In the 1970s there was Ray Reardon, in the 1980s there was Steve Davis and in the 1990s there was Stephen Hendry.
In seasons since, John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams have all had spells of dominance but will snooker ever again have a figure who wins the lion’s share of major titles over a prolonged period of time?
Well, forever is a long time. But how about the next few years?
Mark Selby is the world no.1 but he isn’t the game's dominant player in the tradition of Reardon, Davis and Hendry.
O’Sullivan is world champion but, although he dominates the headlines, he didn’t dominate last season. Nobody did. Several players had their moments. Most of the major titles were shared around.
Why? Because there is a core group of around ten players who play snooker to a very high level and who are all capable of beating each other on the big occasions, and indeed they do so.
There is very little between them, even though O’Sullivan is still regarded by many (including players) as better than the rest at his best.
Stephen Hendry once won five consecutive ranking titles. This was extraordinary then but it would be even more so today because Hendry did not have as many players at the top of the game playing to the sort of standard he was capable of producing.
Standards rise all the time in sport and snooker is no different. Through the ranks there are now more players able to play at a high standard. Often players play brilliantly and lose early in tournaments.
But this is by no means the whole story. It isn’t just about ability but also mindset.
The reason Davis and Hendry dominated, apart from how they played, was that they wanted to. They wanted to so much that they made the sacrifices necessary to dominate.
Few players since have been as driven as that. Most come from humble, working class beginnings. When they start earning money in much greater amounts than they would have thought possible when young they become comfortable. They start to spend their money and enjoy themselves.
This is entirely understandable. It is human. Many would feel it a sad state of affairs if they didn’t.
But this approach doesn’t make champions who will threaten places in my fictional Mount Rushmore of snooker.
The Davis’s and Hendry’s were the players who stopped in on Saturday night because they wanted to be up early on a Sunday morning to practise. They were the players who won a tournament and put it out of their minds. They were relentless in their belief that nothing was ever good enough, that success could always be bettered.
Higgins and O’Sullivan have freely admitted they are not made this way, and Williams doesn’t seem to be either.
If a player can earn £200,000 a year playing snooker, if they are happy to win a title or two a year, then they may well wonder why they should change.
Even with the Davis/Hendry approach there is no guarantee a player could dominate again, such is the tough opposition out there.
If it did happen and a player emerged who topped the rankings and won most of the major prizes, would it be a good thing for snooker?
In some senses, yes. It would provide a focal point, as Phil Taylor has in darts, as the man to be shot at.
The downside, though, is that many people do get bored watching the same player win everything, as if it takes away the sense of the unexpected.
The question is, will it happen again?
Well, if it does then it is going to take one very, very special player.