Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig kind of look like total phonies in new batting-practice video
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig changed baseball. Throughout the 1920s and '30s, the Yankee teammates showed the world just how cool and valuable home runs could be, absolutely obliterating American League pitching along the way. In fact, between 1925 and 1934, Ruth and Gehrig were responsible for 13.4% of all American League taters. All things considered, there's no doubt that Ruth and Gehrig were two of the greatest hitters who ever lived.
There's always been a debate over whether top players from that foregone era would compete in today's fast-paced game -- just this offseason, free-agent pitcher Adam Ottavino made waves by claiming that he could no doubt strike out Ruth. And now, new footage posted to YouTube last night via the Moving Image Research Collections at the University of South Carolina reaffirms the opinion that old legends like Ruth and Gehrig wouldn't sniff the bigs nowadays.
Now before you get all hot and bothered over my Yankee slander, watch the video again and seriously tell me Ruth's cockamamie swing mechanics would enable him to hit a 98-mph heater. Granted it's only batting practice, when players rarely go 100%, but it's still evident that a bunch of Ruth's power came from his Happy Gilmore-style weight transfer. There's a reason no one in the Majors today swings like this.
Gehrig's hack is a little better, but his absurdly low, J.J. Hardy-type hand placement would make him crazy vulnerable to inside fastballs. Not to mention his bat path is basically parallel to the ground, something that definitely wouldn't fly in today's uppercut-happy game.
This video further proves the fact that these two legends, while undeniably transcendent in their time, would be good Double-A hitters at best if they played today. On the other hand, there's Hall of Famer Walter Johnson. That's a dude who could dominate modern hitters in Andrew Miller style, multi-inning relief role. No doubt about it.