The New York Yankees have had their fair share of hitters and offensive stars throughout their rich history.
Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are the best of the best though, and that says a lot given that Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle also wore stripes.
Who was better between Ruth and Gehrig?
The answer is not difficult, but both men had things in their favor.
Let’s review their respective cases.
The case of Lou Gehrig
Gehrig wasn’t called “The Iron Horse” for nothing.
He played 2,130 incredible consecutive games without missing a single one, a record that held until Cal Ripken Jr. beat him in the ’90s.
And he had many reasons to sit, and chose not to.
As this LA Times article suggests, Gehrig broke every finger at least once, and x-rays showed he had 17 fractures of his hand that healed on their own without medical attention over the years. year.
He also suffered other injuries, including concussions.
When in severe pain, he played the first inning and was then taken out of play (to preserve his streak) on more than one occasion.
Lou Gehrig voluntarily stepped down for the good of the team ending his streak of consecutive games at 9:30 p.m. on May 2, 1939. pic.twitter.com/dfxoaheVlU
– Baseball in photos (@baseballinpix) May 2, 2021
But he was a real horse, and it was especially sad to see him suffer so much from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that forced him to retire in 1939 and to an untimely death in 1941.
Gehrig also achieved something that Ruth did not: a Triple Crown.
He’s also won the MVP award twice, and the Babe won it once.
For his career, Gehrig has reached 0.340 / 0.447 / 0.632, with 493 home runs, 1,888 runs and 1,995 RBIs.
The case of Ruth
Ruth has a legitimate case to be considered the greatest baseball player ever.
At a time when the home runners were hitting 10, maybe 15 home runs, he was hitting 54 in his first season with the Yankees in 1920: he was a man among the boys.
Ruth’s career line (.342 / .474 / .690) is better than Gehrig’s, and he has had many more wins over substitution (WAR): 168.4 to 116.3 (FanGraphs version ).
Seventy years ago, tomorrow the greatest all-rounder in baseball history passed away. Babe Ruth hit 0.342 – hit 0.690 (all-time high) and hit 714 home runs. By the way, he’s won 94 games and 7 more in WS. All-Time Warchief 182.5
– Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) Aug 15, 2018
Ruth had 714 home runs, scored 2,174 runs and produced 2,217.
Oh, and he was one of baseball’s best lefties during his time with the Boston Red Sox, before being sold to the Yankees.
In his career 1,221.1 innings, he had a brilliant 2.28 ERA.
Ruth was baseball’s first mega star and her impact in the game is often underestimated.
He has led the American League in home runs 12 times.
Gehrig is a respected figure in baseball, a true gentleman and one of the true icons of the sport.
His streak of 2,130 consecutive games played was one of baseball’s most astonishing records.
But no player in history has had the kind of offensive impact Ruth had in the 1920s and 1930s.
He helped change the game into what it is today: focused on power and home runs as the two fastest shortcuts to running production.
Both men have a plaque in Monument Park and their numbers are withdrawn by the Yankees: no one can use Gehrig’s number 4 or Ruth’s number 3.
Choosing between the two is also tedious as they were both entirely different human beings and had different approaches to life.
But on the pitch, there was no one like Babe.