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Who was Better George Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds in Baseball
Best Baseball Players
The debate on who is the best Major League Baseball player has been going on for decades and, to be quite honest, will never be resolved. Part of this uncertainty is there are no specific criteria to determine who the best baseball player of all time is. Some fans might place more importance on batting average over home runs while someone else thinks RBI’s (runs batted in) are the prime factor when defining who the best of all time is.
Two men who come up frequently in these greatest of all time discussions are Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Both men were the premiere hitters of their respective eras but each possessed different traits, personalities and skills on the baseball field.
Babe Ruth Facts
George Herman Ruth (aka Babe Ruth) was known for many things during his playing days but most of the attention he grabbed was due to his power and knack to hit home runs. What some people do not know is Babe Ruth was known for so much more.
Ruth was also a pitcher in addition to being a slugger. Back in his playing days it was not uncommon for a player to pitch as well as be a position player. He wasn’t half bad on the mound either.
One of the biggest negative for a team was also connected to Ruth, the Curse of the Bambino. Babe Ruth didn’t start his Hall of Fame career in New York Yankee pinstripes; he was actually a member of the Boston Red Sox. In 1919 the Red Sox sold Ruth to the Yankees for the equivalent of just over two million dollars in today’s money. This decision was associated with all of the years of bad baseball in Boston, and the creation of the curse; the curse was finally broken in 2004 when the Red Sox won a World Series.
Who is Better
Who was a better baseball player?
George Herman Ruth
Even though the Babe pitched he made a name for himself at the plate. Being the biggest slugger in the game at the time was a title he earned by clubbing some monster home runs. Ruth wasn’t the fittest player and many jokes were made about his soft belly; not every player is blessed with the ability to get six-pack abs.
Ruth also swung one of the biggest bats in professional baseball, rumored to be a minimum of forty ounces. In comparison today’s bats are usually 33-36 inches and 30-33 ounces.
A career that invited him to the Hall of Fame was twenty-two seasons in the making. During this career he had a batting average of .342, 714 home runs and 2,217 runs batted in (RBI’s). His pitching numbers were good as well posting a 94-46 record and an earned run average (ERA) of 2.28.
Barry Bonds Biography
Unlike Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds had a baseball physique. When he first hit the outfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 1986 he already had the look of a professional baseball player. He possessed a rare combination of speed and power and is one of four players to be in the 40-40 club (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases).
Some people forget that Pittsburgh is where Bonds got started because San Francisco is where he broke the Major League Home Run record in a season for the Giants back in 2001.
Bonds’ career numbers featured a batting average of .298, 762 home runs, 1,996 RBI’s and 514 stolen bases.
Career Home Run Leaders
Babe Ruth held the Major League Baseball record for career home runs for many years, until Henry “Hank” Aaron broke his record of 714 home runs in 1974. Bonds broke Aaron’s record of 755 in 2007 and finished his career with 762 home runs.
Obviously both men could muscle the baseball out of the park. Where the debate gets a little bit dicey is when we consider how they became so successful.
Game of Shadows Book
BALCO Scandal: Steroids in Baseball
Barry Bonds has become the poster child from the steroid era of the 1990’s; a close second would probably be pitcher Roger Clemens. Bonds gets this distinction because of his very close ties to a company called BALCO. BALCO’s founder Victor Conte cut a plea deal in 2005 of supplying professional baseball players with a steroid cocktails disguised as harmless little products like “The Cream” and “The Clear”. These products were represented, by BALCO, as being legal aids in helping a professional athlete recover from a workout or the rigors of a long season.
Baseball was not the only sport affected by BALCO, Track and Field athletes were caught up as well. Some were Olympic medal winners and their use of BALCO products forced them to forfeit some medals earned.
Ruth played the game when steroids were not even mentioned in the game. Many reports note that Ruth did have a couple of vices that he used to assist his play on the field; beer and hot dogs. Like I already mentioned Babe Ruth wasn’t a sleek gentleman. Comparisons, physically of course, have been made to Ruth and former professional baseball player, and current ESPN personality, John Kruk. Neither man was blesses with having an ‘athletes body’ but both could hit a baseball.
Best Baseball Players of All Time
Statistically both Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth had incredible Major League Baseball careers. Obviously Ruth has been a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame for a very long time, he was inducted in 1936. With the cloud of steroid use hovering over Bonds, he has admitted to using BALCO products that had steroids in them but he claims he didn’t know steroids were in them, only time will tell if he gets enough votes to join Ruth in the Hall.
With such sluggers as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro being shunned so far for the Hall of Fame Bonds certainly has a challenge ahead of him.
Living close to San Francisco I had a front row seat for his years in a Giants uniform, and the media that followed his home runs. My opinion of Bonds is that he enjoys the attention given to him as an individual and getting elected to the Hall of Fame would be something he would want.
Even though their career numbers are pretty similar my vote would go to Babe Ruth as a better baseball player than Barry Bonds. I’m sure that plenty of people will disagree with me, and that is OK, because we are all entitled to our opinions.
My reasoning is that Ruth was not only a great hitter but a decent pitcher too providing another dimension to his play on the field. The era that Ruth played wasn’t tainted by performance enhancing drugs so the players were able to contribute using more of their God given talent, not because of some supplement or vitamin concoction developed in a lab. I’m not trying to punish Bonds for playing in a generation that science has assisted but players for many years didn’t have these aid’s, they just had to go out and play the game to the best of their abilities.
From what I can tell Ruth was a better teammate too. He knew he was good but he didn’t go around shouting from the rooftops tooting his own horn. Bonds’ feuds with teammates, just ask Jeff Kent, created animosity in the clubhouse that made it obvious that he felt he should be treated better than his teammates. This kind of attitude can drive a wedge in a team with players picking sides and is not conducive to a good team environment.
Babe Ruth gets my support as a better baseball player than Barry Bonds because of his production on the field, attitude in the clubhouse and demeanor away from the ballpark.