Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Problem With The Steroid Era

While it's hard to completely tell from this video, Mark McGwire's, then, Home Run Record setting shot, barely cleared the fence. The distance traveled has been recorded by Major League Baseball as 341'. I distinctly remember this event and thinking at the time how short in distance the flight of the ball was and how short the left field fence looked in that far corner.

While there is no argument that a hitter, MUST have a natural hitting ability to be successful, there is also no argument that steroids and other PEDs make you stronger, thereby allowing you to hit the ball farther. How many of his and Sosa's and Bond's home runs, would have simply been long outs without the use of PEDs? We will NEVER know, and that, is the problem.

Of the 12 players to reach the 500 HR Club since 1985, only 4 have no links to PEDs. Eddie Murray, Ken Griffey Jr, Frank Thomas, and Jim Thome. (Factoid courtesy of @BoxBusters via Twitter). What does that say about the era many of us grew up watching and becoming lifelong fans of the game?

Maybe it's time that Jose Canseco be honored by MLB and the HOF, instead of ridiculed for helping to clean up the sport, regardless of his personal motivations for having done so.

I don't for a minute believe that Tony LaRussa didn't know that McGwire was using PED's. Bud Selig knew. Baseball's dirty little secret, isn't a secret anymore and no one should ever be surprised who ends up, allegedly or admittedly, linked to steroids.


Joe S. said...

Remember all the security involved with the balls for every single McGwire at bat??? I loved how his "record breaking" homer barely cleared the fence and ended up in the bullpen, sparing us a riot in the bleachers.

Alan Christensen said...

Remember all the talk back in the day that ball was 'juiced,' ball was wound tighter and stats of players had significantly increased?

It was so obvious that players were on something, but we all didn't want to openly admit it! Baseball was happy, stands were packed, player salaries kept increasing and us fans were enjoying every minute of it all! It was obvious that Big Mack wanted to come clean in front of Congress, but w/o immunity, he wasn't going to answer the question directly. This does not fix the damage that was done, but it was a start. I commend Big Mack for doing this and other accussed players need to come clean and conveniently remember how to speak engish!!

dogfacedgremlin said...

The "4" without links to enhancers are questionable in my opinion. I think Eddie and Ken are clean but I'm not too sure about the Big Hurt and Thome. I'll never forget when Frank came into this store I worked at in Las Vegas to buy some furniture and everyone that knew who he was freaked out. He was huge, and still is.

Todd Uncommon said...

Well written and concise post. I share your sentiments perfectly.

I swear, the next joker I hear use the words "Ty Cobb" or "Gaylord Perry" when talking about what to do with PED users of the last 15+ years, is going to get a wet 25 lb. box of 1983 Topps Perry-on-the-Mariners cards sent to their house.

Whatever those guys did in their careers have no bearing whatsoever on the PED debate.

As for the lone four since 1985 that can be reasonably believed to have not cheated their way to 500 HRs, I think only Murray completely escapes, mostly because he did most of his damage to the ball well before the era's real heyday. He also had the "normal" tail-off of power after age 37, and limped to 504 HRs, not a sudden Fountain-of-Youth surge late in his career.

At least Thome, and especially Big Hurt, were both massive guys even early on, so it's not like their hat sizes got bigger.

I can believe Griffey because he spent piles of time on the DL without steroid-abuse injuries getting him there (like a Sosa back muscle pull from a sneeze), nor sudden miraculous comebacks off the DL in two weeks for something that should take 4 months to rehab.

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