By Father Gabe Costa
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Can we compare apples and oranges? Ty Cobb won 11 batting titles (BA) in 13 years while Babe Ruth copped 13 slugging (SLG) crowns in a 14-year stretch. No players in history have come close to these two immortals with respect to this type of hitting dominance.
Yet, I wonder, can we determine which of the two Hall of Famers was more dominant?
In the charts below, I take a look at Cobb’s yearly averages and compare them to the American League’s batting average (LBA) by calculating the ratio of the two numbers (BA/LBA). I also do the same with Ruth, replacing BA with SLG.
What do you think? Was Ruth more dominant as a slugger than Cobb was as a hitter?
Before I close, I take a look at Ruth’s two best SLG marks and compare them with those of Barry Bonds, while also looking at the runner-up in each league (NEXT) and the difference (DIFF) between the top two sluggers for those particular years. Note that it was in these four seasons alone that the .800 SLG barrier was reached.
By the way, Ruth leads all sluggers with a .690 career mark, outdistancing Bonds’ .607 by a good margin.
There have been many dominant players in the game, pitchers as well as hitters. But only one immortal has ever transcended the national pastime (by George!).
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