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Ted Williams is the second best hitter ever

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,735 times Debate No: 35389
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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Ted Williams. The Splendid Splinter. The Thumper. The Kid. "Teddy Ballgame". Williams had a famous quote. "All I ever wanted in life was to walk down the street and for people to say, 'there is the greatest hitter who ever lived'". With the exception of Babe Ruth, I believe that Ted Williams was the greatest baseball batter in Major League Baseball History. He is generally recognized as an extraordinary batter, but a player who played indifferent defense and didn't do the little things. Therefore, Williams is not generally considered to be in the top 5 all time player list. My debate is simple. I say that Williams is the second best hitter ever after Babe Ruth. Several guidelines:
1) Ruth is number one.
Babe Ruth is number one. I'm arguing Williams is number 2.
2) No pitchers
This might be controversial, but I feel that it is too difficult to compare batters to pitchers.
3) Defense counts
Include defense. I don't want this debate to be just about hitting. So despite what the title of the topic might suggest, I'm basically arguing that Williams is the second best POSITION PLAYER.
4) Just MLB batters
It is very hard to compare players of different leagues. No players from Federal League, Negro Leagues and Japanese Baseball.
5) Infinite players
My opponent can use as many players as she/he want to.

My opponent can start or pass it to me, I don't mind either way.


I argue against your claim that Ted Williams is the second best hitter in baseball. I believe that Ty Cobb should be considered the second best hitter, if the not that first. I will start of this debate, instead of giving it over to you. I will start out my debate by stating my reference site, which is This site is very popular for baseball stats and leader boards. The first stat I looked at was hits. First, Ty Cobb was second on that list, Pete Rose was on top. I then looked up Ted Williams. He was ranked 73 on the list. The second stat I looked at was batting average, which his arguably the best stat to look at for ranking players for hitting. Ty Cobb topped that list, with Ted Williams tied for seventh. Ted Williams is now 0-2 against Cobb. Next I looked at putouts, because you stated you wanted defense involved too. Putouts is the best stat to look at for defensive players. Ty Cobb was ranked at a measly 273, but Ted Williams was not even on the list. Now, both Ty Cobb and Ted Williams played in the outfield, Williams in left and Cobb featuring center an right. You cannot be the second best position player, which counts on defense and offense without playing good defense. If you do not get out a lot of players then you don't play good defense. If you argue that a lot of balls may not have been hit towards him then you shouldn't be arguing he was good at defense. Also, if Ted Williams was the second best hitter, then how did you rank him. The two best stats to look at are batting average and hits, and Ty Cobb beat out Ted Williams on both, he also beat out Babe Ruth. Looking at this information, you can obviously see that Ty Cobb is better than Ted Williams, offensively and defensively. You cannot say someone is the second best hitter because of popularity or personal feelings, you have to actually use stats to prove your case.
Debate Round No. 1


I want to thank my opponent for accepting my debate and I will now start my arguments.

My opponent states that Cobb beats out Williams in hits and batting average. While this is certainly true, I feel that my opponent places too much importance on these two stats. My opponent says that "The second stat I looked at was batting average, which his arguably the best stat to look at for ranking players for hitting." Among the three main averages which includes On base percentage and slugging average, Batting average is easily the least important. Why? Simple. Batting average treats a single as the same as a double, a triple and a home run. It actually does not take into account walks or the ability to get on base, which makes it misleading. So while Cobb has a better batting average, Williams has better OBP and SLG.

Stat, Cobb, Williams
Batting Average, .366, .344
On Base Percentage, .433, .482
Slugging Percentage. .512, .634
Evens it up, don't you think? In fact, it more than evens it up, it gives Williams a HUGE advantage. Leaving Babe Ruth out of this, Williams is the career leader in both OBP and SLG. His marks in both categories is far superior to Cobb's.

Even though it is true Cobb has far more hits, Williams has far more valuable hits, as indicated by his career .634 slugging average.

William's career range factor is 2.00 per game. Cobb's career range factor is 2.30 plays per game. "Range Factor" is the amount of plays a player makes. While there is a some what large difference, Williams makes up for it with his .974 career fielding percentage. Cobb's career fielding percentage is just at .961. Their defense is quite similar, with no large advntage going to either player.

William's defense was just as good as Cobb's. My opponent listed their career putouts without the average. This is a large mistake because Cobb played in 3034 games, far more than William's 2292. Williams was a better batter and a better player.



ZachyDiz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I had a big counter argument ready for what I thought my opponent was going to say, so his forfeit kind of leaves me in an awkward position. But whatever.

Cumulative Stats:
Cobb has a large advantage in this category, mostly because he played in far more games. "Cumulative Stats" means quantitative numbers. These include hits, home runs, Rbis and Runs. Cobb has a huge advantage in hits, runs scored, but Williams has far more home runs. Cobb also has more Rbis, but there isn't a huge difference. Here are their stats:

Stat, Cobb, Williams,
Hits, 4189, 2654
Home Runs, 117, 521
RBI, 1938, 1839
Runs, 2246, 1798
But most of the disparity can be attributed to the large amount of games Cobb played. Cobb played in 3034 games, 13082 plate appearances and 11434 at bats. Meanwhile, Williams played in only 2292 games, had only 9788 plate appearances and batted just 7706 times. If we adjusted William's stat for 3034 games, we would get:
-3513 hits
-690 home runs
-2434 RBIs
-2380 Runs
For 13082 plate appearances, instead of 9788:
-3547 hits
-696 home runs
-2458 RBIs
-2403 Runs
For 11434 at bats:
-3938 hits
-773 home runs
-2729 RBIs
-2668 Runs
So, as you can see, if Williams had been presented with the same opportunities as Cobb, he would've had monster stats. Those stats are far superior to Cobb's.


ZachyDiz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I wonder if I scared my opponent off or if he got bored and does not want to debate me. However, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and decide that he is just too busy. Anyway, back to the debate.

In the last round, I showed how if Williams got the same amount of games/plate appearances/at bats, he would have ended up with far better stats than Cobb. Now I expect people to disagree with me on that because playing for a long time requires skill. There are reasons that few people play 3,000 games. And that is because most people can't. Of course we must look at what makes the player not play 3,000 or so games. In most cases, it is just that the player can't keep up when he reaches his mid 30s. Other players don't play long because of their injuries. So, why couldn't Williams play long? What was his reason? His reason was that he served in the Army for 5 years. 5 Prime seasons.

Williams played 2292 games in 19 seasons. He played 2249 games in 17 seasons for an average of 132 games every season. So, for his 5 prime seasons, he should've have played 660 games, instead he only played 43. So, essentially Williams missed out on 617 games. When we use William's career averages, mold it into 617 games and add it to William's career total, we get the most realistic show of William's career stats.
Games: 2909
Plate Appearances: 12,422
At bats: 9780
Home Runs: 661
RBIs: 2334
Runs Scored: 2282
Hits: 3364
Batting Average: .344
On base percentage: .482
Slugging Percentage: .634

Of course, this is using William's CAREER Averages. The missing seasons are PRIME seasons, therefore William's stats should be higher. We should only use William's years of 1941 to 1949. If we use those averages, Williams lost 697 games due to war. These are his stats:
Games: 2989
Plate Appearances: 12924
At bats: 10136
Home runs: 686
RBIs: 2449
Runs: 2437
Hits: 3522
Batting Average: .347
On base percentage: .495
Slugging percentage: .641

2) A calculator and some logic


ZachyDiz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


This debate seems over.



ZachyDiz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by deever 2 years ago
Slugging is a part of hitting. Home runs are still hits, they're just more valuable hits and should be treated as such. Also, it's a little funny to think extra base hits aren't a part of hitting, but stolen bases are.
Posted by raiderroscoe 2 years ago
You are wrong about Cobb. To look only at batting average and try to defeat it by using on-base percentage and slugging ignores just how good Cobb was at stealing bases. Williams stole 24 bases in his career. Cobb stole 22 bases at age 40! But obp and slg don't even matter. The debate is not over the best slugger ever. It's the best hitter. They don't call Pete Rose the Hit King because of the number of homeruns he has. Hitting is all about hits. No one hit better than Cobb and for those who could only begin to approach his hitting ability, none could run like him. Sorry Pete, Cobb STILL is the true Hit King. You have to beat the total and the average to claim the crown. Ruth might be the best slugger, with Williams behind him, but Cobb is the best hitter.
Posted by ZachyDiz 4 years ago
So you can comment yet you can't debate???
Posted by deever 4 years ago
For this debate, no. It makes it much clearer if Ruth is just stated as number one.
Posted by JustinAMoffatt 4 years ago
Is your statement that Ruth is #1 disputable?
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