Forgive me if this overlaps the Larwood thread, but what pace do you think players bowled at in previous eras?
For instance, I think the general rule is that pace peaked in the 1970s - onwards. Reading Simon Hughes' "Ashes in 10 Test Matches" book, it was mentioned by him that the average man was about 5 feet 6 inches in the late 1800s. It's hard to imagine such demographic figures producing bowlers in the 90 mph range. The diets, and lack of knowledge about training and bio-mechanics would make such an event unlikely in my opinion. Although, I am perfectly willing to concede exceptions (like Fred Spofforth) were possible. And that every so often you would get a freak (for want of a better word) who would deviate from the norm and bowl faster than any of his contemporaries.
For what it's worth, I think the same broadly applies to Larwood. 90mph merchants being freaks, and not the norm in his era. But this is largely academic anyway, because in Larwood's era, the real hazards were playing spin and medium pace cutters.
But it would be interesting to read others' thoughts.