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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ruth, Mantle, Judge: HR relative to league.

In 1927 there were only 8 teams in the American League (AL) and teams were scheduled to play 154 games.

Starting in 1961, the AL expanded from 8 to 10 teams, which played a 162 game schedule.

In 2017 there were 15 teams, which played 162 games.

In 2017 25 year old Yankee rookie Aaron Judge hit a rookie record 52 Home Runs (HR), which led the American League (AL). Judge also led the AL in Strike Outs (SO) and Bases on Balls (BB).  In a series of posts, Judge is being compared to legendary Yankee home run champions Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, who also often led the league in SO and BB. Since Judge has played only one full season, this is being done for individual seasons for Ruth and Mantle.

See the two previous posts on SO and BB. As with those, the seasons for Ruth and Mantle will be for their highest in the stat being examined, here Home Runs (HR). So for Ruth 1927 when the Babe set the season HR record for the fourth and final time with 60. For Mantle it is 1961 when he hit more than 50 for the second time but finished second to teammate Roger Maris in the great HR race 61 to 54. Obviously, Maris broke Ruth's HR record in 1961, aided by 5% more games and diluted pitching due to expansion.

Judge may have been aided by a juiced baseball, which has been addressed here and elsewhere in 2017. Given how far Judge hit many of his HR, the league HR rate may have been boosted more.

This post will subtract the individual's stats from the league to get a more accurate look. That would have helped in the two previous posts but is essential for HR. Ruth out homered every other team in both 1920 and 1927, so Ruth should dominate both Mantle and Judge. But let's see by how much and how close Mantle and Judge are to each other.

In 1927 the AL hit 439 HR, so Ruth's 60 were 13.7%. The Cleveland Indians hit the fewest HR: 26. The Philadelphia Athletics were second to the Yankees 158 with 56.  

In 1961 only the Kansas City Athletics hit fewer than 100 HR: 90. Boston was next with 112. The Yankees hit a record 240.

In 2017 Boston had the fewest HR: 168. The Yankees led with 241.

Through 1927 the most HR in a season:
1Babe Ruth6089137192732NYYAL15169154015819229816501476.356.486.7721.258*97
2Babe Ruth5981145192126NYYAL1526935401772044416168441713.378.512.8461.359*78/13
3Babe Ruth5480150192025NYYAL142616458158172369135351414.376.532.8471.379*978/3H1
4Lou Gehrig4784109192724NYYAL1557175841492185218173321108.373.474.7651.240*3
5Babe Ruth4776144192631NYYAL152652495139184305153310119.372.516.7371.253*79/H3
6Babe Ruth4681142192429NYYAL15368152914320039712446913.378.513.7391.252*97/8H
7Rogers Hornsby425065192226STLNL15470462314125046141521151712.401.459.7221.181*4
8Cy Williams415759192335PHINL13660453598157223114731110.293.371.576.947*8/H
9Babe Ruth4193170192328NYYAL1526975221512054513130431721.393.545.7641.30997/83
10Rogers Hornsby393983192529STLNL138606504133203411014321653.403.489.7561.245*4/H
11Ken Williams393174192232SLBAL15367858512819434111557123720.332.413.6271.040*78

Ruth and Gehrig were tied at 45 HR in 1927, same as Maris and Mantle in 1961.

Through 1961 all with at least 50 HR:
1Roger Maris616794196126NYYAL16169859013215916414107071600.269.372.620.993*98/H
2Babe Ruth6089137192732NYYAL15169154015819229816501476.356.486.7721.258*97
3Babe Ruth5981145192126NYYAL1526935401772044416168441713.378.512.8461.359*78/13
4Hank Greenberg5892119193827DETAL1556815561431752341473375.315.438.6831.122*3
5Jimmie Foxx5896116193224PHAAL1547025851512133391690037.364.469.7491.218*35
6Hack Wilson5684105193030CHCNL1557095851462083561911183.356.454.7231.177*8
7Mickey Mantle54112126196129NYYAL15364651413116316612890152121.317.448.6871.135*8/H
8Ralph Kiner5461117194926PITNL15266754911617019512710106.310.432.6581.089*7
9Babe Ruth5487137192833NYYAL1546845361631732981463845.323.463.7091.172*97
10Babe Ruth5480150192025NYYAL142616458158172369135351414.376.532.8471.379*978/3H1
11Mickey Mantle5299112195624NYYAL15065253313218822513062144101.353.464.7051.169*8/H
12Willie Mays516079195524NYGNL15267058012318518131271340712244.319.400.6591.059*8
13Ralph Kiner518198194724PITNL15266656511817723412721121.313.417.6391.055*7/H
14Johnny Mize514274194734NYGNL1546645861371772621384062.302.384.614.998*3
15Jimmie Foxx5076119193830BOSAL1496855651391973391750154.349.462.7041.166*3

Mantle was tied for 7th most and 11th. Ruth dominates.

Most HR through 2017:
1Barry Bonds7393177200136SFGNL153664476129156322137359025133.328.515.8631.379*7/DH
2Mark McGwire70155162199834STLNL15568150913015221014728604810.299.470.7521.222*3/H
3Sammy Sosa6617173199829CHCNL1597226431341982001581410520189.308.377.6471.024*9/8
4Mark McGwire65141133199935STLNL153661521118145211147212051200.278.424.6971.120*3/H
5Sammy Sosa64153116200132CHCNL160711577146189345160376012602.328.437.7371.174*9
6Sammy Sosa6317178199930CHCNL16271262511418024214183061778.288.367.6351.002*98
7Roger Maris616794196126NYYAL16169859013215916414107071600.269.372.620.993*98/H
8Babe Ruth6089137192732NYYAL15169154015819229816501476.356.486.7721.258*97
9Giancarlo Stanton5916385201727MIANL159692597123168320132137031322.281.376.6311.007*9/HD
10Babe Ruth5981145192126NYYAL1526935401772044416168441713.378.512.8461.359*78/13

In 2017 Aaron Judge (52) was second in the Major League to Stanton (59).

50 HR have been hit 45 times, including multiples by some players. At 52 Judge is tied for 28th most HR in a season.

OK, let's look at the HR rates, percent of at bats (AB) with HR.




YankyearDifPct Dif

The HR rates of the three Yankees are somewhat close but for the American League (AL), especially with the player's stats subtracted, the HR rates are really different. In 1927 less than one percent of at bats (AB) resulted in HR. In 1961 2.7% and in 2017 3.8%.

So Ruth, as expected, is on another planet. But Mantle, even with the AL exploding in HR in 1961, is way ahead of Judge.

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