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Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

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Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:34 pm

PLEASE KEEP ANY OFF-TOPIC BANTER OUT OF THIS THREAD. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER THREADS ALREADY AVAILABLE.

Until recently there could be no serious debate about perhaps the most important question in all of baseball: who is the best player of all-time? You may hear a 'Ted Williams' out of Boston, but the near unanimous answer has been Babe Ruth for decades; until now.

Ruth won a Survivor-like contest done by the SABR in 2002, edging Honus Wagner in the final, unanimously. However, in 2002, we had yet to see all that Barry Bonds had to offer.

Between 2001 and 2004 Bonds won 4 consecutive MVP awards, 2 batting crowns, and was a home-run king; not to mention he broke the single-season records for home runs, OBP, SLG, and BB. Over that period he blasted 209 long balls, matching Ruth's total between '27 and '30, the best stretch of his career. Bonds' OBP over that period was better than Ruth's best season (.556 vs .545), and he slugged .809, which Ruth only surpassed in two single seasons. '01 - '04 was the single most dominant run of sustained success in the history of the game.

Code: Select all
Normalized Statistics (age 21 - 39)
Name   AVG  OBP  SLG
Bonds .312 .436 .664
Ruth  .299 .432 .599


Ruth's career, translated forward to begin in 1984, would've finished with a .274 EqA, or roughly the same as Tino Martinez and Raul Mondesi. By this standard, run by Baseball Prospectus, Bonds makes Ruth look like a marginal major leaguer. However, Ruth's estimated career totals if his career started in 1984 have him with 913 HR, 2,092 RBI, and just 14 shy of 2,000 Runs scored, slugging a mammoth .682. On the flip-side, Barry Bonds' estimated career totals had he began in 1916 give him 444 HR, 1,751 RBI, and 2,029 Runs, slugging .612.

Code: Select all
Name    PA    EqA   EqR   BRAR
Ruth  10,617 .364  2,307 1,577
Bonds 11,636 .354  2,447 1,636

Most of the information and statistics above were taken from Baseball Between the Numbers, the Batting Practice portion written by Nate Silver.

So, from a statistical standpoint, who is the best ballplayer of all-time? Ruth? Bonds? Someone else? Support your answer.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby TheRawDAWG » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:51 pm

Ruth.

He out hit some TEAMS during his time. Bonds has never out hit a team. I'll say Bonds is a GREAT player... but was anyone talking about him being best ever before he turned 35? All the talk was about Griffey going and breaking Aaron's record during the 90's. I don't remember Bonds being talked about as THE alltime great before his 73 homerun season.

Ruth put up amazing numbers...they would have been great in this age. He had a season of 60 HRs and only 1 guy hit 60 homers up until the 1998 season. I know Bonds hit 73 but Maguire hit 70 a couple years before that and Sammy had like 4-5 60 homers seasons, so it's not such an amazing feat.

I don't think it is really close when you consider what you don't really want to talk about. Bonds having the best years of his career after 35. :X :X :X
Barry Bonds for US president.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby Tavish » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:52 pm

From an all-around production standpoint it is really hard to go against Babe simply with the productive seasons he had as a pitcher. Strictly speaking in terms of position players then the Georgia Peach is my #1. I'll put up a more indepth comparison later, but Ty dominated at a level on par with Ruth and Bonds during time when the philosophy of baseball made it very difficult to dominate.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby J35J » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:57 pm

I'll take Bonds as the greatest ever. Though I think as the decades pass the "present" players will always be better than the players of the "past". But really, I don't even think its remotely fair to compare players from different eras....I mean the game isn't even the same game as it was when Ruth played. But I know that is part of the fun of trying to figure out....I just think its a waste of time....though I do like to hear the arguements. !+)

I'll shut up now....carry on!
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:29 pm

J35J wrote:I'll take Bonds as the greatest ever. Though I think as the decades pass the "present" players will always be better than the players of the "past". But really, I don't even think its remotely fair to compare players from different eras....I mean the game isn't even the same game as it was when Ruth played. But I know that is part of the fun of trying to figure out....I just think its a waste of time....though I do like to hear the arguements. !+)

I'll shut up now....carry on!


Awesome, 3 replies with 3 different answers. It doesn't get any better. B-)

Tav, looking forward to your deeper explanation.

J, if you want to at least look into an attempt at re-creating eras, comparisons and so on and so forth, you should really pick up the book where I pulled most of that information, [i]Baseball Between the Numbers[/b]. They really do a great job at attacking the comparison from all possible angles, and explaining how they go about doing so. It's a great book, I'm enjoying it to no end so far, and I know its various chapters are going to lead to more topics started by me here. :B
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:30 pm

J35J wrote:I'll take Bonds as the greatest ever. Though I think as the decades pass the "present" players will always be better than the players of the "past". But really, I don't even think its remotely fair to compare players from different eras....I mean the game isn't even the same game as it was when Ruth played. But I know that is part of the fun of trying to figure out....I just think its a waste of time....though I do like to hear the arguements. !+)

I'll shut up now....carry on!


Awesome, 3 replies with 3 different answers. It doesn't get any better. B-)

Tav, looking forward to your deeper explanation.

J, if you want to at least look into an attempt at re-creating eras, comparisons and so on and so forth, you should really pick up the book where I pulled most of that information, [i]Baseball Between the Numbers[/b]. They really do a great job at attacking the comparison from all possible angles, and explaining how they go about doing so. It's a great book, I'm enjoying it to no end so far, and I know its various chapters are going to lead to more topics started by me here. :B
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:34 pm

J35J wrote:I'll take Bonds as the greatest ever. Though I think as the decades pass the "present" players will always be better than the players of the "past". But really, I don't even think its remotely fair to compare players from different eras....I mean the game isn't even the same game as it was when Ruth played. But I know that is part of the fun of trying to figure out....I just think its a waste of time....though I do like to hear the arguements. !+)

I'll shut up now....carry on!


Awesome, 3 replies with 3 different answers. It doesn't get any better. B-)

Tav, looking forward to your deeper explanation.

J, if you want to at least look into an attempt at re-creating eras, comparisons and so on and so forth, you should really pick up the book where I pulled most of that information, [i]Baseball Between the Numbers[/b]. They really do a great job at attacking the comparison from all possible angles, and explaining how they go about doing so. It's a great book, I'm enjoying it to no end so far, and I know its various chapters are going to lead to more topics started by me here. :B
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby sportsaddict » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:58 pm

Could Bonds outdrink Ruth? Absolutely not.

Is Bonds a better player than Ruth? I really don't know. It's barely even comparable because the eras are so vastly different. You can look at stats all you want, but you really just don't know because the game was very different back when Ruth was playing. I will say that if we lined up Bonds next to Ruth, Bonds would probably physically be better than him. But, again, it's hard to compare because of how different things were back then.

However, I have no doubt in my mind that Babe Ruth is the most influential player in the history of baseball. Is he "better" than Bonds? Honestly, I don't know if we can answer that. But Babe Ruth did more for the game than anyone else ever has, or ever will. He completely changed the face of baseball and absolutely dominated the sport when he played.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby Tavish » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:14 pm

TheRawDAWG wrote:Ruth put up amazing numbers...they would have been great in this age. He had a season of 60 HRs and only 1 guy hit 60 homers up until the 1998 season. I know Bonds hit 73 but Maguire hit 70 a couple years before that and Sammy had like 4-5 60 homers seasons, so it's not such an amazing feat.


Does the fact that Foxx hit 58 HRs 5 years after Ruth hit 60 and Hack Wilson hit 56 HRs only 3 years after Ruth hit 60 diminish what Ruth accomplished as well?
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby J35J » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:16 pm

bigh0rt wrote:
J35J wrote:I'll take Bonds as the greatest ever. Though I think as the decades pass the "present" players will always be better than the players of the "past". But really, I don't even think its remotely fair to compare players from different eras....I mean the game isn't even the same game as it was when Ruth played. But I know that is part of the fun of trying to figure out....I just think its a waste of time....though I do like to hear the arguements. !+)

I'll shut up now....carry on!


Awesome, 3 replies with 3 different answers. It doesn't get any better. B-)

Tav, looking forward to your deeper explanation.

J, if you want to at least look into an attempt at re-creating eras, comparisons and so on and so forth, you should really pick up the book where I pulled most of that information, [i]Baseball Between the Numbers[/b]. They really do a great job at attacking the comparison from all possible angles, and explaining how they go about doing so. It's a great book, I'm enjoying it to no end so far, and I know its various chapters are going to lead to more topics started by me here. :B


Yeah, I've heard good things about that book. I wish I could read more than I do.....I just feel like there is something else I could be doing. I do get around to reading a book every few months though. :>

I do think this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen though......
[quote='bigh0rt']Ruth's career, translated forward to begin in 1984, would've finished with a .274 EqA, or roughly the same as Tino Martinez and Raul Mondesi. By this standard, run by Baseball Prospectus, Bonds makes Ruth look like a marginal major leaguer. However, Ruth's estimated career totals if his career started in 1984 have him with 913 HR, 2,092 RBI, and just 14 shy of 2,000 Runs scored, slugging a mammoth .682. On the flip-side, Barry Bonds' estimated career totals had he began in 1916 give him 444 HR, 1,751 RBI, and 2,029 Runs, slugging .612.[/quote]
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