Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Barry Bonds Edition

I used to know all the stats, and I do mean all of them. Roberto Clemente died with exactly 3,000 hits to his credit. His last hit was a double off of Mets pitcher Jon Matlack who retired, if I recall correctly, with a record of 126-125, but with an ERA, I think, of 3.25 which is not bad at all.

Now comes Barry Bonds to set a new record and where he'll end up is hard to say. But what to say about the steroids?

First, I'm not sure it's been proven conclusively whether he actually used the performance enhancing drug and if he did, then when and for how long and to what end?

From the start of his career, Bonds has hit the ball hard - compare his stats in 1993 (46 hr, 123 rbis, .336 ba) or 1996 (42, 129, .308) to every other year in his career and he comes up pretty much even...except, of course, for 2001 when he smashed his way to the single season HR record (73, 137, .328). Now, no one (that I know of) accuses him of using steroids in 1993. So the real problem is 2001. But then...

Can steroids, which help you bulk up, really help a guy like Bonds who normally doesn't muscle the ball out of the park? I mean, it seems to me most of his homers are due to bat speed. Steroids don't usually help with that, do they? Maybe.

Fact is, even without the supercharged 2001 season, Barry Bonds would be headed for the Hall of Fame. Give him a normal (for him) year - 43 HRs instead of 73. Right now he'd be at 726. That's not so bad. Unless we can also credit use of steroids for his missed time, namely most of 2005. Give him an average year there too - 45 HRs instead of just 5. If that's the case, he'd have broken the record weeks ago.

Lastly, if he did use steroids, he was probably one among many. Mark McGwire springs readily to mind, but not much was said about his steroid use back when he was playing. (Okay, it was said, but I don't remember the outrage I sometimes hear surrounding Bonds.) And if anyone argues that steroids can improve your upper body agility, then I have no doubt that many pitchers have taken the drug so Bonds' use kept him on par with those guys...No edge if everyone is using...

Steroids didn't improve his bat speed and it certainly didn't improve his eye for the ball - he was getting well over a hundred walks a season long before 2001. They also didn't help him to over 500 stolen bases. People forget what an athelete he has been over the years.

Anyway, I say congratulations Mr. Bonds...and good luck getting that ball back.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home