Is it The Babe or Shohei?

BABE RUTH played himself (alongside Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig) in the classic film, “Pride of the Yankees” (Wikipedia).

A quick look at the Wild Word of Sport.

Not a Typo:  To those of us soccer skeptics that still hang on, this bit of news: Tuesday’s Major League Soccer match between LA Galaxy and the Los Angeles Football Club drew 82,210 fans to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The Galaxy won 2-1, but the big news is that a league game between two U.S. teams would sell out the most iconic stadium in the country. Unless they were giving out free iPhones and Golden Retriever puppies to attendees, this is a stunning development.

Maybe Ted Lasso isn’t a fictional character after all.

Not Babe 2.0? Comparisons between Babe Ruth and Shohei Ohtani are plentiful but not always definitive. While both were two-way players, the Babe basically gave up pitching when he came to the Yankees. He landed in the Bronx in 1920, the same year as the “live ball” was introduced, making his mighty swings more valuable than his fast ball.

As a pitcher, Babe had a 94-46 record with the Boston Red Sox and a career earned run average of 2.28.  That’s better than Shohei (3.04), but you have to remember the effect of the livelier ball in 1920.  

The win-loss records are comparable – Ohtani is 35-18 – and the Angel star’s career batting average of .272 is lower than Babe’s .342.

Our bottom line is that it’s very difficult to compare eras. Is Shohei greater? Certainly he has captured the attention of the sporting world, sort of like that bandy-legged kid from Baltimore about 100 years ago.

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