Why Aaron Is King

Barry Bonds broke the career home-run record held for 33 years by Henry Aaron last night, jolting number 756 out of the park at home in San Francisco. Bonds took a 3-2 pitch into the stands 435 feet away — and extended a controversy as to whether he deserves the record:

The ball exploded off Barry Bonds’ bat, a small white sphere streaking through the dark San Francisco sky, headed for the right-center field seats and a hallowed place in baseball history.
It was 8:51 Tuesday, a night no one in the sellout crowd of 43,154 at AT&T Park would ever forget, a night to be lived and relived by word of mouth, digital camera and endless reels of highlight tape.
On a 3-and-2 pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik, Bonds, in his second game after tying Hank Aaron’s career home run mark of 755, belted No. 756.
In this, his 23rd season in the major leagues, his 16th in a Giants uniform, the holder of the single-season home run record with 73 in 2001 and a record seven most-valuable player awards, Bonds added the final jewel to his home run crown.

If Hammerin’ Hank had his doubts about the steroid-fueled capture of his mark in baseball history, he had too much class to make that argument last night. Aaron, who pointedly refused to attend Bonds’ games in objection to Bonds’ alleged use of steroids, did the next-best thing:

Willie Mays, Bonds’ godfather, the first Giants’ icon in San Francisco, emerged from the dugout. The two men stood arm in arm, 1,416 home runs between them, first and fourth on the all-time list.
And then Bonds turned, Mays turned, we all turned to the enormous video board behind center field. There was Aaron, suddenly second on the all-time list, larger than life and appropriately so.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball’s career home run leader,” Aaron said. “It is a great accomplishment which requires longevity and determination. Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball, and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years.
“I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.”

Everyone knows that Bonds has used steroids in his efforts to improve his baseball game. It’s been part of courtroom testimony, and it’s been pretty obvious to those who have watched Bonds bulk up over the years. His 73 home runs in a single season — at 37! — made it more obvious than even Mark McGwire’s bulking up on androstenidione to hit 70 shortly before that. Sammy Sosa also allegedly bolstered his natural performance, as did Jason Giambi, Jose Conseco, and plenty of others.
But that’s part of the problem with putting a big, fat asterisk on Bonds’ record. We may want to do that to show the difference between Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds, but both played in different conditions. If Bonds bulked up, so did plenty of other players, including the pitchers he faced. It’s the Steroids Era, and Bonds excelled in it.
If anyone deserved the asterisk — that despicable appendix with which Ford Frick cursed Roger Maris — it’s Babe Ruth. I’m not saying that Ruth took performance enhancing drugs; he usually handicapped himself with excessive drinking and eating. Ruth, however, played in an era that excluded some of the best talent in baseball because of segregation. He never had to face the excellent players in the Negro League, while Maris and Aaron played against a level field in their careers. Ruth hit 714 home runs (and set many other records as well) against a whites-only league. It’s not his fault — he didn’t make the rules — but it’s the one era in baseball which limited competition and talent, and all records set in that era have to be taken with a grain of salt.
So who really deserves the asterisk? Peter Ueberroth, Fay Vincent, and Bud Selig. They did nothing while steroids flourished, because owners liked what it did to the game. It resulted in more homers, and more spectacular homers at that. It generated interest in baseball during some rocky times and led to the silly Home Run Derbys before All-Star Games. The owners marketed on steroids and they depended on them just as much as the players who used them — and these commissioners didn’t lift a finger to stop it until Congress asserted what little authority it had to embarrass MLB. Only then did Selig start pushing against the Steroids Era.
So let’s not put all the blame on Bonds — but let’s recognize the man who earned that record without drugging himself, playing in an era where high mounds and wider strike zones made it one of the most difficult periods for hitters. Hammerin’ Hank had to play baseball and fight bigots to get to 755. In my mind, he and Roger Maris will always be the home-run kings of baseball.

72 thoughts on “Why Aaron Is King”

  1. A-Rod’s gotta be loving this. He’s never been fully embraced by fans, but if he were to break Bonds’ record, they’d love him forever.

  2. I am not a fan of Bonds, though I was back in his Pirates days…. I don’t dislike him either. The strike back in the 1990’s cut my ties with the game and I have never come back.
    I’m tired of the steriod arguement. In the late 1990’s, when dingers were flying everywhere, everyone knew something was up. Baseballl knew something was up. All we heard about was the juiced ball, remember?
    Well, baseball sold those couple seasons like Vince McMahon sells the WWE. Viewship went through the roof. Stadiums were packed. Merchandise sold and sold and sold. Dingers lead the news, not just the sports.
    Now, a sacred record is broken by one of the ‘figures’ from the era, and we are shocked. What the powers to be in MLB never expected was one of thier ‘suspects’ would be around long enough to break the record. Tuff ?
    Aterisks? Fine put one there, next to every other record and chanpion of the steriod era.
    Hammern’ Hank is a true gentleman as are/were Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds. Enough.

  3. And I agree, it’s unfair to put all the blame on Bonds. He’s just become the poster child for the entire steroid or performance enhancing drug era. And this record be a reminder of that era until it is broken.
    I have mixed feelings about the era. I probably went to 25 Cub games in 1998 when McGuire and Sosa broke Maris’ record — including a game at Busch Stadium in which they both homered. I also happened to be in Fargo for a wedding in Sept. that year and stopped by the Roger Maris hall of fame (which I recall was no more than a mall kiosk) a week before the record was broken. It was a great a summer. It always will be. It is tarnished by the drug allegations, but those things did happen and it was incredible to see.

  4. Babe Ruth remains the greatest baseball player in the history of the game not simply because of his 714 Home Runs and lifetime .342 batting average but because he was also a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher during the first part of his career. He had a career record of 94-46 record with an ERA of 2.28. He also held a World Series consecutive shutout innings streak that was only eclipsed by Whitey Ford in 1961. So when somebody tells me that Bonds or Aaron are better then the Babe just remember that he was not just the best home run hitter for most of the modern baseball era, he was also one of the best pitchers of his generation as well. Babe Ruth’s stats can be found here:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/ruthba01.shtml
    I also think you should separate Sosa from Bonds and McGuire when in comes to player “enhancements.” In the aftermath of the famous “cork” incident the Cubs management “discovered” 37 other corked bats belonging to the slugger. Sammy may have cheated but he cheated in the old fashioned way. He had the power of cork, not the power of the juice.
    Finally, what makes you think that A-Rod isn’t juiced?

  5. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,
    Another casual observer of baseball weighing in on Barry Bonds. Gee Captain, how many full games do you watch in a year? I am going to guess 0. Just for your own information, Ted Williams hit .388 at the age of 38 and that was after missing seasons because of the war. Ty Cobb hit .357 at the age of 40. So your argument about Bonds’ age is moot.
    Hank Aaron showed class? Hank Aaron said he did not want to travel to watch Bonds. A few days later the guy is spotted in Peurto Rico. Oh and by the way, Amphetamines were very popular during Aaron’s day. Is Aaron willing to testify under oath that he never used uppers?
    Also Captain, should Roger Clemens’ accomplishments be scrutinized. Clemens was named in a sworn affidavit in a steroid scandal as well. Interestingly though, this never comes up. Why is that? Norm Cash admitted to corking his bat. Gaylord Perry admitted to spitting on the ball. Let’s take away from their accomplishments as well. Stick to politics please.

  6. I could not care less about Barry Bonds regardless of what records he holds. And it’s not about steroids either. It’s because he’s been a jerk to fans for years. Pretty much the bulk (pun intended) of his career.
    Anyway, to touch upon something else brought up…IMHO we wouldn’t even be having this conversation today because personally speaking if racial segregation in baseball had never been, the home run king would most like still be Josh Gibson. To me, Ruth, Aaron and Bonds still fall short of Gibson.

  7. “Aaron, who pointedly refused to attend Bonds’ games in objection to Bonds’ alleged use of steroids”
    Nonsense. Aaron has said consistently over the years that he would not attend games when his record was broken. He’s a private man who didn’t want to take attention away from whoever broke the record, be it Griffey Jr, Bonds or A-Rod.

  8. ****So your argument about Bonds’ age is moot. ****
    Nonsense. Tell you what, go find a 37 year old and offer them a thousand bucks if they can pack on 30 pounds of pure muscle within 18 months. As a matter of fact, offer it to any living 37 year old & see what sort of results you end up with (hint: you’ll still have your thousand bucks).
    Hank Aaron has more class in his world series ring than Barry Bonds and his myrmidons have in their entire beings.

  9. Minor side point – the homerun derby (in various forms) predates the steroid era. As to Barry, he has not been a good ambassador for the game with his brusque attitude, and yes chemical enhancements probably helped a lot…but, dang, do you have any idea how hard it is to hit a major league pitch over the wall regardless of how strong you are…still pretty impressive. I only wish Griffey Jr. had stayed healthy all these years.

  10. No steroids,no record..the fact is..besides his miserable personality,prior to his alleged
    steroid use he was not hiting anywhere near the homeruns he has in the last ten or so years

  11. Baseball is a team sport. Individual accomplishments may be trumpeted by casual fans, the media, etc., as important but they really aren’t all that much if the team you’re playing for isn’t winning. And Bonds’ SF Giants are 13.5 games out and mired in last place. So he’s hit all these homeruns, good on ya and all that, but it hasn’t made a difference in the team’s overall win/loss record. For which I’m sure LA Dodger fans thank Barry mightily.

  12. To be fair to Ruth, while the segregationist policies of sports in the early part of the 20th Century kept some of the best players stuck in the Negro Leagues and elsewhere, when Maris beat his 60 HR record it was often pointed out that not only did he do it in a longer season, but also in the first year after the first MLB expansion since 1901, which diluted the talent pool among the major league teams. Baseball had 16 teams during Ruth’s era,compared with 26-to-30 during Bonds’ career, so while the talent pool has been widened to a far greater extent both nationally and internationally, there are also 350 more players on major league rosters now than there were 75 years ago, which balances things out slightly.

  13. In terms of Sosa and juicing… I don’t recall if he was ever implicated by anyone, but he was called in front of Congress (where he conveniently forgot how to speak English) and, like Bonds, was a stick when he came up only to have his body grow to massive proportions.
    And right when the steroid scandal exploded and they started looking for this stuff, he had a 14 HR year. Yes, it’s all circumstantial evidence, but I believe he was juicing.
    A-Rod has never been implicated. In terms of accussations and testing, he’s completely clean. He may have juiced, but that’s almost a moot point. No one really believes he did. He’s seen as a “clean” player.

  14. Sosa’s body also broke down when the steroids scandal exploded, to the point where a sneeze landing him on the DL.

  15. Carl (et al) has it right—Bonds is not only a jerk but a racist as well. Remember he is the guy who “doesn’t sign autograghs for white people” made to a former white teammate. He is not even a good teammate—notice the hollow and shallow congrats he receives.
    Can’t deny that he hit that many balls over the wall, but I do not have to celebrate the acheivements of a a racist jerk. Let the healing begin for baseball—Bonds will soon be forgotten. Too bad for a guy who could have had it all.
    As to those who needed a “home run derby” to get interested in baseball, you are not even close to being fans of the game and your opinions are meaningless noise. You are, however, qualified to be an announcer for ESPN.

  16. Ruth played in the era of a much deader ball. As far as talent pool is concerned you have to remember that in those days baseball was the absolute king. There were many levels of minor leagues and almost every town had a semi-pro team. All this was feeding the sixteen teams in the majors. It is hard to compare different eras but for my money Ruth was the best of all time with the possible exception of Ted Williams.

  17. As a political aside: notice how Bonds only “fans” are the San Fran nutjobs. Just as Bonds has tried to subvert the great American sport of baseball, so do the San Freakos try to subvert the other aspects of the American way of life.

  18. OK, the argurment is Bonds is a jerk, a cheater – then ban him from the game.
    ‘Roids do not take 10 mph off a fastball or make a slider fly straight ***AND*** at least Barry Bonds *set* the record PLAYING IN THE OUTFIELD on days he batted instead of jumping to the AL.

  19. And KauaiBoy, did you know San Francisco is the home of the highest goat molestation rate in the country too?
    It’s time to nuke it.

  20. “If anyone deserved the asterisk … it’s Babe Ruth. Ruth hit 714 home runs…against a whites-only league. It’s not his fault — he didn’t make the rules.”
    No, it isn’t his fault -and unlike Bonds he didn’t break the rules to get his home runs. That is why Bonds, not Ruth, deserves an asterisk. Bonds cheated to get his record.

  21. unlike Bonds he didn’t break the rules to get his home runs.
    Actually, I don’t think Bonds technically cheated either. I don’t believe steroids were a banned substance in MLB until recently.

  22. 1. When McGwire “bulked up” on andro, it was LEGAL. When MLB banned the substance, McGwire stopped taking it.
    2. MLB has had the most stringent drug policy of the 4 major sports since 2003. In that time, Bonds hasn’t tested positive for steroids. If you’re just going to disregard actual test results in favor of your pet fact-free conspiracy theory, then we need to go ahead and stop intruding player’s privacy.
    3. Hank Aaron has admitted in his autobiography that during his career, he tried Amphetamines or “greenies”, which WERE banned at the time (still are). Calling Hank’s accomplishments “drug-free” are disingenious at best and outright false at worst.
    4. The guy who gave up #755 to Bonds was Clay Hensley. Hensley was suspended for … steroid use!.
    Bonds is getting hammered by the media not because of alleged steroid use (oh, and PS: aren’t conservatives supposed to be AGAINST illegally-leaked Grand Jury testimony?) but because Barry won’t hop when the media says “jump”. Bonds refuses to play the MSM games so the media write up all these hit pieces in retalliation. As Conservatives, we know that when the MSM is out to get someone, they do so: facts be damned! Chalk this episode up as yet another example of the same phoenomenon.

  23. Bonds may not have cheated in sensu stricto, but that doesn’t mean his record isn’t tainted. In addition to the steroids business (which I consider settled — IMO yes he used them and yes it was an unfair advantage), a couple of days ago I saw an article linked from Drudge that claimed Bonds uses some sort of armband that produces a major improvement in his power and control, making it harder for pitchers to pitch him, and easier for him to drive the ball when he does hit it.
    Roger Maris got an asterisk for his 61 homers simply because of the expanded schedule since The Babe’s time. For using mechanical aids, Bonds certainly deserves an asterisk too. And if it should be proven that he used steroids, he should be banned and his records nullified under the same rule that Bart Giamatti used to throw Pete Rose out: “for engaging in a variety of acts which have stained the integrity of the game.”

  24. Just two technical points. It is believed that Bonds took Human Growth Hormone (HGH). There is no test that can detect HGH in the body. If you place a 1995 picture of Bonds next to Frank Thomas you will see that Bonds is a tiny man in comparison. If you were to do that comparison today you will see that Bonds is now bigger than Thomas. That doesn’t happen in the late 30s without chemical enhancement.
    Secondly, steroids are very effective in reducing bounce back time from physical stress and injury. Steroids may not have added many more home runs to Bond’s career total from a strength point but they have undoubtedly lengthened his career.
    Secondly, steriods are very effective in reducing bounce back time from physical stress and injury. Steriods may not have added many more home runs to Bond’s career total from a strength point but they have undoubtedly lengthened his career.

  25. well said…
    I find a strange relation between this cheater, and the unethical political elements in our political landscape.
    Cheating is cheating.
    Lies are cheating…
    Some aspect of the sense of justice died in the 90s.
    And we have never gotten it back.
    Once, when someone cheated, they were finished, until an appropriate amends was attempted.
    Now, you can lie, cheat, steal, hide secrets in your socks, and get away with it.
    Somehow, Bonds reminds me of the lack of ethics dominating our culture.
    Competition is healthy, but some are abusing the limits of decency, and it is corrupting everything.
    The MSM is a prime example.
    They seem all to at ease with offering deceit on a daily basis.
    Of course, Hillary Clinton cannot even tell us honestly, she voted to authorize force in Iraq.
    It just seems to be lies on top of deceit.

  26. The only baseball milestone I have been impressed with over the past few days is Tom Glavine’s winning 300 games. That’s a plateau that few if any future pitchers will be able to reach due to the changes in the way pitchers are used.
    The only guy close is Randy Johnson, who has something like 16 victories to go, but he’s about to have back surgery and is 44 years old. The next closest contenders are all around 250 wins apiece.
    I saw an analysis where a baseball writer did an analysis of today’s “Young Turk” pitchers, and he concluded that even such brilliant pitchers as Boston’s Josh Beckett only had an 8 percent chance of winning 300 games.

  27. “Nonsense. Tell you what, go find a 37 year old and offer them a thousand bucks if they can pack on 30 pounds of pure muscle within 18 months. As a matter of fact, offer it to any living 37 year old & see what sort of results you end up with (hint: you’ll still have your thousand bucks).”
    And you know this how RW? Are you Barry Bonds’ doctor? Where did you pull those numbers from?
    Oh yeah, you made them up. Barry Bonds is the HR king. He accomplished the feat in 2,500 less AB than Hank Aaron. He is a 5 time MVP, a gold glover, a base stealer and one of the greatest hitters ever. Ted Williams was hated in his day as well. Time changed that. The only thing people know about Bonds is what the media tells them. Bonds dislikes the media. Why? Because they ask stupid questions. For those who say he treats the fans poorly, give some examples.

  28. I find a strange relation between this cheater, and the unethical political elements in our political landscape.
    Big shock there.

  29. Come on Del, you weren’t impressed with Biggio breaking 3,000 hits? There’s my baseball hero. 20 years in one town, quietly moving up the doubles list, now 3,021 career hits, busting his butt and playing his guts out every game, every season.
    And Biggio is a small, scrappy guy. No HGH increase-your-hat-size-at-37 for him.

  30. “Nonsense. Tell you what, go find a 37 year old and offer them a thousand bucks if they can pack on 30 pounds of pure muscle within 18 months. As a matter of fact, offer it to any living 37 year old & see what sort of results you end up with (hint: you’ll still have your thousand bucks).”
    And you know this how RW? Are you Barry Bonds’ doctor? Where did you pull those numbers from?
    Oh yeah, you made them up. Barry Bonds is the HR king. He accomplished the feat in 2,500 less AB than Hank Aaron. He is a 5 time MVP, a gold glover, a base stealer and one of the greatest hitters ever. Ted Williams was hated in his day as well. Time changed that. The only thing people know about Bonds is what the media tells them. Bonds dislikes the media. Why? Because they ask stupid questions. For those who say he treats the fans poorly, give some examples.

  31. Just two technical points. It is believed that Bonds took Human Growth Hormone (HGH). There is no test that can detect HGH in the body. If you place a 1995 picture of Bonds next to Frank Thomas you will see that Bonds is a tiny man in comparison. If you were to do that comparison today you will see that Bonds is now bigger than Thomas. That doesn’t happen in the late 30s without chemical enhancement.
    Secondly, steroids are very effective in reducing bounce back time from physical stress and injury. Steroids may not have added many more home runs to Bond’s career total from a strength point but they have undoubtedly lengthened his career.

  32. I agreed with you. Good points. But as others, the strike in the past, the excessive amount of money paid to these athletes and the inability to forge “loyalty $”detract from the game.

  33. Ted Williams was hated in his day as well.
    Maybe by opposing pitchers. I think you’re making stuff up just a wee bit.
    The sad thing about Bonds is that he has talent. No one will deny that. But he wasn’t content with doing it the right way. He used to be every kid who wanted to be a slugger or an outfielder’s hero. He was the guy to strike out — did you not watch kid’s baseball movies from the 90s?
    And he threw it away in some sort of vainglorious pursuit for legitimacy. He was destined for the hall of fame the way he was, but that wasn’t good enough for him.

  34. Putting a round bat on a round ball that’s traveling at upwards to 90 mph and moving up, down, left and right is still the most difficult feat in sports.
    Congratulations to Barry Bonds on being able to do so in a consistant manner for so long.
    ‘Roids or not, it’s still one hell of an achievement.

  35. Pete_Bondurant ,
    I agree with you.
    In addition, black pitchers were relatively rare in Mays’ and Aaron’ s careers, especially the first part. And the home fields Aaron played in were generally considered “hitters parks.”
    You can’t accurately compare players from different eras, no matter how much we want to. What you can do fairly accurately is compare BOnds to players of his own era, and clearly he is the best.

  36. Most of you are also ignoring the fact that pitchers use steroids, too. So does Bonds have a relative advantage to Aaron? Probably not.

  37. “there are also 350 more players on major league rosters now than there were 75 years ago, which balances things out slightly.”
    You’re forgetting that the population of the United States has more than doubled (123 M to 29)+M) since Ruth played.

  38. The home run record really is no longer comparable across generations and thus results in an apples and oranges argument. The 300 wins mark also will fade as the game has changed too much. However, a 56 game hitting streak or a season batting average of .400 will stand the test of time.

  39. Hey K2Aggie7,
    I suggest you read the Williams entry on Wikipedia. The Boston media hated him. They cost him the MVP award one year. Williams never ever tipped his cap to the crowd. Can you imagine if Bonds did that? You people would crucify him. I never would criticize Williams for his actions and I never criticize Bonds for his.

  40. Totally unfair to question both Bonds and Ruth and proclaim Aaron the one true king of the dingers. Had Aaron played at Candlestick Park (where big rips to left field often got knocked down by the fierce winds of the “Stick”) and Willie Mays at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium (where deep pop fly outs at most other stadiums would drift over the fence), it would be Willie Mays’ record that Barry broke last night.
    And while Ruth did play in a shallower talent pool, it was mitigated by the fact that he also played in the “dead ball” era.
    Kudos to Carl for mentioning the name that you and most other people fail to when discussing the greatest home run hitters of all time – Josh Gibson!
    They were all great. You can always find a sizable chunk of people who will put an asterik next to any record for any reason. But the fact remains that 756 is the highest total so far, for any individual. Bonds does hold the record and that is not diputable.

  41. Del:
    I agree that Glavine’s 300th win got lost in shuffle. But the notion that he is last is probably wide of the mark. They said the same thing after Early Wynn won his 300th game in 1962.

  42. Bonds passes Hank Aaron

    ***Update below This is truly a sad day in baseball history. Barry Bonds passed Hank Aaron’s home run record last night. Along with cheering fans at ATT PArk in San Fan Sicko. Barry is still denying he knowingly did steroids,

  43. And you know this how RW? Are you Barry Bonds’ doctor?
    I’m someone with enough common sense to know that a 37 year old doesn’t gain 30 pounds of muscle in 18 months. Oh, and I’m a small-time bodybuilder (9 years experience, who has gained a total of 35 pounds of muscle in those 9 years of dedication and 250+ grams of protein every day) and former small-college athlete. Anecdotal, sure, but I knows me sports, as well. No way a MLB player packs on that much muscle and not only doesn’t lose it during the season but gains MORE. Not in this universe, sans juice.
    Where did you pull those numbers from?
    Personal experience and reams of data ranging from various studies printed in any number of journals/mags. It is extremely difficult for an adult past their physical prime to gain muscle THAT fast, primarily due to the body’s slowing growth hormone output (which is why Bonds is obviously now taking HGH). I have a bookshelf of books & muscle-related magazine paraphrenalia as my personal library and 20+ e-books at my disposal.
    BTW, I’m no DNA expert, either, but OJ killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, as well. That the jury lacked common sense doesn’t preclude me from using mine.
    Oh yeah, you made them up.
    Sorry, but I’m fairly knowledgable on the subject. Not trying to be obtuse, just stating the facts. That I’m not a homer rooting for my guy also gives me an edge.
    He is a 5 time MVP, a gold glover, a base stealer and one of the greatest hitters ever.
    Actually, he’s a 7 time MVP. Where did you get YOUR numbers? 🙂
    Bonds dislikes the media. Why? Because they ask stupid questions.
    Personally, this moves Bonds stature up in my book, but that’s just me. I applaud anyone who speaks out against the sportswriters of America, who represent the dumbest segment of the country.
    That aside – as well as the fact that the pre-juiced Bonds was among the greatest players in history – he still cheated. And is still cheating today by obviously taking Growth Hormone.
    Ask yourself why Greg Anderson is still sitting in a jail cell refusing to testify against Bonds if he really didn’t supply him with the juice (put aside your obvious emotional attachment, if you can) and you’ll recognize the light that the rest of us see as a super-nova as it’s so obvious.

  44. My 2 cents… I think Bonds is a jerk… don’t care about his record, but I’m glad that he finally did it so we can all move on!

  45. My 2 cents… I think Bonds is a jerk… don’t care about his record, but I’m glad that he finally did it so we can all move on!

  46. Ed, I never agree with you on politics (and probably never will), but the part you wrote above re: the commissioners is the single best summation written on the subject. THAT should go right to Cooperstown. They used the players (and the players used the drugs) and then feigned disbelief. Paraphrasing the words of Captain Reynault “I’m shocked, shocked to find out there’s steroid use here.”

  47. The home run record really is no longer comparable across generations and thus results in an apples and oranges argument. The 300 wins mark also will fade as the game has changed too much. However, a 56 game hitting streak or a season batting average of .400 will stand the test of time.

  48. Steroids may not have added many more home runs to Bond’s career total from a strength point but they have undoubtedly lengthened his career.
    Actually, ‘roids, “the clear”, and HGH most certainly helped Bonds hit more homers. The argument that they don’t help him “hit” is apt, albeit overused and a bit ignorant because the guy showed that he could hit by making it to the majors and then winning numerous MVPs prior to his obvious use. Nothing helped him hit that moving ball, that was him. Juice helps the fast-twitch muscles just as they do the ‘mass’ muscles and the increase in just 2% bat-speed thanks to this boost as well as the ability to wait 2% longer on initiating the swing can be the difference between a warning track pop fly and going from a career high of 49 homers to 73 homers and suddenly being able to hit .370 after averaging around 80 points lower for a decade.
    Scott Peterson was less obvious, folks……

  49. RW,
    I will ask again, where did you pull the 30lbs of muscle from? How do you know he gained 30 lbs of muscle? You don’t. You made it up.
    Bonds cheated? How? There were no rules in place for steroid use. How does one cheat if no rules were in place?
    Roger Clemens has been named in a sworn affidavit. Does that mean his reocrds are tarnished? Did he cheat? Gaylord Perry spit on the ball. Is he a cheater? Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?
    Yes, everything is so obvious “to the rest of us.” Sure RW, you know all. I will ask again- 30 lbs of muscle. Did you make up that number? Try debating honestly.

  50. Nothing helped him hit that moving ball, that was him.
    You may be right. BUT, the chemist who created “the clear” which Bonds used claimed on Real Sports a couple weeks ago that it does help with hitting in that it provides greater focus and reaction time.
    Bonds was always a great hitter, but if what the chemist says is true, I could see how this would help batters “get a hold of one” more often.

  51. One last thing as it pertains to the commissioners: they really couldn’t do what so many think they could. Sure, they requested drug testing during the whole buildup to this thing, but the MLB union said “nope, not negotiable, next topic” and that was that. So, unless you’re saying that the owners should have instituted a lockout until the union agreed to drug testing (and, after the ’94 season being ended w/no world series I’m sure many of you saying that would’ve welcomed it, too, right? Hindsight is easy) or that the owners should have spent every day in front of a camera saying “those baseball players are taking drugs, let’s force them to stop it with public pressure” (thereby tarnishing their own brand and killing their revenue) then it’s all just armchair quarterbacking in hindsight.
    The union said no and it wasn’t negotiable. You know, pretty much like the American public said to intrusive airline searches until 9/11. Well, after the steroid era became apparent, the union acquiesced. Bud Selig is a joke, but to lay the blame at his feet is unfair, IMO. Donald Fehr and the players who ingested the drugs are the villians & the owners who paid them are ancillary aspects of this whole spectre.

  52. -I will ask again, where did you pull the 30lbs of muscle from?
    That is approximately what Bonds gained when he went from being Bob Beamon’s athletic twin to the reincarnation of Lou Ferrigno from the 80s. I don’t have the exact figure to the ounce and if your grand argument is that I’m estimating, then……whatever makes you sleep better.
    -Bonds cheated? How? There were no rules in place for steroid use.
    Better check your law library & ask Victor Conti and Greg Anderson if steroids are no-nos. You could make some fast cash since their lawyers are having a difficult time with that claim. Oh, wait, you’re saying that since MLB didn’t have drug testing then Bonds didn’t cheat. Ah, yes, THAT is your argument. Well, run with it & see how far that one goes, too.
    Roger Clemens has been named in a sworn affidavit. Does that mean his reocrds are tarnished? Did he cheat?
    Don’t know. He didn’t gain muscle immediately, more like a few pounds every year & his head didn’t swell. But, if he used, then he cheated, sure.
    Gaylord Perry spit on the ball. Is he a cheater?
    Yes. Next.
    Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?
    Yes, so does Bonds. Next.
    Try debating honestly.
    Try debating while not staring at the Barry Bonds poster on your wall and the logical side of your brain addled with adoration for your ‘guy’. And, while you’re at it, try debating with something other than things that were swiped aside years ago when this issue first arose.
    Bonds used. Deal with it.

  53. Bonds used. Deal with it.
    I’m pretty sure Bonds even admits to using… he just claims he thought he was taking flax seed oil. A dubious claim if ever there was one.

  54. –You may be right. BUT, the chemist who created “the clear” which Bonds used claimed on Real Sports a couple weeks ago that it does help with hitting in that it provides greater focus and reaction time.–
    You’re right and I saw that, as well.
    I was focusing (pun intended) on the macro, being that Bonds could hit and was a HOFer-in-waiting before he decided to juice up. That the clear helped him & his reaction time was covered a bit in my “2%” comparisons, but point taken and noted.
    A quick analogy (and, yes, all analogies are bad analogies): You have twin 9 year olds who want to stay up late watching television. You decide to let them see how long they can last before falling asleep. One makes it until 7am and the other lasts untl 7:30. Later, you find out the one who made it until 7:30 had some Red Bull and a few caffeine tablets along the way (of course, you didn’t draw up legalistic guidelines with Underwriters Laboratory approval): which 9 year old accomplished the more impressive feat?

  55. –So a change in Body size is a dead giveaway for Steroids, HGH, and all-around cheating, eh?—
    [sigh….the same arguments, over and over]
    A large increase in pure muscle mass over a short period of time – gains that are unseen outside of the steroid-using world – are a dead giveaway for Steroids, HGH and all-around cheating, yes.
    I will say that comparing a skinny Tony Gwynn to a fat Tony Gwynn in the case against Barry Bonds is the more hilarious bit of comedy that i’ve had in a long time…what, no pics of Delta Burke were available?
    Goodness….

  56. RW,
    Your argument is falling apart. Even if Bonds gained 30 lbs, how do you know it was muscle? You don’t. You made it up. Debate honestly instead of pulling numbers out of thin air.
    So you do not know if Clemens took steroids but you do know Bonds did….and this is based on their appearance and your own conclusions. Gee, why not let MLB know who all the steorid users are based on their appearance….lame. Alex Sanchez tested psotive for steroids. Have you ever seen what Alex Sanchez looks like? Gullermo Mota tested positive. Show me where his rapid muscle gain is. How about Juan Rincon? Here is some advice RW, actually watch baseball before displaying your ignorance. You will stand a better chance. Look at those before/after pictures of Gwynn, Ripken and Clemens. Tell me who has used steroids based on what you see since you know all.

  57. –. Even if Bonds gained 30 lbs, how do you know it was muscle?
    None are so blind as those who will not see…..great, Pete, your guy didn’t get more muscle, he only accumulated water around all his muscles during that short-time period and that water magically enhanced his performance. Maybe he’s only PMSing!
    Good lord…folks, the argument is that now Barry Bonds didn’t necessarily gain MUSCLE. It’s all an illusion!
    So you do not know if Clemens took steroids but you do know Bonds did
    Well, since Bonds admitted it under oath and Clemens denies it, that does give me an edge, yeah. Didn’t you know that?
    Alex Sanchez tested psotive for steroids. Have you ever seen what Alex Sanchez looks like?
    Alex Sanchez was/is a speedster. Banned substances – as I stated – help with the fast twitch muscles, which includes speed. See: Johnson, Ben. That thing made a few papers.
    Seriously, are you trying to come across as ignorant as you appear? Sorry, I tried being amenable, but you no longer deserve me as an audience. And you can quote me on your Barry Bonds dedication web page, too. Please ignore my future postings, as I most certainly am ignoring yours.
    Crikey, what are you, 11?

  58. BTW, for those who are not so stupid as to compare skinny players to those who are FAT & at the end of their careers (and some who have been retired for 5+ years), here’s the SI story on Bonds and a photo of him playing in 1998, right before he decided to hire Greg Anderson:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/magazine/03/06/growth0313/1.html
    Go google pictures of Bonds in 2000 on your own…..it’s too easy for me to choose which one.
    Next up: photos of Jerry Lewis when teamed with Dean Martin versus Jerry Lewis under heavy prescription usage of Prednisone (look it up).

  59. k2aggie07 said:
    “Come on Del, you weren’t impressed with Biggio breaking 3,000 hits? There’s my baseball hero. 20 years in one town, quietly moving up the doubles list, now 3,021 career hits, busting his butt and playing his guts out every game, every season.
    And Biggio is a small, scrappy guy. No HGH increase-your-hat-size-at-37 for him.”
    Yeah, Biggie reminds me of my hero- another good hitter who spent his entire career with one team-his name was Yaz! He’s still the last player to win the Triple Crown, which he did 40 years ago this season.
    And Pete is right-the Boston media gave Teddy Ballgame hell for many years. They later did the same thing to Jim Rice in the 1970s, and for years Jim was very bitter and avoided Boston like the plague (of course, part of Jim Ed’s problem was that he came up the same year as “Golden Boy” Fred Lynn” who got most of the media attention).
    Ted made up with at least some of the Boston media in his later years (although most of the writers who had given him such a hard time were dead and gone), and Jim Rice likewise reconciled with the city and the team. He’s now a studio analyst for Red Sox games on New England Sports Network.

  60. Oh, and by the way: steroids were banned in baseball while Bonds was juicing. It was just that there was no testing policy in place due to the union’s demands (like I stated).
    http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2007/06/steroids-in-bas.html
    Cap’n, you might want to revisit your initial outrage at the commissioners. Vincent & Selig reiterated the policy. It’s just that it was ignored and there was no way to enforce it w/o violating the labor agreement.
    So, yeah, Bonds cheated. He broke the rules. Remember that the next time an apologist tries to excuse it.

  61. If we’re bringing up Josh Gibson, there’s no reason to leave out Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 HRs in Japan.

  62. KauaiBoy asked from the land of Bubba’s Hamburgers:
    “Quick question: Whatever happened with Ted Williams body? Was he ever buried?”
    As far as I know it’s still frozen. In two parts.
    By the way, I just noticed that there are posts in this thread by people named “Ted” and “Carl”. Too much.

  63. You’re forgetting that the population of the United States has more than doubled (123 M to 29)+M) since Ruth played.
    But the number of pro sports options also has more than doubled since that time — there was no NBA in Ruth’s day, while the NFL and NHL were fledgling leagues and other high-paying sports today (golf, tennis) were amateur sports back then. All those take a number of top athletes away from baseball, which along with boxing and college football, were the only major sports of the teens, 20s and 30s (though admittedly, many of those never could have played baseball in Ruth’s day).
    There’s a lot of variables that can be taken both ways — Ruth never had to travel cross country for games, but it’s arguable that a flight from New York to Los Angeles or Seattle for a night game against the Angels and Mariners isn’t as exhausting as taking a train from New York to St. Louis or Chicago for a mid-summer day game against the Browns or the White Sox. I just wouldn’t go as far as Ed to insist that Ruth had a major advantage by playing in the time period he did.

  64. jerry said
    “I agree that Glavine’s 300th win got lost in shuffle. But the notion that he is last is probably wide of the mark. They said the same thing after Early Wynn won his 300th game in 1962.”
    I forgot to include the link to the story I mentioned. Here it is.
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7077356?MSNHPHMA
    PS to KauaiBoy, I also like Duane’s ono char burgers too.

  65. Pitching was not nearly as specialized in Ruth’s day. Look at the typical number of innings pitched by the starters, and at how many complete games there were. That gave the batter the opportunity to see the same pitcher 3-5 times per game, as opposed to today, when batters go 2-3 times against the starter, and then a different pitcher each of the last two at bats.
    Pitchers did have a higher mound, and less interference with scuffing the ball and use of “foreign substances”,0 but clearly the batters in Ruths day had the advantage. A quick look at the batting averages will show you that. And the biggest advantage of all that Ruth had was the lineup he was in. Arguably the best offensive lineup of all time.

  66. I dislike cheaters. Most Americans dislike cheaters. Barry Bonds is a cheater.
    This is why people dislike Bonds, it has nothing to do with his color.
    The blight upon sports that has become steroids hurts more than the credibility of it’s so-called “heros”. It fosters a belief among high school and college athletes that the only way to compete is via Androgenic substances. And unfortunately, these substances can be deadly.
    A former schoolmate of mine was just inches from a pro football career. The last time I saw him he was VERY big. I knew then he was “juicing”. It gave him the smallest of chances of going beyond college football. However, his own body fell apart. After a knee injury, his chance lost forever, he settled down and decided to coach. I truly believe he would have been great in this field, where he would never have been a great professional football player. One day he had a heart attack at age 31 and died, just another casualty of steroids.
    I have to clarify the Marc Maguire use of Androstenedione. I believe that Maguire was on more than Andro, as it’s effects have been dubious at best. To gain the size and strength that Maguire aquired, and then to become a comical stick figure after his career was over, took a true steroid. It was not the effect of some testosterone precursor.
    The true reason some athletes were taking Andro was as a substance to camoflage their true steroid use.
    These athletes are little more than cheaters, and cheaters should not prosper.
    Bonds is a cretin and despicable fake.

  67. No responsibility for Fehr and the players union? Selig wanted steroid policies in MLB. He implemented them in the minors, but was obstructed at every turn in his effort to get strong steroid testing at the major league level.

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