Story of the Week
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: THE CIRCUS
When Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season homer record in 1961, an asterisk appeared in the record book signifying that the Babe hit his 60 in 1927 in a 154-game schedule, while Roger hit his 61 during a 162-game schedule in 1961. I suppose that asterisk belongs there; it’s ok with me.
So what should appear next to the single-season and career homer accomplishments of Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi and any other steroid kings? Absolutely nothing; no asterisk at all. Why not? Because their steroidal accomplishments should not be in the record book to begin with.
I heard an interview with Tommy LaSorda while I was in L.A. last week. Tommy and I are in complete agreement. Any statistics of any steroid users (the seasons while they’re on performance-enhancing drugs) should be thrown out as if they had never happened. They should be completely expunged from the records.
In addition, no steroidal stats should be considered for the Hall of Fame. Only those players’ non-steroidal years should be considered for entry to the Hall. That would logically eliminate Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and others from Hall of Fame consideration. Fraudulent playing field stats don’t deserve Hall of Fame consideration. Legitimate playing field stats are the only ones that do, and that’s precisely why the greatest hit-maker of all time, Pete Rose, clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame, but that is clearly another story. (There was a noteworthy Hall of Fame performance last week. It was McGuire’s dramatic tear-jerking performance in front of the Congressional hearings. Now that was a performance!)
Barry Bonds has now come up with an injury that could force him to miss part or all of the 2005 season. At this point, I truly believe that he’s having second thoughts about breaking the great Henry Aaron’s career homer record. If he does break it, it would be under a very dark baseball cloud instead of the bright lights a legitimate record deserves. Can you just imagine Bonds breaking the record and receiving a deafening chorus of boos from the stands in the process? And if Bonds does indeed break Aaron’s record, I hope Hank isn’t on site to glamorize such an unglamorous event. If I were Aaron, being the baseball purist I am, I sure as hell wouldn’t be there. Whatever happens, as far as I’m concerned, Roger Maris is still the single-season home run king, and Hank Aaron will still be the career home run king, and to hell with those players who needed the prop of steroids to accomplish what they did while demeaning what was once the great game of baseball.
I have long been a vociferous critic of Bud Selig’s handling of the issues of the use of steroids, the lack of an objective and independent drug testing policy, and the lack of a salary cap in MLB. It is my opinion that any similarity between Bud Selig and a competent baseball commissioner is purely coincidental, and he should be tossed from office. After all, he’s the guy in charge of this circus, and the buck stops here.
I am still awaiting a reply to a letter I wrote to Bud Selig many months ago. I challenged Selig to an open debate on the subjects noted above. It’s no surprise that he hasn’t responded.
Last Week’s Trivia
In 1982, Dave Kingman of the Mets set a MLB record for lowest batting average of a player who led his league in homers. He hit a horrific .204 while popping his league-leading 37 home runs. (Apparently, no steroids were in use then. Only 37 homers to lead the league.)
Trivia Question of the Week
As long as we’re on the subject of home run hitters, what MLB player owns the record for the most consecutive seasons leading his league in that department? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.