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Comparing athletes from different eras

doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 22,957 ✭✭✭✭✭

I saw this mentioned in another thread, I know training and nutrition has improved over the years, do you think the best athletes from past eras could dominate today?

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 22,957 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a graph from 2013, it shows the evolution of the NFL defensive tackle, insane.

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    perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,492 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've argued this subject so many times and regarding the NFL the answer is NO they would not dominate.

    The difference in size and speed of the athletes is the reason, it's that simple.

    This year's Georgia team would flatten any NFL team from the 60's

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    perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,492 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The fair way to compare players would be by decades in my opinion

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    AFLfanAFLfan Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think some positions would fare better than others. I'd guess that quarterbacks and receivers are the ones who might most closely measure up to today's athletes. I think rule changes and modern receivers' gloves are probably the biggest reasons for the statistical gap between the ages at these positions.

    Todd Tobias - Grateful Collector - I focus on autographed American Football League sets, Fleer & Topps, 1960-1969, and lacrosse cards.
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    Size plays a small part in my determination.

    Intelligence is the starting point for me…

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,481 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2023 2:00PM

    If you are talking about baseball, probably not.

    You read stories about the old time pitchers, like “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity pitching complete games in both ends of a double header. There is no way that he could have thrown as hard as the pitchers do today. Even Walter Johnson, who was noted for his great fast ball, once threw three shutouts in four days. That’s just no possible, even if you ignore the fact that many of the gays from yesteryear didn’t train as much.

    Since the pitchers could not have thrown as hard, the hitter’s job had to be easier too. There is reason why you saw .400 hitters. The pitches were easier to hit.

    That’s why Ted Williams might be the greatest hitter of all time. He hit .400 in what was getting into the modern era, 1941. Still he didn’t have to contend with the great relief pitchers and closer specialists in the late innings.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,788 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a real good question. I would think the athletes of the past would be more durable. Definitely not as big or strong as today's athletes. It seems like so many more injuries occur these days. Related to nutrition/diet? Related to training regimens? Something has happened in the past 50 years to create this. As Billjones mentioned above that pitchers of yesteryear were super iron men. Throwing 500 plus innings a season like it was nothing. These days a starting pitcher is considered a horse if he reaches near or over 200 innings pitched. What has happened?

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    HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2023 4:19PM

    @BillJones said:
    If you are talking about baseball, probably not.

    You read stories about the old time pitchers, like “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity pitching complete games in both ends of a double header. There is no way that he could have thrown as hard as the pitchers do today. Even Walter Johnson, who was noted for his great fast ball, once threw three shutouts in four days. That’s just no possible, even if you ignore the fact that many of the gays from yesteryear didn’t train as much.

    Since the pitchers could not have thrown as hard, the hitter’s job had to be easier too. There is reason why you saw .400 hitters. The pitches were easier to hit.

    That’s why Ted Williams might be the greatest hitter of all time. He hit .400 in what was getting into the modern era, 1941. Still he didn’t have to contend with the great relief pitchers and closer specialists in the late innings.

    I usually always agree with everything you post Bill....But consider this.....Maybe, just maybe.....Those old timers were more TOUGH than the people playing today......I know the athletes today are BIGGER, TALLER,..ETC, ETC. But,....I suspect that those old timers would consider today's boys a bunch of whiney, pampered, cry babies.....Oh, Well......
    Iron Man

    Big Train

    The Georgia Peach

    Tough Guys

    Also, How could you possibly know that those old time pitchers could not thrown as hard?.....I personally knew a MLB player who played in 1909+....He told me that only Koufax threw faster than Walter Johnson. He would know. He died in 1968. .......It's like saying Koufax couldn't possibly throw as hard as pitchers in 2023 because he pitched in the 1960's! NONSENSE!

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,481 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2023 8:20PM

    My point is these guys from the early 1900s were not supermen. You can’t throw at 90 to 100 miles an hour for well over 100 pitches. It just isn’t physically possible.

    Now it is possible that these old guys rushed the game and got through the game with fewer pitches. Without lights, weekday games started at like 4 PM in the afternoon, and they had to rush to get the game in before dark. Maybe hitters were not as selective. Perhaps there were not a lot of guys like Luke Appling who was a master at fouling off pitches. That’s the only way that I could see a guy lasting for two games.

    Otherwise, you can’t tell me that these guys could throw more pitches. Their arms gave out Just like every other pitcher and some of them had their careers end early.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 9, 2023 8:20PM

    @BillJones said:

    Maybe hitters were not as selective. Perhaps there were a lot of guys like Luke Appling who was a master at fouling off pitches. That’s the only way that I could see a guy lasting for two games.

    You got that right Bill....Hitters were not as selective. Right up into the late 60's and early 70's. And yes, there were many guys like Appling who were masters at fouling off pitches....The best that I ever saw was Pete Rose...He was a throwback... Can We Think...Ty Cobb?....It was just hit it where it's pitched.....punch it around ....that's why the games SELDOM went over 2 hours..."Hit It Where They Ain't"
    Willie Keeler....


    You make a good point, Bill....
    Something To Think About....
    Thank You....

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    craig44craig44 Posts: 10,524 ✭✭✭✭✭

    great players would be great in any era. skill has not changed. Size and speed have changed.

    professional sports have been around about 150 years. on an evolutionary timeline (if you believe in such things) 150 years is nothing. nothing at all. not even close to enough time to genetically change a being into a faster/stronger version.

    so if it is not an evolutionary change (and it is not) it must be new, modern training/nutrition.

    Had Lebron James been born in 1915, you can bet he wouldnt have been 6'8" and weigh 275 pounds of muscle. you could also bet that he would have still been a dominant athlete, though smaller in stature.

    likewise, those 6'1" 220 pound linemen who were playing in 1925, had they been born in 1995, would certainly be well over 6 feet and 300 pounds.

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

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