Agreed. Or as my old NYC swanky-jernted veteran barmaid used to tell me…“Mickey Mantle was handsomest man she ever saw…and the ugliest man she ever met.”
There will never be another Mickey Mantle. That’s what the Baseball Writers are protecting.
To be fair, they’re not the only ones. Baseball-Reference.com has something called the Fan EloRater, where readers can vote on player comparisons. The top 15 hitters are Ruth, Mays, Wagner, Speaker, Williams, Cobb, Aaron, Hornsby, Musial, Gehrig, Mantle, Collins, Lajoie, Kaline and Foxx.
Not a single player who began his career after 1954. Not a single player who played a game in the ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s or ‘10s. Nine of 15 who never played against a black player. The top five pitchers all played before World War II, and four of those pitched in the dead-ball era. At least Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson crack the top 15.
This is how we view baseball. The greats of yesteryear are untouchable.
Players today can’t hit home runs as far as Mantle or throw as hard as Feller or pitch like Cy Young. The players were better in the old days. Of course they were.
You can believe that if you want. The stories, after all, do help tie baseball’s present to baseball’s past. Or you can believe this: You can believe that when you see Mike Trout, you’re seeing the ghost of Willie Mays, excepting that Mays is still very much alive, of course. When you watch Justin Verlander, you can see Bob Feller, only with much better control. When Clayton Kershaw pitches, he evokes the dominance of another Dodgers left-hander. Miguel Cabrera is a right-handed Lou Gehrig.
The greats are playing now, just like they played in the ‘30s and the ‘50s and the ‘80s. So create your own stories, your own legends. I remember that game when ...
Posted: January 15, 2013 at 06:11 AM | 124 comment(s)
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