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Should Clemente's #21 be retired by MLB

Should #21 be retired by the MLB?  

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Fair enough. And I'm just saying Babe Ruth hasn't been surpassed, even if his raw numbers have. (And no, I don't think less of Gretzky because he was never a goalie...I just think Ruth doing both is so damn impressive.)

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2 hours ago, Gothamite said:

If hockey evolves as baseball and football did, Gretzky’s numbers will also fall.

 

lol, congartulaitons, you've identified the diametric opposite of what will happen: the evolution of hockey has closed the talent gap between first-line and fourth-line forwards and elevated goaltending across the board, thereby lowering and more evenly distributing scoring, meaning Gretzky's cumulative stats will never be matched as long as ice freezes to skate on.

 

EDIT: I wouldn't mind if hockey devolved and bottoms of rosters once again comprised chain-smoking dullards who were a perpetual hairsbreadth from selling used cars and mowing lawns in Saskatoon if it meant the Hulls and Selannes of our time could throw up 80-goal seasons again.

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I don't like the idea of retiring numbers league wide in general. Full respect to legends like Gretzky and Robinson, but something seems wrong about a team not being allowed to issue a number in honour of a player who spent a decade or more wrecking them.

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9 hours ago, cmm said:

And Bonds and Aaron and all played in the expansion era with more crappy pitchers, smaller ballparks, amphetamines, steroids, the DH, etc. And none of the guys who caught Ruth's home run numbers also dominated as a pitcher like he did. (I don't think Gretzky would have fared as well as a goalie.)

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WAR isn't the be-all, end-all. But it does attempt to normalize for different eras, different ballparks, different competition, different positions, and all that jazz. To dismiss Ruth's accomplishments because a couple of guys out-homered him in a more offensive era is silly.

 

Both Ruth and Gretzky were dominant in their sport. Which one was more dominant? I don't know, you can make a case for either. But don't just dismiss Ruth because he's no longer the career leader in certain stats. The game has changed so much since he played, and a lot of it is because of him; he made the home run sexy.

Wasn't the right field wall in old Yankee Stadium 295 feet from home plate, the ballpark was specifically built for Ruth to hit home runs in. You can't say that Bonds and Aaron faced more "crappy" pitchers since a decent number of good to great pitchers weren't allowed to play in the Majors, pitchers back then had less rest between games, pitched way more innings and relief pitching wasn't really a thing yet.

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9 hours ago, the admiral said:

 

lol, congartulaitons, you've identified the diametric opposite of what will happen: the evolution of hockey has closed the talent gap between first-line and fourth-line forwards and elevated goaltending across the board, thereby lowering and more evenly distributing scoring, meaning Gretzky's cumulative stats will never be matched as long as ice freezes to skate on.

 

EDIT: I wouldn't mind if hockey devolved and bottoms of rosters once again comprised chain-smoking dullards who were a perpetual hairsbreadth from selling used cars and mowing lawns in Saskatoon if it meant the Hulls and Selannes of our time could throw up 80-goal seasons again.

 

Also every goaltender is now 6'-5" while wearing king size mattresses, but nets have stayed the same size. There is just no net to shoot on anymore and scoring a goal basically has to be scored via accident now. You know it's bad when a guy makes a great shot exactly where he wants and the goalie doesn't even have to make an effort to make a routine save. People are gonna freak out because I'm about to bring up bigger nets (they hear "bigger nets" and they think this or this) I wouldn't be opposed to growing the nets an inch or two to match the growth of the players in front of them. We can't keep decreasing equipment sizes because you still have to protect the players. Slightly bigger nets is a less disruptive rule change than other suggestions I've heard like increasing ice size or losing the blue line for full time 4 on 4. It's less disruptive to the integrity of the sport than the size of goaltenders now compared to the Darren Pangs of the 80's. 

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15 hours ago, Gothamite said:

Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player who ever lived.  And probably always will be. 

 

Don Hutson was the greatest football player who ever lived.  And probably always will be. 

 

But I’m glad #s 3 and 14 haven't been taken out of their sports. 

I do feel that Gretzky is the greatest with far less opportunity for debate than Ruth, Jordan, or anyone in the NFL.  In football, there are just too many positions with too many un-related functions.  And I don't even think a plurality of fans would say that about Hutson...I'm not even sure a majority in this day and age will have heard of him.  The "legend" status is not there like it is with Gretzky, Jordan, or Ruth.

 

In basketball, a lot of people feel Jordan's the greatest. But you'll hear arguments for Wilt and a few others.  Jordan dominated the 1990s, as our level of attention to these things started to skyrocket. But he doesn't have the stranglehold on his sport that Gretzky does.  I know some people like to suggest that maybe Bobby Orr's the greatest, but 

 

When talking about retiring a player's number league-wide simply for legend and greatness, Babe Ruth is the only person other than Gretzky worth considering.  Not because he dominated his era (he did) or because he's easily the greatest ever (he's not easily but he's obviously in the conversation) but because he is simply a legend. He's the guy that transcended the sport simply for what he did on the field; the guy who everyone knew, even if they didn't know what a sacrifice fly was. That Maris and Aaron broke his to most sacred records is neither here nor there. Saying "Babe Ruth" is like referencing a piece of America.  My dad was convinced that Ted Williams was the greatest hitter ever (and that may be a more popular opinion had he not missed so much of his time), and his greatness is recognized by anyone that knows much about baseball history.  But Babe Ruth's is recognized by everyone, period.  Similarly, Gretzky's that one name that everyone knows.  He was hockey in the 1980 and into the 1990s and now to people too young to have seen him, he's kinda hockey's Babe Ruth.  I don't think there are NFL and NBA players that you could say "he's the one guy" about like with Ruth and Gretzky.  

 

I agree with those giving Gretzky the nod over Ruth as the clear-cut most dominant player in their respective sports, but I tend to think they are roughly equal in terms of their "legend" within their respective sports (though I don't know that anyone touches Ruth's "icon" status).  And that's about as close as I can get to suggesting that a number be retired for "great play."  

 

That all said, Jackie Robinson, while not as great as Ruth, was an important story to America. It was baseball helping move America in the right direction.  It's the one league-wide retirement that makes sense to me (and I happen to hate that everyone wears the number on the anniversary; I think a patch makes more sense).  I don't like that 99 was retired league-wide, and as impact as Ruth was to baseball, I'm glad his number is not retired in MLB.

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29 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

 

Also every goaltender is now 6'-5" while wearing king size mattresses, but nets have stayed the same size. There is just no net to shoot on anymore and scoring a goal basically has to be scored via accident now. You know it's bad when a guy makes a great shot exactly where he wants and the goalie doesn't even have to make an effort to make a routine save. People are gonna freak out because I'm about to bring up bigger nets (they hear "bigger nets" and they think this or this) I wouldn't be opposed to growing the nets an inch or two to match the growth of the players in front of them. We can't keep decreasing equipment sizes because you still have to protect the players. Slightly bigger nets is a less disruptive rule change than other suggestions I've heard like increasing ice size or losing the blue line for full time 4 on 4. It's less disruptive to the integrity of the sport than the size of goaltenders now compared to the Darren Pangs of the 80's. 

 

Would 7'x5' nets get the job done? Six inches on either side would open things up without making a mockery of the game, plus a whole foot of headroom to bring back more of those beautiful top-shelf WHERE MOTHER HIDES THE COOKIES goals we all love. 8'x5'? The real issue is that I don't trust the league not to do the Stonehenge gag from Spinal Tap.

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As an aside, I wore 23 in all sports since the late 70's, but lately over the past decade or so, it's been "Jordan fan, eh?", even though I hate basketball.

 

It is probably the time and circumstance, but Japanese soldiers on a banzai charge would yell "To hell with Babe Ruth" or something similar, but unprintable here. That's a greater honor than having your number retired league-wide, to become a "swear-phrase" for the enemy.

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41 minutes ago, the admiral said:

 

Would 7'x5' nets get the job done? Six inches on either side would open things up without making a mockery of the game, plus a whole foot of headroom to bring back more of those beautiful top-shelf WHERE MOTHER HIDES THE COOKIES goals we all love. 8'x5'? The real issue is that I don't trust the league not to do the Stonehenge gag from Spinal Tap.

a 7'x5' net is a full foot bigger. I'd have to see in a test game, but that feels too big. That's an additional 11 square feet. 

 

I was thinking something like an extra 1.5" left, right, and 3" upwards would make up for the growth in goaltenders, who are 3 inches taller on average than they were about 20 years ago, according to a Mirtle article. That would grow the nets from 72x48 to 75"x51". That's a little over 2.5 square feet bigger which essentially means every post shot you hear now would be a goal. That happens a couple times a game. I wouldn't hate 2ish more goals a game. 

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

I do feel that Gretzky is the greatest with far less opportunity for debate than Ruth, Jordan, or anyone in the NFL.  In football, there are just too many positions with too many un-related functions.  And I don't even think a plurality of fans would say that about Hutson...I'm not even sure a majority in this day and age will have heard of him.  The "legend" status is not there like it is with Gretzky, Jordan, or Ruth.

 

True, but I think that's due to a combination of the sport's lower profile in the early 20th century and the NFL being an absolutely terrible steward of its own history.  They have a terrible myopia where anything earlier than the first Super Bowl is concerned.

 

If Don Hutson had played in Major League Baseball, he'd be as famous as Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, or the Bambino himself.  And it's a particular shame that the NFL has forgotten him.

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Had they retired Babe Ruth's #3 league wide shortly after he retired, it would be hard to argue with that decision because at that time he was basically Gretzky.  In 2018 though, it's a whole different story and we shouldn't even be having this discussion.

 

Don't know anything about Don Hutson.  Hard to believe he's among the goats if I can't even tell you what team he played for, and for a good portion of my 30&ten years I was a hardcore SPORTS!!! fan.

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20 hours ago, smzimbabwe said:

As an aside, I wore 23 in all sports since the late 70's, but lately over the past decade or so, it's been "Jordan fan, eh?", even though I hate basketball.

 

It is probably the time and circumstance, but Japanese soldiers on a banzai charge would yell "To hell with Babe Ruth" or something similar, but unprintable here. That's a greater honor than having your number retired league-wide, to become a "swear-phrase" for the enemy.

Fun aside fact: Japanese doesn’t have actual swear words, they just have insensitive phrases.

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4 hours ago, (probably)notabandwagonfan said:

Fun aside fact: Japanese doesn’t have actual swear words, they just have insensitive phrases.

Sorry, my Japanese is limited to counting to 10, and a few words/phrases picked up here and there. And they may not have swear words, but they knew how to swear in English, which is what they did. It probably means more to swear at an enemy in his language, though if you shouted at him in Japanese, maybe you could distract him enough to kill him while he's trying to figure out what you said.

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The greatest athlete in a sport didn't play in said sport almost 100 years ago, sorry

 

Babe Ruth made it possible for athletes to be celebrities and dominated his era. He also would never get that enormous bat around against any pitcher currently in the majors, so spare me the romanticism of the past

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4 hours ago, ElwoodCuse said:

Babe Ruth made it possible for athletes to be celebrities and dominated his era. He also would never get that enormous bat around against any pitcher currently in the majors, so spare me the romanticism of the past

 

Sure he could have, if he had grown up in our modern era with training techniques and nutrition.  So spare us the myopic lionizing of the present. :P 

 

But that’s why it’s ultinately foolish to try and compare across eras.  Ultimately, we can only judge players by their own times.  It’s only those rare few who so utterly dominated their own time who are even worthy of such idle speculation. 

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3 hours ago, Gothamite said:

But that’s why it’s ultinately foolish to try and compare across eras.  Ultimately, we can only judge players by their own times.  It’s only those rare few who so utterly dominated their own time who are even worthy of such idle speculation. 

 

 

Ah, it seems that New Historicism has found its way into sports discussions. I’m all for it!

 

It’s an important literary theory that works for so many artistic and athletic applications. People are too willing to ignore or downplay the historical context of a work within critical fields. That’s how you get stupid comparisons between players who played in wildly different eras or comments like “if (insert modern logo here) came out in the ‘70s, you’d consider it a classic!”

 

Here’s a car video, explaining it in more detail:

 

 

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