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Old 11-30-2003, 08:40 PM   #1
atllonghorn
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Arrow Should pre-1947 statistics count?

Okay, Kareem scored the most points in NBA history. Malone might top him. Jordan holds the record for career scoring average.

Emmit Smith just broke the career rushing record last season. Rice, who holds every single receiving record that matters, is still playing. Dan Marino leads most of the important QB statistical categories, though Favre has a shot at a couple of them.

What's the point of all of this? Well, all of these record-holders are either still active or recently retired. Baseball, however, is a different story.

Some baseball records, especially single season ones, have been set recently. Bonds holds the single season HR record. No one ever went 40-40 before Canseco in 1989. Ripken's iron man record was established in 1995. Rickey Henderson got 130 SBs in 1982. And so on.

That said, no one has hit .400 since 1941, which was the same year Joe D hit safely in 56 consecutive games. Some people argue that Babe Ruth is still the real home run king because he played part of career a) as a pitcher, and b) in the Dead Ball Era. What about Cy Young's 511 wins? That's never getting topped.

More than any other sport, baseball is one inexorably tied to the ghosts of its past. But is that fair? Should these records even count?

Why is it that, with global participation in professional American althetic conferences, with the increase in training technology, etc., contemporary stars cannot break some of these old records in baseball?

I'll tell you why. Those records are crap.

Everyone knows the Negro Leagues fielded All-Star teams that were as good as Major League All-Star teams. Latin American players have made enormous contributions to the game, from Marichal to to A-Rod. And now we've got players from Korea and Japan in MLB. If you're good enough, you can make it in MLB now.

Don't get me wrong. Ruth, Ted Williams, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and Joe D, were great players. They would be stars in any era. But the bottom line is that they got to pitch to and/or hit against a lot of players who would not have been able to hack it today. Yes, there are twice as many teams in MLB as there were then, but if you think the talent pool has been diluted because of this, you're being silly.

Bonds was criticized for bashing the Babe earlier this year. Well, he did have a point. Modern-day MLB players may labor in the lap of luxury, but then again, they also labor under the spectre of these great players from the past with records that seem impossible to break.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't cherish the great players from other eras. I'm saying that to believe that the golden age of baseball was almost a 100 years ago is an insult to a) to today's players, and b) the struggles involved in integrating Major League Baseball.

As far as I'm concerned, if you didn't do it after 1947, I am not willing to hold it up as a standard for contempory players to aspire to. That is all.

Last edited by atllonghorn; 12-01-2003 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 11-30-2003, 09:46 PM   #2
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We should go back to the 80s too then... and put the asterisk back by Roger Maris' 61 home runs.... and McGwire's 62... and Bond's 72. It took them a full 162 games to do that... Ruth did 60 in only 150-something.

As far as I'm concerned, records are records. Wayne Gretzky is the most dominant player in any record book in any league. He broke the career scoring record by 1,300 points (180%).... to put that in perspective, for a basketball player who played the same number of seasons Michael Jordan did would have to average 70.0 PPG to do the equivalent feat in basketball. Are people in 100 years going to say "You know that skinny kid Gretzky who holds 61 NHL records that no one else can break?? We should get him out of the book and say no record shall stand that was established pre-1999. Gretzky played when 250-lb defensemen couldn't skate or hit and goalie equipment was small. He really wasn't that great of a player." That's bs, and it's exactly what you are proposing here.

Have the games changed? Yes. Have the players gotten bigger? Yes. Would guys like Ruth be able to hit against today's pitchers like they did back then? Not a chance. But their time was completely different. However, the competition between teams has not changed. It is still exactly the same game. And their stats should stand.

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Old 12-01-2003, 01:57 AM   #3
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I am, to a point, a baseball purist. I believe that there have been several distinct eras in baseball.
Pre-1920 was the "dead-ball" era and pitching stats were padded by this. On the other hand, fielders wore smaller gloves and made many more errors. Training was nearly non-existant and hitters had a disadvantage when they saw a new guy for the first time. Illegal pitches were common and the ball wasn't replaced unless it was lost. The average game was played with 3 or 4 balls.
Pre-1947 there were no blacks in the majors. The Negro Leagues were comparable in talent (or better) than the White majors were. Gloves were still smaller than current ones and errors were common. Hitters got a break, because the ball was better and was replaced when it got scuffed or really dirty. Teams concentrated on offense and pitchers were treated as 2nd class players, unless they could hit or were really outstanding.
Prior to the mid-70s, players weren't allowed to move from team to team as they wished, due to the "reserve clause" in all contracts. Their motivation to perform, while playing on sub-standard teams, may not have been what it is today. Pitching was better and equipment was also. Many hits have been taken away by bigger gloves.
Currently, training and equipment are far better than they were in the past. Stadiums are smaller than many were earlier (If you wish to see dimensions of the ballparks, check out www.ballparks.com. Many are shown) and hits seem to come easier than they did in the past.
I think stats should be left alone and players should attempt to reach the goals that were set for them in the past.
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by SC-Lee
We should go back to the 80s too then... and put the asterisk back by Roger Maris' 61 home runs.... and McGwire's 62... and Bond's 72. It took them a full 162 games to do that... Ruth did 60 in only 150-something.

As far as I'm concerned, records are records. Wayne Gretzky is the most dominant player in any record book in any league. He broke the career scoring record by 1,300 points (180%).... to put that in perspective, for a basketball player who played the same number of seasons Michael Jordan did would have to average 70.0 PPG to do the equivalent feat in basketball. Are people in 100 years going to say "You know that skinny kid Gretzky who holds 61 NHL records that no one else can break?? We should get him out of the book and say no record shall stand that was established pre-1999. Gretzky played when 250-lb defensemen couldn't skate or hit and goalie equipment was small. He really wasn't that great of a player." That's bs, and it's exactly what you are proposing here.

Have the games changed? Yes. Have the players gotten bigger? Yes. Would guys like Ruth be able to hit against today's pitchers like they did back then? Not a chance. But their time was completely different. However, the competition between teams has not changed. It is still exactly the same game. And their stats should stand.
Gretzky didn't play hockey during a period when many of the best players weren't allowed to play in the NHL. True, we didn't see an influx of Eastern Europeans until the 1990s, but the NHL drew from the greatest available talent pool, and Gretzky dominated. On the other hand, Ted Williams didn't hit .400 against Satchel Paige but Satchel Paige (among many, many others) was INSTITUTIONALLY restricted by MLB from pitching in the Major Leagues.

It's interesting you bring up Maris because my position was always that Maris's 61 in 162 games was more impressive than Babe's 60 in 154 because MLB was an integrated league when Maris did it. Of course the AL was not WELL integrated until the 1970s, but we'll not into that. Big Mac and Barry Bonds played in a fully integrated league...and they topped Ruth's mark by their 154th game.
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Old 12-02-2003, 05:17 PM   #5
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Yes I think they should.
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:36 AM   #6
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I'll be the last person to bash the Negro Leagues, but I really think everyone who makes the argument that Ruth wasn't playing the best possible competition is missing the point. It's all about your performance relative to your peers, and no one has ever exceeded standards the way Ruth did.

Barry Bonds might not even be the best player in MLB today; there's some kid named A-Rod in the AL who a lot of people like. Ken Griffey, Jr. was voted MLB's Player of the 90's, and even though that was a farce, it indicates that there was at least some competition. Ruth blew people away. None of today's guys even approach his level of dominance. His stats would have been less impressive if he'd faced all the available competition, sure, but so would everyone else's. Ruth still comes out on top -- by a lot.

We should treasure the past, not try to erase it. Discrimination in MLB wasn't the fault of players like Ruth and Gehrig, and it shouldn't be held against them. Their accomplishments can stand on their own merits.
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