posted on May, 23 2006 @ 10:08 PM
I'll provide a few more baseball (ancient) history names:
Ty Cobb was an outstanding hitter by age 21. He led the Tigers to the World Series for the second of three consecutive years (all resulting in
losses), and he led the league in lots of the categories that Dead Ball players wanted to excel in.
Babe Ruth was a very good pitcher the year he was 21 (1916), though not a great hitter, playing in a horrible park for left-handed hitters (Fenway
Park, before the right-field seats were put in).
Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx, who both came up at age 17, were great players by age 21. Especially Foxx, though he had to wait until he was 24 years old,
and Ruth was 37 years old, to surpass Ruth as a player. Foxx had an outstanding season that year, hitting 58 HR's and otherwise hitting the hell out
of the ball. But he was real good at 21, too; just not Babe Ruth good.
Mickey Mantle was not as good at age 21 as supposed. Of the four 500 HR Club members born in 1931 (Mays, Mantle, Banks and Mathews), the one who was
best at age 21 was Eddie Mathews. He had a hellacious season. Mays, by contrast, was in the military for the second half of the season he was 21...
and all of the next season.
Just as one must wonder what Ruth would have done, had he not lost 5+ seasons (!) to the dead ball, and 4+ of those seasons to Fenway Park minus the
seats, one also must wonder what Mays' career stats would have looked like, had he been allowed to play those 1.5 more seasons, at ages 21 and 22, in
the Polo Grounds, with its absurdly shallow foul lines.