The other point I'd make is that while it's true that Ruth didn't have to compete against blacks or black Carribean stars (there were a few Carribean stars if they were white enough; for instance Dolph Luque was a member of the multi-race Cuban team that embarrassed Cobb that day in Havana. He was the second-best pitcher on the team. The ace, Jose Mendez, was coal-black and never got to play organized ball. Luque was white and ended up wining 193 games in the major leagues), several baseball historians (including Ken Burns) have suggested that the baseball-playing population was MUCH larger in the '20s and '30s than it is now. EVERYBODY played baseball and played baseball over any other sport. Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, for instance, were star football players. Today, they'd go to the NFL. If Michael Jordan had grown up in the 1920s with a white skin, but exactly the same athletic ability, he would have played baseball and not basketball. Ruth himself probably would have been a football star and not a baseball player in today's climate.
Ruth also never had to play at night. But Albert Pujols never had a seven-hour train ride followed by an afternoon game. He never had to sleep every night in St. Louis weather in an un-air conditioned room (in 1934, St. Louis experienced 35 straight days of 100-degree heat). He never had to play every day for three months in a row (they had off-days, but owners almost always schedule exhibition games on the offdays on the schedule). Of course, Ruth never had steroids or modern training methods.
Was it easier in his day? Was it harder? I don't known -- that's why I always argue that we have to judge players by the impact that had against their contemporaries. In Ruth's case, that's a more important factor than the bigger ballparks -- as it was, he hit more home runs in 1920 and 1921 than any other TEAM. Can you imagine the impact that had? In the decade of the 1920s, he hit almost 15 perrcent of all home runs hit in the decade ... to do that today, you'd have to average well over 100 home runs a season. When you look at that, it's easy to understand why he towered over the game in a way that no modern star can even approach.
Does that mean he's better than the modern stars? I don't know. But in his own era -- whether easier or harder -- he was a far greater player than anybody else who has played the game.
PS Pujols went another game -- his 20th -- without a homer, although he did got 1 for 4.
Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats' Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winning, face-of-the-franchise third baseman has gone on the DL to rest a shoulder strain. Having already lost slugging left fielder Michael Morse for the first few months of the season, the Nats' offense has been mediocre at best, and the team has been carried along by its strong starting pitching.
In response to the Zimmerman DL move, the Nats are calling up top prospect Bryce Harper a little ahead of schedule. The original plan was to call up Harper after he'd had a couple of months at AAA, but the injuries and offensive struggles have forced GM Mike Rizzo's hand. So tonight, Harper makes his debut in the Nats' lineup. He'll play LF and bat seventh. Oh, and Strasburg gets the start in Dodger Stadium.
Let's go Nats!
Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”
Ruth hit 467 home runs in the 1920's. In the AL, 4684 homers were hit that decade, and in all of baseball there were 9894 hit. That means that Ruth hit 10% of all home runs hit in the AL in the 1920's, and 4.7% of all home runs hit in that decade. Not 15%.
In today's game, there are approximately 5000 home runs hit per year, maybe a little more. So for a guy to hit even the 4.7% of all the home runs, as the Babe did in the 20's, he'd have to be hitting 235 per year! Unbelievable.
Harper is an impressive young talent, especially considering his age. I just hope he's not buried by the hype. Give him time to grow up.
After getting swept by the Yankees earlier in the season, Orioles go into New York and take 2 out of 3 from the Yanks outscoring them 13-3 in the series. Jason Hammel lost a duel to Kuroda 2-1, Brian Matusz collected his first win in 12 (I think?) decisions in a 7-1 victory, and Jake Arrieta pitched 8 shutout innings in a 5-0 win tonight.
The young pitching in Charm City has really been doing work this first month of the season. Hope they can keep it up!
2011 Tent #1
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2013 Tent #1
I don't know if anybody else was watching, but the Braves and Phillies just completed one of the great regular season games tonight. It just ended at 11:11 p.m.
Phillies are up 6-0 after 5 innings and with Roy Halladay on the mound, seem to be a lock -- Halladay has never lost a decision once he's had a four-run lead (107-0).
But Braves fight back in the sixth and tie the game on a Brian McCann grand slam. Halladay stays out there and before the inning is over, Jason Heyward pinch hits a 2-run single to give Atlantra an 8-6 lead.
Things look good, but the bullpen stumbles and the Phillies score six straight runs to retake the lead at 12-8. In the bottom of the eighth, Atlanta scores five to go up 13-12. But Kimbrell blows the save and the Phillies tie it at 13.
Finally, in the bottom of the 11th, Uggla slips a single through the infield. Chipper, up next, misses a game-winning homer by inches on a 2-2 pitch -- just foul. Two pitches later. with Uggla runnng on a 3-2 pitch, Chipper rips one over the wall in right-center to give the Braves a 15-13 walk-off win.
How often do you come back from a six-run deficit against a pitcher like Halladay? Then follow that with a five-run rally in the eighth.
Not that it's more impressive than coming back from 6 down on Halladay, because I am fairly sure the Nats will not be able to do that whenever they first face Roy (luckily that won't happen this weekend).
Jered Weaver no-hits the twins.
2011 Tent #1
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More bad news for the Yankees on the injury front.
Mariano Rivera hurt his right knee shagging flies during batting practice in KC this afternoon and was carted off the field on one of those John Deere vehicles. Actually, it was kind of funny (if it wasn't so worrisome) -- two Yankee teammates picked up Rivera and prepared to put him on the back flat-bed of the small vehicle. But the KC groundsmen couldn't get the back gate open to put him on it. They stood there holding Rivera for several minutes while the guys fumbled with the latch. Finally, they gave up and brought a second vehicle out for him.
No word on how serious it is, but the Yankee injuries are starting to mount. Gardner is on the DL, Swisher is hurt, Martin and Tex have been banged up. Chavez was hurt last night. Obviously, Pineda has been unable to pitch this season (along with Chamberlain).
During Wednesday night's game, it got so bad that by the fifth inning, Girardi was down to one non-pitcher available on the bench.
As a Yanke fan, I've been tolerant of the team's so-so play so far considering the injuries. If this one is bad, the Yankees could be in big trouble.
Stan Musial's wife Lillian died today. Don't have a link; only seeing it on Facebook.
A movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it.
Some questions cannot be answered
Who’s gonna bury who
We need a love like Johnny, Johnny and June
---Over the Rhine
Mo tore his ACL and also has meniscus damage, reportedly.
This isn't the way it should end for Mo, but it may well be the end. This Red Sox fan takes no joy in this news. Hopefully Mo will get to go out on his own terms.
But if not, thank you Mo