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  1. #1
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    Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    I was listening to the Orioles-Red Sox game tonight and Joe Angel was talking about how in 1931 the NL changed the rule where balls that bounced over the outfield wall counted as a home run. Two years earlier in 1929 the AL had changed the rule.

    So my question is how many of Babe Ruth's home runs between 1915-1928 were actually ground rule doubles?

    Were there any statistics kept back then that differentiated between the two types of HR's?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by NYDCYankee
    I was listening to the Orioles-Red Sox game tonight and Joe Angel was talking about how in 1931 the NL changed the rule where balls that bounced over the outfield wall counted as a home run. Two years earlier in 1929 the AL had changed the rule.

    So my question is how many of Babe Ruth's home runs between 1915-1928 were actually ground rule doubles?

    Were there any statistics kept back then that differentiated between the two types of HR's?
    Sorry to be answering this like a wisea*s, but none of Ruth's home runs were ground rule doubles. They were all HR's, by the standards of the day. It is all but impossible to compare playing stats or records of any kind from one era to another because of how the game and the rules continually change.
    Please keep in mind what the dimensions of YS (465' to deep center) and the Polo grounds (550+ in deep center) were in those days. Also today's games are played in different parks. The thin atmosphere in Colorado makes for more HR's. The pitching mound has changed. There are no more spitballs or emery balls, but there are now circle curves, splitters and the like.

    To really judge the relative value of a player by comparing stastics when they are from different era's is all but impossible. The best way is to compare their stats to all the other players of that era and then to compare today's players stats to all the other players of today's era and see how the two players stack up.

    When you do that you will find Ruth to be so much superior than any other player in history in his power hitting.

    Getting back to your question, I do remember seeing the stat somewhere and I am confident someone will come up with it for you, but it will be really meaningless. I do remember that a few of Babe's HR's bounced over the fence and in today's context would be doubles, but also remember with the larger parks there were more inside the park HR's also.

    Sorry to be so wordy.

    Andy
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  3. #3
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Nome
    Sorry to be answering this like a wisea*s, but none of Ruth's home runs were ground rule doubles. They were all HR's, by the standards of the day. It is all but impossible to compare playing stats or records of any kind from one era to another because of how the game and the rules continually change.
    Obviously, and I understand that.

    When you do that you will find Ruth to be so much superior than any other player in history in his power hitting.
    I am not questioning that fact at all.

    Getting back to your question, I do remember seeing the stat somewhere and I am confident someone will come up with it for you, but it will be really meaningless. I do remember that a few of Babe's HR's bounced over the fence and in today's context would be doubles, but also remember with the larger parks there were more inside the park HR's also.
    I more or less brought it up to compare it to the complaints of today, by those who think the parks are to small or players being much bigger than they used to be, or the DH or whatever.

    The game was different back then as well, it hand it's own types of statistical offensive advantages, this being one of them. If Maris had an asterik because he hit 61 in 162 games, how many pop fly ground rule HR's did Ruth hit when he hit 60? Should there have been some type of asterik for that?
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  4. #4
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by NYDCYankee
    Obviously, and I understand that.



    I am not questioning that fact at all.



    I more or less brought it up to compare it to the complaints of today, by those who think the parks are to small or players being much bigger than they used to be, or the DH or whatever.

    The game was different back then as well, it had it's own types of statistical offensive advantages, this being one of them. If Maris had an asterik because he hit 61 in 162 games, how many pop fly ground rule HR's did Ruth hit when he hit 60? Should there have been some type of asterik for that?
    Bowie Kuhn was being a total as* hole when he gave Maris the asterisk. I was around at the time and violently disagreed with his decision. Why give only Maris the * when all records in the 162 game era were of different value than in the 154 game era.

    There are a lot more marginal pitchers in a 15 team league than there were in the 8 team league. That leads to greater offense.
    I am sure you see my point. Kuhn assigning an * to Maris' accomplishment was totally and incompetantly wrong.

    Andy
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    For some reason I remember hearing at some point that Ruth only gained a handful of HRs in this way, if any. I don't remember where or when I heard it, so my memory could be incorrect or the source might have been unreliable, but that's what I remember.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Soriambi
    For some reason I remember hearing at some point that Ruth only gained a handful of HRs in this way, if any. I don't remember where or when I heard it, so my memory could be incorrect or the source might have been unreliable, but that's what I remember.
    Frankly I remember that during his career, six of his HR's would be considered "ground rule" doubles today but I need verification. However if he played in today's parks, how many would he get? 100?

    Andy
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Regarding Andy's point of comparing Babe with players of his era, I find the Babe's stats absolutely astonishing in that there is simply no comparison with him vs. his peers.

    The Babe frequently produced more homers individually than some entire teams.

    I don't believe there is a similar valid comparison as to disparity in today's game and today's players.

  8. #8
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Nome
    Frankly I remember that during his career, six of his HR's would be considered "ground rule" doubles today but I need verification. However if he played in today's parks, how many would he get? 100?

    Andy
    That sounds about right to me, Andy. I think it was a low number like that.
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Do I recall properly, seems to me that Babe lost a few homers in games rained out before completion? I think possibly Roger did also (one or so?) in '61, but I truly don't recall clearly.

  10. #10
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry
    Regarding Andy's point of comparing Babe with players of his era, I find the Babe's stats absolutely astonishing in that there is simply no comparison with him vs. his peers.

    The Babe frequently produced more homers individually than some entire teams.

    I don't believe there is a similar valid comparison as to disparity in today's game and today's players.
    I think that the closest anyone's ever come to dominating kind of like Babe did for any length of time was Barry Bonds' 2001-2004, and as we know, those numbers were pretty much certainly obtained through nefarious means. Also, that's "only" four years out of his career. Babe was that dominant or close to it in many of his years.
    -Kevin

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    RIP, Pete.

  11. #11
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry
    Do I recall properly, seems to me that Babe lost a few homers in games rained out before completion? I think possibly Roger did also (one or so?) in '61, but I truly don't recall clearly.

    Not to mention at least on one occasion losing what would be considered a walk-off home run ... before the rules were changed.

    Red Sox were down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, 1-2, with runners on first and third with one out. Ruth hits what today would be a home run over the right field fence. Final score, Boston wins 3-2. Ruth gets credited with a triple.

  12. #12
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Nome
    Bowie Kuhn was being a total as* hole when he gave Maris the asterisk.
    Ford Frick.

    I think I remember hearing somewhere that under the rules that were in effect until about 1930, balls that passed the foul pole fair and then hooked into foul territory when they landed were declared foul balls. Ruth supposedly lost dozens of homers to this rule.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    there was also a rule that if a ball passed the foul pole fair but looked into foul territory, it was a foul ball.

    So I'm sure things evened out.

  14. #14
    Yankee Fan since May 9,1962 jimmyclark's Avatar
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    I can remember "veteran baseball writers" saying they couldn't remember any of Ruth's 60 in 1927 being "ground rule doubles".
    There was not a real drastic decrease in homeruns in the 1930s. 1930 was a bit of a fluke year but home run hitting became more accepted as more managers came in who could see the benefits of "TNT baseball" vs "inside baseball" (we call the latter small ball)

    Hr/G
    1925 0.95
    1926 0.69
    1927 0.74
    1928 0.88
    1929 1.09
    1930 1.26
    1931 0.86
    1932 1.10
    1933 0.87
    1934 1.09

    the 1930 rate was not surpassed until 1940


    I am not sure of the history of foul poles but Ralph Houl tells a story that he once hit the foul pole ("call it the fair pole" says Warner Wolf) but since the ball landed in foul territory it was called a double as was the practice in 1947
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  15. #15
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    I also remember reading that many years ago, in a walk-off situation, the game was considered to be over when the lead run crossed the plate. So, if a team was down by a run with the bases loaded, and the ball was hit over the fence, the game ended when the man on second scored, meaning the batter was credited with only a double.

    I believe Ruth lost a few HRs this way. If that rule existed today, David Ortiz would have a lot fewer HRs this year.

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  16. #16
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Nome
    Bowie Kuhn was being a total as* hole when he gave Maris the asterisk. I was around at the time and violently disagreed with his decision. Why give only Maris the * when all records in the 162 game era were of different value than in the 154 game era.
    That's an urban legend. There never was any asterisk.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Nome
    Frankly I remember that during his career, six of his HR's would be considered "ground rule" doubles today but I need verification. However if he played in today's parks, how many would he get? 100?

    Andy
    Ruth actually lost a homer due to the rules of that time. In 1920 he came up in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with a man on base and hit one in the seats. But according to the rules of the day the game ended when the baserunner scored so Babe was given a triple. So the rules of the day worked both ways. At one time if you hit the foul pole and the ball landed in foul territory you would only get a double. Ralph Houk lost a homer that way in 1949 and he never hit another.

  18. #18
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    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Stupid Flanders
    That's an urban legend. There never was any asterisk.
    It was Ford Frick, not Bowie Kuhn who came up with the asterisk. He had been a "drinking" buddy of Ruth and he really did not want to see the Babe's record broken. Its a shame that the asterisk was not taken away until after Maris had passed away.

  19. #19

    Re: Babe Ruth And Ground Rule Double HR's

    IT is simply silly to suggest that Babe Ruth had NO "ground rule double" home runs. It takes just logic, common sense, and your eyes to know that is impossible. Yankee Stadium was built specifically for Babe Ruth. Unlike Fenway and other parks that had short fields due to space constraints, Yankee Stadium's right field was designed solely to help Babe Ruth. So, not only did they make it very short..but the fences were only THREE FEET TALL!

    Now, here is where common sense and your eyes come into play. Think to any modern slugger. How many times a season do they hit a ball that bounces over the fence. Or, hit one that bounces high up on the wall. Quite a few times a year. So to suggest that Babe Ruth NEVER did it in his entire career is absurd.

    Of course there is no evidence of it happening? Why WOULD there be? There was no reason for sports writers to mention anything other than the fact that the outcome of the at bat was a home run. Any reference to "Reportedly Babe Ruth didn't have any of these home runs" is simply quoting some Yankee fanboy who doesn't want Ruth to lose home runs. Yes, he had a few taken away by the no walk off home run unless your run mattered rule, and the balls can't curve around the foul pole and land in foul territory. But again, using logic, common sens and your eyes, think of how many times that happens compared to ground rule doubles. (Or, if you want to be anal retentive and have no friends, no ground rule doubles, but "automatic doubles" since Ground Rule Doubles are something else.) The curve around the foul pole might happen once a year a the most. Probably less than 5-6 times to a player in their entire career. The no walk off rule cost someone a couple times a year at the most. (Yes..sluggers tend to have more than 2 walk offs in any given season, but many of those times, they ARE the winning run. So they would still have counted as a home run prior to the rule change.) Whereas, layers get "Automatic Doubles" several times a year.

    It is also worth noting that both rules that hurt Babe Ruth were changed prior to the 1920 season, before he became a full time hitter. Whereas, the double rule wasn't implemented until 1930, after he had already been credited with 506 of his 714 home runs. So the negative rules might have cost him like 4-5 home runs total whereas the ball bouncing over the fence is a home run rule likely awarded him 4-5 more home runs every single year in the 1920s.

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