Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis - Fantasy Baseball Cafe 2014

## Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

There is really only one way to compare players from different eras. You must use the statistics from the player against other players in the same era. Using this method, it is clear that RUTH is better than BONDS - - and it is not close. As has been pointed out, RUTH hit more homeruns and got more RBI's than some teams he played against. BONDS never came anywhere close to doing that.
surferguy
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

tgalv wrote:that isn't fair to punish people because they weren't born in your preferred time period.

Thats why I like to leave each guy in each era instead of trying to compare them. It just doesn't work in my eyes.

Why can't we have a best ever for each era.....

1900 - 1940 = Ruth
1940 - 1970 = Mays
1970 - Present = Bonds

I know that is an oversimplification and the era breakdown isn't a good one but thats similar to the way I like to look at it.
J35J
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

As far as Ruth being able to outhit entire teams, that really weakens him in comparison to Bonds IMO. I say that because in any sport, when competition is really high and the sport is mature, it is impossible to dominate the sport like that. You can only dominate like that when the players around you aren't as good - simple as that. At the same time, it doesn't mean I think Bonds is necessarily better. Consider the strikezone, the pitching ability, etc. too.

Having said that, many people here are saying, "you can't compare between eras, but Bonds is better." Yeah, based on what? I agree that you can't really compare. It's like saying that Sampras is better than Borg in tennis. Borg played his entire career with a wooden racket, and therefore simply couldn't rely on a power serve to win points. It's like apples and oranges. Could Sampras beat Borg with a wooden racket? I doubt it. Could Borg beat Sampras with a composite racket? I doubt it. That's an extreme example, but maybe it applies.
 samjerky
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

surferguy wrote:There is really only one way to compare players from different eras. You must use the statistics from the player against other players in the same era. Using this method, it is clear that RUTH is better than BONDS - - and it is not close. As has been pointed out, RUTH hit more homeruns and got more RBI's than some teams he played against. BONDS never came anywhere close to doing that.

Is that really fair, though? If players in this day and age are considerably better than players of Ruth's day and age, how clear is it that Ruth was clearly better than Bonds? Your assumption is that the average player has been equivalent over the past 80 years, while I don't believe they have been. Given the talent of today, Bonds couldn't outhit entire teams; Ruth couldn't either in the 80's through present. So that argument isn't holding much water to me.
bigh0rt
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

bigh0rt wrote:
surferguy wrote:There is really only one way to compare players from different eras. You must use the statistics from the player against other players in the same era. Using this method, it is clear that RUTH is better than BONDS - - and it is not close. As has been pointed out, RUTH hit more homeruns and got more RBI's than some teams he played against. BONDS never came anywhere close to doing that.

Is that really fair, though? If players in this day and age are considerably better than players of Ruth's day and age, how clear is it that Ruth was clearly better than Bonds? Your assumption is that the average player has been equivalent over the past 80 years, while I don't believe they have been. Given the talent of today, Bonds couldn't outhit entire teams; Ruth couldn't either in the 80's through present. So that argument isn't holding much water to me.

so 200 years from now, if baseball players have advanced to the point where they could all hit .500 against todays pitching and every pitcher throws 120 mph you're gonna just dismiss barry bonds right? the 2207 SF giants utility infielder, i don't care what his stats are, how strong he is, how fast he is, how good his batting eye is, it doesn't matter. he isn't better than barry bonds or babe ruth just because the game is more advanced and he could outhit the long dead ruth and bonds.
tgalv
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

The word "better" can mean a lot of things. Some people take it as "most dominant," other people are taking it as the best physically, etc. Let's define what we mean by "better."
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

surferguy wrote:There is really only one way to compare players from different eras. You must use the statistics from the player against other players in the same era. Using this method, it is clear that RUTH is better than BONDS - - and it is not close. As has been pointed out, RUTH hit more homeruns and got more RBI's than some teams he played against. BONDS never came anywhere close to doing that.

Uhhg, you've found a pet peeve of mine. That is a horrible argument for Ruth's greatness, especially when there are so many better ones. Cactus Gavvy outhomered entire teams, Cobb outhomered entire teams, Harry Davis outhomered entire teams. So did Tim Jordan, Wally Pipp, Frank Schulte, and on and on. Maury Wills stole nearly 20 more bases than the next closest team in 1962. Does that make him the greatest base stealer ever? Ruth outhomered entire teams during a time when nobody was trying to hit homeruns. The league was filled with players who went to bat with same mindset that Ichiro has. Slap the ball through the infield, hit the ball down the line or into the gaps. Being able to outhomer an entire league of Ichiros doesn't really mean all that much.

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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

tgalv wrote:
bigh0rt wrote:
surferguy wrote:There is really only one way to compare players from different eras. You must use the statistics from the player against other players in the same era. Using this method, it is clear that RUTH is better than BONDS - - and it is not close. As has been pointed out, RUTH hit more homeruns and got more RBI's than some teams he played against. BONDS never came anywhere close to doing that.

Is that really fair, though? If players in this day and age are considerably better than players of Ruth's day and age, how clear is it that Ruth was clearly better than Bonds? Your assumption is that the average player has been equivalent over the past 80 years, while I don't believe they have been. Given the talent of today, Bonds couldn't outhit entire teams; Ruth couldn't either in the 80's through present. So that argument isn't holding much water to me.

so 200 years from now, if baseball players have advanced to the point where they could all hit .500 against todays pitching and every pitcher throws 120 mph you're gonna just dismiss barry bonds right? the 2207 SF giants utility infielder, i don't care what his stats are, how strong he is, how fast he is, how good his batting eye is, it doesn't matter. he isn't better than barry bonds or babe ruth just because the game is more advanced and he could outhit the long dead ruth and bonds.

Let's at least stick with the same time frame. If, 80 years from now, a player comes along who is able to be mentioned in the same breath as Ruth and Bonds, I imagine the people then will try to normalize statistics, compare, contract, etc. the very same way we have in this thread. Nobody is 'dismissing' Babe Ruth, the way you suggested. However, just because Babe Ruth was hitting Home Runs before hitting Home Runs was the thing to do doesn't make him a better player than Barry Bonds. There's a ton of support on both ends in this very thread; but some people try to simplify it more so than it needs to be. You can't say, "Ruth out-homered entire teams, the end." or "Ruth hit in a different era, period." As I've said from my original post, Baseball Prospectus attacked this thing from several different angles and even they basically said that it's a toss up to a degree, based upon what you find to be most valuable.
bigh0rt
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

You can only really compare players to their generation. And how domiant they were compared to their generation.

Use IQ tests as a metaphor. According to the Flynn effect, IQ scores are constantly on the the rise. According to one study (Ulric Neisser in 1995) the average child in 1930 would only score an 80 on a modern IQ test (100 is by definition average IQ). So can we say that kids in the 1930s would by stupid, if they were born 50 years later? No, but we cannot use unadjusted IQ tests to see how smart they would be. The only intelligent way to discuss the intelligence of the 1930s children is to compare scores among peers.

So the logical way to compare Ruth and Bonds is OPS+.

When you look at OPS+ the leaders are:

1. Babe Ruth 207
2. Ted Williams 190
3. Barry Bonds 182
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### Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Were the ballparks not much larger back in the day as well. Shouldn't that have an effect on Ruth too?

Back to what someone else said about the definition of better: I would define it as more dominant. Obviously Bonds is physically better than Ruth (though the numbers don't confirm that... the pics do) but Ruth had a diet of women and beer. Bonds had a diet of steak and.....
Barry Bonds for US president.
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