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More of the PED double standard on display

Mar 26, 2014, 9:15 AM EST

Mantle swinging

There was a panel in Arizona last week which the topic of PED use was discussed. Among the panel members was Jane Leavy, who wrote what many consider to be the definitive biography of Mickey Mantle. Her take on players of the recent Steroids Era and the fitness of guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame:

“I don’t have a vote, and I wouldn’t vote for any of them,” said Leavy—not a single one of the players who admitted drug use or were named in the Mitchell report on PEDs in baseball. “I think there should be a hall of shame for those guys,” she said.

I have no idea how one can write an entire biography of Mickey Mantle — complete with a passage in which Mantle’s visit to the infamous Max “Dr. Feelgood” Jacobson, where an amphetamines injection caused an infection that knocked him out of the home run race in 1961 — and conclude that while he is a worthy Hall of Famer, the guys of the 1990s and 2000s should be in a “Hall of Shame.” Let alone the many other players who used amphetamines in the 1950s and 60s, which she chronicled.

But I suppose this double standard is OK, as it always has been.

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. pmcenroe - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    I thought her book was just ok, too much of her personal fandom thrown in for me. Personally I prefer more of the Leigh Montville or Richard Ben Cramer style bio

    • largebill - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Concur. She lost me when in mentioning something about meeting Mantle for an interview she included the tidbit that the meeting took place at the hotel where her mother lost her virginity in the 1940’s.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Yikes, please tell me that’s a joke and not seriously in her book?

      • metroplexsouthsider - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        No, “church,” it was in there, and TMI. Plus, inappropriate in other ways, since she talked a lot about Mickey’s child sexual abuse.

  2. renaado - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    My soul was somewhat crushed for some reason………

  3. holleywood9 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Steroids have been vilified more than any other form of cheating… Shoeless and rose get the nod from the public but users will never. Can’t really explain that right now

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      Shoeless Joe gets support because people believe that he didn’t help throw the World Series. Whether they are correct or not, I have no idea.

      Rose does not get as much public support as you seem to be implying. There are people who strongly believe that he belongs in the Hall of Fame based on his playing career, but there are plenty of people who feel just as strongly that he should never be allowed in because of what he did in his managing career. I don’t know if he gets much, if any, more support that a guy like Bonds.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      The reason you can’t explain it is because you’re projecting what you don’t like on others. Don’t play victim with your false analogy.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      Can we stop with the greenies are as bad as roids bit? A player who knew both, Jim Bouton, is among the disagreers.

    • campcouch - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      there actually isn’t a rule about betting/gambling in baseball. Shoeless and Rose were banned by the Commissioners for conduct they deemed detrimental to baseball. Weird.

      • metroplexsouthsider - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        Actually, that’s so incredibly wrong it’s not even wrong, at least for Rose. Rule 21 specifically prohibits betting on baseball and is required to be posted in each team’s clubhouse. http://seanlahman.com/files/rose/rule21.html

  4. baberuthslegs - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Her perspective is clouded because of idol worship for Mickey. I’m sure lots of people feel the same way. His public persona was one of innocence and heroism. Bonds public persona was… well, you know. You like one guy, you don’t like the other guy. It’s ok. We are fans because of what is in our hearts.

    • happytwinsfan - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      dead on. when i remember what my impression of mickey mantle was during his playing days my first thought is that i was a kid and wasn’t capable of questioning whatever was being said about him by tv and radio people, whose job was to promote baseball by extolling the players. i checked and leavy was born in 1951, making her 10 years old during the 1961 home run chase. none of us enjoy over throwing our nostalgic feelings by reassessing the impressions of our childhoods, which is what makes us fans to begin with.

      • agent0027 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        Exactly…so where are the nostalgic supporters of Mark McGwire (and Sosa, to a lesser extent) among today’s youthful sportswriters? The excitement of the Summer of ’98 captivated the nation and brought baseball back from the brink, after the Bud Selig-imposed disaster of ’94. And yet now, McGwire is a villain and Selig is portrayed as a heroic legend (despite the fact that all the great advances for which he is credited were simply technological–primarily cable TV and the web).

        It’s just another sad example of how our current, cynical society (read media) builds people up into idols only to tear them down as soon as they fail to fit some flawless ideological model that’s never actually existed. How Selig has avoided such treatment, when in his case it is actually deserved….I will never understand.

      • baberuthslegs - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Well said.

      • baberuthslegs - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        @happytwinsfan ^^^

  5. tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    The US government classified steroids as a Schedule III drug in 1990. Amphetamines became a Schedule II drug in 1971. Mickey Mantle retired after the 1968 season before amphetamines were classified as a controlled substance. Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc. all used steroids well after 1990 so any use without a prescription was illegal. When steroids became a controlled substance, the use of them became a violation of MLB’s drug policy. Just because the players didn’t agree to testing for another 13 years doesn’t mean that it was okay to use them. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion as to why Mickey Mantle is not viewed in the same way as Steroid Era players.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      When steroids became a controlled substance, the use of them became a violation of MLB’s drug policy

      This isn’t true. See below:

      You [Fay Vincent] wrote a famous memorandum to all MLB clubs in 1991 warning about steroid issue. It stated, in part: “The possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by major league players and personnel is strictly prohibited. Those involved in the possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance are subject to discipline by the commissioner and risk permanent expulsion from the game.” Your whole basis for the memorandum was the violation of federal law. You’re a lawyer. And yet it was utterly ignored. Why? And, had it been heeded, how would the sordid history of the past two decades be different?

      The letter was ignored because it didn’t affect the players. They were thoroughly protected by collective bargaining. But I wanted to make a moral statement to them and legal one to everyone else. The union told them to ignore it. The only way a change could be made was through collective bargaining. The union argued that testing violated players’ civil liberties. The union had strong, bright lawyers who concocted a bulletproof legal argument.

      http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/5/31/4373908/fay-vincent-interview

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        I acknowledged that testing wasn’t implemented in 1991. However, a player caught possessing the drug could still be punished in the same manner that players caught using other illegal drugs were.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        That is a very interesting comment. You say that MLB could have taken action against players for possessing steroids, just as they did against players who were arrested for possession of cocaine. OK. That would have made for a fascinating arbitration case, but let’s agree that MLB could have at least attempted some kind action.

        Now we know now that steroids were being sold by at least one person who worked for a major league organization, as detailed in the Mitchell list.

        We also know that some players were known to be PEDs users among scouts and executives, and therefore that there was sufficient knowledge of what was going on that an enforcement-minded organization could have pursued the details, such as: who are they getting this stuff from and how are they getting it? Someone in the mold of a John Dowd, for example, could have been hired by MLB to connect some dots. And there were apparently plenty of dots.

        So let’s agree that MLB could have investigated, in cooperation with law enforcement if official charges were necessary in order to justify discipline, in order to police some of this. And let’s agree further that if they got any results, they could have followed up with fines and suspensions.

        I think that the simple fact that nothing like that ever happened, that MLB tolerated everything that was known and took no steps to uncover what was not known, seriously weakens your assertion that players from that era should be assessed more harshly. That there was an official policy in place that frowned on those goings on hardly matters, to whatever degree it hypothetically could have been applied to these cases, at least while the effective policy was a nod and a wink.

      • bh192012 - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        But I wanted to make a moral statement to them

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        For MLB’s investigation to succeed, it would have required people employed by the teams to cooperate with the investigation and provide evidence. As it stands, when MLB did conduct an investigation, they had almost no cooperation from the players and relied on 2 main sources for their information. I believe at least one of those sources was compelled by law enforcement to cooperate. With all of the time and money put into the Mitchell Report, they still ended up with a document that everyone knows is woefully incomplete. And when they did conduct an investigation into PED use by current players, they were villified by many on this site for doing so. so past PED use is excused because MLB didn’t investigate, but current PED punishment is b.s. because they overstepped their authority by investigating. I’m not saying you think that way, just that there are people who do.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        For MLB’s investigation to succeed, it would have required people employed by the teams to cooperate with the investigation and provide evidence.

        No. We’re talking about a criminal investigation, on charges of illegal possession or distribution of controlled substances, with the cooperation of Major League Baseball, which could have gone to the feds at any time and said, “Hey, we think we may have a steroid problem. We’ll cooperate with you in order to root it out.”

        Why didn’t it happen? As usual, MLB was loathe to open anything up to outside parties. They didn’t want it to happen.

    • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc. all used steroids well after 1990 so any use without a prescription was illegal.

      This is also not true. “The Clear”, for example, was not a scheduled drug under U.S. law until after the BALCO scandal broke, when the law was changed in 2005.

      Overall I don’t believe U.S. law has much to do with why the more recent players are considered differently. While the law has been employed as a rationalization of such a position, as you have used it here, that rationalization is necessarily flawed, at yours is.

    • rbj1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      How about every player who smoked marijuana, which is Schedule I or did a line of cocaine (Schedule II, IIRC)?

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        First off, guys like Dave Parker, Steve Howe, and Pascual Perez WERE punished by MLB for using illegal drugs. Second, I don’t think anyone would consider those drugs to have a positive impact on a player’s performance.

      • raysfan1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        http://www.cnnsi.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1072027/2/index.htm

        “For years the favorite drug of Europe’s bike riders (called by many the most drug-ridden group in the world) has been cocaine…” for its effects on energy.

        This article was published in 1960. It has been used as a PED for longer than most of us have been alive.

    • raysfan1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      COPO and jkcalhoun are both correct. I would add one other thing–while you are correct regarding amphetamines and the controlled substances act of 1971, and one can argue that gives a pass to the users of the 1950s and 1960s, people who do so–if they in turn attempt to condemn steroid users of the 1990s on the basis of legality as you do–must in turn condemn the amphetamine users since 1971 to remain intellectually consistent. That includes several prominent Hall of Famers.

      Further, along the same lines, while cocaine is most prominently known as a drug of abuse, it has also been used as a PED, possession is obviously illegal, and yet there are Hall of Famers who used and sold cocaine too. Those players’ use is properly condemned, but few hold it against them in terms of being in the Hall. (In fairness, I do think it is costing Raines some votes.)

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        I agree that players in the 1970s were breaking the law when they took speed. I also don’t believe that steroids and speed are equal. Others may disagree. Steroids allow the body to recover faster from workouts, which allows a player to work out more and improve whatever area they are focusing on. Will they turn a guy with 5-HR power into Babe Ruth? Of course not, but they did help turn guys hitting 30-40 HRs into guys hitting 60+ HRs. They helped Roger Clemens turn his career around when many thought he would never be an elite pitcher again.

        To my knowledge, amphetamines never had that type of impact on performance. Yes, they help guys stay alert and give them energy to get through the grind of the season. Yes, they are illegal and should be. Yes, anyone taking them should be punished. But the severity in terms of baseball performance is not the same as steroids. In my opinion, the 2 aren’t equal and there should be some difference in how they are considered. That applies to players today, too. It’s apparently an opinion shared by MLB and the players, too, given that the punishment for amphetamines is a fraction of that for steroids.

        For the record, I don’t think steroid use should automatically eliminate a player from Hall of Fame consideration. I’ve said before that Bonds was a lock for the Hall prior to his PED use. But I can’t consider guys like McGwire and Sosa worthy of the Hall because I know what they were capable of before they started cheating and it wasn’t Hall-worthy.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        To my knowledge, amphetamines never had that type of impact on performance

        And this is where we say, [citation needed]. I’m not making the claim that amphetamines are better PEDs than ‘roids, but those who are saying they aren’t as good need to provide proof.

      • raysfan1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        We agree on much, but I do feel the need to point out a couple things. Yes, the amphetamine penalties are less (I feel they should not be), but it’s still a violation of the same JDA. Being schedule II drugs and not schedule III like steroids means their possession illegally would lead to more severe punishment in the legal system. That is because the adverse health effects from amphetamines are worse, and they are potentially addicting.

        There is no way to definitively state which is the more effective PED. They have different effects. One, amphetamines, give immediate benefit of increased energy and focus. The other requires heavy workouts to derive any benefit. Regardless, since the intent of using both is performance enhancement, and since use of both violates the same JDA and same law, I see no moral difference irrespective of one’s opinion of efficacy.

        There is no evidence steroids by themselves turn decent pros into world beaters. There are many factors that contributed to the offensive explosion of the 1990s and early 2000s. These have been listed many times, so I will not do so yet again now.

    • paperlions - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      None of which matters. People care because they think PED use affected baseball performance. PEDs have the same effect regardless of whether or not the government decided to make them illegal without a prescription or whether or not baseball or baseball fans cared.

      This argument isn’t about breaking laws, it is about the perception of the “genuineness” of the performance on the field….there are a LOT of law breakers in the HOF. Hell, LaRussa was a chronic drunk driver by his own admission (he said he didn’t drink any more when he was busted than he usually drank at dinner before driving home) and Bobby Cox beat his wife…they are both sailing into the HOF.

      If you think you care about PED used because of how it affects on the field performance, then you have to care about the entire history of PED use the same…which includes commong amphetamine use from at least the 1950s and common steroid use from at least the 1960s.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        My point is that there was nobody saying, “You can’t take this pill/injection,” back in 1961. To criticize Mickey Mantle for using amphetamines is like criticizing someone for driving 65 mph on a road where the speed limit was 65 at the time but was later lowered to 55. I also don’t think that amphetamines are anywhere close to equal to steroids in terms of their impact on players’ numbers.

      • paperlions - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Actually, there is far more evidence that amphetamines help player performance in baseball than steroids. Hitting and pitching are highly derived skills and raw strength has less to do with success than in less derived activities. Baseball players have been taking steroids since the 1960s, there is a reason that offense exploded in 1993 (the HR rate in MLB went up by 50% almost over night), and it wasn’t that everyone suddenly started taking steroids at the same time.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        I’d love to see the evidence of that. I’m not trying to sound like an ass when I say that, either. If there have been unbiased scientific studies on the impact of both drugs and they say amphetamines have a bigger impact then it would be interesting to see. What my eyes tell me is that both have an impact but neither will make a mediocre player a Hall of Fame level player.

        From what I’ve seen, however, steroids have had a bigger impact on individual performance. Perhaps the impact is greater now than it was in the 1960s because players now actually have the time to take full advantage of their effects while players back then weren’t as focused on off-season workouts. Or perhaps technological advances have created “better” steroids. Or some combination of both. I highly doubt it’s a coincidence that some of the “best” players from 1993-2002 had their best performances when they were using steroids.

        Look at guys like Mantle and Mays. Did they improve in the ages 36-39 seasons or did they start to decline? Hell, Mantle didn’t even play after his age-36 season.

        At age 36, Barry Bonds hit 73 HRs with an .863 Slugging %. At age 39, he slugged .812 and won his 4th consecutive MVP Award. At age 42, his OPS+ was 169. Hank Aaron’s was 102 at that age.

        So what did Bonds do that the others didn’t?

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        At what age did Henry Aaron achieve his highest and second highest slugging percentages?

        That’s right, ages 37 and 39.

        Aaron’s late-career numbers no doubt had a lot to do with Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. My point is that you can’t assume that steroids were the only factor or even the primary factor when that kind of thing happens.

        There were a number of other guys compiling crazy numbers during Bonds’ amazing late-career run. It’s certainly far from proven that the offense of that era was inflated only because of steroids, or even primarily because of steroids. Points made elsewhere about the suddenness of the jump in 1993 and the temporary plateau of 1987 introduce serious doubt about that assumption.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        So what did Bonds do that the others didn’t?

        What about all the others that took ‘roids? When you focus on one person you are missing the forest for the trees.

        Look at guys like Mantle and Mays. Did they improve in the ages 36-39 seasons or did they start to decline? Hell, Mantle didn’t even play after his age-36 season.

        Aaron hit his career high in HR at age 37, Williams put up a triple crown and 233 OPS+ season at 38, Fisk hit his career high in HR at 37 too. Ruth had a 201 OPS+ season at 37…

        Great players are sometimes great because they can sustain that greatness a lot longer than others.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        Hank Aaron’s slugging % didn’t suddenly jump hundreds of points at those ages. He sluged .600 or better 4 times prior to 1971 and led the league 3 times. His 47 HRs in 1971 were only 3 more than his previous career high (which he did 3 times, including just 2 seasons prior to hitting 47). And his production trailed off after that age-39 season. His slugging % dropped from .643 to .491 in his age-40 season to .355 in his age-41 season. He wasn’t in the top 10 in OPS after 1973. Bonds was 6th in the NL in his last 2 seasons. Bonds’ OPS+ at age 42: 169. Aaron at the same age: 102 (a slight improvement from 95 the year before).

        Bonds’ .863 slugging % in 2001 is 256 points above his career slugging %. Aaron’s career high of .669 in his age-37 season just 114 points above his career slugging %.

      • clemente2 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        tyson—do some more research on Aaron–you cherry-picked his age 42 year—look at the five before that and compare to other five year periods in his career.

        tyson–you are being very level-headed about this, but you are wandering over into the ‘I see it with my eyes’ territory. The use of speed goes way back; I bet the biggest single help for a player is to stay alert through the season and be able to focus,other than having a particular injury. Hence, speed, hence after its banning and testing, a massive upsurge in ADHD among MLB players. The second best help is for injuries and muscle recovery. Hence, PEDS (though I think here the discussion is pretty uninformed—big differences between testosterone, HGH, anabolic steroids).

        There have been numerous detailed posts in the past going over the ‘offensive explosion’ starting in 1993 and its causes. For it to be strongly caused by steroids, you have to believe suddenly a large number of players began steroids regimes in 1993. There is no evidence of this. There is evidence steroid usage began in the ’50s, got going in the ’60s and was widespread by the later ’80s. It was a factor, probably not even in the top 10 reasons (new baseball composition, new parks, expansion, etc.)

        Everyone points to Bonds’ 73 HR season–even Bonds did not match this in years before or after. The number of HRs is fluky. Bonds did start hitting more HRs, but it was precisely matched with his decision to take alot more walks. He decided to hit HRs or walk. The cream and clear let him stay healthy and not fatigued; they also helped enhance what were reported to be the most extreme workout routines this side of Bagwell. So, how do those all match? Look at his HR rate per AB after 2004 (presume stopping of PEDS) as he gets older and older.

        This is alot more complicated than “PEDS!!! OMG!!!”. And becasue it is more complicated, the easier narrative of PEDS players bad, speed users OK is wrongheaded.

      • theRed - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Once you do these things on amphetamines:

        * Do a HIIT-level regiment for 3 weeks to gain 10+ lbs of muscle for an upcoming spots season.
        * Cut your fat by 5% to improve speed by doing ritalin to suppress your appetite.
        * Get a 2nd & 3rd wind to practice for a game because you can’t fatigue much on speed.
        * Allocate doses to keep attention better than other players who might be burned out from 8 straight games + 6-practices. Allocate less on weekend games + days off to increase need to sleep and heal.

        Coming from someone who has done half those things above, I can honestly say my gym experience in college changed dramatically, and you really how powerful and readily available these things are. Unlike steroids, you could possibly pad a year’s worth of workout with about $800-1200 of these things, or a doctor who doesn’t think you focus well enough. Deniers need to realize speed is a great cheat when used correctly. Almost comical what athletes, and normal people can accomplish with them.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        Hank Aaron’s slugging % didn’t suddenly jump hundreds of points at those ages.

        How serious are you about examining this? I would suggest that if you’re really serious, you have to compare the raw numbers to league norms year by year.

        Quick summary: Aaron’s highest slugging percentage, expressed as a simple ratio to the league average, prior to age 35 was 1.61, which he achieved at age 29. His best from ages 30 through 34 was 1.58, with the other years in that period below 1.50. He then exceeded his previous career best 3 times at age 35 or later, with 1.64 at age 35, 1.64 at age 37, and 1.71 at age 39. His post-35 best was 8% better than his pre-35 best. Wow.

        Bonds’ highest slugging percentage, expressed as a simple ratio to the league average, prior to age 35 was about 1.70, which he achieved at ages 27 and 28 (rounding to the nearest hundredth). His best from ages 30 through 34 was 1.56, with the other years in that period below 1.51. He then exceeded his previous career best 4 times at age 35 or later, with 2.03 at age 36, 1.95 at age 37, 1.80 at age 38, and 1.92 at age 39. His post-35 best was 19% better than his pre-35 best. Even bigger wow.

        Obviously Bonds’ “jump” after age 35 was of a higher degree than Aaron’s. Perhaps the difference in degree is largely due to Bonds’ PEDs use, as many people already believe, but please remember that I’m arguing only that it wasn’t entirely due to PEDs use, not that PEDs had nothing to do with it.

        Meanwhile, to claim that Aaron’s numbers at and after age 35 were completely predictable given his earlier career numbers is to ignore some very obvious facts.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        I realize that amphetamines have an impact on players’ ability to stay alert and feel energized. I’m just asking how much that helps their overall numbers. It certainly doesn’t seem to help players avoid aging.

        I didn’t cherry-pick Aaron’s age-42 season. I used it to show that he started declining and used it to compare to Bonds at that same point since both players finished playing after that. He performed the way you might expect a Hall ofFame player to perform at that age. Bonds didn’t. Aaron was fairly consistent throughout his career – 44 HRs 3 times, 45 HRs once (I thin I missed that 45-HR season in an earlier post and said 44 was his highest total before hitting 47). There was no sudden remarkable season that defies reason the way there is with Bonds. Nobody thinks Aaron should have played at age 43, but plenty of Bonds supporters say he was blackballed and should have had at least a DH job in 2008.

        Church, I missed your first point in your previous post. I’m not only focusing on 1 guy. I’ve mentioned other players already such as McGwire and Sosa. It’s been stated already in this thread that nobody expects steroids to turn a bad player into Ruth or Aaron, but that doesn’t mean they don’t improve a player’s performance. I don’t think anyone is pretending they’re a magic potion that can turn lesser of the Canseco and Giambi brothers into the better of the Canseco and Giambi brothers, but they obviously played a significant role. It’s a big reason why the totals on the HR leader boards look a lot different than they did in the mid-to-late 1990s and early part of the 2000s. Look at the 40+ HR seasons:

        1996: 16
        1997: 12
        1998: 13
        1999: 13
        2000: 16
        2001: 12
        2002: 8
        2003: 10
        2004: 9
        2005: 9
        2006: 11
        2007: 5
        2008: 2
        2009: 5
        2010: 2
        2011: 2
        2012: 6
        2013: 2

        I doubt it’s a coincidence that the number or 40+ HR players per season started dropping right around the time MLB and the union agreed to the current 50-game ban for 1st-time offenders. From 1996 – 2006, there was an average of 11.7 40+ HR players per year. From 2007 – 2013, the average was 3.4. And over the last 4 seasons, the TOTAL # of 40+ HR seasons is 12. So it took 4 full seasons to equal the average season over an 11-year span that just so happened to coincide with prevalent PED use.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        On the Aaron argument: his numbers later in his career are obviously inflated by the move to Atlanta. Look at the 1971 season mentioned earlier for his career-high HR total and slugging %. 31 of his 47 HRs came at home and he slugged .786 at home vs. .556 on the road. That’s a pretty big difference. Those 31 HRs at home came in 9 fewer ABs than he had on the road, yet he nearly doubled his road HR total. Obviously, it’s not uncommon for a player to play better at home, but that’s more than a slight difference.

        Now look at his 1965 season in Milwaukee. Home: 19 HRs, .601 slugging %. Road: 13 HRs, .516 slugging %. There’s still better performance at home, but it’s not nearly as drastic and his road splits aren’t that different from his 1971 season.

        Now look at the 2001 season for Bonds. His home vs. road splits are pretty even. 37 HRs vs. 36 HRs. .915 slugging % vs. .817. So in what may have been Hank’s best season, his home power numbers don’t even match Bonds’ road power numbers from 2001.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        There was no sudden remarkable season that defies reason the way there is with Bonds.

        I once did a similar comparison between Aaron’s and Bonds’ home run rates year by year, expressed as ratios to the league norm. As it happens, you picked a bad category to make your point.

        Expressed as a ratio of HR/AB to the league’s HR/AB, Aaron’s post-35 best is 40% higher than his pre-35 best, while Bonds’ is only 22% higher.

        Let me say that again: in 2001, when Bonds hit 73 home runs, he hit them per at bat at a rate 4.58 times higher than the National League. His previous best was at age 27, when he hit them per at bat at a rate 3.75 times higher than the National League.

        In 1971, Aaron hit home runs at a rate 4.55 times higher than the National League. His best according to that measure before age 35 was 3.25, so that’s a 40% jump. (At 35 he hit them 3.60 times more frequently than the league, so if you want to put the cutoff there, it’s a 26% jump, still higher than Bonds’.)

        So you tell me. Was Bonds’ 2001 season really that much more remarkable than Aaron’s 1971 season? Note that Bonds’ rate, 4.58 times higher than the NL, was sustained over 476 at bats. Aaron’s rate in 1971, 4.55 times higher than the NL, was sustained somewhat longer, over 495 at bats. (Bonds had 91 more plate appearances than Aaron had in 1971 but 19 fewer at bats.)

        I think it would be instructive just to stare at the following column of numbers for a bit: the number of home runs you’d hit in a year in 476 at bats if you hit them at 4.58 times the rate of the league as a whole. Then I think we’d have a much better idea of what 73 looks like translated for context.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        On the Aaron argument: his numbers later in his career are obviously inflated by the move to Atlanta.

        Excellent. You’ve finally ceded my point, which is that these kinds of “jumps” have occurred historically for reasons that probably have little or nothing to do with PEDs.

        Which implies that when you see such jumps, even when they occur during the so-called “steroid era”, you cannot rule out factors other than PEDs when attempting to explain how they occurred.

        And that’s all I was after here.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        I never said that no other factors could play a role. However, using Aaron to compare to Bonds is not a good argument. Aaron’s increases in performance can be directly tied to moving to a park that was extremely HR-friendly. His home/road splits illustrate that point. However, with Bonds there is no drastic home/road split so that takes his home park out of the equation. Other factors ahve already been addressed (not getting good pitches, elbow pads) and there is nothing there to suggest they played a big role in his performance. There is certainly nothing to suggest that they played a bigger role than his decision to use steroids. If you believe what was written about him, his reason for using steroids was to do exactly what he did – hit more HRs than the other guys he knew were cheating.

        Sometimes a player improves because he changed teams and moved to a hitter-friendly park, worked on his swing (or mechanics for a pitcher), got contact lenses or lasik surgery, cut back on junk food and improved his offseason workout program, or started studying opposing pitchers a little better than before. Sometimes, a guy gets better because he took steroids. When a guy takes steroids and shows unusual improvement, you tend to think they played a big role.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        Historically, individual performances can vary at greater extremes than the norm when:

        1) A player’s competition changes. This occurred when average players from the NL jumped to the fledgling AL, at a time when it was still an inferior league. It also occurred when a player stayed where he was but the league changed drastically, as occurred during World War II. Expansion also seems to have a temporary similar effect, until the amateur and minor leagues are capable of meeting the demand for more major leaguers.

        2) Physical aspects of the game change. The most obvious case of this was the end of the deadball era, but there have been other changes over time that either effect players at large or only primarily a certain subset of players, such as changes to ballpark dimensions or to other ballpark characteristics. Note that even when a group of players are potentially affected by such changes in similar ways, players may adjust to the changes faster or slower, for reasons connected with the next category of changes.

        3) The player alters himself, supplements his natural ability in some way, or alters his approach to the game. Use of PEDs falls into this category, but making an intentional change in hitting approach counts here too, including hitters who changed their approach to hit more home runs after hitting more home runs became feasible, for whatever reason. Sometimes the results are spectacular but don’t take effect immediately after a change in conditions takes place; a combination of changes in condition and approach are required before things really take off.

        In Bonds case I think it’s pretty clear that changes of both the 2nd and 3rd category combined for changes in his levels of production.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        Bonds’ highest slugging percentage, expressed as a simple ratio to the league average, prior to age 35 was about 1.70, which he achieved at ages 27 and 28 (rounding to the nearest hundredth). His best from ages 30 through 34 was 1.56, with the other years in that period below 1.51. He then exceeded his previous career best 4 times at age 35 or later, with 2.03 at age 36, 1.95 at age 37, 1.80 at age 38, and 1.92 at age 39. His post-35 best was 19% better than his pre-35 best. Even bigger wow.

        Where are you getting these numbers, b/c they aren’t right. For instance:

        ’02 – Bonds Age 37 Season you have the ratio as 1.95, but the numbers are:

        Bonds: .799
        Qualified: .461 (ratio 1.73)
        >300 PA: .433 (1.85)
        >200 PA: .424 (1.88)
        >100 PA: .410 (1.95) [is this it?]

        Because the ratios aren’t the same when you check the ’03 season (100 PA gives a 1.93 ratio).

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        Simpler than that. Instead of “league average” I should have said “SLG for the league’s composite line for everybody”.

        Bonds 2002 SLG .799. NL SLG for all batters, all positions, everybody, no weighting by playing time or anything else: .410.

        Bonds 2003 SLG .749. NL SLG .417.

  6. lpd1964 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Who cares ? Let em all in.

    • renaado - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      This statement is crazy and reckless !

  7. metalhead65 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    right because we all know amphetamines do the same for your body as steroids right? I mean Mantle and the other guys who took them over the years all had their bodies transform into muscle bound freaks after using them right? they set records after using them and became faster and stronger and better players right? 2 totally different things and you know it! stop trying to lump players from the old days in with steroid cheats to make you feel better about your heroes.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      they set records after using them and became faster and stronger and better players right?

      What records did: Jeremy Giambi, Ozzie Canseco, Alex Sanchez, et al set? If Bonds was solely a product of steroids, why didn’t all these other players “set records”?

      • dexterismyhero - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        hope that was said with some sarcasm……………how about several players blowing away their personal best seasons…Brady Anderson….Brett Boone…..Geez….

      • clydeserra - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        Ryan Franklin is the single season leader in Strike outs.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        No it wasn’t. Tell me what records those three I mentioned broke? And people blew away their personal bests? That’s never happened without steroids before, right? Or are you accusing Maris of using steroids?

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        I think a better question is: what minor league players did they beat out for jobs as a result of their steroid use? It IS possible to improve mediocre performance via steroids without becoming a record-breaking All Star.

        However, I don’t think anyone believe that Barry Bonds would have the career and single-season HR records if he played clean. And there’s no way McGwire and Sosa were passing Maris. McGwire was on the Dave Kingman path and had to sit out the last game of the year once to avoid finishing with a batting average under .200. Suddenly, the next season he hits 20 more HRs in 15 fewer games with a 200-point jump in his Slugging % and a 73-point jump in OPS+ (from a pretty average 103 to a league-leading 176). He never hit less than 50 HRs in a full season after that.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Because Jeremy Giambi, Ozzie Canseco & Alex Sanchez all started with the same baseline talent & skill levels and used the exact same steroids & training regimens as Bonds, McGwire, Sosa & other recordbreakers, right? So they should’ve put up the exact same numbers.

        Lame, horrible argument, dude. And the original comment was actually really easy to knock down (amphetamines keep players on the field with high energy levels during the LONG grind of an MLB season). But please, continue to deny the hundreds of studies proving the efficacy of steroids on muscle growth, and the simple physics of more muscular capacity = faster bat = faster ball off bat = higher BABIP & HR rate, given identical swings from the same player.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Because Jeremy Giambi, Ozzie Canseco & Alex Sanchez all started with the same baseline talent & skill levels and used the exact same steroids & training regimens as Bonds, McGwire, Sosa & other recordbreakers, right? So they should’ve put up the exact same numbers.

        But wait a second. I thought it was the PEDs that helped Bonds, McGwire and Sosa break all those records? Are you telling me now it was their talent + work ethic that were of significant help?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        But please, continue to deny the hundreds of studies proving the efficacy of steroids on muscle growth, and the simple physics of more muscular capacity = faster bat = faster ball off bat = higher BABIP & HR rate, given identical swings from the same player.

        cite 3 (and BABIP has nothing to do with HR since HR aren’t in play)

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        But please, continue to deny the hundreds of studies proving the efficacy of steroids on muscle growth,

        Missed this part. Stop putting these words in my mouth. I’ve never denied that steroids don’t help a player improve his strength. What’s up for debate is HOW MUCH they improve it.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        “Are you telling me now it was their talent + work ethic that were of significant help?”

        Of course they are. Not one person, not even the most virulent and uninformed anti-steroids crusaders argue that steroids could turn any bum off the street into an all-time great baseball player. Stop creating straw men. Steroids turned Barry Bonds from one of the top 25 or so players in history into one of the top 2 hitters in history, matched only by Babe Ruth – and though I disagree, there’s plenty of reasonable debate that he was even better than Ruth. Baseline talent matters.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Steroids turned Barry Bonds from one of the top 25 or so players in history into one of the top 2 hitters in history, matched only by Babe Ruth – and though I disagree, there’s plenty of reasonable debate that he was even better than Ruth. Baseline talent matters.

        Personally I feel Williams is a better hitter, but you can argue top 2/3. Regardless, how are you so sure it was steroids that did this? What proof can you cite that it was steroids alone that turned Bonds from a likely HoF’er to one of the best ever?

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        STOP WITH THE STRAW MEN!! Where have I claimed anywhere “that it was steroids alone that turned Bonds from a likely HoF’er to one of the best ever?” I am simply arguing that it was a major factor, with a much greater effect than a new elbow pad.

      • clemente2 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        You are underestimating the effect of that pad (look at Bagwell, too.) It allowed Bonds to just sit there and not be afraid of inside pitches, giving him both confidence and alittle extra time to decide to swing or not. Adding that little bit of help to a guy who had eyes like Williams makes a difference.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        I’m not underestimating anything. Yes, the pad made a difference. Yes, the shrinking strike zone and juiced up ball made a difference.

        Having the added strength to hit the ball a whole lot further made a much bigger difference.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        STOP WITH THE STRAW MEN!! Where have I claimed anywhere “that it was steroids alone that turned Bonds from a likely HoF’er to one of the best ever?

        Jesus christ man that’s not what strawman means, and my remark about Bonds wasn’t an argument with you. You know what my argument is:

        what proof can you cite that it was STEROIDS that made Bonds one of the best ever

        Argue that. Provide proof, and not just AB/HR.

    • pmbryant - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Baseball is a skill game. Just because you hand an Olympic weightlifter a bat, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to hit a home run. We can speculate all we want about who has a “steroid body” and who doesn’t, but the real reason the steroids are popular is because they allow players to come back (or not succumb) to nagging injuries. And when players don’t feel like they are hurt, they can play more confidently. HR production tends to go up when your in the lineup, as opposed to not being in the lineup. The old guard who popped amphetamines by the fistful in the trainer’s room did so for exactly the same reason. They needed an edge to be able to get out there and perform. And I don’t have a problem with that, but if you were an MLB player in the 1970s or earlier and you ever took an amphetamine to help you out on the field, or to even get out on the filed, then you have no business running your mouth about steroid users, and you should spare us your hypocrisy.

      • metalhead65 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        so your telling me if your skill is hitting home runs the extra muscle you put on does not add any extra strength or power to make the balls you hit go farther enabling what normally would be an out go further to now be a home run? your saying that the steroids bonds and others took had no effect on the amount of home runs they hit? the fact they suddenly hit 20 more homers than they ever had before had nothing to do with steroids? if not then why were they taking them? the old guard took amphetamines to give them an a edge but it did not help them hit more runs or run faster or throw the ball harder. spare me your it is not cheating excuses.they are not the same and you know it you just can’t accept your heroes cheated to get their records and do not deserve to be in the hall of fame.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        the fact they suddenly hit 20 more homers than they ever had before had nothing to do with steroids?

        If they did, and how much of an effect is still up for debate, why did he not hit more than 49 HR in any other season?

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        “If they did, and how much of an effect is still up for debate, why did he not hit more than 49 HR in any other season?”

        Well… his AB/HR rate was significantly better in his steroid years than in his MVP-caliber pre-steroid years. From 1990-1998, he hit a HR every 13.9 ABs, with a peak of 10.6 as a 29 year old in 1994. From 1999-2005, he hit a HR every 8.5 ABs with a freakshow peak of 6.5 in his 73 HR year, and was below 9 ABs/HR in all but 1999. So yeah, he hit a whole bunch more HRs every year after he started juicing, until he finally declined at age 41.

      • grumpyoleman - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        “If they did, and how much of an effect is still up for debate”

        Please provide location of said debates.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Please provide location of said debates.

        We’re currently having one right now. Unless you think it’s set in stone, in which case [citation needed]

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Well… his AB/HR rate was significantly better in his steroid years than in his MVP-caliber pre-steroid years. From 1990-1998, he hit a HR every 13.9 ABs, with a peak of 10.6 as a 29 year old in 1994. From 1999-2005, he hit a HR every 8.5 ABs with a freakshow peak of 6.5 in his 73 HR year, and was below 9 ABs/HR in all but 1999. So yeah, he hit a whole bunch more HRs every year after he started juicing, until he finally declined at age 41.

        AB/HR is a bit of a rough statistic to use because of how often Bonds was walked. Some of his years he played full seasons and got less than 550 AB because of the IBB (look at ’04, 147 games played, 497 AB; meanwhile when JRoll got MVP he had 716 AB in just 15 more games)

        How much do we want to attribute his increase in HR rate to steroids? What about the shrinking zone, extra armor, etc? Could those have helped as well?

      • davidpom50 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        I use ABs/HR because he obviously can’t hit a home run in plate appearances when he walks. Unfortunately, it also removes sac flies, but the walks have a much greater effect. I don’t attribute much at all of the HR rate to shrinking strike zone or body armor or the fact that pitchers refused to throw him strikes. Those are the reasons for spikes in his walk rate (which was already stellar). There would be a small effect to his HR rate from being even more selective, but a much greater effect from a much faster bat.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        “AB/HR is a bit of a rough statistic to use because of how often Bonds was walked. Some of his years he played full seasons and got less than 550 AB because of the IBB (look at ’04, 147 games played, 497 AB; meanwhile when JRoll got MVP he had 716 AB in just 15 more games)

        How much do we want to attribute his increase in HR rate to steroids? What about the shrinking zone, extra armor, etc? Could those have helped as well?”

        How is that a rough statistic to use? He hit 46 HRs in 403 AB in 2002 at age 37. In 1993, he hit 46 HRs in 539 ABs. He hit 45 HRs in both 2003 and 2004 in 390 and 373 AB. And when he hit 73, he had 476 AB. In 1998, he hit 37 in 552 AB. What do walks have to do with anything? He had fewer opportunities to hit HRs and hit the same amount. The number of ABs Jimmy Rollins had is irrelevant.

        For whatever it’s worth, Bonds struk out 93 times in 2001. That’s the 2nd-highest total of his career and most since 1989 when he matched that total in 104 more ABs (15 more PA). I don’t think you can blame the strike zone for his HR total that year. He was also hit by 9 pitches that year. That was a career-high at the time and he was hit by 10 the next season. So I don’t think the elbow armor had an impact since pitchers were still willing to throw inside. He hit 37 HRs at home and 36 on the road in his 73-HR season, so his home park wasn’t much of a factor, either.

    • clydeserra - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      cue paper in 5-4-3-2-1…

    • supersnappy - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Your right, amphetamines and steroids have different effects on your body… one makes you more alert and reduces the effects of fatigue, the other makes you stronger and helps with muscle recovery.
      You seem to be implying that only one of those effects, steroids, gives players an undeserved advantage, and that amphetamine use is either unimportant or acceptable. I think Craig’s point is that its hypocritical to accept one form of medical enhancement but vilify the other.

      • grumpyoleman - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Coffee, Mountain Dew, and Energy drinks make you more alert too. None of which are going to set you apart from your competition.

    • aceshigh11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      You really have no clue what you’re talking about. Amphetamines might be even more beneficial than steroids to a baseball player, given the 162-game schedule and the critical importance of focus and eyesight.

      You’re evaluating this issue through a haze of childhood nostalgia. There were just as many unscrupulous scumbags playing baseball in the ’50s and ’60s as in the ’90s and ’00s.

      • metalhead65 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        you have no clue what you are talking about if continue to believe and say steroids had no part in those players who took them setting records. plays like bonds and sosa who suddenly went from highs of 30 and 40 homers to suddenly coming into camp with bulked up bodies and then proceeding to hit 60 and however many homers bonds ended up hitting to set the record. go ahead and continue to deny that steroids had anything to do with them and continue to live in that dream world you live in.

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Nowhere did I make that claim. Learn to read more accurately.

        I said that you can’t condemn steroid users while simultaneously hailing amphetamine users without being a hypocrite.

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Just to follow up: of course steroids helped make Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, into home run hitting freaks…just like amphetamines enabled Pete Rose to break Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record.

        So why are you taking such a casual approach to amphetamines while falsely accusing me of excusing steroids?

        It’s about consistency.

      • metalhead65 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        how exactly did the amphetamines enable Rose or anybody else break records. it did not make their bodies stronger or improve his ability to hit a baseball the way steroids helped helped the cheaters break and set records. just stop trying to compare the 2 they are totally different.

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Amphetamines give you energy and focus, and improve visual acuity.

        For a slap singles hitter like Rose who needed to extend his career for YEARS, I’d say that counts for a lot.

        It’s not my job to educate you on the benefits of amphetamines to baseball players. The information is out there, but you’re clearly not interested because it would shatter your nostalgic childhood memories.

  8. belichickrulz - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Since the MLBPA continues to support and defend PEDs users, it is apparent that those most victimized by the cheaters – other players – don’t care. So then as a fan, why should I?

    • sdelmonte - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      The same MLBPA that is about to change the punishments on steroid use in the middle of a contract, without anyone asking them to?

      • clemente2 - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Politics

  9. mkd - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I’ve extraordinarily sympathetic to the demons and injuries Mantle dealt with but can we please talk about the double standard that only mentions his self-destructive alcoholism in hilarious “Oh that Mickey…” kind of stories. Say what you want about modern PED guys, but at least they’re obsessed with pursuing excellence at all costs. Meanwhile Mantle is off getting wasted with Billy Martin and playing most of his games in a hungover fog. How much did that affect the record books? If I have to point my kid to a role model I’ll take the guy who steps over the line trying to enhance himself rather than the guy who steps over the line trying to destroy himself.

    • pmbryant - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      I agree with what you said, but to just offer different perspective, I’d rather my kid was a player like Mickey Mantle, who was one of the guys and beloved by his teammates, then a guy like Joe DiMaggio, who though his you-know-what didn’t stink, and acted like he was above his teammates because he wasn’t the sort of man who had friends.

    • yahmule - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Yeah, because no modern major leaguers are out chasing trim in nightclubs until the sun comes up.

  10. yahmule - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:28 AM

  11. lpd1964 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Let the fans decide who should be in the hall, if not, why bother going to see the hall of fame ?

  12. pmbryant - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    @metalhead65: you have it all wrong. I don’t care bout these guys’ records, I just don’t like the hypocrisy of the so-called purists, when players have been taking substances for years to try to get an edge. You says ” the old guard took amphetamines to give them an a edge but it did not help them hit more runs or run faster or throw the ball harder” Of course they did. Why on earth would they have taken them if not for these reasons? If you’re banged up and can’t perform, of course taking something that makes you feel better is going to boost your performance. I’m not disputing that the ‘roids helped Barry boost his HR totals, but this is a guy who knew how to hit HRs in the first place, and you are completely discounting Bonds’ calculated business decision to change his game to try to hit more HRs after the season where McGwire and Sosa dominated the headlines by chasing and surpassing 61. If steroids are so magical, then why did Brady Anderson never have a second huge HR season?

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Double Standards a rampant. I read this article from noted ARod crucifier and generally two-faced reporter Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, all about how Ortiz probably used steroids but it shouldn’t matter because Ortiz was the best player who wasn’t good enough to wear a mitt. (Nevermind that ARod has a legitimate claim to the greatest SS AND 3B in baseball, and is in the conversation for best right-handed hitter ever)

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2014/03/david_ortiz_to_the_hall_of_fame_it_may_be_easier_t.html

    • 18thstreet - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      I think you’re mischaracterizing Pete Abraham on A-Rod. But I’m not going to bother going into a lengthy argument about it. I’ll just say that — I think — Abraham objects to A-Rod’s prodigious lying much more than A-Rod’s steroid use.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Perhaps your take on Pete Abe’s position is true, but he takes no issue with Ortiz’ lying, while admitting he probably has done so. For all of ARod’s lying, he came clean about past steroid use, which is more than Ortiz has done. Isn’t admitting mistakes supposed to be the panacea for steroid users? Meanwhile, I don’t recall a single reporter asking Ortiz a follow up question about his steroid use since he launched his “investigation” into his failed test. I am not necessarily saying Ortiz is or was a cheater, but there is certainly a double standard in how these two players are treated. I think “general likeability” has everything to do with which steroid users are banished while others remain untainted.

  14. sdelmonte - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Leavy’s unnecessary moment of bashing steroid users in a book that was not about them rubbed me the wrong way with her Mantle bio. But so did her blatant lack of objectivity. She never sugarcoated Mickey’s failings, but it was clear that none of them mattered to her. He would remain her hero.

    Which is preferable only to the hatchet job style of bio, but not by a lot. Give me a balanced and objective book that examines the subject in context and through the eyes of others but not the writer ahead of both.

  15. lukedunphysscienceproject - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    What don’t you understand? Amphetamines are obviously not performance enhancing drugs. That’s why virtually every player in baseball took them for 50 years.

  16. yahmule - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    I think the most compelling evidence that steroids have no impact whatsoever on performance was Javy Lopez’ 2003 season.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lopezja01.shtml

  17. frank35sox - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    If you can’t punish everyone, then don’t punish anyone. That’s what your argument boils down to every, single time.

    I would have loved you as a teacher. “Well Johnny cheated, but I know that other people in the class did to, so it’s ok.”

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      No, it’s not. How about consistency though? To use your terrible teacher analogy it would have been, I never cared about people cheating before, so why should I care now?

  18. jwbiii - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    In New York, Jacobson was known as Dr. Feelgood to the jet-setters, celebrities, and pols who visited his office day and night for injections of amphetamines laced with vitamins, human placenta, and eel cells.

    [Mantle] was introduced to Jacobson by Yankee broadcaster and longtime Jacobson patient Mel Allen, and Jacobson “prepared a special mixture that included steroids, placenta, bone, calcium and a very small amount of methamphetamine.”

    The second quote is from a biography of Dr. Jacobson. Notice the subtle difference?

    • raysfan1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Yes, I did, thanks. What bio of Dr Jacobsen, and where may I find it please?

      • jwbiii - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        Dr. Feelgood by Richard Lertzman and Dr. William Birnes.

  19. anxovies - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    I fail to see how a shot of amphetamine and vitamins in a quack physician’s office, which would provide only a couple of hours of increased alertness, equates with a regimen of illegal steroids that is specifically calculated to artificially increase strength and athleticism. History revises itself sooner or later and I guess this is the time in the barrel for the players of the 60s and 70s. Amphetamines are not going to permit a player to increase HR output by 30% or permit an aging player to throw 96 mph fastballs.

  20. campcouch - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    I won’t criticize or praise any player that used any enhancer. I can’t see how comparing a player from one decade to another because the PED was illegal or legal at the time justifies any judgment on their place in baseball history. The fact is the entire existence of MLB is full of guys who used some kind of product to gain an edge and only because of “modern” laws that we’ve formed opinions on this. MLB won’t return any profits gained from any “tainted” season, franchises won’t relinquish pennants or championships either. Players don’t care because the guys that “cheat” set the market for contracts, so they all get pay raises. The purity went out the window when the first guy came up to bat chewing on sugar cane or had a cup of Joe before taking up first base.

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