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Editing the record book

Posted at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2005 by David Zingler (3 Comments)

By now we all know about the now tainted steroid era of major league baseball. During the late 1980s through the early 2000s, some of the gamesí most cherished records fell under a cloud of suspicion. We decided to restore some those records to their rightful owners.

Career Base on Balls
Book says: Barry Bonds, (1986-Present): 2,302
In reality: Rickey Henderson, (1979-2003): 2,190

Bonds has been proficient at drawing walks throughout his career, but since 2001 itís been gotten ridiculous (177, 198, 148, 232). Pitchers have been so scared to pitch to the hulk, that they often simply hand him first base. Henderson meanwhile, was the ultimate pest once on base. No pitcher in his right mind wanted to put Rickey on the base paths. Bonds is also drawing close to Hendersonís all time runs scored record, but in our mind, it will still belong to Rickey.

Single Season Slugging %
Book says: Barry Bonds, SF: .863, 2001
In reality: Babe Ruth, NYY: .847, 1920

Unless you count hot dogs and all night benders, the Bambino didnít use performance enhancers.

40/40 seasons
Book says:
Jose Canseco, Oakland: 42 HRs/40 SB, 1988
Barry Bonds, SF: 42 HRs/40 SB, 1996
Alex Rodriguez, Seattle: 42 HRs/46 SB, 1998

In reality: Alex Rodriguez, Seattle: 42 HRs/46 SB, 1998

Canseco made this easy for us by shamelessly admitting to injecting himself and others with steroids in his book. Bondsí case is a little trickier because he didnít really start to bulk up until around 2000. Right now however, we just canít give him the benefit of the doubt. That leaves A-Rod as the only real 40/40 man. His pursuit of the milestone in 1998 went largely unnoticed because we naively thought it had been done (legitimately) before.

And finally, the grand daddy of them all...

Single Season Homeruns
Book says: Barry Bonds, SF: 73, 2001
In reality: Roger Maris, NYY: 61, 1961

The ironic thing about this is that many people argued that Maris should have an asterisk next to his name back in 1961 because he played a 162 game season, while Babe Ruth had a 154 game season when he hit 60 in 1927. Of course, the Babe didnít have to face the top African-American pitchers like Satchel Paige because the so-called ďgentlemanís agreementĒ between owners kept blacks out the big leagues for 20 more years. We also donít count McGwire and Sosaís tainted 1998 and 1999 seasons or Sammyís 2001 campaign.

Comments (3)

By the same logic that Maris' HR total counts, in a longer season, by virtue of the de-segregated game and therefore elevated level of competition...

... don't you have to stick an asterisk next to the Babe's records? It's true, he didn't use performance enhancing drugs, but you could easily argue that because he only ever played under the "gentleman's agreement", and didn't have to face African-American pitchers, his slugging percentage (among other records) should not be considered as a reflection of the greatest of all baseball.

Another record set straight:
Worst Thing to Happen to Baseball
Popular Opinion says: 1919 World Series Fix by the Chicago Black Sox
In reality: The collusion issue of the early 1980's.

Throwing a series is really, really bad. Treating people like objects so you don't have to distribute your immense wealth among other (admittedly - immensely wealthy) people is worse.

Almost as bad as excessively long blog comments.

Posted by Monster | May 17, 2005 10:35 AM

I see your point, but it's really not Ruth's fault that baseball was a racist institution. Using steriods is a personal choice.

Posted by daveZ | May 17, 2005 2:07 PM

True, indeed. If the point of the record book is to keep track of individual excellence (as opposed to the top standards in the game), then Ruth belongs, sans " * ".

Posted by Monster | May 17, 2005 3:52 PM

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