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11-28-2012, 05:52 PM
Dennis Bonvie
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Connecticut
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
It's about a 50:50 shot that he would have developed into an excellent pitcher. The problem is that we're looking at Ruth between ages 20 and 23, and his lack of progression. What we know now is that, after several studies on the issue, Ruth's inability to strike out opposing hitters on a consistent basis most likely would have precluded him becoming an excellent pitcher.

A pitcher who doesn't get many strikeouts puts a lot more balls into play. With an ability to induce ground balls combined with an excellent defense, this can be overcome to some extent. Lew Burdette is basically the only example of this; several others like Mark Fidrych and Chien-Ming Wang haven't been able to do so.

In Ruth's case, he had the huge year in 1916, then started walking more guys and striking out fewer. It's certainly possible that he could have reversed this trend, but he'd declined for three consecutive years and was only 24 at the time. I can tell you what that looks like in hockey, and his name is Steve Mason.
Ruth stop being a full time pitcher after the 1917 season. He was only 22. Yet the next year, when the Sox reached the World Series he pitched game 1 and won 1-0. He also won game 4.

A career record of 94-46 with an ERA of 2.28. World Series record of 3-0 with an ERA of 0.87. If he could have been strictly a pitcher he'd have been a great one, no doubt.

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