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Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby Art Vandelay » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:32 pm

j8333 wrote:Terry Pendleton deserved that MVP.


Okay, I'll take the bait...you're either a huge Braves fan, or joking. If you can present a convincing argument that Pendleton deserved the MVP over Bonds in 1991, I'd love to hear it.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby mweir145 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:26 pm

Everything I've ever read on this topic has come up very inconclusive. I also don't really think there is a truly accurate way to account for the difference in eras, so I think this is pretty much an unanswerable question.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:47 pm

mweir145 wrote:Everything I've ever read on this topic has come up very inconclusive. I also don't really think there is a truly accurate way to account for the difference in eras, so I think this is pretty much an unanswerable question.

This is pretty much the conclusion I've drawn as well, though it's been quite enjoyable debating it, and actually getting some insight from various folks on the issue. I was so afraid from the get go that this would degenerate the way so many previous attempts had. If you really want to consider some other things that have either been touched upon or not mentioned, think of some of the following...

- If Babe Ruth played today, he would likely be on a special diet and lifting plan, and his heavy drinking, etc. would likely be severely limited by management or some sort of sports psychologist.
- The average baseball player today is nearly 1 1/2 inches taller than 50 years ago, a testament to advanced nutrition during the childhood and adolescent years.
- In 1964, 4% of ML at-bats were made by players 35 or older. In 2004, 14% were. Ruth's ability to remain healthy into his later years was much more rare than it is today.
- Pitchers today are able to be much mroe effective and overcome due to things such as Tommy John surgery and other advanced medicinal procedures, which would have put a pitcher's career to an end during Ruth's time.
- Ruth never faced a player from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Japan, etc. All of these nations are now represented in the MLB.
- According to Baseball Prospectus, league difficulty has steadily risen since the World War II draft.
- Although statistics like BRAR take stealing bases into account, they do not consider things such as taking additional bases on another player's hit. In all likelihood, Bonds was vastly superior to Ruth in this respect.

The last sentence in BP's dedicated chapter to this debate is probably where we end up, though.

Let's thank Barry Bonds for forcing the argument--and let the debates begin. (or in this case, continue). :B
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby DCNats » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:51 pm

I'm a numbers guy but I'll echo the sentiment that numbers from such distinct eras are nearly meaningless. Any statistician who's going to bother controlling for controllable variables should be honest about the many more s/he can't control for when attempting such a comparison. This does not mean that you can't attempt to compare players - but I'd feel more comfortable relying on logic-based subjective analysis than any statistical modeling.

This will cause a lot of grief among people who idolize Ruth based on numbers and legend, but I honestly believe that if you dropped Ruth into the modern game (with its black and foreign born players, intense media spotlight, attention to fitness, and specialization of pitchers) you'd have a David Ortiz-type player at best. If you're first thought is to doubt this, imagine dropping David Ortiz into the MLB of Ruth's generation. Like Ruth, he would eat half the league for breakfast. His numbers would probably stand out in an age dominated by 125 pound infielders and pitchers who throw two pitches for 9 innings. And like Ruth his strength and size would be an anomaly, coupling with his numbers to grow in legend. But again, even if he was born in Ruth's time, Ortiz would never have had the chance to prove me right.

Therefore, for me, it's Barry - hands down.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:59 pm

DCNats wrote:I'm a numbers guy but I'll echo the sentiment that numbers from such distinct eras are nearly meaningless. Any statistician who's going to bother controlling for controllable variables should be honest about the many more s/he can't control for when attempting such a comparison. This does not mean that you can't attempt to compare players - but I'd feel more comfortable relying on logic-based subjective analysis than any statistical modeling.

This will cause a lot of grief among people who idolize Ruth based on numbers and legend, but I honestly believe that if you dropped Ruth into the modern game (with its black and foreign born players, intense media spotlight, attention to fitness, and specialization of pitchers) you'd have a David Ortiz-type player at best. If you're first thought is to doubt this, imagine dropping David Ortiz into the MLB of Ruth's generation. Like Ruth, he would eat half the league for breakfast. His numbers would probably stand out in an age dominated by 125 pound infielders and pitchers who throw two pitches for 9 innings. And like Ruth his strength and size would be an anomaly, coupling with his numbers to grow in legend. But again, even if he was born in Ruth's time, Ortiz would never have had the chance to prove me right.

Therefore, for me, it's Barry - hands down.

Well said. ;D
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby TheRawDAWG » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:00 am

bigh0rt wrote:
DCNats wrote:I'm a numbers guy but I'll echo the sentiment that numbers from such distinct eras are nearly meaningless. Any statistician who's going to bother controlling for controllable variables should be honest about the many more s/he can't control for when attempting such a comparison. This does not mean that you can't attempt to compare players - but I'd feel more comfortable relying on logic-based subjective analysis than any statistical modeling.

This will cause a lot of grief among people who idolize Ruth based on numbers and legend, but I honestly believe that if you dropped Ruth into the modern game (with its black and foreign born players, intense media spotlight, attention to fitness, and specialization of pitchers) you'd have a David Ortiz-type player at best. If you're first thought is to doubt this, imagine dropping David Ortiz into the MLB of Ruth's generation. Like Ruth, he would eat half the league for breakfast. His numbers would probably stand out in an age dominated by 125 pound infielders and pitchers who throw two pitches for 9 innings. And like Ruth his strength and size would be an anomaly, coupling with his numbers to grow in legend. But again, even if he was born in Ruth's time, Ortiz would never have had the chance to prove me right.

Therefore, for me, it's Barry - hands down.

Well said. ;D



You can't say with the proper training like he would receive today Ruth wouldn't be as dominant. Thats silly just to point out if Ruth was dropped into todays game without going the other way. Of course if he was just dropped in at 25 years old to play at this level he would be dominated. Ball players today are raised to workout, eat right and practice all the time. How do you know with that type of regiment Ruth wouldn't be more dominant than Barry is right now?

On the flip side, Dropping barry into the 1920's to play ball he'd BE one of those 125lbs players. He wouldn't have ever gained the size he has and would never have been the homerun hitter he is. I think both things being equal, Bonds would have the tougher time playing at his natural size hitting homeruns than Babe would with all the working out he would do.

To me you can only compare the players to the players in their era. Ruth dominated in ways Bonds could/can only dream. This is easily Ruth for me...

BTW, Ruth would have easily had at least 7 MVP awards in his career if they were allowed.

Playoff numbers should count for something. Maybe not championships won but the numbers put up in the playoffs should.
Barry Bonds for US president.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby DMXdawg » Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:02 am

did you guys forget that babe ruth played in an era where black players were banned and latins didn't even play ball? Both groups now make over half of MLB- babe played with only white players and he refused to play with black players (looked it up). The talent was definitely more diluted back then and babe simply stood out. The quality of players were definitely more diverse, which resulted in babe's dominance.

bonds is simply better- i bet you he had a better natural eye than bonds- did babe ever face 100 mph pitching?
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby TheRawDAWG » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:52 pm

DMXdawg wrote:did you guys forget that babe ruth played in an era where black players were banned and latins didn't even play ball? Both groups now make over half of MLB- babe played with only white players and he refused to play with black players (looked it up). The talent was definitely more diluted back then and babe simply stood out. The quality of players were definitely more diverse, which resulted in babe's dominance.

bonds is simply better- i bet you he had a better natural eye than bonds- did babe ever face 100 mph pitching?



You really mean Bonds is "better" than Ruth? All things being equal, both players playing in the same era with their own physical attributes from their own eras? Well yes, Bonds would/will be better than Ruth. Bonds is from a different Era and he has worked out and practiced since he was 3. He lived and breathed baseball his whole life. Like I said Ruth would not be able to even hit today's pitching if you just plucked him right out of the 20's and dropped him in to a game. He's never seen it before.

BUT, have bonds grow up in the 20's and he doesn't have his size to hit homerruns. He hasn't been working out his whole life and doesn't have the chemical enhancements he has today. Bonds would be a slap hitter in the 1920's. You have to look at it both ways.

To me "better" means more dominant when you are comparing guys from different Era's. Ruth was the more dominant player in his ERA. To me it's that simple. But if you want to say in a vacuum where Ruth has his attributes from the 20's and Bonds has his of today then Bonds would be the better player BY FAR. But if Ruth grow up today and Bonds grew up in the 20's we wouldn't even know who Bonds is.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby HOOTIE » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:19 am

DMXdawg wrote:did you guys forget that babe ruth played in an era where black players were banned and latins didn't even play ball? Both groups now make over half of MLB- babe played with only white players and he refused to play with black players (looked it up). The talent was definitely more diluted back then and babe simply stood out. The quality of players were definitely more diverse, which resulted in babe's dominance.

bonds is simply better- i bet you he had a better natural eye than bonds- did babe ever face 100 mph pitching?



Yes. 100 mph wasn't invented by Ryan.

Ruth did play against the best white players. MLB back then drew the top athletes. Today, MLB doesn't. The NBA and NFL do. Ruth never had the luxury of facing a Jeff Weaver. There were only 16 teams (400 players). Bonds has enjoyed the expansion hack pitchers, and small parks.

They are close, but you have to give Ruth the ede for his great pitching.
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Re: Is Bonds Better Than Ruth? Statistical Analysis

Postby Krunk City King$ » Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:23 pm

i don't know if anyone brought this to the party yet:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoor ... 39047.html
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