Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baseball Question

Of the average 15-25 y/o baseball fans, which pre-1980 players would they remember as great? Which pre-1950? Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson seem obvious. I think Mantle, Mays, and Aaron would be automatic, but...

There are the few stat and history freaks in every generation who can wax eloquently on Arky Vaughn or Ralph Kiner. I'm not talking about them, but the guys you might just run into and talk baseball. Do they think Tim McCarver was one of the greats (he wasn't - he was medium-great) because he's an announcer now? Do they keep some regional memory of the local greats because of their fathers and grandfathers? Can they pull Ty Cobb's name out unaided, or just recognise it? Are there movies in the generational consciousness that preserve (or inflate) some older star's reputation?

Michael and Ben may be my best authorities, but perhaps not. They might tend to know the 15-25 y/o's who know much more than the average, skewing the results.

If someone knows of a good baseball bulletin board where I can post this question, I'd be grateful.


Harry said...

I suggest you might enjoy reading "The Final Season". It is a short book by Tom Stanton, a Polish kid from Detroit who went to every home game in Tiger stadium for the last season the Tigers played in their sacred ground at Michigan and Trumbull.

His dad often came with him.

Anonymous said...

Try posting the question on the sites, or Yanksfan vs. Soxfan.

These blogs have a pretty vigorous and (I think) mostly young readership. You'll have to register to comment on Baseball Toaster, but it's easy and worth it, especially if your looking for a few more baseball/pop-culture discussion boards to frequent. They never sent me any garbage; the reg system is just there to weed out anonymous and forged posters.

Woody said...

My older son is always passing baseball insights and information to me. Here are three sites, for which the last would be most helpful.

Joe Morgan is a terrible analyst.

A neat way to replay a game

Braves site with a jillion links to other good baseball boards

Ben Wyman said...

I already told you my opinion, but I'll add this: I think virtually all of them would pull out Mantle and Mays, but I bet you anything that none of them recognize Duke Snider. Which is a little sad, because he's part of what makes that whole Mantle/Mays/Snider debate history so fun. Not that anyone's going to debate that anymore.

Anonymous said...

When Tim was in Little League (that would be circa 1995-96), I got to talk to the benchwarmers a lot. Not coincidentally, these Little Leaguers from the 90's are in that 15-25 YO range. There was one kid who was a real good player but he got hurt, so he and I got to talk a lot of baseball. The day I was able to quote Whitey Ford's lifetime ERA was when he really figured I knew my stuff. (I didn't really know it, it was an educated guess.) Anyway, with the exception of that young man, I was actually appalled at the lack of baseball knowledge of most of the players that played with Tim or Dan.

I think that just like Oldies on the radio, the appearance of an old baseball star in a popular movie does wonders for name recognition. Because of "Field of Dreams" I would wager that Shoeless Joe Jackson's name is recognized more among that age group than his contemporaries Rogers Hornsby, Paul Waner, Dizzy Dean, Christy Mathewson or Walter Johnson, hall of famers all. (We know why Shoeless Joe isn't in the hall of fame.) Aaron's name was mentioned so often during the Bonds HR record chase that everyone should be able to recall his name, even if they weren't alive when Hammerin' Hank hit his last HR. But Roberto Clemente didn't get as much support for the all time team introduced at All Star game 1999 than Pete Rose. Name recognition. People know Rose's name for all the wrong reasons. Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Jim Bunning (oh, he's a US Senator) Gaylord Perry, all dominant pitchers from the 60's wouldn't fall naturally from the lips of some of the serious baseball fans of that age group.

BTW Woody, I love the "Fire Joe Morgan" site. Found it a few weeks ago and visit there 2 or 3 times a week. The breadth of his ignorance of the game that pays him so well is staggering!