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What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

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What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby Sekrah » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:06 am

Something different here for any baseball historians in here.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?pl ... position=P

This is Babe Ruth's sabers.. He carried a ridiculous .230-.240 BABIP for about 5 years!

His K/9 rate and K/BB rate was horrendous, 3.60 K/9 and 3.25 BB/9 over his career. And he only gave up 10 home runs over 1221 IP!

Any Bath Ruth experts here with knowledge on what kind stuff he dealt? How was the game that much different back then? His K/BB rate is horrific and his BABIP is outta this world. I can't even wrap my mind how this would of been possible.

None of the great pitchers from that early baseball era had great K/rates though, Christy Matthewson (4.71 career), Cy Young (3.43), so I'm guessing that these guys weren't throwing that hard.

The closest thing I can envision is that the game had weak fastballs (mid-80s tops maybe?) with no real hard breaking stuff like guys do today against scrawny batters with cheap lumber.

Just one of those bored late nights here.. :-S
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby SlightlyStoopid » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:31 am

All I know is that mound heights then were a max (and highly unregulated) of 15 inches instead of today's 10.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby Spartans Rule » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:54 am

Sekrah wrote:How was the game that much different back then?


Lots of ways. The deadball era was a different game than we watch now.

For one, the baseball itself was made differently and didn't travel as far as today's ball. Also, spitballing and scuffing the ball were legal, and balls weren't changed every couple pitches like they are today, so they would become dirty, slippery and beat up as games went on. I'm guessing this gave pitchers more ability to control their own BABIP.

I'm not sure how Ruth's BABIP compared to league average, but I would guess BABIP was lower all around. One reason is that small ball was much more prevalent than in today's game.

As far as the lack of homers, the dead ball had something to do with that, but also there were a lot of enormous parks with fences well over 400 feet out that were just impossible to hit a ball out of. A sabermetric that might tell us a lot about pitchers back then would be isolated power allowed, since a lot of balls that would be homers in today's game were 2B and 3B back then. There were 552 triples in the 8-team AL in 1916, compared to 408 in the 14-team AL in 2008.

As for low K totals, lack of velocity was probably one reason. Another was that highly specialized modern bullpens didn't exist. Rotations were shorter and starters were expected to go deep into games if not finish them, so saving your arm by pitching to contact more often made sense.

As far as Ruth's actual repertoire of pitches, I have no idea.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby Ender » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:32 am

Those kind of K rates were normal in his age, they pitched to contact because so few players could hit the ball hard. That is also why they could throw so many innings, a lot of 2-3 pitch ABs and a lot of outs.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby Tavish » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:03 am

The fences and the balls are only part of the difference. The mindset was completely different. Probably the easiest way to put it into perspective was if you imagine an entire league filled with players who tried to hit the ball like Ichiro. No one went to the plate with the idea of hitting a homerun. You choked up on the bat, tried to hit it through the hole or down the line or tried to catch the infield off-guard with well placed bunts. People didn't strike out as much, not so much because of lesser pitching, but because it was actually considered a bad thing to strike out back then. If you wanted to stay in the league you would find a way to make contact and put pressure on the defense.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby Ender » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:14 am

It wasn't just about the hitters though, the pitchers didn't try to strike guys out either. There wasn't a huge need to since the league OPS was so low that teams weren't going to score a lot no matter what. In 1916 as an example in the AL they scored 3.7 runs per game and hitters put up an OPS of .645. The Yankees were the only AL team to hit over 20 HR that season as a team.

They were facing a lineup full of Adam Everett's and Craig Counsell's results wise.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby bigh0rt » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:58 am

A fat one. Think David Wells.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby StlSluggers » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:31 pm

bigh0rt wrote:A fat one. Think David Wells.

Dammit, Hort! You beat me to it!!

:-C
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby AussieDodger » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:36 pm

A fat one like David Wells.
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Re: What kind of pitcher was Babe Ruth?

Postby auclairkeithbc » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:40 pm

AussieDodger wrote:A fat one like David Wells.


you beat 2 people to it!
i'm the guy that puts the "nip" in omnipotent...
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