So I was having a friendly debate with a buddy of mine the other night. We were discussing whether players today are better then players of the past. I was arguing that players were better (I'm sure many will disagree with me here) in the past due to certain factors that aren't around anymore. It comes back to that whole debate of whether you can really fairly compare players from past eras to players of today due to rule changes, different equipment/circumstances that effect each era differently.
In the great black and white past you had: Bigger ballparks, pitchers hitting, no workout regimens, no steroids, no overexpansion of the leagues etc.
In the present you have: a fully integrated league, specialists (relievers, closers etc), a more competitive league athletically, better medicine, 162 game schedule etc.
One of the biggest factors I put in favor of players being better more or less in the past is that you have many records that go largely untouched for years or unbreakable even with the better athletes we see now. Despite all of these great players we have seen over the past 30-40 years of what most would call "modern" baseball we haven't had a single player challenge guys like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove etc in a historical sense for superiority. The only players that have come close have all just played or are still playing in an era tainted by performance enhancing drugs. Players of today rarely if ever have to play in doubleheaders, travel by train or bus long distances, play for year to year contracts etc.
So for fun, which era do you think is better? I'm arguing for baseball pre 1961 (where we saw expansion and the move to the 162 game schedule as "modern") and everything before that as old time baseball (though I'm mostly arguing from 1920-1960 as the golden age of the game, when the Dead Ball Era died.)