Post by KY Crusader 75 on May 20, 2022 8:30:35 GMT -5
One key difference in the eras- Cousy, West, O we’re not allowed to take 2-3-4 steps without dribbling
As many have stated, you should compare athletes to others in their era. One case I like to cite is the great Herb Elliott, Australian miler. He broke the mile record by over two seconds, won Gold in the 1500 in the Olympics, and was 36-0 in the mile, literally never losing a race. I don’t care how his times compare to today’s runners, the guy was undefeated. Maybe the best example of the folly of comparing players from today with those of 50-70-100 years ago can be seen in looking at the equipment that players used in different eras. I had the pleasure of watching the great Ozzie Smith play shortstop during my years in St Louis but I know his amazing defensive stats would not look quite as good if he had to play with Honus Wagner’s glove.
Along those same lines, look at pole vaulting. In my father's time, they used bamboo poles. Now fiberglass poles (or something even newer now?) that slingshot the vaulter to unimaginable heights.
I always go back to pole vault and high jump. As a former track coach, I saw that first hand. My vaulters used aluminum poles and moved to fiberglass (which improved almost every year). In the high jump, athletes landed first on sand (or a combination of sand and sawdust) and later moved up to the UCS pits used today. A fosbury flop style on those old pits would almost certainly have paralyzed many of the competitors. There is no way to compare performances with such equipment differences.
Agree with all those comments defending the fabulous abilities of various athletes from days of yore. And, in fact skills in various sports may have been superior. Baseball's Wee Willie Keeler "Hit 'em where they ain't." However, there is an inescapable improvement in performance in those sports which can be measured such as timesswimming, track and aspects of football, basketball and other sports. As has been wisely noted, better equipment surely accounts for improvement. (Golf comes to mind) Rules changes may be a contributing factor in some sports. Also in general athletes are bigger, stronger, faster today. Babe Ruth was a giant in the '20's. Today he would be the size of a shortstop. Look at the sizeof today's b-ball & football players such as at HC. At one time 6'5" was a big man in b-ball. Those few who were taller (6'10" +) were awkward and slow. Not today. 200lb linemen were the norm. Not today. The recently retired Jamaican sprinter (name?) was amazing. Tiger revolutionized golf in part due to his emphasis on physical fitness. Obviously, Most all time greats such as Bob Cousy & friends (Mikan?), Mays & friends, Jim Brown & friends, Maurice Richard in hockey, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson & friends would be successful today. You can bet Ruth would be knocking homers out of the park. As has been stated the greatness of athletes should be based on a comparison to others during their era. Did they dominate their sport at their position as did Ruth(the greatest of all time) Cousy, Jim Brown, Gretzky, Mark Spitzer and so many others. Those who dominated are truly all time greats. They could compete in any era. They are the immortals.