I wish there was more good footage of Babe Ruth. Too bad baseball began too early for quality film, so all we get now are grainy, choppy clips where it looks like the film is running too fast and his legs look like they're going a hundred miles an hour whenever they show him run.
That's not a problem with the film, that's a problem with the projection speed. Silent films were projected at all sorts of different speeds
. As a general matter, though, they were filmed at speeds slower than the current standard rate of 24 frames per second, so that when films from the 1920s are shown through modern projection equipment, they look speeded up.
Ruth was never a great speedster on the bases, but he did steal 17 bases in 1921 and again in 1923, and he famously was thrown out attempting to steal for the final out of the 1926 World Series
. One gets the sense that Ruth thought he was a lot faster than he actually was.
Ah, yes, I should have known that. Makes sense.
Thanks for that link too. I never knew that game 4 of that series was the game where that story of Babe Ruth promising the sick, hospitalized kid a home run and then delivering comes from. In fact, he hit three of them that day.
From the wikipedia article:
The 1926 World Series produced one of the most famous anecdotes in baseball history, involving Babe Ruth and Johnny Sylvester. Sylvester was an 11-year-old boy from Essex Fells, New Jersey, who was supposedly hospitalized after falling off a horse. Sylvester asked his father to get him a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth. Prior to the start of the World Series, the boy's parents sent urgent telegrams to the Yankees in St. Louis, asking for an autographed ball. Soon, the family received an airmail package with two balls, one autographed by the entire St. Louis Cardinals team and the other with signatures from a number of Yankees players and a personal message from Ruth saying, "I'll knock a homer for you on Wednesday".
After Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4 on Wednesday, October 6, newspapers reported that Sylvester's condition had miraculously improved. After the World Series had ended, Ruth made a highly publicized visit to Sylvester's home, in which the boy said to Ruth, "I'm sorry the Yanks lost the series". In the spring of 1927, Sylvester's uncle visited Ruth and thanked him for saving the boy's life. Ruth asked how the boy was doing and asked the uncle to give the boy his regards. After the man left, Ruth, who was seated next to a group of baseball writers, said, "Now who the hell is Johnny Sylvester?"
Gotta go with the Babe. Gotta. Even my father, a Yankee hater from birth, admitted that the Babe was the best.
The greatest player I ever saw in person? Willie Mays. Schlepped out to Shea Stadium in Queens, of all places, just to see Mays play. It was worth the shlep. Great hitter. Great fielder. Great runner. Say, hey.
Jeter is a very good player. Maybe great. But not the greatest. Sorry kicky.
The "sick kid asking the Babe to hit a homer" is the stuff of cinematic legend. In The Babe Ruth Story
, with William Bendix as the Babe, the movie mixes up the homer he hit for the little sick boy (which happened in St. Louis in the 1926 series) with his famous "called shot" homer (which happened -- or didn't happen -- in Chicago in the 1932 series). But The Pride of the Yankees
, the story of Lou Gehrig, makes an even bigger hash of the whole episode: Ruth (played by Babe Ruth himself) promises to hit a home run for "Billy," who is laid up in a St. Louis hospital. Gehrig, played by Gary Cooper, then promises Billy that he'll hit two
home runs for the sick boy, which he then proceeds to do. The only problem is that Gehrig not only didn't hit two homers for a sick little boy in the 1926 World Series, he didn't hit any
home runs in that series. Also left unexplained is why a little boy in St. Louis would be asking Yankee players to hit home runs against the Cardinals. Maybe he was a Browns fan.
jeter is probably the greatest hitting shortstop of all time.
he recently collected his record-setting 7th 200 hit season...
Could you imagine how much better he'd be if he was on roids. Assuming, of course, that he's not.
People used to pay admission just to see Satchel Paige's fast ball.
Blind people went to listen to it.
As far as shortstops go, his rank in my mind right now is as follows:
Cal Ripkin Jr. (1) Honus Wagner (2) Ernie Banks (3) Derek Jeter (4) and Ozzie Smith (5).
However, right now he is ahead of the pace of Pete Rose's career hits. At the end of the 2009 season, Derek Jeter had 2,747 career hits. When Rose was the same exact age as Jeter was at the end of last season he had 2,693 hits. So, Jeter is 54 hits ahead of Rose's pace, based on his exact age. His 2010 season is already off to a fast start, with already having 34 hits through May 2nd, which puts his career total at 2,781. Keep in mind that Pete Rose played until he was 45 years old. Jeter turns 36 on June 26, 2010. What argument can someone have against Jeter playing until he's 45? Even if he doesn't play til then, if he stays at the pace he wouldn't have to play until that long. He loves the game, is in great shape and shows no signs of slowing down or wanting to quit. Some experts believe some of his best hitting is ahead of him. He may make a transition to the outfield or DH eventually...and trust me, the Yankees organization will do everything to hold on to Jeter.
With 5 World Series Rings (and counting), Jeter is one of the best clutch hitter of all time. He is the all-time postseason hits leader as well. If Jeter can pass Pete Rose in career hits, couple that with his postseason resume; he can arguably be considered the best baseball player of all time. If he doesn't reach Pete Rose but gets over 3500 hits and say 7 or 8 (or more ) total World Series rings, then I think you can also make an argument.
Da Babe. Hitting and pitching.
With 5 World Series Rings (and counting), Jeter is one of the best clutch hitter of all time. He is the all-time postseason hits leader as well.
That's a bit like saying that Jeter is better than Babe Ruth because he has hit more home runs in night games. It's a statistic that must be considered in context. Given that there are now three rounds of playoffs rather than just one (as in Ruth's time), there are simply more opportunities to get hits. Jeter has played in the postseason 13 times. Yogi Berra, in contrast, played in the postseason 14 times. The difference is that Berra played only
in the World Series. Berra accumulated 71 hits in 259 at-bats. Jeter already has 175 hits in 559 at-bats, even though he has only been to the World Series seven times.
If Jeter can pass Pete Rose in career hits, couple that with his postseason resume; he can arguably be considered the best baseball player of all time. If he doesn't reach Pete Rose but gets over 3500 hits and say 7 or 8 (or more ) total World Series rings, then I think you can also make an argument.
Well, if Jeter can pass Pete Rose in hits, then that would be a good basis for arguing that he is the best player ever, regardless of the number of times he played in the postseason. After all, Rose only played in the postseason 8 times -- 6 times in the World Series (and Ty Cobb only got to the WS three times). Getting over 4000 hits in a career automatically qualifies a player to be considered one of the best ever. On the other hand, 3500 hits in a career would put Jeter in Tris Speaker/Stan Musial territory. That's certainly pretty good, but I've never heard anyone claim that Stan Musial was the best player ever.
In the spirit of and fun of 'who-was-the-best discussions, I'll offer my opinion.
In all sincerity, comparing players of different eras is next-to-impossible. the dead-ball era and the post-expansion eras differ drastically. Then comparing variations from DH era and the specialized relievers era...etc. So many dynamics have changed in the game of baseball that it renders comparison between eras nearly worthless. But that doesn't make for a lot fun in an A2K discussion thread.
Here's my non-objective ranking:
#1 Babe Ruth - IMHO arguably, the best of all time and he put fannies in the seat and made baseball #1 sport. However, if he's not the best, he sure as hell made it the most popular sport from the '20-s until perhaps the '70s. H was dominant regardless of his position on the field, as a winning WS pitcher AND hitter. Undoubtedly, with his ability to hit HR, hit for avg, field and piss-off cranky managers vaults him over his rivals. His color and shenanigans off-field only endear me to the big lug (looking the other way regarding his non-family man status (serial cheater), but at least he never killed a man (Ty Cobb).
#2 is a Tie: Lou Gehrig:
These meaningful stats give an indication of his impact on the game and his completeness as a player:
Scored game-winning run in 8 World Series games
Triple Crown (.363 BA, 49 HR, 165 RBI) 1934
Only player in history to collect 400 total bases in five seasons. With Stan Musial, one of two players to collect at least 500 doubles, 150 triples, and 400 home runs in a career.
Arguably, considered by many critics as the best 1st-baseman of all time.
#2 - Tied - Ty Cobb: A case can be made for his being ranked #1 due to superior stats (over Babe) in many categories, but his virulent racism, universally hated/hateful personality and cleats-up base-running make it hard for many to rate him over the beloved Babe. During his career, he set 90 major league records. He was the first player to pass 4000 hits (4191) Two of these records, highest major league avg (.366) and 11 or 12 bating titles, still stand(s) to this day, with many more standing records. He had 23 consecutive seasons hitting .300 or over (exception being his rookie yr.).
A Quote that says it all: "Cobb's legacy as an athlete has often been overshadowed by his surly temperament and aggressive playing style, which was described by the Detroit Free Press as "daring to the point of dementia."
However, in all fairness, in his last years, as a multimillionaire business man/investor with very few friends, he became a charitable philanthropist (education and hospitals).
Interesting aside re his 13-season same-team rival Sam Crawford: "After Cobb died, a reporter found hundreds of letters in Cobb’s home that Cobb had written to influential people lobbying for Crawford’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Crawford was reportedly unaware of Cobb’s efforts until after Cobb had died. Crawford was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957, four years before Cobb's death."
#3 Ted Williams:
The last player who hit .400 avg for a season and won the vaunted Triple Crown twice. He holds the highest career batting average of anyone with 500 or more HRs. I saw him in his last days as a small child at Fenway, but mostly saw him on TV replay or on film, so I'm not sure how objective I can be here. Though he had never played in a WS, his top rival-competitors often said of him he was the best hitter they ever saw. He wrote the book (the Science of Hitting), THE reference book still used to this day. (It was said by contemporaries of John Wayne that the role Wayne portrayed on the screen was the real-life role of Ted Williams' military career in the '50s Korean Conflict.)
#5 Joe DiMaggio perhaps the best all-around player from 40s to late-'50s. He made everything look easy, but worked extremely hard to make it look that way.
#6 Stan Musial
Post 1975 era:
#7: Albert Pujols: IMHO his best might be yet to come, but arguably edges out Jeter.
#8 Jeter Might be considered one of the Best All-Round Player of '80s to '10s). Was voted on 10 times as an All-star, 4 times Gold Glove winner, 2000 MVP of World Series,
I'm ashamed to admit my omissions but in re-reading, notably absent are:
If I ranked him, I'd have to put Willie as tied for 2nd with Cobb and Gehrig.
Hammern' Hank I'd rank as tied for 4th or 5th with DiMaggio.
My ranking sure gets dicey,
Oh hell! Screwed up again. Also, notably absent is:
#3 Walter Johnson
(maybe ranked him in #3, which moves Ted Williams and after downward.)
Well, when talking about guys like Stan Musial and Tris Speaker, they played in different eras, when pitchers weren't doing insane workouts like they are now and weren't throwing as fast. It's hard to compare eras for sure. But they just didn't have the postseason success Jeter has had. And you kinda helped my argument with the playoffs. Granted, there are more rounds today (thus more opportunities for Jeter), so I'll give you that. But the addition of the 2 rounds makes it an even tougher road to win the World Series, which in my mind makes his ring total extra impressive.
We both agree that Jeter getting over 4,000 hits would automatically rank him towards the top. But I still believe that getting over 3,500 hits in this day in age of all around stronger pitchers, the fact that there is greater emphasis on the bullpen (when compared with the early eras), and the fact that Jeter has done all of this in the steroid era without being on roids himself (God forbid) is something that is very impressive. I'm sure on pure talent Jeter will never be considered the best baseball specimen (although he's said many times if he wanted to have been a homerun hitter, he could've beem )...but but at the end of his career if he reaches these hitting plateaus, coupled with his instinctive plays and leadership and postseason success (which I think needs to be considered more often), he has to be near the top.
Well, when talking about guys like Stan Musial and Tris Speaker, they played in different eras, when pitchers weren't doing insane workouts like they are now and weren't throwing as fast. It's hard to compare eras for sure.
They also played in an era where there were only 16 major league teams, so the talent pool wasn't as diluted as much as it is today. The fact is we'll never know how Tris Speaker would have fared against Randy Johnson, but then we'll never know how Derek Jeter would have fared against Walter Johnson. The best way to compare players, as always, is against the competition that they actually faced.
But they just didn't have the postseason success Jeter has had. And you kinda helped my argument with the playoffs. Granted, there are more rounds today (thus more opportunities for Jeter), so I'll give you that. But the addition of the 2 rounds makes it an even tougher road to win the World Series, which in my mind makes his ring total extra impressive.
Frankly, that's laughable. When the fourth- or fifth-best team in the league can make it to the WS and win it, I have a very difficult time believing that it's actually harder
for a team now to make it to the WS than it was when there were no playoffs. In the 2006 WS, for instance, the fifth-best team in the NL beat the third-best team in the AL. The claim that it's harder to win the WS now than it was when only the best teams in each league faced each other, therefore, is not to be taken seriously.
Well when you have a pool of 16 major league teams, that's less competition as well. Hard to compare eras. Only time will tell.
Less competition? What do you mean?
no, fewer teams = fewer players = more competition for fewer jobs...
Umm..not exactly. In the old days, say pre-1960 expansion, the talented 'kids' or 'not-ready-for-prime-time' players would stay down in minor leagues in the farm system for a long incubation time. The competition was far more difficult and you could say fierce. The general or average level of athleticism in many cases might not compare to today, but the top talent was pretty damned good. Starting pitchers for a long time typically pitched 150-pitch-counts even into the '80s when relievers and set-up pitchers became so specialized. Today's starting pitchers are babied and their endurance gets stilted, IMHO.
Again, the avg level of teams competition no is lesser. Nowadays, if a roster has 2 good starters and strong reliever and maybe a decent setup man, you can go far and deep in the playoffs. Back in early late '60s or 1970, Baltimore Orioles had 4 starting pitchers that were at or near 20-game winners.
However, the point is that the overall level of competition was far greater in the old days, where there was far fewer teams, and far less roster spots.
Also, what differs now is the less exclusive playoff system which spreads the post-season wealth further. This system gives some mediocre teams a 'punchers chance' of getting hot at the end of the season. This in my mind is not really more high-level competition -- it's a way of taking more money from fans and at the same time giving them a watered-down product. Major league rosters are larger now and have utility players that can't hit a major league curve or can't play defense. After 3 or more years no the roster, they give them an avg of $5m per year but many would not be in AAA level, say if it was back in 1970.
When I said less competition back in the day I meant a smaller pool of teams vying for a title (thus more impressive to win a World Series these days)...just like in any other sport...NHL original 6 teams is why Montreal Canadiens have so many titles...same thing with college hockey...but yeah I do agree with you guys that there's definitely a lot more competition today because it's a bigger league with a lot more players from different countries and all that