It is often said that the World War II period was the time for MLB when it was at its lowest in terms of league quailty. Likewise, it is also said that the 70s was a time when it was at its highest. The logic behind this is simple: most of the best players left to fight the war, and during the 50s and 60s baseball was letting in a lot of black and hispanic players, thus stocking up on the best players in the world.
But if you look at it, is this necessarily true?
I have also heard it said that the lack of great individual seasonal stats for players during the 70s is 'proof' that the league quality was high....after all, if EVERYONE is great, then it is harder to stand out. Makes sense. And yet, if you look at the WWII seasons, there is also a dearth of extremes in individual seasonal performances. If the league quality was so low, why couldn't the best player stand out more? True, most of the great ones were gone, but should it not be true that OTHER guys would then find it easier to stand out, and thus post great numbers? There were a few players (Newhowser, Stirnweiss) who were otherwise pretty undistinguished, who managed great years during that time, but you didn't have guys hitting 60 home runs, or batting .400 or something like that. Stan Musial didn't suddenly bat .450: he hit at his usual level.
My question is: why the double standard? It seems people are using the stats in one example to say that nobody stood out because there were no great players, and in another example they are using similar stats to say that nobody stood out because EVERYONE was good. But how do we know this for sure? Maybe there really WAS not a lot of great hitters during the 70s. Maybe it WASN'T as high quality a league as people assume.Nobody can know for sure, but I myself personally think this to be true. I believe that the players during this time were weak, and thus either had to choose to hit for the fences, and lower their BA, or to become a light hitting singles hitter. You didn't have ANYONE during this time who was a 'complete hitter'..batting average, power, walks. I think the reason for this is because they weren't strong enough to hit 'accidental' home runs, and weren't good enough to hit for a high average while swinging from the heels.
Does anyone agree with me?