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by Harold Friend
Alex Rodriguez is rapidly becoming recognized as the greatest player in baseball history. Now in his fifth season with the New York Yankees, the team that has won more championships than any other team, considers A-Rod a true Yankee and the best player ever. It is virtually certain, barring a catastrophic event, that Rodriguez will be baseball’s all-time lifetime home run king, probably ending his career with an almost incomprehensible 900 home runs.
An "Average" A-Rod Season The following briefly presents an average A-Rod season, based upon his playing 162 games:
Runs Scored = 127
Hits = 197
Doubles = 34
Triples = 2
Home Runs = 44
RBIs = 127
SB = 22
CS = 5
BA = .306
OBA = .388
SA = .578
Ruth or Cobb Was Considered the Best
Until some individuals associated with the Yankees discovered that A-Rod may be the greatest, Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb were considered the best. Since Ruth was a Yankee most of his career, it is A-Rod v. Ruth.
Based on 162 games season, Ruth’s numbers follow:
Runs Scored = 141
Hits = 186
Doubles = 33
Triples = 9
Home Runs = 46
RBIs = 143
SB = 8
CS = 8
BA = .342
OBA = .474
SA = ..690
Ruth Has Better Statistics
Ruth led A-Rod in every offensive category except for doubles (33-34) and stolen bases (8-22). Can this be accurate? Could the media, or at least those with ties to the Yankees, be in error? Well, let’s use neutralized statistics as produced by Baseball-Reference.com.
Runs Scored = 118 Hits = 187 Doubles = 34 Triples = 2 Home Runs = 43 RBIs = 118 SB = 22 BA = .301 OBA = .382 SA = .569
Runs Scored = 131 Hits = 176 Doubles = 32 Triples = 9 Home Runs = 43 RBIs = 134 SB = 8 BA = .330 OBA = .461 SA = .664
Why A-Rod is the Greatest
Both players do slightly worse with neutralized statistics, but Ruth still has an enormous statistical edge, so how can A-Rod be the greatest? The answer is simple. One reason might be that at the end of the 2003 season, Rodriguez was considered the greatest shortstop in history, Honus Wagner not withstanding. Ruth played the outfield, and it was his offense immortalized him (forget his off the field activities). Shortstop is a much more highly skilled position than left or right field, and to make things worse for the Babe, he insisted on avoiding playing the sun field.
Yankees' Greatest Third Baseman
Hold it a second. A-Rod is considered the greatest of all Yankees’ third basemen? In deference to future Hall of Fame Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter, A-Rod has been a third baseman since 2004. There goes the greatest shortstop in history argument. And didn’t Ruth pitch a little? Yes he did, despite the fact it was with the Red Sox and not the Yankees when he pitched.
Ruth Was a Pretty Good Pitcher
In 1915, at the age of 20, Babe won 18 games for the World Champion Boston Red Sox, and the following season, he won 23 games. The season after that, he won 24 games. What would happen if there were a game in which A-Rod had to face pitcher Babe Ruth and then Ruth had to face pitcher Alex Rodriguez?
A-Rod's Advantage Over the Babe
But A-Rod has a major advantage over the Babe. Alex can still sign autographs, appear as a special guest at various functions cost huge sums of money to attend, and he can be a spokesman for his team and for Major League Baseball. Alex Rodriguez is a living cash cow whose value can only increase. Babe Ruth is dead.
The House That A-Rod Built
The Yankees are tearing down baseball’s cathedral after this season. The new ballpark will be the "House That A-Rod Built." After all, how can Babe Ruth build TWO ballparks? Rodriguez may be the best player in baseball, although some might have the temerity to disagree. Having the best player in baseball to initiate the Yankees’ new facility is a major feat, but it pales in comparison to having the greatest player in baseball history do it.