Lots of interesting points here.
I definitely agree with timkell about spitballers or players who modified their bats in bygone days not being cheaters. Not only were the rules different in those days, but so was the perception of what was right and wrong. One additional point to keep in mind is that no matter whether Ruth modified his bat or not (and I'm still looking into that one), his bats were still far less effective than those used today. Bats may not have evolved quite as much as gloves, but the difference is still pretty significant.
eftda's also right about bounce home runs prior to 1931, but these weren't all that common. I don't know how many Ruth may have hit, but in his 60 hr season, all 60 went over the fence without bouncing. I also agree about being able to compare players from different eras (hey, we wouldn't be baseball fans if we didn't do that
). We might not be able to find any etched-in-stone answers, but that doesn't mean we can't ask the question.
And as for Bonds' interview: Yes, it's good to see one of today's stars sticking up for the Negro Leagues and its players, who indeed don't receive the attention and the respect they deserve. But I do think it's strange, and a bit unfortunate, to use Ruth as a reference when the Babe himself was often the target of racist slurs...