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Players in the outfield question...


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Okay, I do realize that I am probably the older statesman on this forum and have watched the likes of Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Kaline, Frank Robinsion, Rocky Colavito, etc. All the players (I've left many out...this is just a sample) also happen to be gold glove winners and HOF inductees except for Colavito.

I've watched a lot of baseball my entire life...so, part of the question is, are the outfielders of today better athletes than the ones I mentioned above? The reason for the question is, I've seen many and I mean many of the modern day outfielders make spectacular catches...especially the diving for the ball type of catch and I don't ever and I mean ever remember the "old" time players making those types of plays. So, think about it before you answer...are they just better today or are they getting late jumps on the ball?

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Steroid users aside, players today are mostly naturally bigger, faster and stronger. The regimens that they go through in the weight room, in the training room, in spring training all gear them to being top athletes. Players in the past didn't have the miracles of modern technology or medicine to help their games. In the last few years I've seen Jacoby Ellsbury get to balls no one has any business getting to. Now he's not a huge guy but he's ridiculously fast and takes pretty good angles to get there. The range on guys these days are definitely better.

I also think that the highlight reel catch with the advent of baseball tonight or MLB Live has been hyped so much that players have that in the back of their minds as well. The more spectacular the catches, the more face time they get. So that has something to do with it as well.

Finally, I think these guys are just also ultracompetitive. Jeter going into the stands and busting up his face was a really great play. He's the ultimate competitor and there are guys just like him who would run through walls to make the catch, and literally have, to win the game.

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I think you just don't remember the great catches of yesteryear.

Catch some of the highlights of the 1969 World Series. Check out the Swoboda or Agee catches. Check out some of Willie Mays catches, especially the one in the 1954 WS. Check out the one the Dodgers made against Yogi in the WS a few years later. And there are many, many more.

Guys are bigger and faster today, but the fact that we have the internet, and twitter, among others, makes the info get around the world faster. Didn't have that way back when.

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I think you just don't remember the great catches of yesteryear.

Catch some of the highlights of the 1969 World Series. Check out the Swoboda or Agee catches. Check out some of Willie Mays catches, especially the one in the 1954 WS.

I think we tend to overrate past events, especially in this case. Ignoring the context of it being during the World Series, and I've seen Jim Edmonds make a dozen plays more impressive than the Mays basket catch.

I understand there was a lot more ground to cover in many of the parks back then, but I think the plays we see today are better than those you mentioned. If the Mets don't blow it and go on to win the WS in 2006, the Endy Chavez catch in Game 7 of the NLCS that year becomes the greatest of all-time IMO.

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In the old days they slid into base feet first. Maybe the switch to sliding in head first got players used to diving and that carried over to fielding.

To the guy who mentioned Jim Edmonds, there was a secret rule that he was only allowed to make diving catches. Part of a deal he had with the commisioner.

Here is that Mays catch people make a big deal about, wouldn't make the highlights today:

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