Recrowning Baseball’s Greatest Slugging Season
What was the greatest season by a hitter in major-league history? In his book The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, Bill Jenkinson argues the case for the Babe’s 1921 season. The impressive home-run total in the title, rather than his actual tally of 59 that year, comes from Jenkinson’s analysis of Ruth’s batted-ball data: If Ruth had played in modern stadiums, under modern rules, and with other modern conditions such as travel and training, he would have cracked triple digits in home runs.
Yet the Babe’s 1921 campaign remains the benchmark in other statistical categories: total bases (457), runs scored (in the modern era, 177), and extra-base hits (119). These classical statistics show Ruth ahead of everyone else, but how does he stack up against the competition when modern sabermetric statistics are used as the measuring rod?
In this new analysis, author and sabermetrician Fr. Humbert Kilanowski shows that The Babe once again comes out on top, and that his 1921 season from 100 years ago was the greatest of all time.
- Read more: “Recrowning Baseball’s Greatest Slugging Season,” by Fr. Humbert Kilanowski
- Read more: The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, by Bill Jenkinson
The Colossus of Clout
Read stories from the SABR Games Project on some of Babe Ruth’s most memorable performances from the 1921 season.
Five members of the 1921 New York Yankees known as Murderers’ Row pose together for a photo at the Polo Grounds in New York in 1921. Left to right: Wally Pipp, Babe Ruth, Roger Peckinpaugh, Bob Meusel, and Frank “Home Run” Baker. (SABR-RUCKER ARCHIVE)
© SABR. All Rights Reserved