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Old 04-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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I was watching PBS and they had the program "Baseball" on covering the 1941 season which included Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak and Ted Williams' over .400 batting record. Both records still stand and may never be duplicated again.

They were both before my time, but back in the day, which record was considered more impressive? Who was thought of as the better ball player?
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I was watching PBS and they had the program "Baseball" on covering the 1941 season which included Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak and Ted Williams' over .400 batting record. Both records still stand and may never be duplicated again.

They were both before my time, but back in the day, which record was considered more impressive? Who was thought of as the better ball player?
I would assume the hitting streak. Up until the 1920s, hitting .400 was done a few times previously, so probably no one thought Williams would be the last to do it for 70+ years when it happened. DiMaggio's streak, on the other hand, was unprecedented and shattered the previous record of 44, set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1897.

As for who was better? Williams was a better pure hitter, but DiMaggio was a more complete all-around ballplayer. You certainly wouldn't kick either one out of your outfield.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by easysurfer
I was watching PBS and they had the program "Baseball" on covering the 1941 season which included Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak and Ted Williams' over .400 batting record. Both records still stand and may never be duplicated again.

They were both before my time, but back in the day, which record was considered more impressive? Who was thought of as the better ball player?
Baseball debates are always fun as the " correct " answer is in the eye of the beholder. My opinion though I am not from that era is the hitting streak. There have been several hitters over the years flirt with .400, but no one has breached the 50 barrier if Im not mistaken since DiMaggio. Other varibles make it harder, such as potential of getting hurt after your first ground out at bat and leaving game, or getting walked several times in a game. I definitely think ones opinion is biased on their perspective of what one has witnessed in relation to who is a better player. Though I know Willie Mays was a great player, my perspective of him is blurred abit because all I ever saw him do was stumble around in the outfield and hit for a poor average in the early 70's as a Met. Just like my only live memories of Johnny U was getting creamed and benched as a Charger.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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From watching the program, it seems like Williams was a hitting machine (not that DiMaggio wasn't) as that was really all he cared about. He studied the science of hitting (determining bat speed instead of strength translated into power). A hilarious part of the program was that Williams got booed early in his career as he'd not run out ground balls and on defense he'd be practicing his swing in the outfield. On the otherhand DiMaggio was considered like this smooth prince who played the game beautifully.

I agree about the perception, especially when players get older. I do remember Johnny U pull out some great games for the Colts and him struggling in the Chargers. The same with Willie Mays. Other one is Wilt Chamberlain. When I saw him play, he was already past his prime, being dominated by the Celtics, instead of the days he'd easily score 50 points in a game.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
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I think a lot of these older records are hard to compare with records from modern times. I suspect both will be broken at some point, especially given that the mound has been lowered giving hitters an advantage (plus personally, I feel the strike zone is now smaller) and the training/conditioning, nutrition and sports science provides an edge to modern era players (although you could also claim some of the same for pitchers, except for the mound height). And then of course there is the "juice" factor.
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