Please Help Me Settle A Very Important Important Sports Debate

Alright happy birthday to 2 all time legends with amazing 1st ballot HOF names. Ernie Banks and Nolan Ryan. Absolute stud baseball players that were ahead of their time. 

Normally I'm anti This Day In History because there's no end to the chaos. Rex Chapman just celebrated the 41st anniversary of Freddie Mercury sitting on Darth Vader's shoulders at a concert one time in Los Angeles. The slope isn't slippery. It's dangerously lubed and officially untenable. 

That said I'm a sucker for a baseball "statistic" that makes me say holy fuck and there's two that came up today, one for each birthday boy. And I say "statistic" because I don't really know if these are stats or records or whatever. Maybe like career milestones? Either way let's eat: 

Ernie Banks 40 HR Club


In one corner is Ernie Banks hitting 40 homers in 5 of 6 seasons, and then nobody doing it in the NL for another 50 years. Not anybody in Colorado or anyone on steroids or more steroids. Just Ernie Banks and then (arguably) the single most talented shortstop of all time. That's the company Ernie Banks keeps for all you youngsters out there. 

In the other corner: 

Nolan Ryan Threw 91,000 Pitches

Click here for the full thread if you're interested in how much effort goes into calculating pitch counts when nobody was keeping them before 1988. Just a staggering level of work to add up a staggering number of pitches. For purposes of being dramatic, let's take the high end of the estimate and say it's 91,000. 

Some Comparative Math: 

 - Mark Buehrle made 493 starts. That's 183 pitches on average. 

- Tom Glavine. 682 for 134 pitches per start. 

- Nolan Ryan. 773 starts. There's variance for the entire pitch count. But generally speaking that's 118 pitchers per game, every game, for 27 fucking years.

- Zach Wheeler led MLB in 2021 with 3205 pitches. He'd have to do that for 27.5 years to get to Nolan Ryan's pitch count.

- Max Scherzer led MLB 2015-2019 with 16,296 pitches. He would need another 22 seasons on that pace to tie Nolan Ryan.

91,000 pitches is categorically insane. 

Normally I'd make this a twitter poll but I think it's too hard to explain in 280 characters so we'll leave it to you guys. Which one is more impressive? 

Personally I think the home run record because everyone is trying to hit bombs. Not everyone is trying to throw 130 pitches per start. Actually quite the opposite. High pitch counts are technically a bad thing and very much avoided. When I think about it like that, I have to go with Ernie Banks. He went 5-for-6 on it then stood alone for 50 years. 

Hopefully the Cubs don't decide to move his statue. 

More baseball talk this week:

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