Weather or not steroids are/were technically legal or not in baseball....if Bonds were to break Aarons record...and it is confirmed that Bonds used performance enhancing steroids during his career....it would be hard for me to accept that he is the legitimate holder of the most cherished of baseball records.
Look at Hank Aaron's statistics. Is Bonds, Aaron or Ruth better? Who knows? My money would probably be on Bonds. One thing's for sure, though, anybody that says Hank Aaron is overrated doesn't know baseball.
so gaylord perry and other spitball and scuffball pitchers HAD BETTER be discounted in the eyes of any purist in this discussion. Players who use those pitches were in violation of the rules of MLB. They gained a massive advantage over the peers who elected not to cheat. Bonds used an advtantage that was not illegal according to the rules and set the record. Why should his records be tarnished but those of cheating pitchers are not?
I think a ton of players records should be tarnished if you want them to be. I don't happen to think that way. A lot of people wanted amris' records tarnished because he had more games. But he probably had tougher pitching too.
Everyone points tot he racism that faced aaron and jackie robinson. Those players had tarnished records too -- if you think about it. They might have had even better stats, had there not been basically instituitionalized racism in the nation in general and the game in particular.
Ty Cobb was a dispicable man who sharpened his spikes and cheated in inumerable ways -- but his record is not "tarnished". How many extra base hits would he have if he wasn't one of the dirtiest players around?
At the end of the day, Bonds hit this many homeruns and MAYBE (I will admit, almost definitely) used performance enhancing drugs. But, this has not been proven. And even if it is proven, was still not against the rules.
The are all sorts of ways to enhance performance, game tape, corked bats, stealing signals, crowding the plate, scuffing the ball, you name it. At the end of the day, bonds used a tool, a tool that was not forbidden, to make his game better -- at the detriment to hismelf. I don't think it is "Cheating" per se. I think it is dumb, and steroids either should be allowed -- MLB says "do what you want, it is your body", or not allowed. But as it was allowed at the time, his record stands. It is allowed in the same way that various pitchers benefitted from differing mound heights, illegal pitches, you name it.
The storied history of baseball is that even though there are mitigating circumstances in every era, there is enough of a sample size of players that a record is a record. As far as I can tell only two other players that have ever played MLB have hit more HR's than bonds. Steroids or not, that is an accomplishment.
Perhaps, the steroids he took come out in the wash with an era of probably tougher pitching. (I think, and this can certainly be refuted that with the money and the social acceptance and push towards professional athletics that the pitching top to bottom is probably better today than at any point prior. IN GENERAL. Game tapes, conditioning, specialized roles and coaching have made these guys damn good. The worst pticher today is probably much better than the worst pitcher of yester year.)
Koufax and the legends I feel are timeless, but I also think that the schillings and pedros and clemens' of the world would have crushed back in the day as well.
At the end of the day, Bonds did it, and he did it legally under the rules of MLB.
Those were the left and right field dimensions that Mr. Ruth faced half the year at cozy Yankee Stadium?
Compare that to Three Rivers/Candlestick/SBC (Pac Bell).
Next point-Guillermo Mota. There was no Guillermo Mota, Eric Gange, Billy Wagner, Brendan Donnelly, Troy Percival, Mariano Rivera in Ruth's day. There were starters. They pitched the whole game. There were not situtaional relievers. There were relievers, but they were mostly 5th and 6th starters who would pitch long relief.
Next point-White folk. Ruth only had to face one race of players. Look at the game today. Though there are more teams, which era had the better athelete? Where are those althelets from. Today we have players from Australia, S. Korea, Japan, Mexico, etc. The game is over 30 percent hispanic, and over 15 percent black. Picture the lineup of any team...let's say...my favorite team, the Yankees, with only white players. What does it look like?
This is a long point to illustrate, but you get the point. Do this with any major league team.
The HR leaders last year would have been Thome, Sexson, Giambi, Bagwell, Edmonds, and Boone. SB champs of Posedinik, and Baldelli.
Really, let that sink in, no Pedro, no Pujols, no Bonds. Historically, no Aaron, Gibson, Mays, Clemente.
Next point-Lineup-Ruth had the Iron horse behind him much of his career. Bonds...Bonilla, and Kent. the difference between the '27 yanks and the '95 Pirates. Yeah.
Now, I'm a lifelong Yankee fan, and I love Ruth. I also love Maris and Mantle, and I understand the game, and the changes that have happened over the years. For Bonds to be doing what he is doing now is remarkable. Do I like him, not particullarly, but I also don't really know him. He seems aloof on camera, but I don't come to see personality. I come to see balls leave the yard. I come to see records being broken.
As for Aaron, he played through the toughest era in history to me. The game wasn't diluted with as many teams as it is now, and was just letting in the great non-white players. He played with class, and dignity, something which Ruth did not. He respected the game, and though now, a somewhat bitter man, I understand why due to the tyrades of people in the press, and the thoughts of the common man like us. The ballparks were big, the pitching mound was low, and he played year after year.
In the end, I ask, though Ruth is still to this day "Ruthian", but who was overrated when it comes to the game? Who respected the game more? I feel it only a refelection on who we are as fans that we can't respect someone who played year in and year out, with consistency, and a love for the game-as apposed to a womanizing drunk. I love Ruth, and as a Yankee fan, always will, but I respect Aaron.
I agree although I beg to differ on a few things. As for facing only white players, that is true. While he could have faced some latin and black competition as a hitter, comparing it to now, please give me a latin or black pitcher, not named Pedro, that Mr. Bonds faces that strikes fear in hitters. I don't see it. Aaron was an excellent hitter whose numbers and longevity should be commended but he, nor anyone else for that matter, is on the same level as Ruth, IMHO. Anyone that can outhomer teams is #1 in my book. While this is where the other competition comes in, it is still impressive.