There are no films of Mule Haas racing toward a flagpole-bound fly ball in the green vastness of Shibe Park's center field. Few have ever seen Al Simmons' bucketfooted slash at a fastball. And who in 2009 could recall a single aspect of Bing Miller's skills?
Today, nearly eight decades after that outfield helped the 1930 Philadelphia Athletics repeat as World Series champs, few are left who saw them play.
As a result, anyone interested in comparing Simmons, Haas and Miller with their counterparts on the 2009 Phillies can do so only through the harsh prism of statistics.
But numbers don't reveal everything. They don't consider 1930's lively ball or 2009's menacing bullpens. They don't account for the rigors of train travel, the daunting glare of the 24/7 spotlight or the spitball and slider.
Still, this being baseball, such cross-era comparisons are inevitable, especially this season when the Phillies are attempting to become the first Philadelphia baseball team since that 1930 club to win consecutive titles.
Not surprisingly, those who have studied or obsessed over Connie Mack's two-time world champions give the 1930 trio a big edge over the Phillies' outfield of Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
"I'm not sure what we've got in Ibanez at this point, but as of now the old A's outfield looks far, far better," said Dave Jordan, the president of the Philadelphia A's Historical Society. "Simmons does that all by himself, and Miller and Haas were very solid performers. Victorino may, in coming years, approach Miller. I don't think Werth can even be placed in a fair comparison with any of them."
In left, Ibanez, despite a noteworthy career, can't match up with the mercurial Simmons, a Hall of Famer with a .334 career average, his 2,927 hits, his 1,827 RBIs.
"Aside from the fact that they're both hard-working athletes, there's nothing to compare," said Bill Kashatus, a Phils fan and the author of a book on those old Athletics, Connie Mack's '29 Triumph. "Simmons was a maniac. He'd work himself into a homicidal rage when he went up to the plate. It was his motivation to hit. It worked, too. . . . Ibanez is going to be a steady 20 homer, 90-plus RBI guy, but he doesn't come close to Simmons as a hitter or a run-producer."
The Milwaukee-born outfielder may have paid a price for his tempestuousness. Simmons died of a heart attack at age 54 in 1956.
Miller and Haas, meanwhile, provide a more interesting contrast with their current-day counterparts.
Kashatus looked at those two plus Victorino and Werth during the first five seasons of their careers.
"What I see in those numbers is that while the power stats are comparable for center and rightfielders, Haas and Miller had higher batting averages and were much more disciplined at the plate than Victorino and Werth, as evidenced by the difference in strikeouts," he said.
According to Kashatus, Victorino and Haas may have more in common defensively - specifically speed and the ability to retreat on fly balls. And the Phils' centerfielder, at least as far as statistics reveal, is a much more dangerous baserunner.
"What always amazed me was that Haas in 12 full seasons in the majors totaled 12 stolen bases," said Kashatus. "With his speed, he could have stolen much more. Then again, the . . . A's weren't built to run. They were a power-hitting team."
As for right field, Kashatus said his research indicated that Miller was a much more graceful outfielder, though he conceded Werth has the stronger arm.
"Both Werth and Miller are disciplined hitters, though," he said. "They both work counts well and can hit in the clutch. But Miller was more of a contact hitter who considered it a disgrace to take a called third strike."
Because of the increased importance of bullpens, today's players can sometimes facing three or four fresh, strong arms a game, something that almost never happened in the complete-game era of the A's heyday.
"The style of the game in the 1920s and '30s revolved around the long ball," Kashatus said. "ERAs were up at that time. Pitchers bore down in the late innings when the games were closer, and starters went the distance routinely. Today, the pitching is tougher."
So, want to compare Lefty Grove and Cole Hamels?