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Originally posted by HOOTIE
Ruth got caught with corked bats.
To my knowledge--and I've read just about as much about Babe Ruth's life and career as almost anyone--he got caught with A corked bat ONCE. I'd be happy to check a respectable reference which says he was thrown out of more than one game, or at least caught in more than one game, for doing so.
And re your statement that there's no proof steroids caused anyone to hit a single extra home run?:
Hootie, I have corresponded with you before on baseball topics. I usually agree with you, admire the depth of your baseball history knowledge, and have never found your opinion on other subjects irrational. But in light of the evidence on Bonds, the ludicrous improvement in what's supposed to be the end of one's career and has instead been the mega-peak, and especially the evidence on his sudden ability to hit tons of home runs for distances he'd never reached before, your denial about him is, in my view, irrational.
And this comment about there being no proof anyone hit one more HR because of steroids? Where have you been for the past 15 years? Second basemen have been hitting opposite field home runs 40 feet over the fence. Career-long mediocre players have become all-stars, and not just one or two of them. Mind-boggling performances are being turned in. Barry Bonds has found not only the Fountain of Eternal Youth, but also Kryptonite. Sammy Sosa turned a mediocre career into a good one, and then into a phenomenal one. So did Ken Caminiti, and then he died real young. Rafael Palmeiro, who improved miraculously in 1993 (his 8th season), got caught cold with a major steroid in him.
And that's maybe, what, 10% of the stories?
Babe Ruth's unbreakable .847 single-season slugging record, which nobody else ever came within a country mile of, got "broken," as did several of his other single-season records--though I am confident they will be restored, or at least that the new "records" will be asterisked.
I think, Hootie, that in the future you will look back at your stance on this as one of willful blindness, perhaps brought on by great affection for one or more players, or by not being able to stomach the thought that baseball is still in the gutter. I can understand not wanting to face that, but this one is just too obvious.
Living where I do, I get to watch virtually every Giants game I want to. BELIEVE ME, in mid-2000, it was obvious something was up with Bonds, because as he fast approached his 36th birthday, he started hitting the bejesus out of the ball, bringing McGwire's recent power to mind. And sure enough, his already legendary bat speed was suddenly a lot faster, and he could get around on ANY pitch, and pull it down that one short fence in Pac Bell Park, and just crush it.
My brother-in-law, who is not a baseball history guy, but loves the Gians just like I do and always has, talked with me about it back in mid-2000. We agreed it was obvious Bonds was using something. Since then, it's gotten a lot more obvious.
But hey, please be clear on this: I'm not singling out Bonds, because he's an a-hole or whatever (and certainly not for his race). I've said repeatedly I would consider barring Sosa and McGwire from the Hall, and were I a voter, I would NEVER vote for either of them, because if you take away the tainted "miraculously improved" stats, you don't have a Hall of Famer.
You stop Bonds' career in mid-2000, just flat erase everything he did after that (as I would), and you've still got one of the 20 best players ever, and a first-round Hall inductee. His sins since then have not involved throwing any games, so I'd sure as hell put him in the Hall, and I'd do it in his first year of eligibility.
For a rebuttal on that last point, write Toejam.
Basically what I'm trying to say, is that from personal experiences and such, I don't see why Bonds can't be just a naturally good hitter. But I'm not saying he didn't take Steroids either. I'm just simply saying that it is possible that he's doing this under his own power.