In 1939 Lou Gehrig claimed that young players then had it easy compared to when he came up


Hey Ryne Sandberg: Lou Gehrig has your back regarding kids these days not having to work as hard as you did. His argument came over 75 years ago, but I’m sure you’re both right somehow:


For those who can’t watch the video now, the first question put to the Iron Horse was whether baseball was played differently¬†in 1939 than when it was when he was coming up in the 1920s. His answer:

“Well that’s a difficult question. I think it was played harder and was made more difficult for the young man years ago than it is today. The young man, 15-20 years ago when I broke in had to go out and fight his way for a job. And the young man today is surrounded with the old timers’ advice and experience. So you can see readily where the difference lies.”

As noted above, Ryne Sandberg was said to be disappointed with young players’ work ethic while managing the Phillies. Last month when I interviewed Al Kaline he made a point to tell me that when he broke into the bigs in the 1950s it was much harder than it is for players today, precisely for the same reasons Gehrig said in 1939: Veterans ignored you, you were on your own and had to fight for your place on the team whereas, in 2015, Tigers veterans routinely welcome and mentor young players.

Nothing ever changes in baseball, of course. Or in life for that matter. It was always done better and was much harder to do when the speaker had to do it than when people do it now, no matter what the doing is.

(h/t to SABR)