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John Schuerholz on Hank Aaron: “There’s no questions about how he hit his home runs”

Jan 12, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT

Hank Aaron AP AP

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post conducted an interesting Q & A earlier this week with former Braves general manager John Schuerholz. After leading the club to their incredible run of dominance in the National League East from 1991-2005, he was promoted to team president following the 2007 season. And he relishes that role.

..I call myself Obi-Wan Kenobi. When they named me president, I said, “Look, I’ll be over here in the corner, in my office, and if you need some wisdom, come see the old guy and I’ll tell you what I know and what I feel.” And they laugh about that. And we have a great communication system in our organization.

That’s a fun visual. I really hope he wears a brown hooked cloak to the office. Anyway, the real juicy stuff from the chat was when Davidoff questioned Schuerholz about the team’s insistence to refer to Hank Aaron as the “true home run king” even though Barry Bonds passed him on the all-time list.

JS : Listen. If you were in Atlanta and you worked for our organization, you would feel the same way. He’s without dispute, people in baseball would look at him as the guy they say is the quote-unquote real home run champion. There’s no questions about how he hit his home runs.

KD : But he admitted to using amphetamines. He used illegal PEDs, just like Bonds did.

JS : I’m not going to make a big deal out of this. He is for us the real home run champion. It’s our view. He’s our home run king. It’s our opinion. And we honor him for that. And I’m not going to stop saying it about him.

Well, as a Mets fan, it’s my opinion that Rey Ordonez is the true home run king, but I suppose we can agree to disagree there.

109 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ben - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I don’t even have a clever quip in response to this idiocy, it’s that stupid.

  2. realgone2 - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    I’ll go with hank.

  3. manifunk - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Holy smokes, he completely handwaves away the fact that Aaron did essentially what Bonds did. That’s some amazing cognitive dissonance. He’d make a great politician.

    • jjschiller - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      “…he completely handwaves away the fact …”

      “These are not the drugs you are looking for.”

      That said, “essentially the same thing” is its own exercise in “cognitive dissonance.” I’m not some traditionalist blow hard here, but, popping a greenie for a pick-me-up is a little different than enlisting a team of chemists and doctors to monitor the levels of nutrients, hormones and chemicals in your blood, and administer chemical treatments to adjust them to the appropriate levels to gain the maximum returns based on where you are in the chemical treatment cycle that said chemists and doctors have prepared for you.

      Again, I’m no torch-bearing villager about the whole steroid thing, and I’m not trying to draw moral or ethical distinctions. That said, substantial differences exist, in terms of “intent” between amphetamine use and 1980’s Jose Canseco style locker room butt syringing, and again between those and the organized, professional cheating that Balco (and labs like them that we may not even know about) provided to players in the 90’s and 00s (and presumably offer still today.)

      • Ben - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        Actually, I think you could say there’s no difference in intent, but at least in the abstract a difference in the particular outcome. Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds both intended to cheat, but they just used different substances.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        The BALCO labs used amphetamines on Bonds, too. In fact both Bonds & Sosa have failed amphetamine tests. No evidence of McGwire yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Of the 2 classes of drugs its amphetamines that do more for you when it comes to baseball performance. The roids probably add benefit for injury recovery, overall strength and, very important for Bonds, durability (but I’ll not hang my hat on that till there are more studies that can prove it). This makes sense, too. No lab dedicated to turning you into the God Of All Baseball Hitting would choose steroids and ignore amphetamines: the effects of amphetamines are too good for what you want. Likely all the roids were doing was seeing to it that Bonds could keep up the hitting pace that the amphetamines were helping with. The speed turned Bonds from an awesome hitter into the best ever. Probably did the same for Aaron. The ‘roids might have seen to it that he could sustain it, but I think there’s room to quibble on this statement (certainly, I’d like to see some more peer reviewed work before I buy that).

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM

        “…popping a greenie for a pick-me-up is a little different than enlisting a team of chemists and doctors to monitor the levels of nutrients, hormones and chemicals in your blood, and administer chemical treatments to adjust them to the appropriate levels to gain the maximum returns based on where you are in the chemical treatment cycle that said chemists and doctors have prepared for you.”

        But popping greenies is illegal and against the rules, while that second thing is what every professional athlete does. The only difference between Bonds’ program and a legit program is WHICH chemicals and hormones are used. Supplements, vitamins, caffeine, electrolytes etc etc. Babe Ruth didn’t have the benefit of Gatorade; perhaps we should give everyone after him an asterisk.

      • badintent - Jan 13, 2013 at 3:42 AM

        Hate to tell you all of this, BUT THE USA AIR FORCE PILOTS USE AMPS SUPPLIED BY THE USA AIR FORCE.,Are they cheating the Russkies ?? pleassssssssse ,grow a-pair, in the air or somewhere where there is real llife.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Don’t overly-simplify the use of Dexedrine (dextrose-amphetamine) by Air Force air crew. It is strictly controlled and done only with a legal prescription. I was a USAF physician many years and prescribed those medications at times. There were limits on how much we could prescribe and under what circumstances–the primary one being flying from here to the Middle East and then having to be ready start flying combat missions a few hours later. Also, Modafinil is the more likely prescription now rather than Dexedrine. There are/were no amphetamine candy jars the way there used to be in baseball clubhouses.

        Big difference between legal use, use to help defend our nation’s interests and keep our aviators safe, and illegal use to help a ball player play a game.

        You are at least right in that use of drugs to enhance performance extends beyond sports.

      • protius - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:44 PM


        Your comments go to great lengths to put as much distance between Aaron’s amphetamine use, and the chemicals that other players used. By doing this, what you’re trying to disguise is your own attempt at creating a cognitive dissonance among the readers.

        Putting Aaron at one extreme of your argument, and all the modern-day tainted players at the other extreme, is an attempt to demonstrate an unbalanced scale of justice.

        At the same time, you’re hoping that no one will notice that they have one thing in common, i.e., they all used a chemical stimulant. No amount of verbal hocus-pocus will change the fact that Hank Aaron admitted using a PED, however primitive it was in comparison to what is being used today. One thing hasn’t changed, our moral compass still points in the same direction.

        Using a chemical substance, of any kind, to help a player, in any way, is either wrong for everybody who did it, or it’s not. There is no gray area.

        To ignore what Aaron did, and condemn Mark McGwire, is hypocritical.

        Schiller, wouldn’t you agree that this is the source of your cognitive dissonance?

      • jjschiller - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:59 PM


        Now don’t put words in my mouth, friend.

        I don’t go to great lengths and I don’t “condemn” anybody. If you’re looking for a stand-in for “Anti-Steroid Zealot #4,” I ain’t him.

        I’m commenting only the sophistication of the process, the lengths gone to achieve the desired effect, and the lengths gone to to deceive.

        If Aaron thought he was gaining some chemical advantage, he certainly could have done much more, even in his day, than pop just pop a greenie in a day-game-after-a-night-game situation. Bonds left no stone unturned.

        All we know Aaron to have done is pop greenies, and we know this only because he said so himself.

        Nowhere have I condemned anyone or claimed Bonds to be some bad guy and Aaron to be the knight in shining armor. I quibbled with the words “essentially the same thing.”

        If you want to talk about “scales of justice,” you have to accept that nuance matters in this world.

      • protius - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:16 PM


        You wrote the words; you should at least have the courage to own them.

        You wrote: ”I don’t go to great lengths.” Really? The following is approximately 90% of your original post, i.e., the one I originally responded to: “Popping a greenie for a pick-me-up is a little different than enlisting a team of chemists and doctors to monitor the levels of nutrients, hormones and chemicals in your blood, and administer chemical treatments to adjust them to the appropriate levels to gain the maximum returns based on where you are in the chemical treatment cycle that said chemists and doctors have prepared for you. […] That said, substantial differences exist, in terms of “intent” between amphetamine use and 1980′s Jose Canseco style locker room butt syringing, and again between those and the organized, professional cheating that Balco (and labs like them that we may not even know about) provided to players in the 90′s and 00s (and presumably offer still today.)” If using approximately 90% of your comments is not going to great lengths to make a point, then you either don’t know what going to great lengths is, or you’ll go to any length to obfuscate your own behavior.

        Your above comments also shows that you are condemning by comparison, the players who are implicated as participants in the “professional cheating that Balco (and labs like them that we may not even know about) provided to players in the 90′s and 00s”, as opposed to the player who used amphetamines. In essence, you are claiming that amphetamine use is acceptable, and “Jose Canseco style locker room butt syringing”, is not acceptable.

        If you “accept that nuance matters in this world”, then you must also recognize the value of the obvious.

      • jjschiller - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        You are a strange, little, confrontational, man, Protius.

        I think I’ve said all I really have to say about the subject. You’re attempts to paint me in to a corner here are, well, strange to me.

        I stand by my assertion that “essentially the same thing,” is a reductionist, over-simplification. The semantics are now freely yours to circle and calculate and redistribute as you will. I haven’t really got a dog in this fight.

        And for what it’s worth, this thread is two days old, and three pages back now. You and I are the only ones viewing it. The up-thumbing of your own comments (and down-thumbing of mine) is poor form, and, well, strange to me.

      • protius - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:37 AM


        Your characterization of me is irrelevant.

        I responded to your original comments, because I believed you raised a good point, i.e., is there a distinction to be made between the players of decades ago who used less powerful stimulants to give themselves an advantage, and their modern counterparts who use more technically exotic concoctions to do the same thing, i.e., give them an edge.

        Your comments indicate that you believe that the Hank Aaron generation should get a pass, because of the simplicity of their act, while on the other hand you believe that the modern offender’s act is more egregious because it involved a prolonged process.

        You wrote: “Popping a greenie for a pick-me-up is a little different than enlisting a team of chemists and doctors to monitor the levels of nutrients, hormones and chemicals in your blood, and administer chemical treatments to adjust them to the appropriate levels to gain the maximum returns based on where you are in the chemical treatment cycle that said chemists and doctors have prepared for you.” I’m not trying to paint you into a corner; I’m trying to get you to agree that you wrote these words, because you were thinking them, and if you were thinking them, then I’d like to discuss your thinking with you. Now, what is it about that concept that you find so strange?

        I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but what I find strange, is that you shared you thoughts with a few dozen people, and out of the few dozen people who read your commentary, six people responded with comments of their own, and of those six, you only responded to me. Now if your comments did not have merit, you would have received no responses, and if my comments did not have merit, then you would have ignored them completely, clearly you had a dog in this fight.

        FYI: I didn’t notice the age of the page, and frankly, it’s unimportant to me; it’s the discussion that I find interesting.

        Lastly, I don’t thumb the discussions I’m involved in. I leave that to cur and his crowd, they’re into the popularity thing.

        BTW: I’m not little.

    • vallewho - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Jedi mind trick, indeed.

    • louhudson23 - Jan 13, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      Greenies did not and do not do what steroids do for a hitter. Either you are a complete idiot in making the comparison or you know and just choose to ignore it.If greenies came remotely close to doing what steroids did,then they would have been lined up at the water fountain and not in the bathroom stalls.The numbers do not lie. The record book does not lie. The current absence of large heads,small testicles and nightly episodes of Home Run Derby are also a testament to the effectiveness of steroids in hitting baseballs out of ball parks.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        “amphetamine use is so prevalent that nonusers are sometimes ostracized as slackers”

        That line is excerpted from an article by Tom Verducci (“Getting Amped”) that was in the same Sports Illustrated issue as his seminal “Totally Juiced” article exposing steroid use in baseball. So your “lined up” snark fails. If you bother following links I posted yesterday in this comments section, you can also find Sports Illustrated articles relating to both steroids and amphetamines in sports–including baseball– dating back to the 1960s.

        There have also been many articles and even scientific studies on the efficacy of steroids, amphetamines, and HGH, some of which are also linked below by cur68. You can also lookup various rule changes, timelines of ball composition changes, when various ballparks opened or were reconfigured and realize the record books issue is more complex than who took what drug. Feel free to do some actual research yourself rather than relying on anecdotal evidence. That said, even checking the anecdotes yields more questions–such as Barry Bonds is reported to have used steroids for several years but only hit over 50 HRs the year he hit 73. If the issue were as simple as being juiced to the gills, he would have been expected to come close other times too. This also leads to why I and others tend to use success rates such as AB/HR or Sabermetrics rather than cumulative stats, because rates are more robust, ie less prone to error from other variables like injuries.

        All that said, you will note that I have never once equated amphetamines with either steroids or HGH in terms of either efficacy or mechanism of action. They are not the same. However, one more time, their use without a prescription do violate the exact same law and the exact same baseball rule. The “crime” being the same, logically the judgment upon the user should be the same.

        (BTW abnormal facial changes and irreversible head growth are more a HGH side effect than a steroid effect.)

      • dontfeedgigantor - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:37 AM

        “Greenies did not and do not do what steroids do for a hitter.”

        Of course not… mainly because amphetamines are instantaneous, and steroids require actually working out. Steroids don’t improve your focus or give you more energy, they just help you build muscle. Kind of like food.

        So you’re right, steroids don’t come close to comparing with the benefits that amphetamines provide a hitter.

    • shawndc04 - Jan 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      I thought that Hank admitted to popping a greenie one, that’s one, time in his career. He has enough credibility that I believe him.

  4. realgone2 - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    speed doesnt make you stronger

    • sneschalmers - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      But it’s still a PED and it’s still against MLB regulation to use them. How the PED functions within the body is irrelevant because they are still considered a banned substance by the MLB.

      With all the recent commotion from the BWAA about not voting ANYONE into the HOF regardless of their actual or perceived usage of PEDs, it seems interesting that Schuerholz is so willing to overlook Hank Aaron’s admitted usage of PEDs.

      • badintent - Jan 13, 2013 at 3:45 AM

        Speed was not illegal in Hank’s time. All of you are missing the big picture. Every try to fly across the country and face Sandy Koufax ?? You ‘d take something to wake your ass up big time to face his 100 mph heater.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        Wrong, badintent. Amphetamines were added to the controlled substances act in 1971. They are considered schedule II drugs. They have legitimate medical use but are illegal without a prescription.

        Obviously, Aaron broke Ruth’s career home run record after 1971.

    • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      …and strength is not the primary requirement for hitting home runs. Those would be balance, hip rotation, timing, eye sight, and hand eye coordination. Are none of those things helped by something that enhances focus and energy levels?

    • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Nah. It only allows you to get better contact. That’s all. Who needs better contact? (See Pena, Wily Mo).

    • genericcommenter - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      When I used over the counter, legal GNC stuff that could realistically called “legal speed” and is probably banned these days, it helped me work out a lot longer and lift heavier weights.

      One of the “unfair advantages” of steroids purportedly is the assistance in working out harder and recovering faster. So whenever someone argues that steroids don’t necessarily help one hit a baseball, anti-PED guys will say it’s “cheating” because of how it helps guys workout harder, recover easier, and play longer. If that is the case, then speed would also enhance performance, because speed can help workouts and help build muscle mass. A substance that helps increase strength would be performance enhancing under that criteria.

      I’m sure speed would provide “unnatural” energy for late-innings home runs, defensive focus, etc.

      A big part of the reason that I don’t have a big issue with PEDs, is that there really is no rational line when it comes to “performance enhancing” and the fact that 99% of those criticizing the “cheaters” use recreational and performance enhancing drugs themselves. Coffee is performance enhancing. Any number of natural and synthetic chemicals and substances are openly and legally used for enhancing performance on the job and at home. Outside of a few teetotalers, almost every part of our culture has embraced drugs. It only seems to be a problem when certain guys- the type of genetically blessed and socially/economically well-compensated guys we other guys tend to envy- partake and benefit.

      • indaburg - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Very well said, generic. The hypocrisy is mind boggling. Back in the late 90s, I was a personal trainer. Like you, I used substances purchased at GNC, mostly ma huang and ephedra, legally. Basically, it was speed. The workouts I could get on ephedra were amazing from simply popping a couple of capsules. I could workout for 3 to 4 hours without any fatigue. My energy and strength were explosive. (I miss ma huang so much.) Of course, I wasn’t trying to hit baseballs or exhibit any specialized skill. I mainly used it for aesthetic appeal to attract clients–fitter trainers get more clients. I never did steroids although they were offered to me–its effects on a woman are frankly disgusting–but some of my fellow trainers did. I noticed their mood changes more than anything. Anyhow, for me to wag my finger and hold these players to a higher standard than myself would take a special sort of sanctimony and assholiness.

      • vallewho - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM


      • vallewho - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM


      • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        “Assholiness”–love it! I’m going to have to use that one sometime!

      • badintent - Jan 13, 2013 at 3:53 AM

        the best post of the new year !! I work out in a gym with pro jocks, PTs and body builders. Lots of stuff going round. the PTs are all in big comp for clients. so they can get “legal”andro up here north of the border from GMC and Popeyes. most night crowd is on Red bull and Starbucks. I do hot chocolate without the marshmellosw , I got enough of them on this blog ! LOL

  5. braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Greenies are different than steroids.That’s a fact. Greenies are for energy on gameday (think much stronger 5-Hour Energy/Red Bull), steroids are for becoming stronger (literally changing your body size and chemistry), which leads to hitting the ball further and more worthwhile workouts. Yes, they are both a form of “cheating”, but no, they are not the exact same thing. I’m so sick of people acting like things are exactly the same just because they fall into “banned activities” in baseball. As I have said before, crime is crime, but a felony is very different from a misdemeanor, just like there are forms of cheating in baseball that are more “acceptable”, whether we like it or not.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Speed keeps you focused. If you don’t think added focus is necessary at the plate when the pitch is coming at you over 90 mph, then maybe we aren’t talking about the same thing.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Clearly we aren’t talking about the same thing as I never stated that greenies don’t do anything for a player.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        But you’re implying that only steroids lead to inflated home run totals.

        It is what is. But what is is?

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        He never stated that greenies DO FAR more for a player than do steroids when it comes to hitting baseballs. But then Brad’s pretty good at ignoring facts and going with what he “knows”.

      • esracerx46 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Why the hell do you think so many players all of a sudden have A.D.D? It is to my understanding that any athlete needs to have intense focus and drive to succeed. Something people suffering from A.D.D. have a hard time doing. Adderall, its the legal way players get a hold of greenies.

        @ Braddavery
        I demand scientific proof from you that steroids makes you hit a ball farther. That is my challenge to you. Do you accept? Yes or No.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        Since we are making demands, I demand scientific proof that greenies make a baseball player hit a ball farther or the same distance as if they were taking steroids.

      • djpostl - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:27 PM


        It’s called physics lol.

        Player is stronger, bat moves through zone with greater force, applies greater force to baseball, travels farther.

        Even if it’s just a handful of former warning track flyballs that now become cheap first row seats, it doesn’t take an MIT grad to understand this concept.

      • clydeserra - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:46 PM

        So if I ingest a steroid right now and go to the batting cages, I will hit the ball farther?

        Is that what you are saying? steroids make you hit the ball farther right?

    • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I’m sick and tired of people acting like one is worse than the other without providing any evidence of it. Amphetamines are more dangerous to your health than steroids. Increased energy and focus are just as or more likely to enhance a hitters ability to make solid contact as raw strength. Indeed, there is more evidence that amphetamines had a bigger effect on players ability to hit the ball farther than steroids.

      HR rates went up in mid-1993 when a new ball was introduced, not when players started taking steroids (unless you really think everyone decided to do it at the same time). HR rates did not go down when testing for steroids began. They were flat from 1993 until amphetamine testing went into effect in 2008. Once amphetamine testing and suspensions were invoked, offensive production went down. Simply put, there is no correlation between the suspected use of steroids in MLB and power production through time….and a LOT of people have looked for those correlations.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        I call bullshit on most of your comparisons of steroids and amphetamines. Show me a study that shows that amphetamines make baseball players hit the ball further than steroids. I think you are talking out of your ass.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Jeez ‘Lions, don’t bother. He’ll start going on about perception, what he “knows” and how his “opinion” is better than any old science. You’ll be here all day with this fool.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Oh please, allow me:

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        WAIT! There’s more:

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        CHRIST! The hit total on “amphetamines sports performance” is >10 million results (googlescholar)! That’s some body of evidence….

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        You two are all over these boards acting like you know so much about PEDs. But all you ever say is that all PEDs have the same affect. Who is the fool. I say you two are fools with an agenda. You are bias and most of the stuff you say about PEDs is based on your own unbalanced perception and not in cold, hard scientific fact. Like saying that greenies make you hit a ball further than steroids. How utterly absurd and untrue, That is an OPINION of yours, not a scientific fact. Get some new material.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        This is because we are what are known as “researchers” and, in my case, someone who uses steroids and sees the effects of amphetamines A LOT in humans. Ipso facto, this makes us more knowledgable than YOU, a fact which is abundantly evident. Being more knowledgeable than you frankly isn’t a very big deal, because I think my dog is more knowledgable than you.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        NOTHING you posted is proof that greenies make a player hit the ball further than they would if they were on steroids. NOTHING. You fail. And if greenies create for more HRs, then why is it that McGwire, Sosa and Bonds took steroids and didn’t just take greenies? Why didn’t Hank Aaron hit more than 47 HRs in a season, since greenies are better than steroids? Why did it take McGwire/Sosa/Bonds almost 40 years to break Maris’ HR record, if greenies make players hit more HRs than steroids? I’m sure you will both completely ignore all of this and won’t answer any of these questions, as the answers don’t fit you biased and agenda riddles opinions.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        You are just destined to fail at every turn, aren’t you Brad m’boy? Here:

        and here:

        Let me know when you get tired of being wrong, mmKay? This is fun.

      • mrfloydpink - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        @braddavery: Do you bother to read before replying?

        1. You asked for evidence that amphetamines do more to boost performance than steroids, and cur presented you with exactly what you asked for. Your response, in essence, was to stick your fingers in your ears and say, ‘nyah, nyah, nyah, I can’t HEAR you.’ Did you bother to examine the links? It would seem not, since you responded to them TWO FREAKING MINUTES after they were posted.

        2. There is a difference between “evidence” and “proof” (at least, in terms of the way you are using the latter word). Evidence suggests that both steroids and amphetamines help athletes’ performance, and some evidence also suggests that amphetamines may be more helpful than steroids. However, because the effects of the two substances are different, they cannot be compared directly in any meaningful way. As such, it cannot be “proven” that one is more useful than the other. This is like proving that drinking orange juice is better for your health than jogging 20 minutes a day–the two commodities have, to use a mathematical term, different denominators.

        3. paperlions already addressed many of your counterarguments, namely observing that the breaking of Maris’ records seems to have had more to do with changes in the ball and in ballparks and less with drug use. Which is why players who were playing in the early 2000s (Bonds, McGwire, Sosa) had an easier time of challenging Maris than did Aaron.
        As to the question of why ballplayers today don’t use greenies, there are several answers. The first is that legal and cultural changes have made them harder to get than in the 1970s (when, according to Jim Bouton, they were handed out like candy). The second is that greenies were seen as harmless back then; today we know they are actually quite damaging. The third is that baseball has something of a herd mentality, and players tend to do what other players are doing.

        Ultimately, what it boils down to is this: NOBODY who is interested in evidence and in dispassionate analysis of the facts claims to know for sure whether amphetamines or steroids has a greater impact on performance. What they do know is that the two are close enough in their impact that the hard line being drawn by sportswriters and others is arbitrary, intellectually dishonest, and exists in service of a very obvious agenda, namely to keep the great players of yesterday on their pedestals while tearing down the great players of today.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        So let me get this straight. Greenies are equal to steroids in terms of on-the-field production and the only reason McGwire/Sosa/Bonds obliterated the HR records is because the ball was changed, or “juiced”, and parks were made smaller. That about sums up what you and the two screaming me’me’s believe?

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        facepalm fuckaduck…

        I’m going to say this slowly:

        Greenies. Are. BETTER. Than. Steroids. For. Baseball. Performance.


        MUCH BETTER.

        This is why when failing an amphetamine test became as enforced as failing a steroid test, the HR rate DROPPED.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        You. Have. NO. Evidence. To. Back. Up. That. Claim. NONE.

      • dondada10 - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        You’re a fucking jerk-off. Cur posted two different links providing the evidence you so desperately want to see. Fucking read it and shut up.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        He posted NO evidence that greenies have the exact same affect as steroids in relation to on-the-field production. Sorry, you are wrong. Oh, and try calming down. You will give yourself a heart attack taking this all so seriously.

      • djpostl - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        “This is why when failing an amphetamine test became as enforced as failing a steroid test, the HR rate DROPPED.”

        They were adopted the same damn year. It’s impossible to determine which one has the greater impact.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Like I said, these guys throw around their opinions like they are scientific proof. It’s a joke. One guy is a doctor or something so he thinks he knows everything about what happens on on a baseball field.

      • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        No, they weren’t.

        Survey steroid testing occurred in 2003.

        Amphetamine testing didn’t begin until 2006 and failed tests weren’t made public, nor were suspensions levied for amphetamine use until 2007. At that point, the number of MLB players that suddenly required amphetamines to control their previously undiagnosed ADD more than doubled.

      • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        The difference is that we have based on opinions on the available facts and have bothered to become informed. In contrast, you have chosen to remain willfully ignorant, making transparent your blind hatred toward steroids and their users while attempting to downplay the performance benefits of everything else and the users of those substances.

        It isn’t our opinions that are evidence of anything, it is the evidence that is evidence….but, of course, you don’t really care what the evidence says, you’ve made that clear. Over and over and over again.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      You statement comparing steroids to a felony and amphetamines to a misdemeanor fails. All PEDs, no matter your impression of their efficacy and no also regardless of the mechanism of the drugs’ effects, fall under the same rules. It does not matter that the drugs are different, the rule is the same. To use your crime comparison, it’s the same crime. You can call both felonies or both misdemeanors, but not one a felony and one a misdemeanor.

      You too have posted on these threads many times, and your point is always that you feel steroids are more potent PEDs than amphetamines. Okay, I’ll use the crime analogy again. I’ll even presume your perception is correct in this case. Certainly guns are more potent weapons than knives. However, if you rob someone at knife point and get arrested afterward, you will get charged with armed robbery exactly the same as if you had robbed someone at gun point. Again, it does not matter that amphetamines and steroids are not the same–use either and you break the same rule.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        They have the same punishment NOW.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        They should have had the same punishment ever since 1991 as that is when steroid use without a prescription became illegal. Before that only the amphetamines were illegal (they became illegal without a prescription in 1971).

      • badintent - Jan 13, 2013 at 4:04 AM

        It’s no use, yu’re dealing with geeks an nerds here, none of them played the MLB or even college ball. But I took a sumer class with a former MLB Player who told me back in the late 70’s he had to use speed for the cross country trips and the games after doubleheaders to compete on a level playing field with all the other players that used them.they were as available as much as a mult-vitamin. Out in the open too.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        I agree, amphetamine use was right out in the open. Pete Rose admitted his amphetamine usage publicly in 1979 in a Playboy article. Nobody has denied that it was widespread and right out in the open. That fact does not change the fact that it was illegal after 1971, or that its use violates the same rules as steroid use.

        Now, I’m only too happy to listen to a cogent argument as to why I should judge one group of PED users differently than another, when both were violating the same baseball rule and (after 1991 when steroids became illegal without a prescription) the same law.

        Yep, I’m someone who never played beyond high school level, not counting intramurals in college or base leagues when I was in the military. What of it? Let’s see a cogent argument that you have to be an athlete to understand athletics.

        I am indeed expert in terms of physiology, effects of various medications on the human body, and the research behind it–both in terms of treating disease and on human performance. That’s part of my profession.

        I also read extensively. If that makes me a “nerd” or “geek” or any other weak, high school insult you wish to throw out there, I accept them proudly.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Know what I think “nerd” & “geek” means? Something along the lines of “Someone who does/did exceedingly worthwhile work in their life and are valued for their skill and ability to think clearly”.

        I’m not sure why people think “not wasting your life and talent” should = insult, but just the fact that the terms “nerd” & “geek” = insult in the minds of some speaks very poorly for how the lives of those people have turned out.

        Anyhow, coffe break’s over: back to geeking my way through another 8 hours on the job.

    • Kevin Gillman - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      But a sin is still a sin. How about how steroids are used around the same time in the NFL, and probably even more so, yet the media never talks about that. If it’s done in one sport, I guarantee it’s done in another, and another, and another…..and so on and so on.

      • louhudson23 - Jan 13, 2013 at 5:36 AM

        But the effect on the game is not the same…otherwise,the NFL record book would be blown to bits just like the MLB record book. 3500 yard rushers and 40 sacks coming out the ass…..

      • Kevin Gillman - Jan 13, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        You do know Lou, that NFL players take PEDs to keep their jobs, right? Especially the older players, I would imagine.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Lou, that is incredibly simplistic. You think only offensive players in the NFL used PED? Because that is what you are saying. Just like pitchers and hitters use PEDs in baseball; indeed, MORE pitchers have been linked to PEDs than hitters. If you think PEDs have a 1-way effect on baseball stats, you aren’t paying attention as PEDs could possibly help hitters as well as pitchers.

        So, ask yourself, what would help hitters but not pitchers? Maybe, I don’t know, a change in ball composition and manufacturing that results in a ball that travels farther? Like the one introduced in mid-1993.

  6. Mark - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    JS: “There’s no questions about how he hit his home runs.”

    I agree. He did it with a bat. No question there.

    I guess there are two ways of looking at Aaron using PEDs. Either it cheapens his accomplishments and you have to ignore his HR record because he did something that was illegal, or you just move on and accept it just like you do with everybody who has been linked to steroids.

    Bottom line is it shows that players of previous generations don’t have any moral high ground to call out the guys who played during the steroid era, because they used whatever was available to help them even if it was against the rules. And if they had access to steroids, they would have used them too.

    • Kevin Gillman - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Mark, there was access to steroids in the 70’s, need we forget where the book “North Dallas Forty” came from? Jose Canseco did not invent steroids, he just had higher technology then, and we see Balco become huge before our very eyes. But there were baseball players using steroids in the 70’s, just like Football players did too, but the media never brings items up like that.

      “Chicks dig the long ball”

  7. braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I suppose when a player acts like he is hit by a pitch it’s a form of cheating and that player should be treated like a PED abuser, since all cheating is just cheating and should all carry the same punishments.

    • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Hey! First False Equivalence of the day.

      Psssssst! Brad! C’mre. soto voice Look bubba, the false equivalence is false, mmkay? K-thnxbye.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        It’s not a false equivalency. You think that all cheating in baseball is just cheating and should be dealt with the same, no?

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        Not at all. If you bothered to read what I write and do a little research yourself, you’d see that I consider amphetamine use of far more benefit to baseball cheating than steroids. What’s more, they are FAR more dangerous than any steroid you care to name.

        I think the problem with you Bradley is that you don’t research anything. You just pull it out your ass. Why don’t you do some research? The internet is free, man. Look into things from BOTH sides of the question, check the sources, compare the results, look at trends and associations, challenge your assumptions. Bottom line: DO SOME GODDAMN RESEARCH before getting on here and spreading disinformation.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        None of the “research” you have provided proves that amphetamines/greenies are better at creating production in MLB than steroids. In fact, the fact that McGwire, Sosa and Bonds obliterated the HR records on steroids is in direct opposition to your THEORY that greenies create more HRs.

        Hank Aaron’s best season on greenies = 47 HRs.

        McGwire/Sosa/Bonds/Rodriguez/Ortiz best seasons on steroids = 73, 70, 66, 65, 64, 63, 58, 57, 54, 54, 52, 52, 50, 49, 49, 49, 48.

        Lot of good greenies did Aaron, huh.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        McGwire/Sosa/Bonds/Rodriguez/Ortiz were all hitting livelier baseballs. If Aaron had been hitting the same baseball, he’d have ALSO been right there with them. I know you wont read it but here’s the proof:

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        SO WHY, SINCE STRICTER TESTING WAS IMPLEMENTED FOR PEDS, HAS NO ONE COME CLOSE TO 73 HRS. Are you telling me that it is just a COINCIDENCE that no one has hit over 60 HRs since McGwire/Sosa/Bonds did it SIX times before stricter PED testing??? LOL you are obtuse and your brain is fried with bias. Your opinions are not based on logic and reason, but on preserving your self interest in sounding like you know what you are talking about.

      • mrfloydpink - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        You do understand, incidentally, that different periods and locations translate to different levels of offensive production, right?

        No, of course you don’t. So let me explain. Aaron played much of his career in a pitchers’ era, which tended to depress his stats. The players you list had the benefit of playing in a hitters’ era; many of them also played in hitter-friendly parks.

        Let us imagine that you take 47-home run hitting Hank Aaron and put him on the 2004 Red Sox. Do you know how many home runs he would have hit, all other things being equal? 55, which puts him squarely in the middle of your list. If he had played his entire career as a member of the 2004 Red Sox, hypothetically speaking, he would have finished with 900 home runs (and 4,536 hits!).

        In short: Context matters.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        Perhaps because the stricter testing and rules for Amphetamines happen to coincide with the sudden decline in HRs? They do so far better than when ‘roid testing happened. Did you look at that or did you just pull numbers out of your ass again? Also as of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball, 2010 (Rule 1.10(a) came into effect: ““Reduced maximum bat diameter to 2.61 inches.” Between a smaller bat and no speed, NO ONE’s getting close to 73 for some time.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        In short, you are literally making up hypothetical situations and using the mined data as “evidence” to your theories. To use the “context” argument and then turn around and make up stats is freaking hilarious.

      • kirkvanhouten - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        “Hank Aaron’s best season on greenies = 47 HRs.”

        You may have skipped a few facts here when picking out one number.

        1. The average team in 1971 hit 118 home runs, the average team in 2000 hit hit 190 home runs. They were very, very different environments and 47 HR that year is more draw dropping than 54 in 2005.

        2. Aaron set his career high in home runs at the advanced age of 37.

        3. Sure, he was in the launching pad…but he also set his career high for park-adjusted OPS+ that year at 194. He his 3rd best OPS+ at age 39.

        4. His two highest years in slugged came at age 37 and 39

        5. Aaron’s best year in HR/AB ratio came at age: 39, 37, 35 and 38.

        6. Until Barry Bonds came along, Aaron *by far* help the record for most home runs and highest OPS by a 39 year old.

        Aaron was the poster boy for late-career surge. True, he was playing in the launching pad, but he was still posting 1.000 OPS’s on the road during a time when offense was waaaaaay down across the game.

        Let’s step away from the anedotes and hero worship and look at the facts. There is nothing new under the sun…players cheated in the 30s, the 50s, the 70s, the 90s with whatever they could cheat with. That doesn’t make it okay, but it is the reality. Players weren’t better people then…and I’m getting a little bit sick of people saying that the best players of their generation who were using amphetamines got no benefit while the best players of their generation who used steroids did.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        Sigh I have to go to work now. Sick infants, preterm deliveries and all that for the next 2 days. Bleh. Its been fun Brad. Can’t say as your ignorance impresses me, but you got some stamina for being wrong repeatedly. If sheer stubbornness was a virtue or cogent way to learn and grow in knowledge you’d be the smartest person EVER. I fear however all your stubborn ignorance causes is more bad information disseminated for the average person. I leave you with the last word on the subject, but you should know I’m done with your foolishness so whatever drivel you have to say will be quite lost on me.

      • mrfloydpink - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        You got me, braddavery, there is absolutely no difference between times, places, eras, etc. You caught me pulling a fast one.

        So, let’s do this your way. In 1912, Home Run Baker led the league with 12 home runs. In 1971, Hank Aaron hit a remarkable 47. Suspicious, no? How do you explain this discrepancy?

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        I can play that game with you if you like. In 2001, Barry Bonds led the league with 73 home runs. Miguel Cabrera led all of baseball last season with 44 HRs. Suspicious, no? How do you explain this discrepancy?

      • mrfloydpink - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        All right, I’ve tried to be as restrained as I can, in some vague but ultimately misguided hope that you MIGHT just open your mind a bit to some other perspective when confronted with overwhelming evidence (Socratic-style) of the flaws in your reasoning. This is my final post on this thread; like cur, I will allow you the last word, because I have work to do and I’m growing weary of banging my head against the wall. My real hope, at this point, is that these remarks will be instructive or informative for others who may read; you, obviously, have made up your mind.

        Now, how do I explain the difference between Bonds and Cabrera? Shockingly, I recognize that there are many answers to that question, not just one. And also that I am more confident in some elements of my answer than others. So, here goes:

        Why Bonds Outhit Cabrera (answers I am very confident in)


        1. Bonds is a better player than Cabrera. Cabrera is very, very good but he’s not a Top 5 all-time player, like Bonds was.

        2. Bonds played in a more offense-friendly era, with somewhat diluted pitching (only a few years removed from expansion) and more dynamic baseballs. In other words: CONTEXT.

        3. Random variability (lucky bounces, unusually good pitcher matchups, wind blowing out, etc.). Bonds, from 2000-2004, hit 49-73-46-45-45 home runs. Which number is the outlier? You would not seriously argue that he only took steroids for one season, right? So doesn’t it look an awful lot like the steroid-aided Bonds tended to produce in much the same way that the greenie-aided Aaron did, or Cabrera does? With the exception of one unusual season (not unlike the Maris season, by the way, which was completely out of line with the rest of his career. Or do you think he was roiding, too?)

        Why Bonds Outhit Cabrera (answers I suspect to be true)


        1. Steroids. I don’t know of anyone who denies that Bonds did steroids, and I think everyone acknowledges they helped him some. However, I am less confident in this answer than in others because (a) I don’t really know how much they helped, and (b) I have no certainty about Cabrera’s PED status. Sure, he’s passed tests, but so did Lance Armstrong. Given his history and his physique and his production, there’s just as much evidence for him as a PED user as for Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell. So I am unwilling to unequivocally assert that Bonds benefited from steroids and Cabrera did not.

        2. “Peer pressure”: I am not sure exactly how to characterize this answer, but it seems pretty clear that HR records generally fall when there are several players “in the hunt.” Maris, of course, was pushed by Mantle, McGwire by Sosa. I imagine that Bonds probably swung for the fences more than he otherwise would have done, because he was looking to prove something or because he was trying to keep pace with Sosa (who hit 64). That pressure didn’t really exist for Cabrera, who was undoubtedly aiming for a Triple Crown, but didn’t have quite so much competition once Hamilton faded.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        You are an asshole if you honestly believe that I don’t understand variables. That is what this discussion is about, VARIABLES. PEDs create variables. No one has denied this, so I literally have no idea what you are talking about.

    • mrfloydpink - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Wow. I can’t believe you actually presented this as if it’s a helpful way to support your point of view.

      That said, you’re totally right. All of us moral relativists on these boards see ABSOLUTELY no distinction between various forms of breaking and bending the rules. Ergo, I feel that someone who puts too much pine tar on their bat should receive the same punishment as someone who bets on their team to lose. Sorry, George Brett, you’re out of the Hall of Fame you vile cheating bastard.

      • braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        My point of view is that there are obviously levels of cheating and lower levels are more “acceptable” in the eyes of MLB. That is how it’s always been. That is why Jackson/Rose/Bonds/Clemens aren’t in the Hall of Fame and Perry/Brett/Aaron and the like are. It’s not rocket science to understand that lower forms of cheating/crime get lower levels of punishment.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Brett should be out of the HoF for the Poopie Pants story. Gross.

  8. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Is there a difference between amphetamines and steroid effectiveness on athletic performance? I guess a real journalist at some point would attempt to answer.

  9. dparker713 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Why are there no questions about how Aaron hit his homeruns? i.e. he didn’t use steroids.

    Lets review. Aaron admitted to using amphetamines, an illegal PED. Aaron played in the 60s and 70s, when steroids came to prominence in Olympic sports and the NFL. Aaron’s late career record went unmatched until Bonds – he posted a 177 OPS+ at age 39.

    Seeing as we know he was willing to break the law to play better, steroids were known to improve performance during his playing days, and steroids help beat back aging, in the current climate isn’t it fair to speculate on whether Aaron did in fact use steroids?

  10. braddavery - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    I think this nonsense has become more of a smear campaign on the greats of the game than a “let’s treat all players equally” crusade. I mean really. The “they are ALL cheaters” stuff just wreaks of pessimistic desperation.

    • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Saying assumptions are assumptions isn’t a smear campaign, it is just stating a fact. In 1969, SI did a cover story on PEDs in sports, including baseball. In 1973, there was a government report that stated that the prominence of steroid use in BASEBALL was alarming. Saying that a guy that played during that era shouldn’t be assumed to be clean is just a fact. Those guys were just lucky that no one cared what they did.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        It was actually 3 straight weeks’ of cover stories. Here’s a link to get you to them.

        They also did one on amphetamines in 1960:
        I thought the quote in the final paragraph especially interesting. Times change, eh? The again, the article also stated that cyclists competing in Europe are the most drugged athletes on the planet, so maybe not so different after all.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        Here’s an excerpt from an SI article in 1997–one that mentioned that steroids were present in baseball but without quantifying it:
        “Over The Edge
        A scenario, from a 1995 poll of 198 sprinters, swimmers, powerlifters and other assorted athletes, most of them U.S. Olympians or aspiring Olympians: You are offered a banned performance-enhancing substance, with two guarantees: 1) You will not be caught. 2) You will win. Would you take the substance?

        One hundred and ninety-five athletes said yes; three said no.”
        (The all caps section was all caps in the article also. I’m not shouting or adding emphasis.). Follow the link in my comment above and you can find this article too.

  11. deadeyedesign23 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Equating amphetamine use to steroid use out of hand is willful ignorance.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      It is if one tries to say the two classes of drugs have the same effects.

      It simply stating a fact, however, if the statement is that using either breaks the same rule. Using either without a prescription also breaks the same law.

  12. themagicfanguy - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Amphetamines increase energy. Increased energy means longer, harder workouts. Amphetamines are also banned. All facts. Get over yourselves, bonds is the home run king, because they’re BOTH cheaters.

  13. sdelmonte - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Rey Ordonez?

    Dave Kingman!!

  14. mazblast - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Quotes like this give support to the idea that during their impressive run of division wins (and only one World Series win), the Braves’ front office, like their manager and players, was not nearly as brilliant as was and is portrayed.

    Do I think Hank Aaron popped the occasional greenie? Absolutely. Do I think it makes his record any less impressive? No. The difference between Aaron and Bonds is that the latter used PEDs in a systematic, planned way, knowing what he was doing was against the spirit if not always the letter of the law.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      “Popping the occasional greenies” violated federal law starting in 1971. Not saying how Aaron used amphetamines because I don’t know; however, many amphetamine users do so “in a systematic, planned way” also.

  15. gt40bear - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Hank might have admitted to amphetamines, but his head didn’t grow three sizes after the age of 35!

  16. louhudson23 - Jan 13, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Hank Aaron. Home Run King.Barry Bonds.Lab Creation.

  17. raysfan1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    I prefer to say the true home run king is who hit home runs at the most prodigious rate over his career.

    Now, Mark McGwire happens to be #1 at 10.61AB/HR. Barry Bonds comes in #3 at 12.92. Hank Aaron is #38. McGwire used steroids, so I will go with #2–a man who hit a HR every 11.76 at bats, Babe Ruth. He is known to have used Brown-Sequard solution (animal testosterone) at least once, but that was not illegal back then.

  18. gregorblanco1 - Jan 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    I have a question about how Aaron hit his homers…
    Did he use a Louisville Slugger?

  19. sdjones16 - Jan 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    To compare what Aaron did with what Bonds did is asinine. There is only one real Home Run King, and it’s Hammerin Hank.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      Nice argument.

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