According to most metrics, Babe Ruth was the best baseball player to ever grace a professional field. As a hitter, he accumulated the most fWAR at 168.4 in 2503 games, leading all players. His career wRC+ sits at 197, leading all players. He is third on the homerun leaderboard (that he once led) with 714. And on top of all that, he was a pitcher for ten seasons, putting up 12.4 fWAR in that time.
Of course, there is the argument that Ruth’s level of competition was far inferior to today’s game, and there sitting behind him in the fWAR column is the best argument to supplant Ruth as the best player to ever play: Barry Bonds. Bonds accumulated 164.4 fWAR in 2986 games with a wRC+ of 173. He is the Home Run King with 762. He never put up a 15 fWAR season like The Babe did in 1923, but for four straight years he put up more than 10. His 2004 season might be the greatest season for a hitter ever where he hit .362/.609/.812 for a wRC+ of 233. By wRC+ his 2001 season was technically better at 235 due to slugging, but when a player gets on base 61% of the time, that has to be the best. Contributing to that OBP was a 37.6% walk rate - that is 232 walks and 120 intentional walks in 617 plate appearances.
But, he used PEDs. Bonds has never admitted to knowingly doping, though he was convicted of obstruction of justice in 2011 for giving an evasive answer to a question while under oath back in 2003. That conviction was overturned in 2015.
Regardless of whether he knew or didn’t know, without a serious change of heart by voters, he will most likely be kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The question comes up every year whether Bonds should be in or not. Dexter Fowler knows how he would vote:
Dex thinks the second best player in all of baseball should be in the Hall. What do you think?
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