Baseball history is measured in eras.
There are the dead ball, expansion, wild-card and steroid eras, each with its own legends and playing style. And, as time goes on, these eras are admonished or romanticized. So, at this point, what constitutes baseball’s ultimate golden era?
Different time frames have their merits, but one 17-year period stands out above the rest in terms of how many all-time greats played at the same time.
From 1953 through 1969, 37 members of the #MLBRank top 100 played at least one season in the bigs, with many of their primes overlapping during the era. Coming after World War II, when some of the game’s best lost years to military service, the ’50s and ’60s represented a reversion back to the star-studded 1920s, but this time with racial minorities playing an all-important role in rebranding baseball into a truly national pastime.
Although the 1996 season claims the highest number of top 100 players playing in one season with 29, when adjusted for the number of major league players who appeared in a game in a given season, 1956 ranks best. For every 100 major league players that season, 3.8 made the #MLBRank top 100. That 1996 season, while respectable, lags behind at just 2.54 top 100 players per 100.
Golden Era: 1953-69
#MLBRank top 100 players per 100 MLB players by season