Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The greatest player of all time?

Barry Bonds is the all-time home run champion. It pains me to write that — trust me — but it’s true. Whatever you think of him, or how he got to the record, you can’t dispute the accomplishment.

But there is one thing he’s not, and that’s the greatest baseball player of all time. I heard several people on the radio making that argument on my way to work this morning. But it’s wrong. Dead wrong.
The greatest baseball player of all time, bar none, was Babe Ruth.

Yes, I know he played at a time when the game was segregated. But he also played in a time when stadiums were bigger, travel was done by train and physical-training regiments were comprised of beers and strip clubs. However, because of baseball’s expansion to 30 teams, a good number of the guys pitching in the big leagues today would have been in the minors or driving trucks in the ’20s. So, no, all things aren’t even.

Putting that aside, there is still one number that separate Ruth from Bonds — that separates Ruth from Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio or any other baseball player you want to throw into the greatest of all time argument.

That number: 94.

That’s the number of victories Ruth had as a pitcher.

The Sultan of Swat, the Home Run King, was 94-46 with a 2.28 earned run average as a starting pitcher. He threw 17 shutouts, 107 complete games and struck out 488. And all but five of those victories came before 1919, when he’d only hit 49 of his 714 home runs.

So, give Barry his — reluctant — due. But until he hangs up his bat and takes the mound, don’t call him the greatest baseball player of all time.

—LOUIS LLOVIO, Daily Record Business Writer


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? How about Josh Gibson?

Anonymous said...

Not only is bonds not the best of all time...he's not the best playing today

Anonymous said...

Come on...stop hating!!! Give Barry his due

Sam said...

Bonds doesn't deserve accolades. He deserves prison and permanent banishment!! He’s a cheater and worse than Pete Rose!!