Back in My Day…

This is an attempt at my first post at High Heat Stats without any baseball stats.  Rather than digging through WAR leaders, I’d like to take a moment to tackle a prejudice that irks me too often in sports arguments.  Yesterday, I read this Sports on Earth piece by Jonathan Bernhardt, which explains why Barry Bonds was the best baseball player ever.  A comment in response to the piece included this gem:

“…to argue that Bonds is better than Mays is, well, simply ignorant, something that I will ascribe to the writer’s youth”.

No, what’s “simply ignorant” is dismissing another’s opinion without any defense of one’s own argument other than an age difference.  Is there a sorrier phrase in the English language than “back in my day…”?

First, I know I should never read comments on any web forum except this one, but Joe Posnanski writes for Sports on Earth and if Joe brought some of his “brilliant readers” to that site, reasoned discourse in the comments section could be more than a pipe dream.  Second, it’s true that Bernhardt’s visage in the article’s header suggests that he may have been born after Bonds shaved this mustache.

Still, the sentiment that young fans don’t appreciate the greatness of players from generations past is far too prevalent and far too trite.  Furthermore, Bernhardt’s analysis is spot-on, from his dismissal of Ruth and Williams on the grounds of quality of competition in a segregated league to his assertion that we know no more about the impact steroids may have had on Bonds’s numbers than we know about amphetamines and the boost they may have given Mays.  To chalk up the stat-backed argument that Bonds was better than Mays to not having seen Mays live is akin to declaring that mayonnaise tasted better before the Berlin Wall fell.

In 1884, when Old Hoss Radbourn had his legendary season, the world record in the mile was 4:16.2. When Babe Ruth retired in 1935, the record was 4:06.2.  When Mays retired in 1973, it was 3.51.1, held by Jim Ryun, an American runner so dominant that he shaved 2.5 seconds off the record and held  it for eight years- longer than any man since Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954.  Track fans must have thought they’d never see another runner as fast as Ryun.

But runners kept evolving.  In 1999, the year before Bonds kicked off the most dominant five-year offensive stretch in integrated baseball history, Hicham El Guerrouj ran the mile in 3:43.13.  That cut almost 3 1/2 percent off of Ryun’s time.  Andres Diaz finished fourth in that race with a time of 3.51.15, a virtual tie with Ryun’s legendary time.

Not all of the progression in the mile record is evolution.  Sneakers have gotten sleeker.  There have probably been improvements to racing shorts and the material tracks are made of.  But technology alone didn’t trim 33 seconds, or about half a lap around a track, from the record over 115 years.  Every generation of humans is a little more fit for our world.  Swimming records fall in droves every olympiad.  Nearly every Tour de France is finished faster than the one before it.  Athletes get bigger, faster, stronger, and more able to turn on a curveball over the inside of the plate.

Aging is cruel.  At 32, I’ve seen some of the early effects- bones breaking a little more easily, unwillingness to accept that Mike Trout was born in the ’90s- but I recognize that I’ve got a long, dismal descent ahead of me and should probably take it easy on the old man clinging to some of the magic of his youth in the comments at Sports On Earth.  Watching Willie Mays hit 450-foot blasts and cover acres of Polo Grounds outfield must have made him feel like anything was possible, like God had sent a divine athlete to perform inspiring feats for his entertainment.  To see Mays’s accomplishments eclipsed by a man so boorish, so joyless, at an age when the old man himself didn’t have the same spring in his step, couldn’t have been easy.  Why not dismiss the possibility that his hero had been eclipsed by claiming that drugs can make Incredible Hulks out of ordinary men or that players were tougher in his day?

I’ve enjoyed watching Albert Pujols hit a baseball like few, if any, players before him have.  Fans younger than I will enjoy watching Mike Trout try to build a case as the best player ever to play the game.  Watching Trout climb walls like Spiderman and steal bases like Superman, they may be loathe to admit that there’s a three-year-old picking up his first glove somewhere who will one day run faster, jump higher, and hit longer home runs than Trout.

Barry Bonds may or may not have been the best baseball player ever.  Mike Trout may or may not one day eclipse him.  But someone will.  Some young writer will tell us how he knows the new guy is the best ever, maybe using metrics not yet invented today. And someone from my generation will make up a reason to dismiss the young player’s talent so as not to challenge the power of the memory of Bonds launching a fastball into McCovey Cove.  Or, if the old man can’t come up with a reason, he’ll chalk it up to the writer’s youth.

Because young people are stupid.

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113 Comments on "Back in My Day…"

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Andy
Admin
Great post, Bryan. What you say is true not just about baseball, but pretty much all of life. There is always the tendency to think that things were better in days gone by. When it comes to baseball, it’s not hard to find journalism from, say, the 1970s and 1980s that the then-current stars didn’t play the game the way “true” stars from recent decades–Mays, Aaron, Musial, etc–played the game. But, if you go back a little bit, you can find journalism from the 1950s and 1960s saying that THOSE three guys didn’t play the game the right way that… Read more »
deal
Guest
Hey you kids get off my lawn! Lots o territory here… You Know why I am always gonna think Steve Carlton was the greatest pitcher ever – because I was 12 and I had no frame of reference. If I don’t ever seriously consider more data at some point, my opinion will always be that of a 12 yr old. I like the angle where Nostaglizing the past leads to depression. No Data here, but random sampling of my world points that way as well. Some people don’t like change – I get that, but progress ain’t gonna wait just… Read more »
brp
Guest

Good stuff. I always think of this quote when I hear any sort of BITGOD-type argument:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Which is from Socrates. I think actually I picked that up from another commenter on the BBref blog, or here.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Socrates never could hit the curveball. He thought that it was an underhanded trick and should be illegal.

You should’ve seen Homer play centerfield, though; he really could cover a lot of ground.

Jason Z
Guest
Andy, A very though provoking first post. The Good old days. Funny. Everything about our standard of living is infinitely better today. Who wants to come over and play Atari after school?? The thing about the good old days is we never learn. The same problems facing this country one hundred plus years ago invoke the same responses today. Allow me to illustrate in regards to immigration. This was written in 1912 by Jeremiah Jenks and W. Jett Lauck, “Many persons who have spoken and written in favor of restriction of immigration, have laid great stress upon the evils to… Read more »
Baltimorechop
Guest
Not baseball related, but this always nips at me a bit on movies (as does the exact opposite mindset, that only new movies are worth watching). Whenever I see a list of best movies that contains only a handful of films from 1990 onward, I don’t fully trust it. Likewise, if I see someone’s list and it only contains 80s onward, I don’t trust it. It’s curious that often we hold it against older ball players that they played pre-integration, or pre-20th century and discount them accordingly. In films, it’s almost always applied as a credit that they didn’t have… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

So thought provoking.

For now in regards to “best film” lists.

Last Year, Britian’s Sight and Sound magazine
published the ten year list of best movies
ever.

Supplanting Citizen Kane which ruled the top
spot for 50 years was Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

I bring this up because of your comment about
recent films not getting the credit they deserve.
I agree. When Vertigo was released it received little
critical acclaim. It was only the seventh highest
grossing film of the year.

But today it is considered the best film ever.

Baltimorechop
Guest

Though Vertigo wasn’t initially respected, critics were apparently quicker to recognize a great film back then. In the 1962 Sight & Sound poll (the first where Vertigo was eligible) they selected a film from 1960 as the second best film of all time. That’s something I don’t believe we’ll ever see again out of sight & sound.

The current list has no movie newer than 1968. In 2002, they had Godfather, parts 1 & 2 (taken together); which means the newest film that’s ever appeared on the list is from 1974.

I’ve always preferred Rear Window, myself.

Jason Z
Guest

Citizen Kane is amazing. I too have never been a big
fan of Vertigo.

Rear Window is great for several reasons. Grace Kelly
and the woman who works out in her bra and panties across the courtyard are two of them.

Seriously, I agree with you about Rear Window.

I haven’t seen every Hitchcock but I would rate the following above (pun intended) Vertigo.

North by Northwest
The Man Who Knew too Much
The Birds
Psycho
Shadow of a Doubt
The Rope
The Wrong Man
Strangers on a Train
Lifeboat (1944) (little known but awesome)
The 39 Steps

Baltimorechop
Guest

I’ve seen about 20 Hitchcock, I’d put the following above Vertigo:

Rear Window
Lifeboat
North by Northwest
To Catch a Thief (it just thoroughly charmed me)
The Rope
Strangers on a Train
The Lady Vanishes

I do like Vertigo better than The Birds, Psycho and Notorious. I love Lifeboat.

Jason Z
Guest

Bryan,

Ashamed to say I have never gotten through
Notorious. I know I know…

Not in order, but I do like North by Northwest
best of all. Otherwise slide The Birds down and move Lifeboat way up. The rest are about right.

When it comes to Hitchcock though we are splitting hairs trying to rank these.

Now I know how they felt in NYC back in the 50’s re. Mickey Mantle v. Willie Mays.

Thanks for The Lady Vanishes BC. That makes
the list. I forgot that one.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

“High Anxiety” is #1

Mike L
Guest

Try “The Third Man”. Great music, terrific locations, Orson Welles, Joesph Cotton, etc.

Mike L
Guest
Being older that virtually everyone who participates here, I think that it’s dangerous to make comparisons across eras. There’s absolutely no question in my mind that people are larger, stronger, and faster than they were thirty, or sixty, or ninety years ago. But baseball isn’t the equivalent of running against a clock; it’s the pitting of one person’s set of skills against another, and in that way entirely contextual. The modern player is more a physical marvel, but he’s also aided by sophisticated medical techniques and improved equipment. We just don’t know how a Mays or a Mantle would perform… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

Bryan, could you clarify your mention of “evolution” and the statement that “Every generation of humans is a little more fit for our world”?

I assume you’re not talking about the general theory of evolution and natural selection, since that process would be quite unlikely to produce measurable change in the physical ability of elite athletes within the span of 100 years.

Also, don’t we have a tacit agreement never again to mention the Tour de France?
http://www.theonion.com/articles/this-last-story-ever-written-about-cycling,30063/

At any rate, the TdF seems problematic as evidence of your thesis. 🙂

RJ
Guest

John, seeing as you’re clearly an Onion fan, did you catch this one? http://www.theonion.com/articles/jim-leylands-daughter-takes-off-work-to-help-fathe,30131/

Atlcrackerfan
Guest
I think @3 is on point regarding age, memories and nostalgia. Sports in general (and baseball in particular) lend themselves to memories that grow more glowing (and fuzzily accurate) with the passing of time. Most of us 1st went to baseball game as a kid, and our heros, whose exploits seem greater with each passing year, remain our standard for excellence. We can opine, and do frequently is seems, on the demographic differences in athletes over the years, the affects of PEDs and other substances, the impact of expansion on The Game, but most of us have a fondness for… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest
As to comparing player’s across era’s, it is exceedingly difficult. In fact we have a more recent issue in this regard that I have yet to see mentioned, but first… Babe Ruth. It is ridiculous to compare the overall quality of play today to what existed before Jackie Robinson who leads directly to Ichiro and picks up a melting pot of international greats along the way that has enriched the game beyond description. Travel, equipment, training, coaching, knowledge, strength, speed, size, the field and wealth underscore many of the changes. There are numerous other reasons why trying to compare across… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

To learn more about Babe Ruth google “Babe Ruth Supernormal” and read.

Dr. Remulak
Guest

That is one cool article. Thanks.

Jason Z
Guest

Thanks Richard. Helps to explain what the eyes saw.

no statistician but
Guest
Thank God most of my points have already been made, so I can just list them: 1) It is impossible to compare players between eras as far apart as those of Bonds, Mays, and Ruth. 2) What all three players had in common was that they met the best competition available and performed so far above it that they are recognized as elite players, Ruth without peer in his times, Mays with only Mantle, who spiked higher but fell off sooner, Bonds who maintained a high level, (probably artificially and to the detriment of his reputation and legacy, but that’s… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Changes in ice hockey in the past 50 years are perhapos illustrative of pre-integration and post-integration baseball.

45 years ago there were six NHL teams and 98% of players were Canadian. Today, there are 30 teams but only 55% of players are Canadian. Ocasionally ESPN will show NHL games from the 50s and 60s -they look like they’re playing in slow motion. Just a completely different game. Presunably, with integration and more players from different countries, a similar change has occurred in the level of play in baseball.

Stacey Gotsulias
Member

This was really great. (I just read it now, been a little distracted today.) Very nice job.

John Autin
Editor

I still don’t understand why Peter Weir is not a superstar director. The 10 Weir films that I’ve seen are all very well done and diversely interesting:

– Picnic at Hanging Rock
– The Last Wave
– Gallipoli
– The Year of Living Dangerously
– Witness
– The Mosquito Coast
– Dead Poets Society
– Fearless
– The Truman Show
– Master and Commander

no statistician but
Guest
JA: Your remark about Peter Weir made me curious. David Thomson, who has been called “probably the greatest living film critic and historian,” writes this about Weir in his landmark “New Biographical Dictionary of Film” (Fourth Edition): “Weir has an uncommon and beguiling aptitude for atmosphere of menace and mystery . . . (b)ut how pedestrian he becomes when he tries to explain these pregnant moods. The first part of Picnic at Hanging Rock is exquisite . . . the Indonesia disclosed in The Year of Living Dangerously is fascinating; and the Amish community in Witness cries out to take… Read more »
RJ
Guest

Great read Bryan. Although everyone knows mayo tasted better during the Cold War.

Brendan Bingham
Guest
Great article, Bryan. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. It too has been changed by modern technology. Before bb-ref and retrosheet, we could all BS about the games and players of our youth, not necessarily out of willful deceit, but because memory is selective and there was no easy way to fact-check. When I discovered retrosheet, the first thing I did was look up the first game I attended as a child (Sept 1967). The boxscore confirmed my memory of the home run and stolen base, but I had forgotten the names of half the players, as well as… Read more »
PP
Guest

Back in my day I used to look forward to the Sunday sports page to see the averages, HRs and RBIs. And at the start of each year buying that red book of all player career stats (Baseball Register?). That was something.

Richard Chester
Guest

And back in my day I received a copy of the first “Baseball Encyclopedia” in 1951 as a bar-mitzvah gift from my parents. It was co-edited by NY Daily News reporter Hy Turkin. It had records of every ML player although not in the same detail as later encyclopedias. It also had lists of career leaders in various categories, something I had never before seen. Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time reading it.

e pluribus munu
Guest

The old Baseball Encyclopedia as a bar-mitzvah gift? Such parents! A mitzvah, indeed.

Richard Chester
Guest

Agreed! (And here’s a few more words to get this posted.)

bstar
Guest
Back in my day I’d live on the box scores and league leaders from the daily newspaper. That was the 70s. During the 80s I’d graduated to The Sporting News (they were the only weekly publication that had stats for every player in every pro sports league). I also read Sports Illustrated, but I was a little too young to appreciate the writing and thought The Sporting News had far more content. They gave you a breakdown of every team in every division, what was going good and bad, a view of the minor leagues. The Sporting News was far… Read more »
PP
Guest

I forgot about The Sporting News. Also, I lived in Italy in 90-91 and the only way to get scores and standings was in USA Today, which wasn’t much, except a friend had a buddy in the States send him copies of The National a week at a time. We’d devour those.

MikeD
Guest

We’re dismissing Ted Williams for what reason?

Jason Z
Guest
Nobody should ever dismiss the splendid splinter. Having just followed Richard’s suggestion to google “Babe Ruth supernormal”, I can recall that Ted Williams’ eyesight was something around the order of 20/10. Which explains why he was a great fighter pilot serving in two wars. An attribute that far above normal, combined with his singular focus and motivation to be the best hitter ever, insures that Ted Williams would be the cream of the crop in any generation. Imagine a modern day Ted Williams with his motivation, understanding of the strike zone and willingness to walk, along with the financial security… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Best sport fisherman ever?
Where are the advanced metrics to corroborate that claim?

Bells
Guest

BAR (Bass Above Replacement)

bstar
Guest
We’re not dismissing Ted Williams. That author did. As for the reason why, it has to do with him playing half his career in “pre-integration”. Yes, that’s me rolling my eyes with you. This wasn’t really the point of Bryan’s well-written piece (or maybe it was, I don’t know), but to me you can’t call Barry Bonds the best ever without a thorough discussion of how he was never, ever compared to Babe Ruth until his head size doubled. And this comes from a guy who would just as soon bury his head in the sand about the whole steroid… Read more »
Timmy Pea
Guest

There is a reason our founders put age requirements on all our federal executive and legislative offices. It’s because young people are stupid and prone to emotional outbursts. Just kidding, but it would only go to reason that someone with more experience in life probably would see things more wisely. IQ points being the same, someone living through life’s ups and downs probably would be, well, wiser?

Timmy Pea
Guest

Well Bryan, let me give you a little fatherly advice (wink), many a young man has made his fortune or career by quietly suffering an old fool. Many more by showing the older man respect and learning what he has to teach.

Timmy Pea
Guest

I also don’t like the “back in my day” type.

Jason Z
Guest

“back in my day we walked to school in the snow. Uphill. Both Ways.”

Timmy Pea
Guest

Jason the worst “back in my day” guys are NFL announcers. I think Phil Simms is a good example. Ken “Hawk” Harrelson is sort of that way but he kind of becomes a running joke that he himself is in on. A lot of football announcers still have that competitive juice running through their veins.

Mike L
Guest
I think we are overgeneralizing a bit. There’s very little doubt that the average generation of players is larger and stronger than that of 100 years ago. But I doubt this has much to do with evolution–far more can be ascribed, as would be true with any animal, to a more optimal environment. It would astonish me if the stars of a previous era wouldn’t have been stars in this era. Same is true with filmaking; yes it’s true that modern filmmakers have both the advantage of better technology and the landmark work of those who came before. But, if… Read more »
bstar
Guest

My Darling Clementine-a personal favorite! Most people remember Walter Brennan as the aged, toohtless old coot from countless later roles in westerns or from The Real McCoys, but he’s downright scary evil in My Darling Clementine. I still think this is John Ford’s masterpiece.

I feel a strong connection to any of those movies filmed in Monument Valley; it’s like there’s a piece of me out there in that actually-quite-small 5 square mile area that John Ford made look so immense.

Jason Z
Guest

Watched John Ford’s The Informer this weekend. Starred Victor Mclaglen who won the 1935 Academy Award for best actor.

This movie also showed John Ford’s gift for light, or lack of it.

Timmy Pea
Guest

If you were able to successfully clone Ted Williams today with the idea you were going to raise this child to be a great ball player, in 2034 you would have a great ball player. You use every modern advancement along with your knowledge of the past and Teddy II will be a great player. Pioneers are first but rarely perfect.

John Autin
Editor
I just think it’s impossible to make any reasonable comparison of “talent” between Babe Ruth and any other player, certainly any modern player. There are just too many variables in play. Just touching on one of those: Ruth’s approach at the plate was obviously revolutionary: uppercutting, swinging hard and not minding the strikeouts (he whiffed almost 60% more often than the league average, and ranked 1st or 2nd in the AL 12 times). Yet it took many years for Ruth’s approach to fully catch on, which helped him stay far above average in slugging throughout his career. During his offensive… Read more »
Timmy Pea
Guest

In Ruth’s time, especially early on defense was not as good as it is today. Simply putting the ball in play was much different then.

e pluribus munu
Guest
John, Your points remind me of a conversation that comes up periodically on HHS about Brooks Robinson: he’s sometimes mentioned as a candidate for best third baseman ever, or second to Schmidt, or . . . but enhanced stats place him considerably lower. Are those who rate Robinson so highly succumbing to the nostalgia effect? The thing about Robinson was that he was in some respects both the first [insert footnote of choice on Clete Boyer] and the best defensively effective acrobatic third baseman: he played the position in a substantially new way for a position that had not been… Read more »
John Autin
Editor
epm, that’s a good follow-up. But I think that, while Brooksie may well have played the position more athletically than anyone up to that point (I don’t know), the fact of being a “defense-first” 3B was only revolutionary in regard to recent MLB history. From 1901-40, there were 490 qualified batter-seasons with OPS+ 140 or better — but only 24 of those (5%) were by third sackers. It was considered a defense-first position, even in the live-ball era: The only qualified year with 140+ OPS+ by a 3B in the ’20s was by Jimmie Foxx, in his first full year… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I’ve never thougt about the defense-first third sacker issue this way, JA. I can see it now that you point it out. In Robinson’s case, I really was referring to the style of play. I remember how impossible it seemed, and then I remember feeling even more astonished watching Nettles making similar plays just a few years later. It was something like Bryan’s example (per BryanM@68) of mile times – astonishing record setters like Ryun set a new bar, and that helped make it possible for his successors to clear it. (Apart from the teeth-gnashing mix in that metaphor, it… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

epm, I see your point about “talent compression” occurring if “most PED users were more marginal players who needed the edge to survive.” But if there were any evidence of that, the topic would have withered long ago.

I have no real clue how PED use was distributed along talent lines, but I’d guess that if it was skewed in any direction, it was skewed towards the more talented players.

This is grossly simplified, but I think PED use is mainly motivated by jealousy and greed, and I think those forces generally tend to increase with the more one has.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Maybe you’re right, JA. I’ve always found jealousy and greed conveniently at hand without the burdens of talent or wealth, but perhaps I’m just an overachiever.

Mike Felber
Guest
But just making & staying in MLB is a huge motivation, & those trying to do so have more at stake, + much greed & jealousy is involved. So many accounts of guys coming back throwing much harder, gaining much bulk & hitting for more power & BBs-at the last there is no reason to assume it tended to be stars more often, who already had a measure of glory. When comparing greats, one can choose either to try to analyze straight up, head to head, if each party was reincarnated. Or give each the same advantages of training &… Read more »
bstar
Guest

That’s some cool info on the distance kings. You don’t happen to have a link for that, do you?

Mike Felber
Guest

Sure man, here it is!

w.amazon.com/Baseballs-Ultimate-Power-All-Time-Greatest/dp/1599215446

Meticulouly researched, he also compares the greatest speed & throwing arms ever. Can you guess who he comes up with? The man also wrote “The Year Babe rith Hit 104 Home Runs”.

bstar
Guest

Great read, Mike F., thanks for the link. You’re right…it would be hard to be more meticulous in one’s research than Mr. Jenkinson was.

Jason Z
Guest

I think the minor leaguer who wants to fulfill his
dream and possibly make life altering money, is just
as likely to do PED as the established star.

Just as likely as the aging vet or young kid trying
to stay in the show.

Here is a quote from Jim Bouton that sums this up to a degree…

“Most players saw amphetamines as harmless. But the professional athlete does a lot of things to his body that they don’t think of as harmful.”

Jim Bouldin
Guest
Now you listen here whippersnapper. As reported on this very site, Norm Cash went to bat with a table leg once, and we have it on good evidence–well rumor anyway–that two by fours were sometimes used. OK, pure fabrication, but still. Also, players were often forced to insert humongous clumps of chewing tobacco into their mouths during games, which could not have helped anything, including their visits to the dentist and their post-game socializing. Seriously though, if I could pick one player I’d like to see play for a season, other than Fidrych, it would be Mays. Of course, that’s… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest
I do agree with Bryan O that players have almost certainly gotten better over time, generally, and I think as he stated in one of the comments, that it’s also important to distinguise between, the mean player ability, and that of those at the top end. There could be a number of things going on here. The dropping of the race barrier and inclusion of Latino and East Asian players is an obvious factor; pretty clearly, if you include a whole new set of people, especially those with potentially different genetic and cultural origins, you run the good chance of… Read more »
Ed
Guest
Speaking of PEDs….on his website Bill James wrote something that I found quite shocking. I’ll quote him so there can be no mistake about what he wrote: “At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame.” What???? That’s a really strong statement for him to make. Looking through the names of people elected to the HOF in the past 10 years, I have no idea who he could be talking about. Does he have some sort of inside information that he’s basing this on? Anyone seen him mention this before?
John Autin
Editor

No idea whom Bill James is talking about there, Ed. But since he’s not willing to let his statement be evaluated, it’s almost certainly not worth guessing about. An argument that proceeds from “secret knowledge” is an affront to reason.

bstar
Guest

He probably knows more about who did and who didn’t than we do. Did he specifically say he was referring to steroid-era players, Ed?

Ed
Guest

Thanks John and Bstar. It will be interesting to see if any of his readers follow-up with him and press him to provide more details. And you’re right Bstar, he didn’t mention that they were steroid era players, so it’s possible that he’s talking about players from other eras.

Ed
Guest

James was asked a follow-up question regarding his comment about 3 PEDs users already being in the HOF. This is his response:

“There are three players (that I was thinking of) who have strong characteristics associated with steroid use, in all three cases supported by other evidence.”

Way too cryptic of a response for my taste. If you know something, either name names or don’t say anything at all. I think John (#103) has it right.

bstar
Guest

I found the first quote on his site and to me he does strongly imply that they are from the steroid era and are NOT power hitters who looked massive. I could come up with three guesses but that would be fantastically hypocritical of me. You’re right, Ed, too cryptic of a response to really bother with.

Mike Felber
Guest
Very astute post Mr. Bouldin. I would just say that it is EPO & that class of drugs which effect aerobic capacity, not steroids, but they do plenty. Just increasing bat speed so you can wait to identify a pitch, & of course add power, is a big advantage. It has been a long time since I majored in Anthropology. What do you mean by neutral theory? And that “mutation rates do not typically limit the process”. What do you mean there, that there are faster ways to have a whole population change,without selective enviornmental forces? Because genetic drift &… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest
Yes, good point about the EPO Mike–that is (or was) the PED of choice for endurance athletes, most notably cyclists, not likely to be used in baseball, and not a steroid. The neutral theory, roughly, is the idea that a large fraction of naturally occurring genetic variation at the molecular level, in many species, is +/- neutral, imparting no selective advantage or disadvantage. A corollary is that random events are often responsible for evolutionary change. It does not exclude the idea that selection can also be very important however. I completely agree with your statement on the importance of genetic… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Men of merit exist in every generation, but, men in general seem to prefer the meritorious of their own generation…..

I am 55 years old and when I was a child middle infielders couldn’t hit to save their lives. There were exceptions (Fregosi, McAuliffe, Petrocelli, and Morgan come to mind), but not a lot of others. That “defense up the middle” mantra was really taken to heart – much to the detriment of the game’s qulaity (IMO)

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