Before reading this post, read this one, as I’ll give all the credit to the On Deck Circle for this topic.
It really got me thinking about how the game has changed. Our athletes our now celebrities, and scrutiny of every move leads to a PR fiasco of epic proportions. See Tiger Woods or Alex Rodriguez. Good for you George Herman, you got your flappers and floozies in pre-TMZ times. You could drink, smoke, and fornicate to your hearts content in an era where people didn’t care what you did outside the diamond.
So how would your career had gone 80-90 years later?
My first question is really, would you even had made the majors? I know this seems silly, he is after all, BABE RUTH! But think about it, he wasn’t the most athletic build, and given his behavioral tendencies, would he have been able to compete with the lifetime driven athletes of today?
Now, if he put up numbers, of course he would make it. Anyone who hits that many dingers gets noticed. So now you have made the modern MLB, and you are “theoretically” putting up the same numbers you did then. Now what?
Now many of ODC’s points come in to play, and oh how many of them are spot on. This guy would be the most loved/hated controversy in baseball. Every fan would love him for every HR, and hate him for his poor ability to be a roll model and responsible face of the game. He would be more controversial than Manny Ramirez, Ocho Cinco, and Terrel Owens combined. It would be that fiery balance of love and hate that would get him more sportcenter time than Brett Favre. He would be a marketing locomotive, barreling forward at an unbelievable pace, getting money anywhere he could. He would be the face of every razor, car, and deodorant commercial there is.
He would most certainly be accused of steroids, even if his figure was less than built. It’s just the nature of the beast. Then again, who knows, his personality may have been one to say, “What the hell I’ll do it.” Imagine the disgusting numbers he would have put up if he did. 100 HR season?
Most importantly, I don’t think he would play for the Red Sox OR the Yankees. NL teams only. You have a pitcher who can hit like that, some NL team would pay the big bucks. Then again, who knows, he basically didn’t pitch after going to the Yankees in 1919 so maybe he would sacrifice that aspect of his game again. I doubt any major league club these days would say, “Oh, you just had 5 seasons of sub 3 ERA? We are going to have you hit full time.”
It’s tough to see a team out bidding the Yankees, but his true value is in the NL, hitting and pitching. If he did play in the AL, can you imagine him closing for the Yankees? After a game where he hits 3 HR’s and 6 RBI, he walks in from first base to the mound for the save. That’s a scary thought. MVP forever.