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Old videos, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, etc


Moose Milligan

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That's awesome. As detestable a person as he was, if I could climb into a time machine and go back to do one thing, I'm pretty sure I'd want to watch Ty Cobb play in a ballgame.

I agree. His swing is pretty sweet.

One thing I think baseball has over all other sports is that the old timers could definitely play today. I don't think George Mikan would be very effective if he were dropped into an NBA game today. I think Butkus could hold his own on the playing field but I don't think he'd be the dominant linebacker he was back in the day.

But I bet Ty Cobb would still hit well over .300. Same with Ted Williams.

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I agree. His swing is pretty sweet.

One thing I think baseball has over all other sports is that the old timers could definitely play today. I don't think George Mikan would be very effective if he were dropped into an NBA game today. I think Butkus could hold his own on the playing field but I don't think he'd be the dominant linebacker he was back in the day.

But I bet Ty Cobb would still hit well over .300. Same with Ted Williams.

Maybe. They'd have a big transition period, a big adjustment. Cobb especially was used to facing only white, American farm boys pulled from a population of barely over 100M people. The average pitcher didn't ever throw 90, some probably didn't throw 80, and they all paced themselves so they could go 300 innings a year. Now we have much better scouted, conditioned, trained, coached pitchers pulled from a population five or six times as big throwing everything they have every pitch, then being replaced in the sixth inning by a string of relievers who all throw 94 mph. And most of them have control equal to the oldtimers despite throwing to a strike zone half as big.

I sincerely believe that the Majors during Ruth's and Cobb's time wasn't as high a quality as the Japanese Leagues are today.

I think that if somebody like the 2006 edition of Joel Zumaya was sent to the American League in 1911 the batters would think he'd been transported to them straight from the bowels of hell.

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Maybe. They'd have a big transition period, a big adjustment. Cobb especially was used to facing only white, American farm boys pulled from a population of barely over 100M people. The average pitcher didn't ever throw 90, some probably didn't throw 80, and they all paced themselves so they could go 300 innings a year. Now we have much better scouted, conditioned, trained, coached pitchers pulled from a population five or six times as big throwing everything they have every pitch, then being replaced in the sixth inning by a string of relievers who all throw 94 mph. And most of them have control equal to the oldtimers despite throwing to a strike zone half as big.

I sincerely believe that the Majors during Ruth's and Cobb's time wasn't as high a quality as the Japanese Leagues are today.

I think that if somebody like the 2006 edition of Joel Zumaya was sent to the American League in 1911 the batters would think he'd been transported to them straight from the bowels of hell.

I certainly can't imagine Mel Ott trying to hit a 100 MPH fastball with that ridiculous swing of his.

I do think a lot of the best guys could still play, but like you said they'd have to adjust. Lighter bats, shorter swings, and they'd have to hit the weight room for sure.

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Maybe. They'd have a big transition period, a big adjustment. Cobb especially was used to facing only white, American farm boys pulled from a population of barely over 100M people. The average pitcher didn't ever throw 90, some probably didn't throw 80, and they all paced themselves so they could go 300 innings a year. Now we have much better scouted, conditioned, trained, coached pitchers pulled from a population five or six times as big throwing everything they have every pitch, then being replaced in the sixth inning by a string of relievers who all throw 94 mph. And most of them have control equal to the oldtimers despite throwing to a strike zone half as big.

I sincerely believe that the Majors during Ruth's and Cobb's time wasn't as high a quality as the Japanese Leagues are today.

I think that if somebody like the 2006 edition of Joel Zumaya was sent to the American League in 1911 the batters would think he'd been transported to them straight from the bowels of hell.

Sure, but wouldn't Cobb also benefit from the equipment, conditioning, training, and coaching available today? Would his natural talent along with the advancements of the times still not set him apart from the average ballplayer?

I think it is a bit of a fallacy to assume that Cobb or Ruth or Wagner, given the advancements current ballplayers enjoy, would still not perform well above average. Sure, Walter Johnson may only have thrown 90, but with today's coaching and advancements, who's to say he wouldn't hit Zumaya-like speeds?

You can't compare eras fairly. There is just too much environmental noise.

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Sure, but wouldn't Cobb also benefit from the equipment, conditioning, training, and coaching available today? Would his natural talent along with the advancements of the times still not set him apart from the average ballplayer?

I think it is a bit of a fallacy to assume that Cobb or Ruth or Wagner, given the advancements current ballplayers enjoy, would still not perform well above average. Sure, Walter Johnson may only have thrown 90, but with today's coaching and advancements, who's to say he wouldn't hit Zumaya-like speeds?

You can't compare eras fairly. There is just too much environmental noise.

Well, I think you're talking about something slightly different. If Cobb grew up playing baseball in this era, his natural talent would obviously make him one of the best players in the world, assuming he kept up with all of the training and other things players do now. I think what Drungo is saying is that if an in-his-prime Cobb was transported by time machine today to Camden Yards to face Jon Lester, he would more than likely not look like the best player on the field. A guy throwing 95 with a sinker, cutter, change up, and curve just didn't exist back then.

That's what he meant by adjustment period.

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Sure, but wouldn't Cobb also benefit from the equipment, conditioning, training, and coaching available today? Would his natural talent along with the advancements of the times still not set him apart from the average ballplayer?

I think it is a bit of a fallacy to assume that Cobb or Ruth or Wagner, given the advancements current ballplayers enjoy, would still not perform well above average. Sure, Walter Johnson may only have thrown 90, but with today's coaching and advancements, who's to say he wouldn't hit Zumaya-like speeds?

You can't compare eras fairly. There is just too much environmental noise.

Sure, you'd expect talented ballplayers to be able to play today if given the advantages of today. They just wouldn't be able to dominate to the extent they did in their own time. The talent level has been raised way too much.

But Moose' statement I was responding to was implying you could take Cobb or Williams, put them in a time machine, and have them pop out as excellent major leaguers right away. He said "I don't think George Mikan would be very effective if he were dropped into an NBA game today.... But I bet Ty Cobb would still hit well over .300. Same with Ted Williams."

1911 Cobb and 1948 Williams would be good players, but they'd be amazed at the talent in the majors today. It would take them a while to adjust.

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Well, I think you're talking about something slightly different. If Cobb grew up playing baseball in this era, his natural talent would obviously make him one of the best players in the world, assuming he kept up with all of the training and other things players do now. I think what Drungo is saying is that if an in-his-prime Cobb was transported by time machine today to Camden Yards to face Jon Lester, he would more than likely not look like the best player on the field. A guy throwing 95 with a sinker, cutter, change up, and curve just didn't exist back then.

That's what he meant by adjustment period.

Exactly. It would be like Cobb had played his whole life in AA, and suddenly got called up to the majors.

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Maybe. They'd have a big transition period, a big adjustment. Cobb especially was used to facing only white, American farm boys pulled from a population of barely over 100M people. The average pitcher didn't ever throw 90, some probably didn't throw 80, and they all paced themselves so they could go 300 innings a year. Now we have much better scouted, conditioned, trained, coached pitchers pulled from a population five or six times as big throwing everything they have every pitch, then being replaced in the sixth inning by a string of relievers who all throw 94 mph. And most of them have control equal to the oldtimers despite throwing to a strike zone half as big.

I sincerely believe that the Majors during Ruth's and Cobb's time wasn't as high a quality as the Japanese Leagues are today.

I think that if somebody like the 2006 edition of Joel Zumaya was sent to the American League in 1911 the batters would think he'd been transported to them straight from the bowels of hell.

I agree. I also don't understand why it would be a big plus for baseball if what Moose said is true. Maybe Moose can explain that one for me.

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