2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #2 – Home Run Kings

22 05 2011
On to the 2nd part in the series comparing the old Gypsy Queen to the new.  Previously, I looked at Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor, the best players of their respective Time Periods.  This time, we’ll look at 2 guys from each set – though none of them play in today’s game.
All-Time Home Run Kings

If Dan Brouthers (from my last post) wasn’t the best player in baseball, it was probably Roger Connor of the New York Giants.  Connor was the best slugger in pre-1900 baseball.  He retired with the career triples and home run record.  His 138 home runs would last as the career record until the end of the dead ball era, when another New York slugger obliterated his record.  That same New Yorker would change the game, start the success of a franchise that was unparalleled in American Sports.  Like Pujols and Brouthers from the first post, both Connor and Babe Ruth won all 3 “jewels” of the triple crown, but never in the same season.  Connor’s Giants featured a number of Hall of Famers, but for most of the 1880’s, they could never get past Chicago or Detroit in the National League.  They finally broke though, winning consecutive NL Pennants and the Dauvray Cup of the World’s Series in both 1888 and 1889.  Ruth came to the Yankees in 1920, but wasn’t able to secure a World Series title until 1923.

Ruth held the single season home run record for 42 years.  He hit 29 in 1919, then broke his own record 3 more times before finally setting the standard at the magical 60.  This record stood until 1961, when Roger Maris famously broke this record.  Maris’s Gypsy Queen card appears to capture the swing that smashed #61.  Back to Ruth’s 29 – this broke the record of 27 set by Ned Williamson in 1884.  Williamson had set the doubles record the year before – both records were primarily attributable to the short dimensions at Chicago’s Lakeshore Park, which was about 200 feet down the line.  Prior to 1884, balls hit over the wall were considered doubles, but for one season in 1884, they were counted as home runs.  Of Williamson’s 27 home runs, 25 were hit at home that year.  Before this year, only one National League player had ever hit over 10 home runs.  In 1883, future Hall of Famer Buck Ewing, the catcher and teammate of Brouthers on the New York Giants passed the double-digit barrier to lead the National League.  This was the only time Ewing ever reached double digits in Home Runs in his Hall of Fame career.

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