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Thursday, September 23, 2010

BPP: Any player/Any era: Shoeless Joe Jackson

Wicked blue flame Jesus-head tats look sharp for any occasion!

Era he might have thrived in: Jackson is probably one of those few legends who would have stood out at pretty much any point in baseball history. With the Red Sox in the late ’30s and early ’40s, Jackson could have been Ted Williams with greater speed and fielding ability. In the ’50s and ’60s, Jackson might have been a five tool player comparable to Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. And with the current Texas Rangers, I would liken Jackson to another sweet-swinging lefty and Triple Crown threat, Josh Hamilton.

Why: I see Hamilton and I can’t help but think of Jackson. In many ways, Hamilton seems his modern equivalent. Both are Southerners. Both were exiled from baseball, Hamilton temporarily to deal with drug problems, Jackson permanently because of the Black Sox Scandal. In terms of playing ability, both hit similarly sweet from the left side and possessed supreme talent. I think if Jackson were playing today, Hamilton is the player he might resemble most closely.

...So I think Jackson’s batting average today would be just as good, if not better. I also think he’d have better power numbers, playing with a livelier ball and in a park like Texas. I think the park would have the same effect on Jackson it’s had on Hamilton and that Shoeless Joe would have similar slugging stats: maybe 30 home runs and a ton of RBI. Of course, if Jackson had stayed in baseball, a spike in his numbers may have come in his own era.

Repoz Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

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   1. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:06 PM (#3647146)
Why do people try to transfer the past to the present on equal terms?

Players today are so much bigger and stronger. Shoeless Joe was 6'1" 200lbs which was a big man back then. He wouldn't be so huge now. He also played in a segregated era with less talent.

When I was in high school in the 70s, I was one of the few kids who worked out at the gym. My kid now plays high school baseball and instead of PE, he goes to the gym 3 days a week during school with a professional lifting coach instructing him.

Today's women can run faster 100 meter sprints than the men of that era. A full second has been shaved off the men's 100 m sprint over the past century. In fact today's women are actually beating Mark Spitz' swimming records from the 70s.

If you transported Shoeless Joe to today, he would be considered out of shape, slow, unable to catch up to a mid90s fastball, and unable to detect a split. I'm sure MLB in the early 1900s was on par with single A/college ball of today.
   2. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:20 PM (#3647161)
Funny how nobody wants to bring back Jesse Owens and his 10.3 100m time. High school kids run faster than that now.
   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:31 PM (#3647165)
How many times are we going to have this argument? If we transport Shoeless Joe to the modern day, why can't we give him modern training techniques and equipment? He'd love not to have to face the spitball, long doubleheaders, and using bats like telephone poles.

And no, Owens wasn't some slowpoke. Give him modern shoes, tracks, and a year to train with modern methods, and then have him face those high-schoolers. He'd lap them in the 100m.
   4. Greg K Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:36 PM (#3647168)
I think (and I might be entirely wrong here) the idea with this kind of thing is not to take Joe Jackson in a time machine and plop him down in 2010. But to look at the style of player he was, and how his skills compared to his peers and see how he would fit in any other time. There's a kind of implied normalization across the eras.

I haven't read the article, maybe the writer seems to think that sprinters ran just as fast in 1910 as they do in 2010, or that the bar in pretty much every athletic endeavour hasn't been set higher...but I think we all know that's not true.

We all know it's literally true that if you send a #45 sprinter in the world back 70 years he'd win every race, but I think when people are comparing athletes across generations that's not really what they mean.
   5. Greg K Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:40 PM (#3647171)
To put it another way, if some military history buffs were having a fantasy discussion, who would you take in a battle, Marlborough or Rommel. And the response is "Duh, Rommel, he's got tanks"

That kind of misses the spirit of the question.
   6. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:51 PM (#3647176)
And the idea that kids now are some kind of übermenschen who would put the athletes of yesteryear to shame is somewhat weakened by the fact that the U.S. Army has recently changed its physical training methods, after concluding that today's youth simply can't handle the stress of the older methods, since they have had much less physically demanding lives than recruits from a generation or two ago.
   7. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:54 PM (#3647180)
And no, Owens wasn't some slowpoke. Give him modern shoes, tracks, and a year to train with modern methods, and then have him face those high-schoolers. He'd lap them in the 100m.


Sounds like someone needs to get his head out of a time machine and watch a race. Lapping someone in the 100m would be quite the feat.
   8. Greg K Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:55 PM (#3647181)
And the idea that kids now are some kind of übermenschen who would put the athletes of yesteryear to shame is somewhat weakened by the fact that the U.S. Army has recently changed its physical training methods, after concluding that today's youth simply can't handle the stress of the older methods, since they have had much less physically demanding lives than recruits from a generation or two ago.

Sounds like specialization rearing its head again.
Our athletes are more athletic than athletes of the past
And our lazybones are far lazier than in the past.

Even our mediocrities are more mediocre! (And I should know)
   9. Khrushin it bro Posted: September 23, 2010 at 08:57 PM (#3647183)
I'd take Sun Tzu and his concubine army.
   10. Greg K Posted: September 23, 2010 at 09:06 PM (#3647190)
Speaking of Owens, I listened to a paper on the 1936 Olympics a few months ago and I was amazed at how wrong my perception of the Games was.

The narrative I was always told was that Owens had spoiled the planned Nazi Aryan love fest and stuck it to Germany and Hitler. But apparently Owens was the great hero of the games for most of the German fans, and Hitler didn't snub him at all after he won (though privately I'm sure he wasn't jazzed about it). Also Germany swept the medal count getting the most of each Gold, Silver and Bronze which I never would have guessed.

All of which was pretty surprising news to me (Admittedly I had never done much reading on the Games, so it's not like this is some suppressed secret...just not the traditional popular narrative)
   11. Graham Womack Posted: September 23, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3647203)
Hi guys, thanks for taking an interest in my post.

To clarify, I started "Any player/Any era" in June to examine how a player might have done in an era besides his own. Generally, I look at a player's talents and try to project him to his ideal era. Or, I'll look at a skill he had that may have been underused. For instance, when I did a column on Josh Hamilton, I suggested his high school pitching abilities might have made him a superb Deadball Era hurler.

All of this is meant in the spirit of fun and creativity and offering a different way to look at baseball history. The columns are also fun to write most weeks. Thanks again for reading, and I invite anyone to request players they'd like me to write about.

On one last note, the discussion here is making me wonder if I shouldn't do a future column projecting Jesse Owens as a designated pinch runner for Charlie Finley. Might he have succeeded where Herb Washington fell short?
   12. Greg K Posted: September 23, 2010 at 09:37 PM (#3647206)
I'd take Sun Tzu and his concubine army.

I believe it was Yazu who had the concubine army...very shrewd.
   13. Jeff R. Posted: September 23, 2010 at 09:48 PM (#3647216)
For instance, when I did a column on Josh Hamilton, I suggested his high school pitching abilities might have made him a superb Deadball Era hurler.


That's a cool angle, one I wouldn't have thought of. John Olerud (star hurler in college as well as clean-up hitter; even after being drafted by the Jays there were questions about whether he would toil on the mound or man first base) wants in on that action.
   14. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:11 PM (#3647228)
Why not do a future column to see if Mark Spitz in his prime could beat Dara Torres, a 43 year old woman, today in the 50 meter freestyle sprint? Then you could analyze real footage and take split times to come to a real conclusion.

Or if you want to stick to baseball, how would Ty Cobb with his split handed grip held down below his belt fare against college pitching. And you can actually test if anyone with a split handed grip held that low can possibly catch up to a mid-90s high fastball.
   15. jwb Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:14 PM (#3647230)
Shoeless Joe was 6'1" 200lbs which was a big man back then. He wouldn't be so huge now.
He would be average for a LF. Last season, starting LFs were 6'1.4, 201.5.
   16. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3647236)
Essentially, all your articles will make a mockery of past superior athletes by using emperical information, not some idealistic fabrication borne of nostalgia.
   17. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:27 PM (#3647240)
That would be a cool subject for Sportsscience or Mythbusters.
   18. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:31 PM (#3647243)
We all know it's literally true that if you send a #45 sprinter in the world back 70 years he'd win every race


That should be easy enough to verify - make a cinder track with no starting blocks, give a sprinter leather spiked shoes, let him dig his own divot and fire the starter's pistol.

I don't see any modern boxers or MMA fighters keeping up with Jim Jeffries' daily training routine, so I'm generally skeptical of the myth of the modern athletic superman. Good diet certainly makes a difference and lord knows the PEDs help, but folks is still folks.
   19. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3647250)
If you think modern shoes make people that much faster, then why not check out weightlifting records over time to see how much stronger people are now compared to yesteryear?

Yeah, folks are still folks, but some girls nowadays are faster/stronger than men from 100 years ago because of modern training methods.
   20. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:40 PM (#3647251)
Remember how Babe Ruth could literally run up in the batter's box and hit a homerun? Geez, how slow was the pitching back then? I'm sure mid-80s was considered serious heat.
   21. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:44 PM (#3647255)
If you think modern shoes make people that much faster, then why not check out weightlifting records over time to see how much stronger people are now compared to yesteryear?


I think several of Eugen Sandow's lifts from the 1880s are still unsurpassed today.

Yeah, folks are still folks, but some girls nowadays are faster/stronger than men from 100 years ago because of modern training methods.


That should be easy enough to verify - make a cinder track with no starting blocks, give a sprinter leather spiked shoes, let her dig her own divot and fire the starter's pistol.
   22. bond1 Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:46 PM (#3647256)
What's amazing to me is how much longer people live these days when all we eat is fatty crap and watch TV or sit in front of a computer all day...
   23. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM (#3647260)
What's amazing to me is how much longer people live these days when all we eat is fatty crap and watch TV or sit in front of a computer all day...


We really don't live that much longer once you adjust for the diseases of childhood. We do live longer, of course, but the difference is as great as "life expectancy" statistics might lead one to believe. Beating measles, polio, mumps, typhoid, etc., covers up for plenty of Cheeto-munching and TV-watching.
   24. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: September 23, 2010 at 10:54 PM (#3647263)
Well, on the good side, the odds of any of us dying of diptheria or smallpox or dysentery or whatever are somewhat lower than before. Health care = good (with some effect on athletic feats). Same for on-the-job deaths/injuries, but without the athletism boost. Of course, in some places in the US the health care is so bad that people are not getting taller and infant mortality is increasing. It would be interesting to see how their athletes compare to a state with good health care, or how the US in general fares compared to Europe with their superior health care (Europeans still getting taller, living longer, surviving birth more often than us). It would be a real test of these issues, though not without huge problems of course.

Edit: Like Joba said...
   25. Graham Womack Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3647280)
Essentially, all your articles will make a mockery of past superior athletes by using emperical information, not some idealistic fabrication borne of nostalgia.


I'm not sure if I follow you, but I think attempting to apply concerted empirical reasoning is taking this entirely too seriously.

Again, this is meant to be fun.
   26. karlmagnus Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:35 PM (#3647287)
I wish this guy would do Parisian Bob Caruthers. A modern World Series, before the expanded playoffs, would have suited him down to the ground; he could have been Reggie Jackson and Jack Morris in the same series. Obviously in a regular season he'd have to pace himself and so would be less spectacular, but in a short series he might well be uniquely responsible for his side's victory.
   27. Jeff R. Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:35 PM (#3647288)

Or if you want to stick to baseball, how would Ty Cobb with his split handed grip held down below his belt fare against college pitching. And you can actually test if anyone with a split handed grip held that low can possibly catch up to a mid-90s high fastball.


Okay, but wouldn't time-transported Ty Cobb change his grip once he saw that the split-handed grip wasn't working?
   28. Graham Womack Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:37 PM (#3647290)
Also, "idealistic fabrication borne of nostalgia" is not what my writing is. Not even close. I'm definitely an idealist and prone to nostalgia, but the word fabrication usually implies something underhanded. It's more apt when journalists make up quotes or fake sources. I never do that.
   29. Graham Womack Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:44 PM (#3647300)
Hi Karl,

John Thorn mentioned Bob Caruthers to me in an email exchange a few months ago about early ballplayers who could both pitch and hit-- Thorn said the best players in those days generally were counted on to do both, so it makes sense Caruthers would have been a clutch performer. I'll be happy to expand upon it for next Thursday. Be sure to check my site then, and if you'd like to email me before with any other info you'd like to share about Caruthers, please feel free. My email address is on my site.

It seems Cooperstown has a sufficient backlog of 19th century greats to do another mass induction to the Hall of Fame. With Caruthers' 218-99 career record and .282 lifetime batting average on 695 hits, he could be at the top of the list of deserving candidates.

Thanks for reading,
Graham
   30. Accent Shallow Posted: September 23, 2010 at 11:50 PM (#3647303)
Why not do a future column to see if Mark Spitz in his prime could beat Dara Torres, a 43 year old woman, today in the 50 meter freestyle sprint? Then you could analyze real footage and take split times to come to a real conclusion.

While women have recently surpassed the 1976 men's 50 free record, I wonder how much of that is due to the new suit designs, rather than just training techniques.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:00 AM (#3647310)
While women have recently surpassed the 1976 men's 50 free record, I wonder how much of that is due to the new suit designs, rather than just training techniques.

Combined it's 100%.

No one can really believe that the human species has evolved enough since 1976 to make a modern female athlete better than the 1976 male version.

Okay, but wouldn't time-transported Ty Cobb change his grip once he saw that the split-handed grip wasn't working?

Of course. And time transported Jess Owens would employ modern training, and be elite within a couple of years. And time transported Babe Ruth would hit the weight room.
   32. bond1 Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:04 AM (#3647313)
Accent Shallow: I wonder how much of that is due to the new suit designs If Graham Womack wants to draw comparisons, that's exactly the type of analysis I want know instead of making crazy stuff up.
   33. bond1 Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM (#3647320)
time transported Babe Ruth would hit the weight room
You see, this is exactly what I 'm trying to get to. Babe Ruth would never hit the weight room. He's an old version of David Wells - lots of talent but no work ethic. He will excel up to a point but will not put in the extra effort. Babe Ruth would have probably quit baseball or cut from the minor leagues because no one could get him to get into baseball shape.

Now Jesse Owens probably would have employed modern training since that's what most track athletes do.

As for Ty Cobb, who knows? He may have given up baseball for MMA...
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:21 AM (#3647328)
Babe Ruth would have probably quit baseball or cut from the minor leagues because no one could get him to get into baseball shape.

He didn't get fat until he was in his 30's.
   35. bond1 Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:21 AM (#3647329)
I'm surprised the record for the women's mile is 4:12 which is what the men were running in the 1910s.

I wonder if Mark Spitz is embarrassed that girls are beating his old times? I've seen some old clips of him, and he was pretty skinny, a lot like many ballplayers of the 70s with their tight uniforms.
   36. bond1 Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:28 AM (#3647335)
I must say it would be scary to see how good Ted Williams could be now if he had filled out his skinny frame with some muscle. I still can't figure out how he could hit the ball that well with that open front foot. I see a lot of Ted Williams' swing when I see Josh Hamilton's swing slowed down:

http://toplevelhitting.com/
   37. bond1 Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:30 AM (#3647337)
Josh Hamilton has his back elbow pointed straight back and hitches his hands down just like Teddy Ballgame.
   38. Graham Womack Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:31 AM (#3647338)
I've been reading parts of longtime sportswriter Fred Lieb's memoir, Baseball As I Have Known It and came across this about halfway through:

During the years that Babe was in his prime, a professor at Columbia College gave Ruth a thorough physical examination, testing such measurable traits as the speed of his muscular and nervous reactions to various stimuli. The New York Times, in recording the professor's findings, gave the story the head 'ONE MAN IN A MILLION.' The report said nothing about Babe's IQ, but in twenty categories, Ruth ranked well above the average male. All of his five senses were keener and sharper than average. He also scored high in strength, response to stress, and reaction time. As I recall it, the professor explained: 'Take twenty men off the street and you will find that several of them may score above average in two, three, or four of these tests, but it (sic) only one in a million who will score above average in all twenty.


I may need to do one of these on the Babe as well...
   39. vince Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:32 AM (#3647339)
Come on you critics. Most of you who complain couldn't put together a well written web page like Graham is doing. Instead of nit picking, why not try and expand a bit and expound on why you do or don't think the player would fit into the time slot in question? Have fun instead of trying to be funny. We'd like to be entertained by what you know and not by your attempts at wit or criticism.
Does anyone know if the technology exists to take the old films and measure for instance how fast the pitches are thrown? When you look at films of most of the old timers seems they threw with mostly their arm and not their whole bodies, so it does make sense that the pitches wouldn't be as fast or have as much break to them compared to the pitchers of today.
   40. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:37 AM (#3647340)
You see, this is exactly what I 'm trying to get to. Babe Ruth would never hit the weight room. He's an old version of David Wells - lots of talent but no work ethic. He will excel up to a point but will not put in the extra effort. Babe Ruth would have probably quit baseball or cut from the minor leagues because no one could get him to get into baseball shape.
Ruth would have been Jose Canseco.

Seriously, someone would have said to him, "This stuff can make you hit more home runs, but..." and before they could continue, he would have already injected himself.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:40 AM (#3647343)
Ruth would have been Jose Canseco.

At least Bonds.
   42. Accent Shallow Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:48 AM (#3647345)
[39]

I believe it's tough to get a handle on pitch speed from old video due to issues with the frame rate, which could vary widely.
   43. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 24, 2010 at 12:57 AM (#3647348)
I wonder if Mark Spitz is embarrassed that girls are beating his old times? I've seen some old clips of him, and he was pretty skinny

Well that's just it, isn't it? How big was Spitz when he was competing? I see he's about 6 foot even and he would've weighed what..maybe 75 kilos or so(165-170 pounds in the old language). I would imagine that many of the female swimming champions today are nearly the same size(checking...) Dara Torres is listed as 5 11 and 68 kilos...so it's pretty close. So it makes sense that they'd have basically the same muscle mass and such.
   44. Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: September 24, 2010 at 01:13 AM (#3647353)
You see, this is exactly what I 'm trying to get to. Babe Ruth would never hit the weight room. He's an old version of David Wells - lots of talent but no work ethic. He will excel up to a point but will not put in the extra effort. Babe Ruth would have probably quit baseball or cut from the minor leagues because no one could get him to get into baseball shape.


Babe Ruth didn't work out because he didn't NEED to. Why work out when you are the best there has ever been by leaps and bounds while still partying your face off? He was legendarily competitive...put him in a culture where people are training non stop and see what happens/
   45. Tuque Posted: September 24, 2010 at 01:45 AM (#3647365)
So I think Jackson’s batting average today would be just as good, if not better. I also think he’d have better power numbers, playing with a livelier ball and in a park like Texas

Wait, so is he saying that Shoeless Joe nowadays would hit .370/.440/.600? Considering the best average hitter of the last thirty years only managed a .338 career BA, I find this hard to believe.
   46. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 24, 2010 at 02:06 PM (#3647539)
You see, this is exactly what I 'm trying to get to. Babe Ruth would never hit the weight room. He's an old version of David Wells - lots of talent but no work ethic.


Babe Ruth was the greatest all-around player in baseball history yet had no work ethic? Is that even an argument?
   47. djrelays Posted: September 24, 2010 at 02:35 PM (#3647567)
#11 "On one last note, the discussion here is making me wonder if I shouldn't do a future column projecting Jesse Owens as a designated pinch runner for Charlie Finley. Might he have succeeded where Herb Washington fell short?"

Easily answered: No.

Owens was never a good starter. The only one of his major contemporaries who was worse out of the holes was Ralph Metcalfe. Owens won more than he lost over 100y and 100m, but lost more often than not over 60y.

Washington was a superb starter, and during his peak was the best 60y sprinter in the world. But he was never in the same class over 100y/100m.

Washington didn't make it because of a lack of baseball skills, not a lack of speed. Frankly, I always thought Washington would have had a better chance of stealing if he had gone into a crouch start with his front foot on the bag and listened for the coach to say "go." The twist-gather-and-sprint style of starting is anathema to a track athlete except for a relay exchange when the runner can anticipate his start.
   48. Lassus Posted: September 24, 2010 at 03:05 PM (#3647592)
And time transported Babe Ruth would hit the weight room Scores and Smith & Wollensky.


BTW, thanks for showing up to respond and engage in conversation, Graham. Shows a lot of openness and heart to do so. (And masochism.)
   49. Ron Johnson Posted: September 24, 2010 at 03:20 PM (#3647610)
#41 At least Killebrew. I mean you've got plate discipline (I had an interesting quote from Ruth saying that it's selfish to swing at pitches that aren't strikes -- can't locate the quote, but it's something straight out of a stathead manifesto) and enough power to get the ball out.

And despite all of the conditioning concerns, Ruth stayed healthy longer than Killebrew. Already a heck of a player.

It's perfectly reasonable to think of Ruth as likely to have put up a better average than Killebrew. And a few more doubles perhaps (I'm pretty sure he'd lose most of his triples)

I'm sure mid-80s was considered serious heat.


There were people like Grove and Earnshaw who could really bring it. Dazzy Vance in the NL put up K numbers that wouldn't look bad today. But (particularly at the start of the 20s) there were a lot of pitchers who had been stripped of the pitch (primarily the spitball) that got them to the majors and had to learn to cope on the job.

There were a lot of pitchers in the Carlos Silva/Bob Tewksbury mold.
   50. Greg K Posted: September 24, 2010 at 03:30 PM (#3647616)
BTW, thanks for showing up to respond and engage in conversation, Graham. Shows a lot of openness and heart to do so. (And masochism.)

Second on that, it's always fun when writers show up to discuss their work.
Jolly good show, and for the record I think the Any Player/Any Era thing sounds like a lot of fun.

bond1 raises some legitimate criticisms of falling into nostalgia, but I don't think they're particularly relevant to what you're writing about.
   51. Greg K Posted: September 24, 2010 at 03:54 PM (#3647631)
Off the top of my head, Ichiro seems like he'd fit in the 1900-1918 period?
Adam Dunn and Jim Thome seem like 50s fellas to me.
   52. McCoy Posted: September 24, 2010 at 04:11 PM (#3647638)
Going back to the whole kids are not tougher nowadays than yesteryear thing. In regards to baseball this is an important point that I think either gets overlooked or used improperly. 90 years ago one of the most important traits a ballplayer could have is simply staying healthy and staying on the field. A lot of the players in the game back then were tough little rugged fellows who could take a beating and keep on playing. Nowadays we have thoroughbreds out there that are much more fragile than players of old but have that flaw compensated for by increased medical care. So no time traveling some player to now and then letting him work out won't necessarily mean they will be as good as modern players because for the most part that old timer has different traits that made him a great.

As for physical if you look back in those old days you see that the pitchers had a significant height and weight advantage on the hitters and it was the hitters that tended to be big guys that could either hold their own or dominate pitching back then. As someone else said Joe Jackson was a very big man back then. Nowdays he would be around average.

The problem I have with these kind of studies is that invariably the old timer comes out as some sort of giant if he had played today. Shoeless would hit .370/.440/.600 in today's game? Is that a single year? Career? 5 year stretch? Nobody is doing that for any serious length of time unless you believe that a ton Barry Bonds on drugs were running around 90 years ago.
   53. Graham Womack Posted: September 25, 2010 at 12:29 AM (#3648010)
Off the top of my head, Ichiro seems like he'd fit in the 1900-1918 period?
Adam Dunn and Jim Thome seem like 50s fellas to me.


I definitely could see Ichiro as a Deadball Era player. That was one of the original ideas I had when this column was first suggested. I've kept thinking about writing that post, but have put it off. I may have to put it in the queue now.

Dunn and Thome may be Ted Kluszewski types in the 1950s, though I see Thome as being better suited for the 1930s where he could have put up more home runs and a better career average. I did one of these columns on Harmon Killebrew not too long ago and saw that were he to play every season of his career on a team like the 1936 Cleveland Indians, the Baseball-Reference stat converter showed him having 687 home runs and a .300 lifetime batting average. Thome, a similar player in my eyes, would have 674 home runs and a .312 average.

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