So awhile back I was listening to Detroit radio host Matt Sheppard talking about Miguel Cabrera‘s season. He brought up Joe DiMaggio and how as a rookie he had something like 33 strikeouts THE ENTIRE SEASON. He pointed out the leader of strikeouts at that date was Mike Napoli who was close to around 200 strikeouts in August. No doubt what Joe DiMaggio did was incredible but I got to thinking in his time he faced 1 pitcher the whole game everyday. He never had to face middle relievers, specialists, or closers. I think it’d be fair to say his strikeout numbers would’ve been higher. How much higher? Nobody knows.
You take the NHL for example a player like Gordie Howe faced Goaltenders who wore next to nothing in padding. Compared to today’s goalies their padding probably takes up 65% of the net. Advantage Old School.
You look at the hockey stick itself and Howe played with essentially a piece of tree. Whereas today’s players play with composite graphite sticks that are ultra light. Advantage New School.
The NFL you can only breakdown by the decades otherwise the gap is just too enormous to justify. From how it was a running league to the current day wide open passing offense’s.
The rules in the NBA and NFL in particular have changed the games almost completely. You can’t really play defense, at least the way we grew up knowing defense, anymore and it’s saddening and a big adjustment to both the fans and players.
So consider the factors of each player from their era’s to play a real role in these debates.