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  #1  
Old 06-15-2016, 06:33 PM
ajjohnsonsoxfan ajjohnsonsoxfan is offline
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Default Old Timers vs. Young Bucks

I remember seeing a thread awhile back but can't seem to find it arguing whether pre-war superstars of the day (Ruth, Wagner, Cobb, Mathewson, Lajoie, Shoeless etc) would be able to hold their own in today's game vs. today's stars. The topic came up for me twice in the last couple weeks with both parties saying they thought you shouldn't even think of old time baseball as "real" baseball based on the way the game is played today, how well the players are trained and how specialized each position is.

Would love to hear the historians among us weigh in. Would Ruth hit bombs of Arrieta? Would Cobb bat .400 and steal bases? Could Mathewson and the Big Train gets guys out?
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:44 PM
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It depends a lot on how the counterfactual is spelled out. Does Wagner get proper nutrition, modern weight training, etc.? Or do you just stuff him in a time machine and hope for the best? Does he get a modern glove, or does he have to use the one he actually used?

Evolution works slowly. There aren't any real genetic differences between Kershaw and Cy Young (besides those that differ between any two people). But culture and technology change quickly. If we give them the advantages of modern culture/technology we should expect them to do pretty well.* If we don't, they're going to have trouble.

* Acknowledging that they faced weaker competition since baseball was still segregated.
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:51 PM
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The better question is how many hours would any modern player last if they had to play under 1920 conditions. Is there a single player who you think would last an entire season? I don't think so, no way they could handle that era. On the flip side, players from that era would probably spend half their time marveling at how pampered the players are today
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:54 PM
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I think this is the thread you were looking for
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat View Post

* Acknowledging that they faced weaker competition since baseball was still segregated.
Not just still segregated but also not international. However there are twice as many teams now as their were before.

I have always argued that integration and expansion have gradually cancelled each other out. We were preventing what was at the time about 10% of the population from participating. But we've over time added 100% to the available major league ball player slots. Even factoring in foreign born players I'd say it's closer to a wash than one might first expect.

Put another way Babe Ruth didn't have to hit against the Negro League greats of his time, but neither did he get to face Wily Peralta or Chad Bettis 30+ times a year.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:55 PM
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Ruth faced the same pitchers very often. Less teams less talent and a grueling season .At that time the Yankees had most of the best pitchers. You can learn what's a guys best pitch is his best. And it was probably NOT his fastball.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z28jd View Post
The better question is how many hours would any modern player last if they had to play under 1920 conditions. Is there a single player who you think would last an entire season? I don't think so, no way they could handle that era. On the flip side, players from that era would probably spend half their time marveling at how pampered the players are today


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Old 06-15-2016, 08:30 PM
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swing analysis of Ruth showed he kept his bat square and in the zone longer than anyone else in baseball history. Combined with his awesome bat speed and it's pretty reasonable to think he would have been a great player today.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bravos4evr View Post
swing analysis of Ruth showed he kept his bat square and in the zone longer than anyone else in baseball history. Combined with his awesome bat speed and it's pretty reasonable to think he would have been a great player today.
Would you kindly quote the reference for this analysis study. Thanks
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:00 PM
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The best comparison for theoretical match-ups is how a player did against his contemporaries, all of whom were in the same environment, training, etc., as the player in question. The elite players from every era would be the elite players in any era in which they were raised because the same raw material would be there, just with different training and environmental factors. Or let me put it this way: Pete Rose could use his bat like a pool cue and hit an incoming pitch with the end of the bat, squarely. He did this all the time in the cage to show off his hand-eye coordination. Not because he was of his era but because he was Pete Rose and had the combination of natural talents that allowed him to excel at a physical craft. That doesn't change. The more interesting question to me is how a player with lesser tools but greater analytical skills and intense drive would succeed if he had the advantage of modern training and environment.
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