Fun article from Bob Klapisch talking about what it might be like for Babe Ruth to adjust to the modern game. Clearly there were huge differences: Ruth played only against white players, only played day games and didn’t have to deal with bullpen specialists. By the same token, what would he have been able to do if he had video and better advance scouting and modern training techniques? Throw into the mix a neat factoid Klapisch passes along about how Ruth was found to have had substantially above-average hand-eye coordination, intelligence and steadier nerves.
It’s all fascinating to ponder. And on balance — once you give Ruth both the advantages and disadvantages he’d face by moving to 2013 — I feel like he’d still be a good player — maybe an All-Star or MVP-caliber player — even if he wasn’t a dominant slugger. One guy, however, is a bit more dubious:
“Honestly, I think it would’ve been tough for Ruth to succeed against that,” said Kevin Long, the Yankees’ hitting instructor. “I see too much movement in his stride, he’s hitting off his front foot. That’s OK only if you’re sitting on an 80-mph fastball or waiting on a curveball that only breaks on two [up and down] planes.”
I guess Ruth would have modern hitting instruction to help him out there too. But it is a great time killer to try and figure out if the Bambino would, in this day and age, be Miguel Cabrera, Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds or someone altogether different.