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“I’ve never seen Ruth play — not even on TV"
OK, so there's a natural capacity among the talented to adapt to an environment of generally-increasing talent. If that capacity works over 20 years -- which it clearly does -- there's no reason to think it wouldn't work over 40, 60, or 80, with true talent being the ultimate ceiling.
People talk about that all the time, when they say "If Ruth would have had the same nutritional advantages that modern players had" etc.
I vaguely remember that. Without knowing much more, I'd guess that it almost certainly relies on something akin to the power of compound interest to get to its conclusion -- something like, "if talent only gets [some small percentage] better every year, over 80 years, it's [some really big percentage] better!!"
I'm just happy (and amazed) that people here are saying that pitchers are athletes.
Overwhelmingly, the main difference is that today's players are drawn from a vastly larger and better talent pool of big, strong, fast men. That is a function of integration, population growth, improved public health, globalization of the game, and other factors.
I imagine many deadball players, for example, would not be able to adapt to 21st century baseball.
If this is true, then the timeline operation doesn't do what it is supposed to do, it unfairly penalizes previous players by assuming they would not have adapted with their environment when the evidence suggests that players do just that.
The connection between size and quality in baseball is barely proven, anyway. Maddux was tiny, Pedro was a beanpole, Randy Johnson was a beanpole, etc., etc., etc. Bonds put up a 200+ OPS+ season as a beanpole.
There is a ton of theoretical. People talk about that all the time, when they say "If Ruth would have had the same nutritional advantages that modern players had" etc.
Great point. Babe Ruth still had 201 OPS+ in 1932 (age 37). Ted Williams still had a 190 OPS+ in 1960 (age 41). Willie Mays still had a 158 OPS+ in 1971 (age 40).
If we don't see the talent improvement within a 20 year career, it has to be very slow and gradual. Were only talking 80 years since Ruth was dominating.
If the average 1925 player would be 75% as good today, I'd expect the below average guys to be 50-60% as good, the above average guys to be 80-85% as good, the greats to be 90% as good, and the truly elite to be 95% as good (all number approximations for illustrative purposes only).
's Florida Marlins would crush any team from Ruth's era.
Pujols is an exception (and perhaps unprecedented).
So Guy let me try to summarize your basic statement. You contend that today's players are tremendously better than previous players, and that previous players would not match current players under current conditions (equipment, nutrition, training, ...). Why on Earth do you think the later? The former in terms of raw athleticism I can see, despite the fact that baseball is not really a raw althete sport (unlike Track for example). But why do you think a huge portion of the atheletic gap between past layers and current players would not be closed by the envuironmental factors?
Put simply I think baseball skill among the greats like Ruth is more a talent like Mozart as a composer or Einstein as a physicist. Yes there is a larger talent pool now, but I believe Mozart and Einstein are inner circle greats in any era.
Today's Florida Marlins would crush any team from Ruth's era.
And any team from Ruth's era, given today's nutrition, competition, training, and coaching methods, would crush the Marlins.
That's not even worth wasting a "duh" on.
Please don't say the second-best Miami Marlin is a better baseball player than Lou Gehrig.
After the kind of numbers he put up in 1920 and 1921, why would anyone pitch to him at all, ever?
Month BA OBP SLG BABIPApril .226 .250 .258 .304May .329 .463 .921 .250June .450 .580 .960 .465July .440 .611 .970 .456August .292 .511 .677 .250Sept .376 .535 .859 .361
It is, but the problem is that back then there was much more of a chance that a tired Andy Benes would be facing Ruth in the last few innings of a game, and you can't dismiss the effect that had on Ruth's production. And while Lefty Grove might well have been as good or better than Randy Johnson, once you got past the Groves and Hubbells the available talent was in much shorter supply than it is today. All of this helped to contribute to the overall offensive numbers of Ruth's era, and it's absurd to think that Ruth didn't benefit from it.
How do we explain Pujols hitting MLB pitching better than he hit A ball pitching a year before?
Exactly my point. Ruth, Mozart, and Einstein were all as good as they were ever going to be. If average IQs are twenty points higher today (WAG), it wouldn't follow that embryo Einstein implanted today would become even more of a super-genius.
Those were ongoing factors that Bonds had to deal with that Ruth simply didn't
Albert Pujols is a very promising third-base prospect. It's probably early to call him grade-A, but he has one great year under his belt, a .324/.389/.585 performance at Peoria followed by a brief stint at Potomac in which he wasn't overmatched. He finished the season with three games in Memphis and will likely start the 2001 season at Double-A Arkansas. Pujols is not going to be a fast guy; he's already big at 205 pounds and has the frame of a power hitter. His defense is good enough that he can probably avoid the dreaded corner migration from third base to first base. This is someone to watch; he could be starting at a Cardinal corner sooner than anyone realizes.
And maybe (?) by him being older than advertised?
If we drop G Stanton onto Gehrig's team is Stanton a better hitter than Gehrig?
If you accept Gassko's estimate, Gehrig (179 OPS+) was 79% better than his average peer, who would then be about an 80 OPS+ hitter in today's game. So that would make Gehrig about a 143 OPS+ hitter today, a bit better than Stanton (138). I think Gassko probably understates the amount of league improvement a bit, but that certainly seems like a plausible result.
Because a much bigger increase in pitcher caliber didn't hurt Pujols.
Any comparison involves hypothetical "time travel"; whether it is via time machine (plunking the adult Ruth into 2000 unchanged), or the person being born later/earlier with a different environment.
#223, i agree in theory with what you are saying, but ... then GuyM adds in the "And modern players are just better" and if you include both of those then it is a meaningless question.
There's zero science on either side here, nor can there ever be;
Their pitching would almost certainly not be able to handle 2013 hitters.
One thing that hasn't been discussed is while the talent pool in undeniably larger and better, baseball was the major sport of the day. If you wanted to be a pro athlete, you were a baseball player, a boxer, or a jockey. No pro basketball, college football only (which did pay some players). So most of the best athletes went to baseball.
What do decent major leaguers hit in rehab assignments? There must be enough composite ABs over the past decade to be at least an intriguing sample.
I don't understand what you mean here. Please explain....
Well if start your analysis with the assumption (axiom, whatever) that modern ball players are better then I don't think it very interesting to ask "Is great/best modern ballplayer A better than past great/best ball player B?" Because it is answered by the assumption.
Wrong. Those 1920s players were AA or AAA or whatever, largely b/c of the environment they grew up and played in. You can't make a fair comparison without adjusting for how the environment would have effected Bonds if he lived and played then.
That's an overbid. Babe Ruth in 1925 form is, was, and will be forevermore better than Yuniesky Betancourt in 2013 form.
Well, about 80% of NBA players and 65% of NFL players are African-American. So most of these players in fact could not have played in MLB in Ruth's time. But it may be that if these other professional sports had never developed, then the impact of racial integration on the talent level in baseball would have been even larger.
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