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  • Time-Machine Method/Birthed Later

    I'd like to know what the members think of the 2 methods of comparison. Hopefully, we have finally discredited the 'time-machine' method between generations, and come to a concensus as a BB community.

    One of the things which Fever has taught me is this simple understanding.

    The so-called, infamous 'time-machine' method is fatally flawed because it confers, unfairly, all the advantages on the later player, while locking the earlier player in his prison of disadvantages.

    So, how say you all?
    19
    I think the 'Time-Machine" Method is a preferable way to compare players of different eras.
    21.05%
    4
    I believe that the 'Birthed to a later generation' method is the preferred method.
    73.68%
    14
    Don't see a difference, it's too minor to quibble.
    5.26%
    1

  • #2
    --If you go with the timemachine method the 2005 Devil Rays are probably better than the 1927 Yankees. That is not condusive to quality debate nor does it really tell anything about those teams (or players). If Ty Cobb were timemachined into the present he would probably be a pretty good player, but not a dominating force. If he had been born in 1980 I suspect he would be amoung the leagues best players (assuming the same relative talent and drive). That is the discussion I am interested in.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you time machine a player forward into todays game, and he gets to put on a helmet, wear body armor and batting gloves, swing a 32 ounce bat in smaller ballparks, and have today's strike zone....the elites would still be elites imo, given proper adjustment time. The gifts those guys had don't fade from generation to generation. They succeeded for a reason, and everything about today's game, on and off the field, would only allow more success. They certainly wouldn't dominate like they did, because anyone and everyone can put up good numbers now, thanks to how the game is setup.

      The birthed later method is the most fair angle, but there are many "what if's." We need to evaluate the players gifts before, and assume that they would remain the same, if not improve through evolution, but things get hairy. Would Cobb wind up being 6'3" or 6'4" if he were birthed later? If so, he wouldn't be able to be the same Cobb that we knew him as. And from there, an entirely new set of "what if's" come into play.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by leecemark
        --If you go with the time machine method the 2005 Devil Rays are probably better than the 1927 Yankees. That is not conducive to quality debate nor does it really tell anything about those teams (or players). If Ty Cobb were time machined into the present he would probably be a pretty good player, but not a dominating force. If he had been born in 1980 I suspect he would be among the leagues best players (assuming the same relative talent and drive). That is the discussion I am interested in.
        To say a 2005 all star team would beat a 1930 all star team does NOT mean that they are as good a team. Beating someone via better conditions does not mean ANYTHING, my brothers.

        Let's compare armies. Does anyone doubt that the US military today could kick the ass of the US armies that liberated Europe in WWII? Of course they could. They are supposed to. Are expected to. They have better weapons, tools, armaments, etc.

        But what if we give the WWII US army those same tools of today, and give today's army the tools of the WWII soldier? Who'd be 'better' then?

        Or the soldiers of Hannibal, Napoleon, or Stonewall Jackson? They did the impossible. Hannibal's men crossed the Alps with elephants in the winter! That took tenacity. Napoleon's Old Guard were heroes in many battles, while Stonewall Jackson's troops marched so fast & long that they were called his 'foot calvary'.

        Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia defeated armies much larger and hardly ever lost. They won due to superior generalship, true, but they had the winning spirit.

        Moral of sermon. Better conditions, better tools, better historical knowledge, having previous generations to pass on better mechanics, all make modern players appear superior as athletes, when the case is misunderstood.

        Jim Thorpe rose higher over his peers in athletics than anyone since then.

        Bill Burgess

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
          If you time machine a player forward into todays game, and he gets to put on a helmet, wear body armor and batting gloves, swing a 32 ounce bat in smaller ballparks, and have today's strike zone....the elites would still be elites imo, given proper adjustment time. The gifts those guys had don't fade from generation to generation. They succeeded for a reason, and everything about today's game, on and off the field, would only allow more success. They certainly wouldn't dominate like they did, because anyone and everyone can put up good numbers now, thanks to how the game is setup.
          I agree Sultan. The birthed later method is better, but there are still way too many variables in play. There really is no way around this other than to you use speculation and subjectivity when comparing and ranking players. I think that the best method might be that people should just use their own best judgment when dealing with what actually is and then make era adjustments as they feel are appropriate in order to strike some kind of balance they feel comfortable with between older players and more modern players. Yes, it's highly subjective and speculative, but so is the birthed later exercise.

          Things I consider as important, and I'm sure most others around here do as well, are things like:

          - How much a player dominated his league
          - The level of competition in the league (particularly the level of integration)
          - Whether nuances of the era favor pitching and defense, or offense

          Ty Cobb is a great example (now that I likely have Bills attention ). Cobb dominated his era in just about every facet of the game. When you think of the perfect ballplayer, Cobb is just about as close as anyone. So he gets major points for domination, and of course some further adjustments are made to account for the deadball era. However, that domination is then ameliorated to some degree by the level of competition. No integration, not much from the west coast, and scouting wasn't that great. All considered, he drops behind Willie Mays for me. Willie didn't dominate his league like Cobb, but his league was better; so when I balance things out dealing with what is as best I can, Willie comes out ahead for me. Now that's not to say that Cobb may have been the better player under the birthed later theory, but that's throwing what is out of the window and making assumptions of a great many more variables.

          So I guess my method of choice is to try to assess players as best you can within the context of their era, keeping in mind how you assess their era against other eras.
          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-29-2006, 10:13 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by [email protected]
            I'd like to know what the members think of the 2 methods of comparison. Hopefully, we have finally discredited the 'time-machine' method between generations, and come to a concensus as a BB community.

            One of the things which Fever has taught me is this simple understanding.

            The so-called, infamous 'time-machine' method is fatally flawed because it confers, unfairly, all the advantages on the later player, while locking the earlier player in his prison of disadvantages.

            So, how say you all?
            Imho, the birth method is the fairest and you could probably be safe to assume that the immortals of the past in such a scenario would have great success.

            But the most interesting -just to see how the game has evolved- is the time machine method just to see for a game how would Lou Gerhig do against a Roger Clemens stone cold or how would a 1940 version of Bob Feller do in facing say the 2005 WhiteSox.
            Johnny
            Delusion, Life's Coping Mechanism

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by johnny
              But the most interesting -just to see how the game has evolved- is the time machine method just to see for a game how would Lou Gerhig do against a Roger Clemens stone cold
              That's an interesting matchup. It would probably be natural for Lou to go through a short adjustment period. Much like if you took a race car driver from the 50's, and threw him into an F-1 race today. Technology has come so far, that the level of norm has gone up in terms of speed, techniques, etc.

              After the initial mental adjustments, along with the proper change in equipment to fit the times, I think their ability would take over from there to remain elite in stature. It's not about the older drivers lacking in skills it takes to race cars today, just like it's not about raw ablility of ballplayers back then; it's about the game.

              In many ways, the game has changed to a much simpler style of play. One that requires less, and focuses less, on all around ability, instead favoring specialized one or two tool players. It blows our minds in todays game when a player displays even three tools. One could argue, that ballplayers of the past, because they lacked specific luxuries, played a tougher brand of ball and had more intestinal fortitude than today's premadonnas. It was more cut-throat to keep your job or to take someone else's spot.

              So what if we sent todays players back, and strip them of everything, so all they're left with is their heart, determination, and natural ability. We could send Bonds back in time. We could consider what he would do as a 180 pounder, with no armor or helmet against pitchers who could throw inside. The huge parks, the huge zone, the brutal travel, the lack of knowledge in everything. How would that guy do? I think he'd still be a stud back then, because everyone would be facing the same circumstances, and his talents would still be rare. I think his attitude would need to change though; toward the press and toward his teammates. On the field, one pose after a homer is all it would take for a ball to be hurled toward his head. No warning. And they would keep coming until he tipped his cap or verbally made things right.

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with what most others said. The time machine method is unfair. I doubt an elite team from 1920 or so would be able to keep out of the cellar in the modern game. I do think the elite players from earlier, if time machined to our era, would be very good players but not nearly as great as they were in their own time.

                But I don't think that's fair either. The birthed later method is much better. But, personally I'd rather not deal with either. We should only worry about what a player did in his own time, not fool around with how he would have adapted to other eras.

                Comment


                • #9
                  --Chris, in general I agree with that. Basically I look at how a player did in relationship to his league and then adjust based on the quality of competition. For example, I think a player being 50% better than the 1971 AL is better than one being twice as good as the 1901 AL or 70% better than the 1921 AL.
                  --Where I do a little additional speculating is with players from the deadball era. That was a different game and I give some players (Sam Crawford leaps to mind) a slight extra bump because I think their skill set would have allowed them to be a better player in the modern game, even with the increased level of competition (well better relative to the post live-ball, pre-integration period anyway).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by leecemark
                    --Basically I look at how a player did in relationship to his league and then adjust based on the quality of competition. For example, I think a player being 50% better than the 1971 AL is better than one being twice as good as the 1901 AL or 70% better than the 1921 AL.
                    Without trying to be overly argumentative, how reliable is the accuracy of your adjustments? Do not certain 'types' fare better in certain kinds of ball?

                    And you admit you 'bump' up certain types, like Crawford, allowing he could fare better in a more slugging kind of game? Why only a slight bump, if his skills would have allowed for a much greater degree of separation? Wouldn't Lajoie, Wagner, Delahanty, Brouthers, Jackson also qualify for such an adjusted bump? What degree is your adjusted 'bump', if I might ask?

                    Bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                      That's an interesting matchup. It would probably be natural for Lou to go through a short adjustment period. Much like if you took a race car driver from the 50's, and threw him into an F-1 race today. Technology has come so far, that the level of norm has gone up in terms of speed, techniques, etc.

                      After the initial mental adjustments, along with the proper change in equipment to fit the times, I think their ability would take over from there to remain elite in stature. It's not about the older drivers lacking in skills it takes to race cars today, just like it's not about raw ablility of ballplayers back then; it's about the game.

                      In many ways, the game has changed to a much simpler style of play. One that requires less, and focuses less, on all around ability, instead favoring specialized one or two tool players. It blows our minds in todays game when a player displays even three tools. One could argue, that ballplayers of the past, because they lacked specific luxuries, played a tougher brand of ball and had more intestinal fortitude than today's premadonnas. It was more cut-throat to keep your job or to take someone else's spot.

                      So what if we sent todays players back, and strip them of everything, so all they're left with is their heart, determination, and natural ability. We could send Bonds back in time. We could consider what he would do as a 180 pounder, with no armor or helmet against pitchers who could throw inside. The huge parks, the huge zone, the brutal travel, the lack of knowledge in everything. How would that guy do? I think he'd still be a stud back then, because everyone would be facing the same circumstances, and his talents would still be rare. I think his attitude would need to change though; toward the press and toward his teammates. On the field, one pose after a homer is all it would take for a ball to be hurled toward his head. No warning. And they would keep coming until he tipped his cap or verbally made things right.
                      So you're disagreeing with Bill when he says that the Time Machine method always favors the more recent player. By your argument here, it actually hurts the more recent players. Correct?

                      The Time Machine vs. Born into argument is an inherently interesting one, because I think that if we use the "born into" scenario, we create different people/players. Ty Cobb and Barry Bonds, as people, are/were the products of the environments that they were brought up in, at least to some extent. I really don't know how to approach this problem.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        --My league quality adjusts are based on where I slot a player based on the 15 year increments I've broken baseball history into. Crawford fits pretty neatly into the 1901-15 block, which is where I put most deaball type stars even if they were split fairly evenly between 2 eras like Cobb. However, since I think Crawford would have adapted better to the modern, power game better than most I adjust him base on the next period, 1916-30.
                        -- Lajoie is another guy I think was better suited for the modern game, but with him I compensate by not penalizing him for having his best year in a jumped up minor league. Normally I make an additional reduction for player who had seasons of particularly weak competion. The AA, very early AL, AL weakened NL, FL and WWII years are examples of seasons much worse than straight timelining would suggest.
                        --There is alot of subjectivity built into my system. Are my LQ adjustments proveable or precisely accurate? No, but they are my best estimates and I am only using them to build my personal rankings, not trying to sell them to anyone else.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          --ME, I agree that players born into another time would not be the same person/player. Even given the exact same relative tools and drive, if Ty Cobb was born in 1930 or 1980 he would not have been the same guy with jsut some extra training and nutricianal advantages. He probably would have traded some BA for HR and almost certainly would have run less. Impossible to know exactly how he would have developed though.
                          --Same if you pushed Bonds back to being born in the 1880s (and removed some pigmentation). He would have been much more concerned with hitting for average and stealing bases and largely disinterested in the HR ball. Considering he has over 500 steals as a slugger in an era of reduced base stealing, it wouldn't be unreasonable to project 1,000 for him in that scenario. Just guess work though.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by leecemark
                            --ME, I agree that players born into another time would not be the same person/player. Even given the exact same relative tools and drive, if Ty Cobb was born in 1930 or 1980 he would not have been the same guy with jsut some extra training and nutricianal advantages. He probably would have traded some BA for HR and almost certainly would have run less. Impossible to know exactly how he would have developed though.
                            --Same if you pushed Bonds back to being born in the 1880s (and removed some pigmentation). He would have been much more concerned with hitting for average and stealing bases and largely disinterested in the HR ball. Considering he has over 500 steals as a slugger in an era of reduced base stealing, it wouldn't be unreasonable to project 1,000 for him in that scenario. Just guess work though.

                            It's more than that, though I hear you and agree with the points you're making about how their approaches to the game would change. I'm talking about who these guys are as people, what drives them, etc. If Cobb had grown up in a different environment, would he have been more loving, less angst-ridden, and less driven on the field? What about Bonds? Who knows how much his tortured relationship with his dad, and his dad's personal demons and his conflicts with the media, make Bonds what he is today, drive him to do what he does?

                            You ever see Conan the Barbarian? You know how Thulsadoom explained to Conan that all of his strength, passion, and drive, comes from his hatred of Thulsadoom? That Conan himself, would not exist without the adversity of Thulsadoom? "For who now is your father if it is not me? Who gave you the will the live? What will your world be without me?"

                            Time-machining actually makes more sense to me than the born into argument. Born into changes who these guys are in so many fundamental ways, it's just impossible to work with. Granted, time machining is all guesswork too, but at least it's somewhat more educated guesswork to take a guy like Cobb or Bonds as they are now, drop them into a new enviroment, and speculate as to how they would respond/adapt. We can at least speculate, based on what we know about them. Born into arguments alter who these guys fundamentally are, IMO. Impossible to know anything about them, except for the fact that their physical, genetic gifts for ballplaying would be the same.

                            The only way to work with "born into" scenarios is to work with the genetic gifts in question and simply assume that the new environment will provide the same "drive" as the old one - which is a hypothetical scenario that's completely cockamaimie and convoluted.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The birthed later method is better, but the players would not necessarily be even the same people as they were, born 65 years later, let alone the same players. Both methods devolve at a point.

                              The thing about the time machine argument is that its never used in reverse. Sultan mentioned this. Why do we have to transplant Ruth to 2006? Why can't we transplant A-Rod to 1927?

                              The other neglected point is that some of the players who dominated earlier eras did so because they took the initiative to get ahead of the curve in studying the game, conditioning themselves and preparing.

                              Nowadays, so much of that work is done for you. You don't have to track your own scouting reports of the way pitchers pitch you, its handed to you in the clubhouse. Teams hire guys to go over these reports with a fine toothed comb, players are put in situations where they are most likely to succeed.

                              Many of todays advantages have to do with things completely independent of the player.
                              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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