this is tooo tough, especially in baseball.
I think there is no doubt that football and basketball players (with some noted exceptions) are definitely better now.
Baseball, its hard to tell. Because the old guys would know to use smaller bats be able to use the same training, have more pitches and strategies than they had in the past, etc. They also would be MUCH more comforatable in creature comforts, especially during travel, which I think is an underrated aspect of this. Could you imagine taking the train for some of these series? how tired and out of it would you be?
AND, what would have happened if Ruth and Aaron had access to HGH or Steroids? They could have gone totally buck wild.
I do think that in general, it is much, much harder to be a pro in any sport that you can make millions in now. The expansion hasn't kept up with the increase in population in America, and now the leagues are taking so many more international players. the pool of comeptition has gone up, as have the incentives. For a lot of the old-ttimers, these sports were part-time gigs. so if they could take care of their bodies better, have better travel accomodations, and better means of cheating if they so desire, its too tough to tell.
I do think the flip side is, that so many of these guys were protected by the media, Ruth especially, that their lifestyles simply wouldn't fly in this day and age. Ruth was such a hedonist, he would be out on the town, and possibly mixed up in drugs. Imagine Joey D and Marilyn today? With the way they focus on people who couldn't hold his jock or her bra today, how distracting would the new media approach to famous couples derail him?
I think the reverse would have benefitted aaron and maris though. While racism is still pervasive, I have no doubt the mentral stress on african american players would have been lessened, possibly leading to BETTER stats without that headache.
Too many vairables ultimately.