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Bautista Approaching Ruthian Levels

Ruth-Bau

John Danks used some choice words to describe his altercation with Jose Bautista yesterday. Although many insults were hurled towards the Blue Jays slugger, Danks may have actually inadvertently paid him a compliment.

Obviously the sound bite that everyone latched onto was the one were Danks called Bautista an “(expletive) clown”, but this one peaked my interest as well:

“No doubt, he’s one of the best hitters in the league. But he’s out there acting like he’s Babe Ruth.”



Nobody wants to throw out the B-word around freely in this era, but just for the sake of comparison, I wanted to see how Jose Bautista’s numbers measured up to the Great Bambino through the first 45 games of the season.

I took samples from both Ruth’s record-breaking 60 home run season in 1927 as well as arguably his best season ever, his MVP-winning year in 1927. The results are frighteningly similar across the board:

Player Year Games HR RBI BB AVG OBP SLG OPS
Babe Ruth 1927 45 16 41 44 .335 .476 .689 1.165
Babe Ruth 1923 45 12 36 54 .351 .524 .727 1.251
Jose Bautista 2011 45 20 36 45 .350 .498 .788 1.285

It may be a little premature to make these conclusions almost one third of the way through the season, but by all indications if Jose Bautista can continue this pace, he will have a season that can be dubbed worthy of being “Ruthian”.

If Jose Bautista is “acting like Babe Ruth” as John Danks indicated, he’s doing a pretty damn good impression of the Great Bambino.

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his son for the next 20 years.

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5 Comments

  1. dodgerbobble

    May 30, 2011 - 7:39 pm

    I think this is going to be one of those special years for Bautista. I just hope he isn't asked to participate in the homerun derby in Phoenix.

  2. Ian - BJH

    May 30, 2011 - 8:19 pm

    DodgerBobble, I've thought about that as well. After his invitation to the Derby got "lost in the mail" last year, I am almost certain he will get an invite to participate this year.

    I know some folks are afraid of the "Home Run Derby" curse, but maybe this is one of those few years where the curse can be broken? If anybody can do it, it's Jose Bautista.

  3. QJays

    May 30, 2011 - 8:53 pm

    Glad you actually pulled up the numbers. Nicely done.

    One of the first things I thought was: "Seriously, why would Danks want any attention that draws comparisons to GOOD players?"

    Since the Bambino is actually an apt comparison, I think the next table should be — which pitchers have had similar numbers to Danks by game #45. And where are they now?

  4. The BlueJaynator

    May 30, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    STOKED.
    As for the home run derby…isn't that just glorified batting practice?

  5. Ian - BJH

    May 30, 2011 - 11:52 pm

    QJays, I don't know what inclined me to compare Bautista with Ruth's numbers, but as soon as Danks said that I at least had to take a look.

    BlueJayNator, pretty much … batting practice stretched out for 3 hours. With sponsors and endless commercials.

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