View Poll Results: Who is better...Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth (with pitching)

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  • Ty Cobb

    21 26.58%
  • Babe Ruth

    58 73.42%
  • Neither of them are worthy of this discussion

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Thread: Babe Ruth vs. Ty Cobb

  1. #1
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    Babe Ruth vs. Ty Cobb

    I'm sure this has been done but I can't find it. Basically, who is the best player between these two. Or, if you think they both stink that's an option, too. For this poll consider everything from the hitting for average, power, defense, running, fielding, pitching (Cobb pitched a few innings although that probably shouldn't factor in to your vote).

    Feel free to discuss as well as vote.

    Ty Cobb

    Babe Ruth
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-21-2007 at 01:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    I was soooo tempted to vote the third one, but I'll go with Babe.

  3. #3
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    Cobb over Ruth????

    Ruth revolutionized the game. Period.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by AlecBoy006
    Cobb over Ruth????

    Ruth revolutionized the game. Period.
    So did Bruce Sutter, is he the greatest pitcher of all-time? I believe we're talking value, not historical impact.

  5. I previosuly thought it was to close to call and would go back and forth daily. However, the book The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs really made me decide that Ruth was the greatest player of all-time.
    Last edited by Mariano_Rivera; 03-18-2007 at 12:32 PM.

  6. #6
    I think Ruth is the better baseball player, while Cobb is a better offensive player. If we are talking the best player between these two. My vote goes to Ruth.

  7. #7
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    I would have thought this vote would be a little closer. I think it's Ruth's pitching that really makes him the more popular choice. Now that some people have had time to vote I'll reveal mine - I'm the lone Ty Cobb supporter.

    I'm not all that good at all that SABR stuff and what not (although I understand most of it) so my argument will be far from convincing but I'll give it a shot anyways.

    My first point - amongst their contemporaries Ruth was a very popular player and was very well-liked while Cobb was just the opposite. Despite this fact, in the very first Hall of Fame ballot Ty Cobb received more votes than Babe Ruth.

    Ty Cobb had 150,417,74.9, and 451 for his black and gray ink and HOF standards and monitor. Those numbers add up to 1092.9 Ruth had 1005.6 if you include only batting and 1161.1 with pitching. Those last numbers are fairly close but favor Ruth slightly so this point isn't that good. I think it does show that Cobb is a better hitter though.

    Cobb can't hit for power....that's not exactly true. I think most people on this site know more than the average fan but just in case: Cobb finished in the top 10 in AL HRs 11 times. Also from 1893-1919 Ty Cobb was 5th in home runs (2 more and he'd have tied for second). People also talk about how Ruth was so good that he'd outhomer entire teams. Ty Cobb has done that as well (1908 Cobb vs. CHW, 1909 Cobb vs. CHW, tied WAS, 1910 CHW, 1917 WAS).

    Cobb is 2nd all-time in triples with more than twice as many as Ruth. That doesn't mean a whole lot due to the era but I'll put it in anyways.

    To be a 5 tool player you must hit for average (advantage Cobb)
    hit for power (I'd say it's pretty even although Ruth gets a slight advantage)
    Run (huge advantage Cobb)
    Throwing abilities and fielding abilities....these are both pretty even although somewhere on here a thread voted Cobb as the better defender between the two.

    This is an argument I likely can't win so I'll stop for now and wait for some responses.

  8. #8
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    Now we're talking. Ty in the lead, 2-0, and forging ahead with a purpose. I declare victory early, in case we slip in the late innings.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsburg2599
    So did Bruce Sutter, is he the greatest pitcher of all-time? I believe we're talking value, not historical impact.

    Wasn't 3 Finger Brown the 1st to throw the 1st split fingered pitch?

    Sutter just gets the claim to 1st with 5 fingers.

  10. #10
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    I would have thought this vote would be a little closer. I think it's Ruth's pitching that really makes him the more popular choice. Now that some people have had time to vote I'll reveal mine - I'm the lone Ty Cobb supporter.
    Not with Bill Burgess being a member.

    When you get time go to the Sticky on top of the History Section and read some of the threads that Bill Burgess has done on this topic. Covers about any view or angle you would care for.

  11. #11
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    Ruth was too damn great of a pitcher to ignore those stats, and since this isn't a hitter vs. hitter comparison, he wins by a landslide. As far as home run hitting and just-plain-hitting go, these two are the best-of-the-best. Cobb perfected the old game, Ruth ushered in the new era. When it all comes down to it though, there's no better man to have in your lineup than Ruth. You can't ignore power AND a strong BA.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Sweater
    Not with Bill Burgess being a member.

    When you get time go to the Sticky on top of the History Section and read some of the threads that Bill Burgess has done on this topic. Covers about any view or angle you would care for.
    When I originally voted it was 17-1. We had to restart the poll though since the votes were hidden.

  13. #13
    I voted for Cobb, and arriving at this stance was not a quick revelation, rather, it was an evolutionary position. It took hundreds of hours reading, independent research, and discussion for me (a Yankees fan from a rabid Yankee family living in NY) to change my mind. Here are some of the seminal works which contitute a good percentage of what I've poured over in my study of Ty Cobb.

    William M. Burgess III's Ty Cobb Memorial Collection AND Assessing Ty Cobb as The Greatest All-Around Baseball Player Who Ever Lived

    Charles Alexander's biography

    The Ty Cobb Scrapbook: An Illustrated Chronology of Significant Dates in the 24-Year Career of the Fabled Georgia Peach--Over 800 Games From 1905-1928

    Peach: Ty Cobb In His Time And Ours

    Ty Cobb: His Tumultuous Life and Times

    Ty Cobb Discussion Forum

    Due to the information I've absorbed- in large part because of members like Sultan1895_1948 and ShoelessJoe- I can still see a very strong case for Babe Ruth as the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Certainly Mays has an incredibly strong claim also. I can't really see one for Bonds or Wagner.
    Last edited by csh19792001; 03-18-2007 at 04:17 PM.

  14. #14
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    Ahh, an oldie but goodie topic.

    Ruth #1, Cobb #2. There is a gap but not a large one imo.

    Average - Push, when you consider Babe's approach was power and Cobb's was all BA.

    Power - Large edge for Ruth. Shouldn't need to explain. Cobb did very well in SA but that was largely dependent on his legs rather than his power. No insult to not be in Babe's class here. Counting only his full-time playing seasons, his slugging average is .705. As it is, his career .690 is a number that has been reached only 27 times (by non-steroid users) in the history of the game, in a single season.

    Arm - Huge edge for Ruth in terms of career. Before Cobb hurt his arm I would just say large edge but Ruth never lost his. It was always top notch. The legs were what went eventually. Never the arm.

    Fielding - Positional consideration gives Cobb an edge but not as large as some might think. If we look at his entire fielding career, then Ruth's fielding as a pitcher should be included, and that was very good. Take away those years and replace them with full-time outfield seasons, and his fielding legacy looks much better. Still, Cobb was a very good centerfielder for quite some time before falling off, and he gets the edge.

    Baserunning - Large edge to Cobb. Ruth was good to very good and Cobb was excellent.

    Off-field considerations - Much tougher for Ruth. The pressure, expectations, and demands on his time, energy, and focus were astronomical. To do what he did day in and day out with a continuous "full-plate" is incredible. When comparing him to Cobb, this is somewhat, but not fully off-set by Cobb's player/manager years.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Sweater
    Wasn't 3 Finger Brown the 1st to throw the 1st split fingered pitch?

    Sutter just gets the claim to 1st with 5 fingers.

    The "smashed, mangled, twisted, hooked, and missing finger fastball"...how come nobody else could throw it???

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellborn

    The "smashed, mangled, twisted, hooked, and missing finger fastball"...how come nobody else could throw it???
    How do you know some didn't? They do today don't they?

    Forkball has been around for ever.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyykan_t
    I think Ruth is the better baseball player, while Cobb is a better offensive player.

    Are you sure you don't got that mixed up?

  18. #18
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    If there had been no Babe Ruth, then there is no doubt we would only be claiming the glories of Cobb today at #1.

    Unfortunately the big guy did come along and stole his thunder...at the only point in time when he could have. He was just the right guy who came around at the right time. Everything fit his skillsets to set him apart form everyone else. And so he accomplished what he did and is remembered by most at #1 because of it.

    Not that Cobb isn't to have his dues. Being #2 isn't a BAD thing by any means. I mean is still the all-time leader in BA (and looks to retain that title for many years to come), is also in the top 10 in OBP, and probably has the highest SLG out of all players who spent a majority of their careers in the deadball era. He was a juggernaut on the bases, the Henderson of his day out there. He was a competitor ever minute he was on the diamond, always looking for that one thing he could do that might help his team win - and he did it. His 1911 season also matches up nicely with all of the other all-time great ones. And over his 24 year career, spanning from the age of 18 to 41, he didn't have a bad season in the bunch (save his first year in the league...but can you fault a guy who is only 18?).

  19. #19
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    OK, guys. You want to dance? You want to play. Alright then. I'm going to start to assemble the various strands of the case. Will take me some time.

    http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...8&postcount=16

    1. Ty was outhit by Babe by a significant degree. But there were explanations. Ty got stuck in deadball, refused to focus on power, and Babe ended with a 40 point OPS+ advantage. But some of that was due to a League's refusal to go for power.
    2. He outran him both as a thief and base runner.
    3. He was a very, very good CFer.
    4. Ty wasn't particularly versatile in terms of being able to move him around. But he could handle all 3 OF posts/1B.
    5. He arrived at the age of 18, 2 yrs. earlier than Babe did, and lasted as long.
    6. His major secondary skill, running was extremely more valuable than was Babe's pitching. Ty's running was the best ever, and Babe's pitching was not. Ty ran until he was 32 years old, and did it concurrently with his hitting.

    Values Part of the Case:

    7. In 1921, after being appointed manager of his team, he worked with all the team's hitters, and the team improved their collective BA from 94% of L. average to 107%, a record which lasted a long time. He did the same thing in 1927, working with the hitters of the A's.
    8. He managed well, 1921-26.
    9. He was a less powerful drawing card, but still filled his team coffers with money to re-invest in better players.
    10. He set more records, which lasted as long.
    11. He led his league more times.
    12. He won the Historical Opinions and was called the Greatest ever from 1912-mid-50's.
    13. Since he was the Player's Player, he inspired many players to imitate him, such as Collins/Sisler in the variety of their attack. And his fire inspired many more players to imitate his determination, such as Hornsby, Cochrane, Simmons. However, to be fair, his over-aggressiveness did cause a certain amount of team disruption, for which he must lose some points.
    14. Both Hughie Jennings/Connie Mack called Ty easy to manage. Connie called him the easiest man to manage he ever had.
    --------------------
    Babe:
    1. He hit significantly better, but with several explanations.
    2. He ran significantly worse.
    3. He was a very good RFer, but lacked the speed to cover CF at PG/YS.
    4. He was more versatile than Ty, mainly due to his pitching. Probably had more potential versatility. Both played 1B. [/B]
    5. He arrived at the age of 20, 2 yrs. 2 years later than Ty, and lasted about as long.
    6. Babe's secondary skill, pitching, was not as world class as Ty's running. Also gave it up at age 24, and couldn't do it in his times of glory.

    Values Part of the case:

    7. He never taught hitting to his team in a formalized way. He did give tips/pointers to Lou Gehrig, maybe some others.
    8. He was denied his chance to manage. I disagree with that managerial decision, but he alienated the key person, his GM.
    9. He was the greatest, most powerful drawing card sports has ever seen. Major points here for value.
    10. He did set a ton of records, but not as many as Ty, and in less categories across the boards.
    11. His league leads were less.
    12. He lost the Historical Opinions contest. 253 prominent BB figures called Ty the best, around 30 called Babe the best. Decisive.
    13. Many players tried to imitate his hitting. It is unclear how many lacked his HR gift and ruined themselves by going for the long ball. He was also admirable in his ability to get along with others. So his good disposition was an asset. However his attitude towards all of his managers was defiant and insubordinate. He divided the Yankees into cliques during McCarthy's tenure.
    14. No one ever called Babe easy to manage. In fact, that is what cost him his chance to manage.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-25-2007 at 07:59 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Sweater
    How do you know some didn't? They do today don't they?

    Forkball has been around for ever.
    I thought that you were making a joke when you said Mordecai Brown threw a split finger fastball, referring to the damage to his hand. That's why I had the laughing guys in my reply.
    I have heard that Brown had a unique break to his "curveball", but have no idea how he threw the pitch or how it broke. I suppose that he could have been throwing something like a split or forkball.
    Of course the forkball has been around forever, but I've never heard of it being thrown at 90mph. The speed of the split, combined with the break and being thrown with a fastball motion, is what makes it so tough. I suppose that there could have been pitchers who threw a very hard forkball that came close to matching the speed of the split, but that's hard to imagine with a pitch that is jammed all the way between the fingers when thrown.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    Now we're talking. Ty in the lead, 2-0, and forging ahead with a purpose. I declare victory early, in case we slip in the late innings.
    After Cobbs 2-0 start Ruth has gone 17-2. Hmmm...I smell a rout here. At this point there's no point in voting.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    OK, guys. You want to dance? You want to play. Alright then. I'm going to start to assemble the various strands of the case. Will take me some time.

    http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...8&postcount=16

    1. Ty was outhit by Babe by a significant degree. But there were explanations. Ty got stuck in deadball, refused to focus on power, and Babe ended with a 40 point OPS+ advantage. But of that was due to a League's refusal to go for power.
    What did Ruth do in his deadball years as a pitcher hitting in Fenway?

    Some did try. The fact that they could not and would not sacrifice their batting average and stick with the approach, is not a knock on Ruth in any way. Shows just how great Babe was at the dish.

    2. He outran him both as a thief and base runner.
    Yup.
    3. He was a very, very good CFer.
    Very good for several years but stuck in center too long.

    5. He arrived at the age of 18, 2 yrs. earlier than Babe did, and lasted as long.
    And this means what exactly? You know the numbers on Ruth's longevity and of his incredible decline phase.
    6. His major secondary skill, running was extremely more valuable than was Babe's pitching. Ty's running was the best ever, and Babe's pitching was not. Ty ran until he was 32 years old, and did it concurrently with his hitting.
    Disagree with that, and you're approaching it wrong anyway imo. You should compare baserunning to baserunning, not baserunning to pitching. One has nothing to do with the other.

    10. He was a less powerful drawing card, but still filled his team coffers with money to re-invest in better players.
    A much less powerful drawing card. By '19 Ruth had surpassed Cobb as the games biggest draw and the gap only increased from there.

    11. He set more records, which lasted as long.
    Not so much. According to the book, Babe Ruth's Incredible Records and the 44 Players Who Broke Them by John Mercurio, Ruth established 206 records in his career, compared to 146 for Tyrus.

    12. He led his league more times.
    Hmm...not sure which categories you're choosing to include here, and since when do league leads mean that much anyway, especially when they're largely dependent on number of years played. Anyway, Ruth can finish second in '19 with 101 walks and the leader was .234 hitting Graney with 105. So how exactly should that be used to say Babe was less of a player?

    Or how about this.

    In '18 Ruth only had 317 AB. He finished second in doubles with 26. That is one double every 12.19 AB. The leader was Speaker with 33 doubles in 471 AB or one every 14.27 AB. Give Ruth a full season and he leads in doubles.

    Also in '18 Ruth finished fifth in triples with 11. One triple every 28.81 AB. Cobb led the league with 14 and had 421 AB, good for one every 30.07.

    If he was playing a full season that year he most likely would have led the league in BB, RBI, PWR/SPD, and overtaken Cobb for first place in OBP.

    So how much weight should they hold?

    13. He won the Historical Opinions and was called the Greatest ever from 1912-mid-50's.
    Yeah, around 1950 the Associated Press ranked him first over Cobb as the greatest player in the last 50 years. Part of the issue before then, was the people focused so much on Babe's offense (and truly didn't yet understand its greatness) that his other skills were overshadowed.

    --------------------
    Babe:
    1. He hit significantly worse.
    Huh?
    3. He was a very good RFer, but lacked the speed to cover CF at PG/YS.
    We judge him for what he was, a corner outfielder. And he did have the speed in his early days. You're reaching again Bill.
    4. He was about as versatile as Ty, so no advantage there. Both played 1B.
    About as versatile? Who could fill in at more positions if need be? Could Cobb catch at the level of Ruth? Nah. They'd run on him all day and oh how that would affect his legs, which would in turn impact other areas of his game, which were SOOO leg dependent. So he couldn't catch if needed and he couldn't pitch. I'm thinking he could fill in any infield spot except shortstop and Ruth could do the same even though he threw lefty. "About as versitile"? Just funny stuff Bill. You're cracking me up.
    5. He arrived at the age of 20, 2 yrs. 2 years later than Ty, and lasted about as long.
    Sounds familiar, just flipped. Nice work. Still doesn't mean squat.
    6. Babe's secondary skill, pitching, was not as world class as Ty's running. Also gave it up at age 24, and couldn't do it in his times of glory.
    Again, why are you comparing those two? A shame you feel the need to degrade Ruth's pitching ability. Why did he "give it up" Bill? How much better would he have become if he hadn't? He pitched in quite a few exhibition games and seemed just fine. Never lost his arm.

    7-8. He never taught hitting.
    As an official manager, no, but yes, he gave pointers to teammates including Gehrig.
    9. He was denied his chance to manage. I disagree with that managerial decision, but he alienated the key people.
    He had several opportunities to manage elsewhere but his heart wanted to manage in NY. The Yanks management gave Shawkey a chance to manage, even though Shawkey was right there with Babe raising hell in the hey-day. Go figure that one. Or perhaps it's as simple as the owners resented him for screwing up the salary structure for all coming generations. Ruth had settled down and was ready to manage.

    12. His league leads were less.
    Really?

    15. No one ever called Babe easy to manage. In fact, that is what cost him his chance to manage.
    Who said he was hard to manage, and why would that impact his greatness as a player? Ruth showed up and went about his business. Only time there was issues, was when the club wasn't doing well and they needed a scape goat. Then all of a sudden his nightly activities were a problem. But when he's going 3-4 it's all good.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  23. #23
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    That third option isn't getting much support...
    Seriously though Cobb has 22.73% of the vote so far which establishes the fact that the people on here know more than the average baseball fan. I'm hoping that Cobb can get it into the mid- to high-30's or more but more than 1/5th isn't too bad going up against Ruth and his pitching.

    Ask the average baseball fan who's better...Ruth (w/ Pitching) or Cobb I guarantee 95%+ say Ruth.
    A good friend of mine follows baseball rather well (he even knows who guys like Jason Botts [Rangers] is as a Dodger fan) but he gives Cobb no credit for anything. "Sure he hit .400 a few times but the pitching wasn't any good back then. Nobody could throw more than like 60 MPH and everyone hit .400. If you hit under about .350 you'd be out of baseball....the deadball was easy to hit just hard to hit out of the park" I'm glad the people here have a little more sense than that. The most common batter vs. pitcher matchup in baseball history (a record that'll never be broken) was Cobb vs. Walter Johnson. There's no way to clock him exactly but he threw a lot faster than 60.

  24. #24
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    The average baseball fan would be right, although they might not know to what degree.

    I know plenty about Cobb and he's #2 because of it.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honus Wagner Rules
    After Cobbs 2-0 start Ruth has gone 17-2. Hmmm...I smell a rout here. At this point there's no point in voting.
    Smugness becomes you. 14 of Cobb's 53 supporters are no longer on Fever. But I suppose an equal number of Ruth's 104 supporters have left too.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-19-2007 at 08:46 AM.

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