Thorn: Home run heaven

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on September 29, 2017:

We are now concluding the most prolific season for home runs in all baseball history — even if we are not crowning a new home run king. Arguments have been made that if [Giancarlo] Stanton surpassed Babe Ruth’s 60, or Roger Maris’s 61, we could toss aside arithmetic, logic, and history while declaring him the new record holder. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds all hit more than whatever Stanton will have hit by the time you read this — but what about this, and what about that, some will cluck. At least Aaron Judge unarguably surpassed McGwire’s rookie record of 49 homers.

Context is all when it comes to baseball statistics. In his big-league career Ruth never faced a black pitcher, played at night, or faced the demon relievers of the modern period; only rarely did a pitcher throw a pitch his way at 95 miles per hour. Maris had eight more games in his season, played against two expansion pitching staffs, etc. The arguments are familiar.

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Originally published: September 29, 2017. Last Updated: September 29, 2017.