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The Contender
Con (against)
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Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2012 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,573 times Debate No: 23966
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I think Babe Ruth is the greatest baseball player of all time.
If you feel this is not true then debate it.

1. Agreement
2. Arguement
3. Conclusion


I will accept. Babe Ruth was not the greatest baseball player ever.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

We will use Greatest as this defintion: Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent: Larger in size than others of the same kind. Superior in quality or character; noble: Of outstanding significance or importance.

Lets just look at His stats:

In the early days of baseball through the first two decades of the 20th Century, very few homeruns were ever hit. So much so, that the concept of a homerun was considered an oddity and was actually not very appreciated by fans or baseball critics. When Babe entered the majors, however, he changed all that. When he became a full-time batter and started slugging the ball out of the park, homeruns became a regular part of the game and fans started paying attention.

For quite a while, Babe was the only one that hit them on any kind of consistent basis. The homerun statistics that Babe amassed over the course of his career put his amazing slugging abilities into perspective:

Babe Ruth led the American League in homeruns for 12 seasons – 1918-1921, 1923-1924, and 1926-1931.
In 1927, the year that Babe set his single-season record of 60 homeruns, he individually accounted for 14% of all homeruns hit in the American League that year.

In order for someone to equal that percentage today, they would need to hit approximately 340 homeruns in a season!
After the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, the Babe single-handedly out-homered the entire Red Sox team for 10 of the next 12 seasons.

Babe is the only player to ever hit 3 homeruns in a World Series game on two separate occasions — Game 4 of the 1926 World Series and Game 4 of the 1928 World Series.

Babe's single-season homerun mark of 60 lasted for 34 years, until Roger Maris broke it in 1961 by hitting 61 homers that season.

Babe's career homerun record of 714 lasted for 39 years until Hank Aaron hit 715 in 1974.

As time has passed, the homerun became a baseball standard and most of the Babe's homerun stats have been broken, but his abilities as a hitter went far beyond this one stat. Unlike the Babe, most homerun hitters tend to lack the entire package of hitting strength (for homeruns) and hitting consistency (Hits, Batting Average and Runs):

Batting Average (.342 career): In the Top 3 in the AL for 6 seasons. Tenth highest career Batting Average.

Runs (2,174 career): #1 in the AL for 8 seasons. Third on the career Runs leader board behind Rickey Henderson and Ty Cobb.

RBIs – Runs Batted In (2,213 career): # 1 for 6 seasons; in the Top 3 for 11 seasons. Second only to Hank Aaron in career RBIs.

On-Base % – Percent of times a player reaches base when at bat (.474 career): #1 in on-base % in the AL for 10 seasons. Second only to Ted Williams in career On-Base %.

Slugging % – Total bases reached per at bat (.690 career): #1 in the AL for 13 seasons. Remains #1 today in career Slugging %.

OPS – On-Base Plus Slugging (1.164 career): #1 in the AL for 13 seasons. Remains #1 today in career OPS.

Total Bases (5,793 career): #1 in the AL for 6 seasons; in the Top 3 for 11 seasons. Fifth on the career Total Bases list.

Bases on Balls (2,062 career): #1 in the AL for 11 seasons. Third on the career Bases on Balls list.

Runs Created* (2,756 career): #1 in the AL for 9 seasons. Remains #1 today in the career total Runs Created.

ERA – Earned Run Average (2.28 career): #1 in ERA in the American League (AL) in 1916. 15th overall for career ERA.

Wins (65 career): Top 3 in the AL in 2 of his 5 full seasons as a pitcher.

Won the most games of any left-handed pitcher in the Majors from 1915-17.

Win/Loss% (.671 career): 12th on the list for best career win/loss percentage.

Strikeouts: Top 5 in the AL in 2 of his 5 full seasons as a pitcher.

Shutouts: #1 in the AL in 1916.

In Babe Ruth's 1916 season as a pitcher, his record was 23 Wins and 170 Strikeouts, with a 1.75 ERA, 9 Shutouts and 23 Complete Games – a very impressive mark for even the best pitchers in baseball. To give some perspective, Roger Clemens, who is considered to be one of the best pitchers today and throughout baseball history, has earned himself a record 7 Cy Young Awards. In what has been considered the best season of his career to date, Clemens had the following record: 24 Wins, 238 Strikeouts, a 2.48 ERA, 1 Shutout and 10 Complete Games.

Ruth's impact on American culture still commands attention. Top performers in other sports are often referred to as "The Babe Ruth of ______." He is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players in history. Many polls place him as the number one player of all time.
What's also interesting to note is that he still seems to have that status and effect on people today — nearly 60 years after his passing.

There were so many reasons to love the Babe. How could you not? He represented every working person's dream. From growing up on the streets of Baltimore to ultimately being the biggest celebrity in America, he lived the ultimate rags-to-riches story. He gave everyone hope and inspiration.

Many fans acknowledge Babe Ruth as being a saving grace for baseball after the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. As one reporter wrote, "This new fan didn't know where first base was, but he had heard of Babe Ruth and wanted to see him hit a home run. When the Babe hit one, the fan went back the next day and knew not only where first base was, but second base as well."

Through it all, Babe was always personable and friendly with others, which made him more relevant for the "everyday Joe." Although overly confident at times, Babe usually never let his fame and fortune get to his head. There are many personal accounts of the Babe's generosity towards others, as well numerous interactions with fans regardless of who they were or what walk of life they came from.

The World's First Celebrity Athlete
Babe Ruth's Effect on Children
Ruth's Illness & Passing -The Country Mourns
Babe Ruth's Effect on American Culture


Babe Ruth was good but he was not the greatest.

Yankee Stadium was called "the house that Ruth built", but it was more like the house built for Ruth. The right field line was only 295 ft away from home plate. Ruth, a lefty, was able to hit home runs over the short right field fence. Right field was nicknamed "Ruthville" due to amount of home runs hit there. Nowadays a fence that short would not be allowed.

Babe Ruth played in an era where more runs were being scored per game than before and ever after. In 1919, when Babe Ruth played his first hundred game season, the home runs hits/allowed jumped from .09 to .21. It continued to rise through his career all the way to .54 when he retired in 1935. This was not due to Babe Ruth alone. The Dead Ball Era ended in 1919. OBP, BA (batting average), hits, and runs all increased throughout the league. The amount of home runs went from 96 in 1918 up to 240 in1919. Babe Ruth's batting average high during the Dead Ball Era was only .325. He hit 20 home runs in his 5 years of hitting in the Dead Ball Era. .

Another interesting thing was on's elorater (which is voted by fans) of the 10 all time best batters, 4 not including Ruth played while Ruth played. I'm not sure why but it raises questions about Ruth and the era he was hitting in. Many pitches had been banned in 1919 crippling pitchers who relied on them including some all-time greats. Was Ruth just a product of an era that was increasingly becoming more hitter friendly?

In the years when Ruth pitched for Boston the average ERA for the league was 1914-2.73 1915-2.93 1916-2.82 1917-2.66 1918-2.77 1919-3.22. Ruth's ERA during this time was 2.19. Yes it is better than league average but an ERA of 2 was not as good as it is today. Last year's average ERA was 4.08.
When he was pitching, pitchers were pitching more games and throwing more pitches. The example of Clemens season doesn't work. If Clemens put up the same numbers back then it would not be seen as a amazing season.

Fielding is often overlooked when judging a player.
Babe Ruth committed 83 errors while playing in right field. That puts him at 19 on the all time errors for a right fielder. That means of all right fielders ever only 18 have committed more errors.
And when you look at the amount of putouts he ranks only 50 of all time RF with 2205 compared to the leader with 4807 in the same amount of years that Ruth played.
Babe is also ranked 26 in amount of assists. With 120 compared to the record of 256.

When it comes to hitting he was good but he wasn't the greatest.
Let's compare Ruth to his team mate Lou Gehrig. I will use their 162 game averages to make it easier and simpler to compare. This makes it easier to compare players that played different amounts of seasons.
Runs- Ruth 141, Gehrig 141.
Hits- Ruth 186, Gehrig 204
RBI's- Ruth 143, Gehrig 149
Batting Average-Ruth .342, Gehrig .340
Total bases-Ruth 375, Gehrig 379
SO%(SO/plate appearances)- Ruth 13%, Gehrig 8.2%
Runs created-Ruth 176, Gehrig 167
Ruth and Gehrig played the in same years as team mates. As you can see their stats are similar. So Ruth at the time was not dominating the game.

Ruth's numbers were not so dominant that they are the greatest. The year he set the record of 60 HR in a season, Lou Gehrig hit 47 HR. Gehrig outhit Ruth (.373 to .356) and almost matched him in on-base percentage (.474 to .486), and slugging (.765 to .772). Gehrig led in extra base hits (117 to 97), total bases (447 to 417), and RBIs (175 to 164). Gehrig led the league in doubles, was second in triples, second in home runs, second in hits, and third in batting average. Ruth set records but many of them have been broken.,

My opponent says "Babe was always personable and friendly with others", but he did many inappropriate and irresponsible things during his career.
-He ate and drank to excess. Ruth often frequented prostitutes.
-Fought fans during games.
-He broke his toe after kicking a bench due to being walked.
-He constantly argued with umpires/challenged them to fights.
-Punched an umpire after walking a hitter in four pitches. Also threw dirt in another umpires face for calling him out.
-feigned exhaustion or a sore arm to avoid pitching, wanting to hit.
-Quit team because he wanted to hit more.
-Refused team rules on curfew.
-"I didn't mean to hit the umpire with the dirt, but I did mean to hit that bastard in the stands"
The link my opponent said of the polls ranking him at number one leads here.

As you can see Ruth was not so dominating at his sport. You have to take in to account all parts of the game. Many people forget that when judging players. Babe Ruth was not the total package. When talking about a five tool player, ( speed, arm strength, fielding ability, hit for power, hit for contact) Babe Ruth had only 2 of those. He does not deserve to be called the greatest.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to my opponent for a great debate about baseball.= ]


I want to thank Con for pointing out all the mistakes and limitations of a man named George(Babe) Herman Ruth. Some of them I did not know about, that shows how important they are but I would like to talk about a few and pointout some things.

"Fielding is often overlooked when judging a player." This is true, I myself love good defensive players. Though with the offense that the Babe put up I would live with that defense. We forget that the Babe was a awesome pitcher and that was a big tool that he never continued to do after going to hitting fulltime.

"When talking about a five tool player, ( speed, arm strength, fielding ability, hit for power, hit for contact) Babe Ruth had only 2 of those." How many of those five tool players was in the top 20 in alltime ERA? None, players today do not pitch and hit regularly unless the roster is short which never happens. The Babe transended the game unto a power game from a speed game. I think the game is still repersenting that trend. Not one player in that era is a five tool player, but the question is, Is our interpretation of five tool as important to the game then?

"The right field line was only 295 ft away from home plate." My opponent is right, this made it is easier to become the,'house that Ruth built.' But I doubt that the Babe built it himself though, so I think he made the best of what he had. This is show's throughout his life.

Babe Ruth was a everyday man, who did everyday things off the field. He helped people and He also partied. He drank, He loved women. This is nothing all men today do not do. I think if we looked back at the days of Babe Ruth and ours, which is more respectable? Just recently in baseball we had the steriod scandal which hurt baseball bad. Though not as bad as the 1919 Black Sox scandal which rocked a already weak forming baseball league. After this scandal alot of fans stop watching, Babe Ruth certainly changed all that.

Not much is known about Ruth's early childhood. His mother was constantly ill. Ruth later described his early life as "rough". When he was seven years old, his father sent him to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys a reformatory and orphanage and signed custody over to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school.

One of the monks at St. Mary's, took an instant liking to George (Babe) Ruth and became a positive role model and father-like figure to George while at St. Mary's. Brother Matthias also happened to help George refine his baseball skills, working tirelessly with him on hitting, fielding and pitching skills.

George became so good at baseball that the Brothers invited Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, to come watch George play. Dunn was obviously impressed, as he offered a contract to George in February 1914 after watching him for less than an hour.

Off the field he was famous for his charity, but also was noted for his often reckless lifestyle. He has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture. Ruth's legendary power and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure in the "Roaring Twenties", and according to ESPN, he was the first true American sports celebrity superstar whose fame transcended baseball.

The Babe Ruth Award is an annual award given to the Major League Baseball player with the best performance in the World Series. The award, created by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America in honor of Babe Ruth, was first awarded in 1949, one year after Ruth's death. The Babe Ruth Home Run Award is an annual award presented to the leading home run hitter in MLB. Babe Ruth Field is a ballpark in Ventura, California, that was located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and was used as a minor-league park from 1948 to 1955.

2-time All-Star selection (1933, 1934) 7-time World Series champion (1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932) 1923 AL MVP. Had #3 retired by the New York Yankees in 1948. Member of Major League Baseball's All Century Team. Voted Athlete of the Century by the Associated Press. ESPN Sports Century - #2 Athlete of the 20th Century. Named the Greatest baseball player of all time by The Sporting News. Named the Greatest baseball player of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated.

Ruth has been named the greatest baseball player of all time in various surveys and rankings. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked him number one on the list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". In 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 1969, he was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Muhammad Ali was tied with Babe Ruth as the most recognized athletes in America. In a 1999 ESPN poll, he was ranked as the third-greatest U.S. athlete of the century, behind Michael Jordan and Ali. Ruth made many forays into various popular media. He was heard often on radio in the 1930s and 1940s, both as a guest and on his own programs with various titles.

Babe Ruth was the greatest. Not only was the Babe the regovenator of baseball after 1919 but He still to this day is remembered throughout the world. Many baseball leagues are named after him.

Despite passing over 60 years ago, Babe still remains the greatest figure in major league baseball, and one of the true icons in American history. The Babe helped save baseball from the ugly Black Sox scandal, and gave hope to millions during The Great Depression. He impacted the game in a way never seen before, or since. He continues to be the benchmark by which all other players are measured. Despite last playing nearly 75 years ago, Babe is still widely considered the greatest player in Major League Baseball history.

So to conclude, I want to thank you for the debate and thanks for reading, Please vote, PRO. Thanks!


Babe Ruth is well recognized as a baseball player. Ask almost any person in America who he is and they will know. But being well recognized doesn’t mean you’re the greatest.

While Ruth was playing there was something called the Negro Leagues. It was made up of black players that because of racial discrimination and segregation could not play in the American or National Leagues. Now some of these players were as good if not better than many players in the AL or NL. Oscar Charleston was one of the best. When you compare his and Ruth’s 162 game averages, Oscar leads in every category except HR, base on balls (BB), and RBI’s. Oscar had more hits, runs, stolen bases, at bats, 2B (doubles), and 3B (triples). Oscar Charleston’s BA and SLG (slugging) were better than Ruth’s. He also hit .318 with 11 home runs in 53 games against white major league teams. Yet on the same sporting news list that ranks Babe Ruth at number one, Oscar Charleston is number 67. Babe Ruth was famous because fans watched him. But even at the same time there were players playing better than he was.,

Babe Ruth also could not have done what he did without the players on the field with him. While Babe was with the Yankees, the majority of the time either Bob Meusel or Lou Gehrig was hitting behind him. Both of these players made it so pitchers could not just walk Ruth to get an easy out.,

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.” –George Herman (Babe) Ruth.

Babe Ruth may have been good but when looked back on he was not the greatest. He hit during an era where more runs were being scored than before and higher than any time after. Offensive stats were rising and all through the league players were hitting the ball more and farther. He pitched during the dead ball era where pitchers were commonly getting ERA’s around 2 and over 25 wins. Babe Ruth got to hit when hitters were excelling and pitch during a time when pitchers were dominating.

Thank you for debating me on this topic. It was an interesting debate and I learned a lot.
Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by deever 3 years ago
Con didn't do enough to show that Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. That is unfortunate because Babe Ruth is the greatest of all time.
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
Posted by johnkang12 4 years ago
i agree that Babe Ruth is the best baseball player of all time
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
Thanks for the honesty.
Posted by medic0506 4 years ago
I don't think pro did enough to show Babe as the greatest of all time. Con's comparison to Gerhig was pertinent enough to cast doubt on the claim that he was even the greatest of his own time. The short porch in right certainly aided Babe. As for the definition of greatest that was used, he certainly doesn't qualify as the most noble or upstanding, to ever play the game and his on field performance, though good, was not so dominant as to dwarf others in history. Good debate but ultimately con knocks it out of the park (sorry, I couldn't help myself).
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
How do you measure "greatness" of a baseball player?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was able to prove that not was Ruth not the best of all time, but maybe not even the best of his time (through his comparing with Lou Gherig), so he got the arguments vote.
Vote Placed by medic0506 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments for RFD