Prince Albert Pujols, he reigneth

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Interesting ... I thought that c.1920 was the only *admitted* change in the ball in the game's history (despite several other rumoured changes), but I'm definitely intrigued by this article you read. To add to your list: after 1920 or so, they stopped using only 3-4 balls/game.

But my main point still stands -- comparing post-1920 offense (particularly 1920-1940) with 1900-1920 offense is nearly impossible. There was an offensive explosion after 1920, but we don't view the live ball era as "tainted" in any way. It was just a different style of play.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Sunday, 7 May 2006 19:15 (thirteen years ago) link

I found more information stating that the new cork center (the live ball) was introduced in 1910 and there were attendant jumps in offense, though not HRs in 1911 before pitchers learned gimmick deliveries/pitches and brought offense back down until after the Great War.

But, yeah, your point is certainly correct - and that leaves out the biggest trump card of all time - Babe Ruth never had to play against Martin Dihigo or John Donaldson and without the color line we could very well be talking about Josh Gibson as the greatest hitter in baseball history.

milo z (mlp), Sunday, 7 May 2006 19:25 (thirteen years ago) link

17/34*162 = 81

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 15:21 (thirteen years ago) link

without the color line we could very well be talking about Josh Gibson as the greatest hitter in baseball history.

Couldn't it just as easily have been someone from Japan or Cuba or wherever else? Babe Ruth is the greatest hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, whether you compare him to his era OR whether you take his stats alone. Josh Gibson never played Major League Baseball, and neither did, say, Saduhara Oh. Saduhara Oh played against allegedly watered down players, but so did Josh Gibson. If Gibson played in the major leagues, there's no way to know whether he would have hit 400 home runs for his career or 800.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 15:36 (thirteen years ago) link

omg you forgetting black playas >>>> white players!!

c(''c) (Leee), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 16:27 (thirteen years ago) link

"Saduhara Oh played against allegedly watered down players, but so did Josh Gibson. If Gibson played in the major leagues, there's no way to know whether he would have hit 400 home runs for his career or 800."

The point is that Ruth PLAYED against watered-down players too though! And I find the argument that Gibson would have hit only 400 home runs in the ML pretty suspect esp. considering how a lot of the Negro Leaguers stars performed in the ML when they finally got there. Would Gibson have been as good as Babe Ruth in an integrated ML? Probably not. But would Ruth have been as good as Ruth in an integrated ML? Also probably not.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 16:43 (thirteen years ago) link

In what year did the ground rule double stop being counted as a homerun?

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 16:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Would Gibson have been as good as Babe Ruth in an integrated ML? Probably not. But would Ruth have been as good as Ruth in an integrated ML? Also probably not.

I don't know about that. I mean, to this day, there are very few good African American pitchers. I mean, who is to say that Barry Bonds would have 700+ hr if he had to hit against great pitchers such as, say, Donovan McNabb, Michael Jordan, or Jarome Iginla? While there were a core of excellent pitchers in the Negro Leagues, there were also a ton of guys who wouldn't have made a roster, and Ruth, Bonds, Gibson, et al. have always done most of their work against the worst pitchers in the league, not against the Satchel Paiges and Bob Gibsons of the world.

In fact, you could probably make the case that an integrated league would equate to lowered offensive production across the board.

(Yes, I know that I'm rambling and not really making a cohesive argument. I'm sick, give me a break.)

polyphonic (polyphonic), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 16:51 (thirteen years ago) link

Herr Shasta, it was 1930 or so. However, of Ruth's 714 HRs, exactly 0 of them were of the bounced-over-the-fence variety. [From last night's post-game Giants wrap.]

c(''c) (Leee), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:02 (thirteen years ago) link

Another titbit: back then, if the winning run was on base in the ninth and you homered, you would only get credit for a single. This happened to Ruth exactly 1 time(s).

c(''c) (Leee), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:05 (thirteen years ago) link

Okay I don't know how many quality pitchers there were in the Negro Leagues, but even it just amounted to each team being able to replace their weakest starter with an average or above average starter (and I think that's pretty conservative estimate since there were only 16 or so teams) that's still 100 or so at bats not against the weakest pitchers in the league. I have to believe that would suppress Ruth's offense some.

I think league wide the offense would probably have gone up though. Most of the most famous Negro Leaguers were hitters and I imagine the difference in their value over the players they were replacing would be higher than the pitchers (although who knows once you calculate defense blah blah.)

Also the reasons why there are so few African-American pitchers (and PLAYERS) now has a lot to do with a number of recent changes in the way youth talent is developed (and how that relates to race/economics) and most (if not all) of those changes are relatively recent.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:09 (thirteen years ago) link

I thought it was the other way around, i.e. runner on 2nd in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, batter hits the ball over the fence but it only counts as a double and the home team wins by one run. I think Ruth lost two or three home runs this way.

xpost

The spread in ability between the best and worst players in baseball has decreased significantly since the days of Ruth and Cobb. In other words, the best players don't dominate the competition to the same degree that they did in the 1920's (Barry Bonds is a freakish exception, as you all know). I'm sure that the segregation of the game was a big reason for this ... larger pool of talent -> pitching AND hitting ability both increase -> less room for stragglers on the lower extreme of the talent distribution curve.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:09 (thirteen years ago) link

Ruth never hit a ground-rule double in his entire career????

Tracey Hand (tracerhand), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:31 (thirteen years ago) link

Lee, I'd like to see that data you've got!

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Meanwhile back on topic:

18/34.5*162 = 85

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:41 (thirteen years ago) link

I got all this from last night's Giants post-game! So if you don't believe the word of a couple ex-jocks, then I don't see any hope for this world anymore. (I think Jon Miller referred to a booky book last night with these sorts of stats about Ruth, don't remember the title, though.)

Krukow surmised that Ruth's lack of automatic doubles was because stadiums had not warning tracks; instead, the balls had to bounce off of grass. Then the play-by-play guy who went to Stanford (STATHEAD OMG) deep-sixed this theory, because plenty of other chumps were hitting ground-rule homers.

c(''c) (Leee), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Ruth's lack of ground rule doubles probably had a lot to do with his being a left-handed hitter in a stadium with a ridiculously short LF porch and an even more ridiculously expansive CF with virtually no fence for a ball to bounce over.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:51 (thirteen years ago) link

RF porch, ahem.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 17:52 (thirteen years ago) link

Keith Olbermann said yesterday that Ruth lost one home-run with the walk-off triple rule, but could have lost upwards of 80 from the way foul balls used to be called - if it left the fences fair but wound up fall, it was called foul by the umpire (deadly for a pull hitter like Ruth, who was taking advantage of that RF porch). He got that from one of the SABR researchers.

Couldn't it just as easily have been someone from Japan or Cuba or wherever else? Babe Ruth is the greatest hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, whether you compare him to his era OR whether you take his stats alone.
Yes, it was rhetorical. Martin Dihigo was a Cuban player who played all eight field positions at a high rate and was a slightly-below-great pitcher as well. Pop Lloyd, Oscar Charleston, etc. etc. etc. - there

Josh Gibson never played Major League Baseball, and neither did, say, Saduhara Oh. Saduhara Oh played against allegedly watered down players, but so did Josh Gibson. If Gibson played in the major leagues, there's no way to know whether he would have hit 400 home runs for his career or 800.
That's why I said we 'could be'. What we do know is that the talent pool for both players was more questionable than the one facing Pujols or Bonds (and, I mean, there are questions about whether the stars of the 1920s could even get on the field with modern athletes).

Another thing to remember is that Negro League players were often playing in leftover deadball era parks, and none of them played in parks that were tailor-made to their abilities (ala Ruth's porch in Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox pulling in left field 10-15 feet to benefit Ted Williams).

Japanese records are significantly more detailed than Negro League (or even older MLB) records, so we do have a fairly competent way to translate Sadahuru Oh and other players' stats. From what I've read, Oh would certainly be a Hall of Fame hitter, but nowhere near the greatest ever. Shigeo Nagashima is less famous but equally respected by Japanese players/fans/historians.

milo z (mlp), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 19:22 (thirteen years ago) link

Nagashima is more respected because he's Japanese!!! (unlike Oh, which is a sad, sad story).

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 19:36 (thirteen years ago) link

is the talent pool THAT suspect?

i mean sports are serious business now and conditioning is superior and just general societal lifestyle things make a difference, but wasn't baseball pretty much the only true major league sport in the days of the babe?

look at at all the competition baseball faces now from football, hoops, soccer and to some extent, hockey and lax (to the extent that there are thousands of kids who may never play baseball b/c lax season conflicts).

i'm not saying that the talent pool is weak now, but baseball had pretty free range over things for a while.

jonathan quayle higgins (j.q. higgins), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 19:52 (thirteen years ago) link

I think the talent level in all those sports has increased, in part because of desegregation, but also because of globalization, industrialization and the rise of television/superstar athlete (far more people grow up wanting to be a star baseball player now--even with the rise of those other sports--than did a hundred or even seventy-five years ago.) Anyway I am pretty sure if you look at the statistics the range between the best players and the weakest (and even the median) players between then and now is much greater.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 20:03 (thirteen years ago) link

re: Negro Leagues -- stats from all games, even exhibition games, were also included in career totals.

c(''c) (Leee), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 22:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Polyp and others,

I will enthrall and delight all of you with my fascinating observations in a week or so. I am leaving the keys to the ILB office with Barry and Felicity. Be easy on them!

Steve Shasta
East Coast Wakeboarding Representative

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 10 May 2006 23:52 (thirteen years ago) link

Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world!

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 11 May 2006 00:18 (thirteen years ago) link

Why must I be called "polyp". How unfortunate.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 11 May 2006 06:51 (thirteen years ago) link

Top Five NL First Basemen, by VORP

1. Albert Pujols STL .362 35.2
2. Nick Johnson WAS .326 17.7
3. Lance Berkman HOU .316 17.4
4. Nomar Garciaparra LAN .337 16.7
5. Carlos Delgado NYN .305 15.7

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:29 (thirteen years ago) link

The first number is EqA, the second is VORP.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:30 (thirteen years ago) link

NOMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:36 (thirteen years ago) link

I had the same reaction!

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:58 (thirteen years ago) link

Besides the "holy shit, Pujols is twice as good as all these other star first basemen" reaction, of course.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 22 May 2006 14:59 (thirteen years ago) link

That's only because Derrek Lee broke his wrist though (batting .318/.448/.614 at the time of his injury).

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 15:58 (thirteen years ago) link

steve shasta = david wells, gimme my $5.

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 22 May 2006 15:59 (thirteen years ago) link

There's a great chart in the new Sport Illustrated... actually, it's in my trashcan let me dig it out:

Okay, the title of the chart is "Projected All-time HR Leaders using Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA Forecasting Tool":

1. Barry Bonds - 765
2. Hank Aaron - 755
3. Babe Ruth - 714
4. Alex Rodriguez - 678
5. Willie Mays - 660
6. Adam Dunn - 638
7. Ken Griffey Jr. - 637
8. Albert Pujols - 620
9. Manny Ramirez - 589
10. Sammy Sosa - 588

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 16:21 (thirteen years ago) link

#1 Evil, cheating steroid abuser: ON DA JUICE!!!111
#2 Godlike baseball immortal
#3 Godlike baseball immortal
#4 One of the Good guys: Pure talent, this guy has what it takes to win
#5 Godlike baseball immortal
#6 One of the Good guys: Pure talent, this guy has what it takes to win
#7 One of the Good guys: Pure talent, this guy has what it takes to win
#8 One of the Good guys: Pure talent, this guy has what it takes to win
#9 One of the Good guys: Pure talent, this guy has what it takes to win
#10 Evil, cheating steroid abuser: ON DA JUICE!!!111

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 16:28 (thirteen years ago) link

Also in that edition:

Albert Pujols article: Albert is the new, clean face of baseball heroes. Albert upset about any steroid allegations, upset at his disputed age allegations. Meanwhile, he's on pace to shatter a record that only Evil, cheating steroid abusers (Bonds, McGwire, Sosa) have been able to accomplish!

Barry Bonds: Increasingly poor production (.971 OPS?), agonizing march to overtake Ruth (3 HRs in 4 weeks of April vs. 3 HRs in 3 weeks of May to date!?!?!?), more of Verducci's declining and agonizing analysis.

Justin Gaitlin: FASTEST MAN ON THE PLANET!!! Meet the brand new 100m world record holder!!! Never mind that he tested positive for PEDs 3 years ago and received and served a year suspension!!!! Nevermind that his trainer and coach is the man who first was caught with an HGH/BALCO affiliated designer steroid syringe, setting off a wave of baseball-centric federal drug investigation... Nevermind all that, boy is this guy fast!!!

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 16:42 (thirteen years ago) link

Yawn.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:26 (thirteen years ago) link

xp - I thought everyone still hated A-Rod for being pretty and not clutch.

milo z (mlp), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:26 (thirteen years ago) link

Alex are you going to any of the STL games?

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:28 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah I've also heard them be down on Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn too, but hey I don't live in Shasta-land.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:28 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm not actually! I kind of wish I had ticks. I saw 'em last year.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:29 (thirteen years ago) link

a-rod's pretty?

otto midnight (otto midnight), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:34 (thirteen years ago) link

pretty shitty amirite?

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:39 (thirteen years ago) link

he's pretty... pretty clutch.

Also Adam Dunn has got to be one of the greatest power hitters of all time.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:39 (thirteen years ago) link

Will Adam Dunn end up being Boog Powell or Harmon Killebrew?

I'm wondering how Teixeira fares, if he signs long-term to play in the AL Coors.

milo z (mlp), Monday, 22 May 2006 17:44 (thirteen years ago) link

i hope adam dunn starts to hit for average, in between whiffing and homering.

gear (gear), Monday, 22 May 2006 18:45 (thirteen years ago) link

You forgot walking, gear. If he can just maintain a .250-.260 BA, his value will still be off the charts.

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 22 May 2006 18:48 (thirteen years ago) link

He's the Rob Deer 5000 -- new and improved model.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 22 May 2006 21:08 (thirteen years ago) link

Nah, Wily Mo is the Nu-Rob Deer.

Dunn is the true three outcomes master: K, BB, HR.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Monday, 22 May 2006 21:18 (thirteen years ago) link

i wish he'd get up to .260!

gear (gear), Monday, 22 May 2006 21:50 (thirteen years ago) link

wow that's sad

k3vin k., Friday, 1 February 2019 20:41 (five months ago) link

(cabrera obviously a HOFer, but pujols' fall from the inner circle back to the mere mortals has been a long, slow, sad journey)

k3vin k., Friday, 1 February 2019 20:42 (five months ago) link

pujols still a little more valuable overall, on average, due to his blazing speed and impressive defensive skills compared to miggy, but yeah :(

Karl Malone, Friday, 1 February 2019 20:50 (five months ago) link

Pujols w/the Angels: .260/.315/.453

omar little, Friday, 1 February 2019 20:54 (five months ago) link

to compare to similar "decline phases" from a couple recent HOF guys who fell off a lot from their peak:

Frank Thomas after his MVP runner-up campaign in 2000: .262/.376/.507

Griffey Jr with the Reds/ChiSox/Seattle pt 2: .262/.355/.493

omar little, Friday, 1 February 2019 20:58 (five months ago) link

that's why Peak Value and Career Value are separate considerations

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 1 February 2019 21:07 (five months ago) link

prince albert pujols, he broketh free agency

mookieproof, Friday, 1 February 2019 21:10 (five months ago) link

two months pass...

First I've ever heard that Ruth's and Cap Anson's RBI totals are not considered official. I can maybe see that for Anson, but I don't get it for Ruth.

clemenza, Monday, 29 April 2019 04:33 (two months ago) link

Box scores from the teens and '20s are not all absolutely verified/complete.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 29 April 2019 11:53 (two months ago) link

It's strange though that the pre-1920 RBIs aren't included in the official totals at all. Mistakes aren't too uncommon, and the "official" totals can easily be adjusted.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 29 April 2019 12:45 (two months ago) link

i was trying to think of a solid comparison for Pujols in terms of an all-time great player falling off a cliff. i checked out Frank Thomas, specifically the era after his 2000 MVP runner-up season. During his age 33-39 seasons he accumulated 14.8 bWAR. Albert during that same run (this is his age 39 season, doubt he'll add much to the total and may subtract some, he's at 0.0 bWAR now) has accumulated 8.5 bWAR.

Griffey Jr. put up a 7.1 bWAR during those same seasons.

Beltre, on the other hand, put up 37.6 bWAR. And it's probably not fair to include Barry Bonds but...63.1 bWAR from his age 33-39 seasons.

omar little, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 16:32 (two months ago) link

when i think of falling off a cliff, i think of andruw

mookieproof, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 16:38 (two months ago) link

🙌 Mr. 2,000 RBIs 🙌 @PujolsFive tacked on the two-thousandth RBI of his Hall of Fame career with a solo shot in #Detroit!

He joins Hank Aaron & Alex Rodriguez as the only #MLBPlayers to ever reach the milestone. Congrats to The Machine! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/jgjvwD9Xvz

— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) May 9, 2019

mookieproof, Thursday, 9 May 2019 19:20 (two months ago) link

1,329 of those RBIs with the Cardinals, 2001-2011

these are not all of the possible side effects (Karl Malone), Thursday, 9 May 2019 19:32 (two months ago) link

he is the Aged Compiler :/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 9 May 2019 19:51 (two months ago) link

his fWAR w/LA is a lot lower than his bWAR (6.6 vs 13.3)

even by bWAR's generous standards he's put together a WAR of 3.1 since the beginning of 2015, which is i think equal to what Cody Bellinger did in April.

omar little, Thursday, 9 May 2019 20:14 (two months ago) link

The stories of fans doing right by players and being rewarded with autographs and such are nice. But Pujols has long been a humble fellow who gets to the heart of the matter. https://t.co/256RvmhZCC

— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) May 9, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 10 May 2019 15:43 (two months ago) link

saw people being really weird about that on twitter -- like 'how selfish!' or 'what an idiot; he didn't get it authenticated so now it's worthless'

mookieproof, Friday, 10 May 2019 16:32 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Ignore the headlines you'll read about this being Albert Pujols' first time back in St. Louis since 2011. Truth is, he never left at all.

How Pujols' impact on those with Down Syndrome has continued to grow in STL even as he took a new uniform. https://t.co/5zNJNBtTBL

— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) June 20, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 21 June 2019 21:00 (four weeks ago) link

pujols gets a curtain call in STL after homering to deep left

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Saturday, 22 June 2019 20:37 (four weeks ago) link

Ricky Horton speaks for us all when he said “of the 20 great moments he had - we’re gonna have to get another piece of paper”

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Saturday, 22 June 2019 20:40 (four weeks ago) link

scandal: albert pujols' wife diedre says cardinals fans truly are "best in baseball", it's like they never left, and that the HR ranked as the greatest moment in his career.

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Saturday, 22 June 2019 20:47 (four weeks ago) link

he passed pete rose for 8th place all time in total bases with that HR

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Saturday, 22 June 2019 21:18 (four weeks ago) link

just a little guy named steve sax up next on that list

jk, next up is babe ruth

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Saturday, 22 June 2019 21:18 (four weeks ago) link


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