 Posts: 438 ✭✭✭

    I vote Ted Williams.

    Matt

  • TabeTabe Posts: 5,792 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Barry Bonds.

    He played his entire career in an integrated league facing relievers throwing 100mph and still set records.

  • DarinDarin Posts: 5,960 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tabe said:
    Barry Bonds.

    He played his entire career in an integrated league facing relievers throwing 100mph and still set records.

    I would agree with that since double D titled the thread ‘greatest hitter of all time’ without specifying a particular species such as human.

  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 23, 2022 7:21AM

    Who knows?

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just one man's opinion, but I don't want to place a GOAT crown on anyone based on what might have happened. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were outstanding hitters, but with 7K plate appearances I eliminate Joe D. right off the bat. Dick Allen also has 7K plate appearances and an OPS+ 1 point higher than DiMaggio. Williams has a much stronger case, and I can't dismiss it. I still vote for the Babe, but I think Williams is nipping at his heels. If you fill in five great years then I think Williams wins, and he can wear that hypothetical crown, but I don't think he earned the real crown.

    With all due respect, Terry Bradshaw sucks.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,022 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 23, 2022 12:47PM

    I’d say Ted Williams. He had the batting average, and his home run total would have increased by at 150 had he not lost five years (1943, '44 and '45 plus virtually all of 1952 played only 37 games in '53), while in his prime, to military service. It was completely unfair when he drafted for the Korean War in the early 1950s.

    He also played half his games in Fenway Park which has a deep right field. Add to that the fact that he playing on some mediocre teams at the end of his career. That allowed pitchers to pitch around him unlike the situation Ruth and DiMaggio faced.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • coolstanleycoolstanley Posts: 2,179 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The guy who holds all the records.......BB

    Terry Bradshaw was AMAZING!!

    Ignore list -Basebal21

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @ajaan said:
    Joe Jackson

    I was trying to find a case for him a few weeks ago. I guess since MLB network has been playing Eight Men out non stop it brought him back to me.

    I kept running into Ty Cobb though and he was from the same era with slightly better stats in the same era. I didn't see any way I could put Jackson over Cobb as a hitter. I was trying. There is no era adjustment or anything like that which could change the tide.

    Jackson is definitely in the what if category for the obvious reasons.

    I still wish I pulled the trigger on his rookie card in the early 2000's. I said, "I'll grab one later." It is still later :( I'm still looking....but not sure gonna pull the trigger at the prices for a low grade one of those.

  • BaltimoreYankeeBaltimoreYankee Posts: 2,865 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The first name that popped into my head when I saw the title of the post was Ted Williams. Just between the batting average, power and the fact that he missed 3 prime years due to military service. Lots of other good names in this thread as well.

    Daniel
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:
    Just one man's opinion, but I don't want to place a GOAT crown on anyone based on what might have happened. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were outstanding hitters, but with 7K plate appearances I eliminate Joe D. right off the bat. Dick Allen also has 7K plate appearances and an OPS+ 1 point higher than DiMaggio. Williams has a much stronger case, and I can't dismiss it. I still vote for the Babe, but I think Williams is nipping at his heels. If you fill in five great years then I think Williams wins, and he can wear that hypothetical crown, but I don't think he earned the real crown.

    That's the thing, The Babe doesn't need any hypothetical years. Williams or anyone else's only chance to compete with the Babe is through a peak evaluation.

    I will always view Williams missing years far differently than someone who left due to injury or early retirement or being washed up(dick allen). Completely different reason.

    Joe D OPS+ includes a completely inaccurate park adjustment due to the extreme configuration of the park as outlined above. The OPS+ is flat out wrong for him. Add that league wide it was more advantageous for left handed hitters, Joe D shines much brighter, and this aspect is almost impossible to measure. The best way to feel it is to take batting practice with the same parks as outlined above where the RF fences all fit inside the vast left field of Yankee Stadium, and then hit at a park the size of Yankee stadium left field.

    The stats accumulated for Left Handed hitters at Cleveland's League Park should't even count it is that ridiculous. Or for pull hitters(fly ball hitters) at the Polo Grounds for that matter too.

    Those small left handed porches in the league make Yankee stadium short porch seem park neutral, which it isn't in reality, but the only way to feel that reality is by going to a field and hitting balls with fences configured the same distances as those parks. There is a league park retro field in Ohio. Would be a very nice visual experiment.

    Of course, only looking at the splits at parks can lead to sample size problems, but some common sense comes into play there too. Joe D. hit among his worst at League park due to that vast left field fence. Wheras guys like Ruth and Williams destroyed it at League Park...nearly all lefties did.

    All one has to do is travel to the new League Park with the same dimensions and it will be felt immediately.

    Same for Griffith stadium and its large left field. Joe D hit well there, but that doesn't mean that the park kept him from hitting even better. It only takes some common sense to see that if the Left Field at Griffith Stadium were the same as one of the shorter porches in the AL, that Joe D would do better there, or at least recognize that he was handcuffed by the physical configuration.

    So just doubling Joe D's road stats like James did is not enough. Griffith and league park alone are so vastly detrimental to RH hitters that it throws that out of whack.

    Then of course the Death Valley of Left Field at Yankee stadium is so ridiculously hard on RH hitters that Joe D is getting severely underrated in the OPS+ because it does not account for that at all. Allen does not compare as a result.

    As a result, the park effects of pre-war times are really out of whack due to the vast differences and odd shapes of the fields.

    Even with all that considered, I agree that he won't beat the Babe in hitting, but it would put him close enough that when you consider baserunning and defense, that Joe D in his prime is right there with the Babe and Williams. Joe D will fall short career wise because he retired relatively early too.

    Also, Joe D's missing years are in his prime where as Dick Allen's 'missing years' would be when he was washed up from age 34 and on. BIg difference.

    Joe D, like Williams, gets a different consideration for the missing war years...unlike Allen who missed years because he was no longer good enough to be employed.

  • @dallasactuary I've tried for years to go through this and normalize it for era, using population figures, societal factors, league environment on the field/around the league, and statistical results. Those provide some answers as to why Babe Ruth was able to out homer every team in the league. Those factors show Ruth was actually human and not a God. He did feats like that because of the factors above whereas players from the last 70 years did not have such environmental factors that would allow an elite athlete to do that to the other elite athletes they competed against. I've expounded before, so won't again.

    You have posited that even considering all that, that Ruth is still the best player ever. That despite living and playing with an overall less competitive pool of humans(mainly due to the sheer lower numbers of humans AVAILABLE), that Ruth still is the best.

    Now this topic comes up, and I've posted info about how Joe D is severely underrated(which is true). I even picked Ted Williams as the best hitter and gave an explanation for it using my best available evidence statistically and mechanics-wise, and it has forced me to dig in again. I don't know if that is good or bad :).

    Ruth's best six year peak from 1919-1924:
    3,729 plate appearances with a 1.262 OPS and a 227 OPS+. He led the league in both those every one of those years.

    In 1919 and 1920 MLB averaged a HR once every 167 at bats and once every 140 at bats, and Ruth was the best hitter in that league environment.

    Then the ball changed, the league philosophy started to change, and more players who were elite power hitters like Ruth started coming in and in.

    1921 the home run rate was once every 95 at bats, and 1922 it was once every 80 at bats, things were changing....and Ruth was the best hitter during that ongoing change, again.

    Then moving a little further along Babe's career, he had his next best peak from 1926-1931:
    3,953 Plate Appearances with a 1.206 OPS and a 213 OPS+. He led the league in both those every one of those years.

    By 1929 the league was homering once every 63 at bats, in 1930 once every 59 at bats....and Ruth was the best hitter still.

    By 1930, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig were well established as elite HOF hitters and Ruth was still the best in the league. Gehrig was always nipping at Ruth's heals but could never get past him in OPS+.

    Foxx in 1932 led MLB that year with a 207 OPS+, Ruth still finished second at 201(and that isn't even included in his second peak of years).

    Ruth was beating Gehrig and Foxx in their primes as they overlapped each other. Soon MLB kept churning along and the best hitters in each of the following years were:

    1933 Foxx at 201.....Ruth was third at 176 as he entered his twilight.
    1934 Gehrig at 207....Ruth was fourth at 160 at 39 yrs old and his last full season.
    1935 Foxx was 2nd at 182
    1936 Gehrig at 190
    1937 Gehrig 2nd at 176
    1938 Foxx 183
    1939 Foxx 188. Dimaggio was 2nd at 184. Ted Williams at 160 lower on the board.
    1940 Dimaggio 2nd at173.. Ted Williams at 162
    1941 Williams 235. Dimaggio second at 185.
    1942 Williams 216.

    Why am I dong that exercise above? I am showing that Ruth was the best in a league that had Foxx and Gehrig. Foxx and Gehrig were the best in a league that had Ted Williams and Dimaggio. Then Ted Williams was the best in a league that had Dimaggio and Greenberg(greenberg not listed above but he was there too).

    Which gets you to Ted Williams best six year prime:

    Ted Williams from 1941-1949(only six years playing due to WWII).
    4,010 Plate Appearances with a 1.161 OPS and a 208 OPS+. He was the best in his league in both those each of those years like Ruth was in his primes.

    You see that Williams does have a lower raw OPS than Ruth did in each of Ruth's two primes. The league was a little different by then and OPS+ helps equalize that but Williams at 208 was still lower than both of Ruth's primes.

    Now one might say, "But Williams had better players to compete against." Nothing really changed in America to make that statement in that time period, and the exercise above chained their common competitors and shows that Ruth dominated his competitors, who in turn dominated William's competitors(and sometimes Williams himself).

    Baseball moved on. Baseball integrated. Integration was slow. There was not an influx and there was no cliff point. The game continued to evolve with more home runs, more strikeouts, and less contact than previous generations.

    Ted Williams was still playing. We know above that Williams played against Ruth's competitors at one point, and their competitors all played against each other, and Ruth reigned as the best of all of them at that time.

    Ted William's second prime is from 1952-1960. Some partial years due to Korean WAR and an injury or two, but similar amount of plate appearances as the six year primes listed above;

    3,353 Plate Appearances 1.113 OPS and a 192 OPS+. In the four full years he qualified with enough plate appearances Williams was first in MLB twice, and 2nd, and 3rd. Not quite as dominant as Ruth, but dominant.

    Keep in mind, from 1952-1960, MLB already included prime years from Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays. Amazingly, old man Ted Williams did quite well. Here is how Williams stacks up from 1952-1960 in OPS+:

    Williams 192
    Mantle 176
    Mays 163
    Aaron 152

    Old man Williams actually hit better than the historic trio of the Golden Age. To be fair, the golden trio had some of their formative years in there, and Aaron didn't start until 1954. But Ted Williams was 40 yrs old in 1960 and war torn. I would almost call that equalling each other out.

    In 1957 at age 38 Ted Williams had one of the best years in MLB history with a 233 OPS+, and by that time Mays, Mantle, and Aaron were in their prime.

    So where are we now? Williams was dominating a league with Mantle, Mays, and Aaron. Williams was also in a league in his prime that contained players

    So where are we? I am showing that Ruth was the best in a league that had Foxx and Gehrig. Foxx and Gehrig were the best in a league that had Ted Williams and Dimaggio. Then Ted Williams was the best in a league that had Dimaggio and Greenberg(greenberg not listed above but he was there too). Ted Williams was then also the best in the league that had Mantle, Mays, and Aaron.

    The exercise above chained their common competitors and shows that Ruth dominated his competitors, who in turn dominated William's competitors(and sometimes Williams himself), and then Williams dominated Mantle, Mays, and Aaron competitors(and sometimes them three themselves).

    So we have now linked Babe Ruth to Mantle, Mays, and Aaron with like competition that they all played against and are chained together.

    So it looks entirely accurate to use OPS+ and the league environements at pretty darn near face value so far, and assume that the league overall competition was not that far off from each other so far.

    Lets look at the best six year peaks of the above players in OPS+:

    Ruth 227 (1919-1924)
    Ruth 213 (1926-1931)
    Williams 208 (1941-1949)
    Williams 192 (1952-1960)
    Mantle 190 (1956-1951)
    Mays 169 (1960-1965)
    Aaron 168 (195-1964)
    Mays 165 (1954-1959)
    Aaron 163 (1966-1971)

    As Mays and Aaron move forward, the chaining starts to break down a little. Mays, Mantle, and Aaron did not dominate the league at their later years near the degree that Ruth and Williams did in theirs, and it is in those years where It becomes much trickier, full integration is now in motion, world wide participants begin to enter, and the population growth that started at the end of WWII is starting to impact the sheer amount of athletes that are now available. Somewhere along the twilights of Aaron and Mays careers, stat relative to league mates lose a little accuracy.

    Meauring players like Pujols, Bonds, Miggy, etc...begins to get a lot harder trying to meausre them to Ruth. But if you really dig in, their comparisons are not completely invalid even to those guys. One could chain their way to a pretty decent ballpark figure. One could use all the population studies and make adjustments due to Ruth playing vs weaker competition than Pujols did. It will be close enough to draw a relatively valid conclusion.

    I am comfortable with the league environments, and societal impacts, being similar enough from Ruth's time to Williams time(which is also Mantle, Mays, and Aaron time) to draw very strong conclusions with OPS+ and relative league stats.

    In the end, it is very hard for me to knock Ruth off that top spot. Does that make me wishy washy? Maybe. Or maybe I've been trying really hard to disprove the notion that Ruth was the best and tried every angle to do so, but in that endeavor I ran into too many brick walls that a reasonable man could not get through or past.

    Ruth had two separate prime parts of his career that were better than William's best. The leagues were similar enough to conclude that they didn't have any advantage/disadvantage against each other when using stats that measure them vs their peers.

    In the end @dallasactuary is right...the best hitter ever just happened to be born before the boom in population took hold and before the boom of baseball science took hold.

    It was Babe Ruth.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    In 1957 at age 38 Ted Williams had one of the best years in MLB history with a 233 OPS+, and by that time Mays, Mantle, and Aaron were in their prime.

    Nobody seems to notice this with respect to Williams, but 1957 was the year Williams started dodging LHP. He faced lefties 31% of the time in 1956, then 23% in 1957, then 16% in 1958. No question he was still a great hitter in those later years, but that he was as good a hitter as he had been when he was younger is an illusion.

    With all due respect, Terry Bradshaw sucks.
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    In 1957 at age 38 Ted Williams had one of the best years in MLB history with a 233 OPS+, and by that time Mays, Mantle, and Aaron were in their prime.

    Nobody seems to notice this with respect to Williams, but 1957 was the year Williams started dodging LHP. He faced lefties 31% of the time in 1956, then 23% in 1957, then 16% in 1958. No question he was still a great hitter in those later years, but that he was as good a hitter as he had been when he was younger is an illusion.

    Good call on the lefty factor. With the 233 OPS+ that still puts him easily over 200 taking that into account.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    Good call on the lefty factor. With the 233 OPS+ that still puts him easily over 200 taking that into account.

    Agreed, and I don't want to leave the impression that I'm putting down Williams who is, to my mind, the only player other than Ruth with a claim to GOAT hitter that can't just be immediately dismissed. I think he is close enough to Ruth that you have to dig in to see which one was better. And dodging lefties in the last years of his career is just one of the many factors that should be considered.

    With all due respect, Terry Bradshaw sucks.
  • LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,567 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What about Ronnie Lott? :D

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,022 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    In 1957 at age 38 Ted Williams had one of the best years in MLB history with a 233 OPS+, and by that time Mays, Mantle, and Aaron were in their prime.

    Nobody seems to notice this with respect to Williams, but 1957 was the year Williams started dodging LHP. He faced lefties 31% of the time in 1956, then 23% in 1957, then 16% in 1958. No question he was still a great hitter in those later years, but that he was as good a hitter as he had been when he was younger is an illusion.

    I don’t know about that. Williams came very close to hitting .400 in 1957. It does matter about “illusions” when you can do that passed 35 years of age on a mediocre team.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • TabeTabe Posts: 5,792 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillJones said:

    @dallasactuary said:

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    In 1957 at age 38 Ted Williams had one of the best years in MLB history with a 233 OPS+, and by that time Mays, Mantle, and Aaron were in their prime.

    Nobody seems to notice this with respect to Williams, but 1957 was the year Williams started dodging LHP. He faced lefties 31% of the time in 1956, then 23% in 1957, then 16% in 1958. No question he was still a great hitter in those later years, but that he was as good a hitter as he had been when he was younger is an illusion.

    I don’t know about that. Williams came very close to hitting .400 in 1957. It does matter about “illusions” when you can do that passed 35 years of age on a mediocre team.

    He hit .323 that year with a .998 OPS against lefties in 1957. 22.7% of his PAs came against lefties. Lefties were on the mound for 23.5% of all PAs in the AL in 1957. That would hardly seem to indicate he was ducking them. More likely is that managers didn't feel the need to match him up against lefties as much anymore.

    He missed 22 games in 1957:

    May 2-5, he missed 4 games. All four were started by righties.
    May 30, half of a doubleheader. Righthanded starter.
    June 9, half of a doubleheader. Lefty.
    June 27, half of a doubleheader. Lefty.
    July - plays every single game.
    August 16 - sits out after playing 45 straight games. Lefty.
    Sept 2-15 - misses 14 consecutive games with an injury.

    So, was he "dodging" lefties? Doesn't really look like it. He missed 3 single games started by lefties - 2 as half of a doubleheader and 1 after playing 45 straight games.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lots of great stuff here. I would agree that the numbers point towards Ruth being a little better hitter than Williams due to a better SLG, while Ted was the better walker. Very close in offensive production.
    I have a couple of questions;
    First, where do we put Gehrig? I say he's a solid #3 behind Ruth and Williams, Bonds is a joke and I can't give Charleston the credit because he wasn't allowed to compete in the MLB.
    Second, how much value/credit (if any) do you give Lou's presence hitting behind Ruth for 10 years?
    When you pitched against Ruth from 1923-34, you knew the next guy was the second best hitter of all time (at that point in MLB history, third if you like Cobb) batting right behind.
    When you faced the Red Sox during William's time, you were concerned with one thing, trying not to let Ted beat you. Vern Stevens for 5 years doesn't quite match Gehrig's abilities.
    More pitches out of the strike zone resulting in more walks and less extra base hits?
    Finally, Ted lost 3 prime years where his OPS+ would have likely been about 215.
    I know I'm giving Ted things he didn't/couldn't do, but I think given the same advantages Ruth had (not to mention Fenway was probably a little tougher on a left handed batter), Ted would have been better.
    IF.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @tabe That's interesting; thanks for looking even deeper. I'm going to leave "dodging LHP" on my factor list, but it's a smaller factor than I thought it was.

    @JoeBanzai Absolutely, Ted Williams is a strong, probably the strongest, candidate for the GOAT hitter on the "if" list. I'm never going to knock Ruth out of the GOAT spot as an overall player - primarily because he destroys all the other candidates when you compare their pitching - but I don't object to anyone calling Williams the GOAT hitter. I don't consider anything off the "if" list, but it's not wrong to do so.

    With all due respect, Terry Bradshaw sucks.
  • TabeTabe Posts: 5,792 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would argue that, if you're going to give Ted or Joe D credit for things that didn't happen - i.e. playing in a different park, or not losing years to the war, you absolutely must punish them for something that DID happen - specifically, not playing in integrated leagues. Ted did, for about half of his career but pretty much all of his biggest seasons (minus 1949 & 1957) came before integration. And, in 1949, black players made up just 1.5% of all players, so MLB was hardly integrated.

    Ruth never played night games. Joe D and Ted played in some. They weren't playing 80-90% of their games at night, in integrated leagues, facing relievers throwing 100.

    Barry Bonds did and was. He was walked 43 times when he was 42 years old. He had a four year stretch where his lowest OBP was .515. He had a year where he was intentionally walked 120 times.

    Was he chemically enhanced? Almost certainly. But so was the entire rest of the league. And he still dominated in a way no player in a fully integrated league ever has.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tabe said:

    Was he chemically enhanced? Almost certainly. But so was the entire rest of the league. And he still dominated in a way no player in a fully integrated league ever has.

    And I have no objection to placing the GOAT cheater crown on Bonds. But I won't make a mockery/travesty of baseball by so much as implying that he is even eligible for a GOAT crown in actual baseball.

    With all due respect, Terry Bradshaw sucks.
  • charlesf20charlesf20 Posts: 384 ✭✭✭

    The Babe.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @Tabe said:
    I would argue that, if you're going to give Ted or Joe D credit for things that didn't happen - i.e. playing in a different park, or not losing years to the war, you absolutely must punish them for something that DID happen - specifically, not playing in integrated leagues. Ted did, for about half of his career but pretty much all of his biggest seasons (minus 1949 & 1957) came before integration. And, in 1949, black players made up just 1.5% of all players, so MLB was hardly integrated.

    Ruth never played night games. Joe D and Ted played in some. They weren't playing 80-90% of their games at night, in integrated leagues, facing relievers throwing 100.

    Barry Bonds did and was. He was walked 43 times when he was 42 years old. He had a four year stretch where his lowest OBP was .515. He had a year where he was intentionally walked 120 times.

    Was he chemically enhanced? Almost certainly. But so was the entire rest of the league. And he still dominated in a way no player in a fully integrated league ever has.

    Agree that those factors come into play more after integration was in full swing and the population had really grown, but the difference between Ruth's time and William's time is very small, especially considering Williams a good chunk of his six year prime pre-integration too. Integration was a slow burn. Jackie's first year was just one player impact in 1947 and it was only a trickle for a few years there. There is no cliff point. Williams was gone by the time integration was in full swing.

    Part of my exercise above is how old man Williams was able to dominate post integration and the chaining exercise.

    As you get further in time to now, then the comparison and advantages become harder as it pertains to Ruth and Williams compared to Pujols etc..., agreed.

    PS I'm not giving Joe D credit for things that didn't happen in relation to being handcuffed by the worst hitters park in history for RH hitters. That did happen.

    Same for the parks that were bigger league wide in Left Field. That happened and it suppressed Joe D's stats and greatness.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:
    Lots of great stuff here. I would agree that the numbers point towards Ruth being a little better hitter than Williams due to a better SLG, while Ted was the better walker. Very close in offensive production.
    I have a couple of questions;
    First, where do we put Gehrig? I say he's a solid #3 behind Ruth and Williams, Bonds is a joke and I can't give Charleston the credit because he wasn't allowed to compete in the MLB.
    Second, how much value/credit (if any) do you give Lou's presence hitting behind Ruth for 10 years?
    When you pitched against Ruth from 1923-34, you knew the next guy was the second best hitter of all time (at that point in MLB history, third if you like Cobb) batting right behind.
    When you faced the Red Sox during William's time, you were concerned with one thing, trying not to let Ted beat you. Vern Stevens for 5 years doesn't quite match Gehrig's abilities.
    More pitches out of the strike zone resulting in more walks and less extra base hits?
    Finally, Ted lost 3 prime years where his OPS+ would have likely been about 215.
    I know I'm giving Ted things he didn't/couldn't do, but I think given the same advantages Ruth had (not to mention Fenway was probably a little tougher on a left handed batter), Ted would have been better.
    IF.

    Lineup protection is a factor we will never know.

    I will say that Ruth was actually better before Gehrig came along though.

    For accuracy Gehirg only played in a combined 23 games in 1923 and 1924.

    In 1925 Gehrig was good but Muesel hit 4th for 479 plate appearances.

    In 1926 Lou Gehrig batted third for 552 PA. Ruth batted 4th for 549.

    Then in 1927 Gehrig hit cleanup...but Ruth still led the league in walks basically every year going forward anyway.

    From 1927 on Ruth averaged 138 walks per 162 with Gehrig and whomever hitting behind him. Ted Williams for his career averaged 143 walks peer 162. I really can't find a big enough difference there to say Ted was pitched around more than Ruth was while Gehrig's presence was there.

    The production behind Ruth in 1923 was poor for a cleanup hitter when Ruth hit third. Ruth had 170 walks that year and almost hit .400(.394).

    I really can't find anything in the lineup and results that suggest it made a difference for Ruth compared to Williams....other than if you are using runs scored as a measurement.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's a story told by Ted in one of his books;
    Johnny Pesky was heading up to bat one day, Ted (who referred to Pesky as "needel nose) asked him "Needle, what are you gonna look for?" Pesky replied "l'm going to hit his fastball", Ted replies "Bull$hit, look for the slider!". Pesky strikes out on 3 straight fastballs and comes back to the dugout saying he's not getting any "Ted Williams sliders".
    Williams explains in his book that he would get the best pitches the pitcher had, because they were so focused on getting him out.
    I have always held hitters in a little higher regard that hit without "protection".
    The top three members of the original "500 HR club" had another great hitter batting next to him; Mays had McCovey, Aaron had Mathews and Ruth had Gehrig.
    I watched Killebrew get pitched around for years and always wondered if he would have gotten better pitches with a good hitter behind him.
    No way to tell.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,486 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:
    Here's a story told by Ted in one of his books;
    Johnny Pesky was heading up to bat one day, Ted (who referred to Pesky as "needel nose) asked him "Needle, what are you gonna look for?" Pesky replied "l'm going to hit his fastball", Ted replies "Bull$hit, look for the slider!". Pesky strikes out on 3 straight fastballs and comes back to the dugout saying he's not getting any "Ted Williams sliders".
    Williams explains in his book that he would get the best pitches the pitcher had, because they were so focused on getting him out.
    I have always held hitters in a little higher regard that hit without "protection".
    The top three members of the original "500 HR club" had another great hitter batting next to him; Mays had McCovey, Aaron had Mathews and Ruth had Gehrig.
    I watched Killebrew get pitched around for years and always wondered if he would have gotten better pitches with a good hitter behind him.
    No way to tell.

    That is why those elite hitters who draw a ton of walks are so good. It isn't just the positive value their walks are bringing to the team, it is the fact that they still hit home runs and a good average while being treated differently than other hitters.

    People say, just swing at those pitches when the pitchers are nibbling and being careful on the stud hitter. They can, but the few extra singles they get will be off set by all the extra ground outs it would lead to, when the smart play is not swing at all, taking the walk, and then when you get a pitch you can drive....you drive it out of the park. Which they did.

    That is what Ruth did. Ruth led the league in strikeouts several times too.
    So what. Take the walk. Sit on your pitch when you get it. Hit a home run or hit it hard somewhere for a hit.

    Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Barry Bonds were pitched around more than anyone, and they still hit for high averages and high slugging percentages to go with their elite OB%

    On a lesser scale, guys like Eddie Murray suffered through such treatment while being a positive anchor in the lineup. Ripken saw all the pitches in front of him and Murray was treated far more carefully.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ted Williams number one rule; "Get a good pitch to hit".

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • 3stars3stars Posts: 2,270 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No Pete Rose fanboys, there’s usually one or two in the bunch😂

    Previous transactions: Wondercoin, goldman86, dmarks, Type2
  • BrickBrick Posts: 4,855 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I was very young Williams was my favorite player. I have no data like some of you do but I felt Ted did not swing at many pitches outside the strike zone. If a batter swings wildly at pitches outside the strike zone he will get a lot of pitches there.

    Collecting 1960 Topps Baseball in PSA 8
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    Ralph

  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 24, 2022 1:19PM

    @Brick said:
    When I was very young Williams was my favorite player. I have no data like some of you do but I felt Ted did not swing at many pitches outside the strike zone. If a batter swings wildly at pitches outside the strike zone he will get a lot of pitches there.

    When I was a young ballplayer,...Ted Williams gave me this simple advice, "Wait for your pitch."..... I took it to heart and passed it along.....To this very day.....Even now, to my Little Leaguers...He was my favorite..... For Reasons....

    He Was The Best.....Ever!.....For Reasons....

    I Love Baseball!

    Merry Christmas!

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