Who’s a Better Hitter: Cobb, Ruth, or Wagner?
- Updated: March 4, 2015
Hey baseball fans!
There’s a question on my mind that I, for the longest time, was never able to figure out the answer. The question is who is the best hitter from the first Hall of Fame class? In case you don’t know, in 1936, the first three hitters inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. So, out of those three, who’s the best at hitting? Personally, I think it’s Ruth and I’ll tell you why in three simple reasons:
Reason Number One: He Revolutionized Hitting
Why? Small ball was the way to win games back in the Dead Ball Era, the time in which Wagner and Cobb collected their 3,000+ hits. Small ball is basically not using power, so home runs weren’t common at all and teams were fine with that. They were winning ballgames even without hitting the ball over the fence. However, when the Bambino started hitting home runs, the Dead Ball Era came to a close and the Live Ball Era began. Soon enough, Ruth and the Yankees were clobbering the opposition in runs produced, which is why they won so many pennants during his tenure. Sure, he had a great supporting cast, but he was hitting on average (including the years he was only a pitcher) 33 home runs a year at a time when everyone else was hitting 15 or less a year. In short, Honus and Ty were great hitters, but Ruth changed the game forever to what it is today.
Reason Number Two: WAR
Why? Sabermetrics is a big deal now, so it’s important to look at the Wins Above Replacement statistic when comparing the Sultan of Swat to the Georgia Peach and Flying Dutchman. Anyway, Ruth’s WAR is the best of all time, at 183.6, meaning that if he was replaced by someone else, his teams would have lost 183.6 more games. Now, you would think that Cobb and Wagner would be right behind him, right? Well, no. Cobb comes in at sixth on the all-time WAR list at 151.1, roughly 30 games below the Babe and Wagner’s career Wins Above Replacement is tenth all time, at 131.0. So what does this all mean? It means that even though Ruth played with tons of Hall of Famers, he was still the hitter that was the key to winning games.
Reason Number Three: The Opinion of the People
Why? I’m not the only one who thinks that Ruth is the best hitter from the ’36 Hall of Fame class. Ted Williams, who is considered by many the best hitter that ever lived, considers George Herman Ruth to be the best hitter of all time and, on his list that you can visit by clicking here, you will see that Ty Cobb is number six and Wagner doesn’t even appear on it. Ranker.com, Baseball Reference, and Baseball’s Greatest Hitters all agree that Bambino is the best hitter ever. So it’s not just me that thinks the Behemoth of Bust was a better hitter than Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner.
I just want to clarify something: I love Ty Cobb and I love Honus Wagner. But I think that, by a small margin, Babe Ruth is a better hitter than them. What do you think? Who’s better: Cobb, Wagner, or Ruth? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”