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Baseball: Barry Bonds on a tear

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posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 07:30 PM
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Maybe Barry Bonds doesn't need steriods after all. He hit home run #24 tonight, giving him 732 for his career. In the last 10 games, he has hit six homers, and raised his batting average almost 20 points. His OBP is .458, which is higher than anyone else in the majors (he doesn't have enough plate appearances to be officially ranked). His slugging of .536 is within the range of the top 20 in the NL. He says that his knee is feeling better than it has for quite some time. In fact, he had an excellent running catch in left field tonight; he almost threw out the runner at second. He's now turning on the ball well and pulling it again.

Let's say he gets five more home runs this year. That would be 737 for his career, leaving only 19 to break Hank Aaron's record. He'll want to come back. If he looks as good at the end of the season as he does now, will the Giants want him to come back?




posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 08:38 PM
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Yeah, he doesn't need steroids. The HGH works just fine in their stead. As it does with god-only-knows how many hundreds of other players today.

For myself, I think the game is still as dirty as ever. I realize gutless Bud Selig has done zero to outlaw HGH because he knows the HR's bring the people, but it's still cheating to make yourself artificially enormously stronger, and that's still what's happening. Just check all the teams on baseball-reference.com, noting how many players per team reached double-digits in HR's as recently as the late 80's (2 to 4 per year), then check how many do so today, even after steroids have been vastly diminished.

Then, if that's not good enough proof of how they've phonied up the long ball, just watch all the middle infielders hitting opposite field HR's ten rows deep. Middle infielders NEVER hit opposite field HR's 15 or 20 years ago.

I've lived, eaten and breathed the game forever, and I can barely stand to watch it today. Bud Selig and the cabal who push his buttons are the worst thing that ever happened to MLB. They're a thousand times worse than Bonds, who is simply one more guy in the Cobb-Speaker-Hornsby pantheon of ultra-jerks with incredible baseball talent. (And yes, for the zillionth time, I acknowledge that even before he became a Johnny-come-lately cheater who suddenly hit massive HR's starting in June of 2000, Barry Bonds was one of the 15 greatest MLB players ever... before one iota of baloney on his part.)

BHN



posted on Sep, 14 2006 @ 09:51 PM
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BaseballHistoryNut,

Whith all deserved respect (and I have a lot for you), this is one of those issues I could argue with you for eternity. Fair play is an ideal that doesn't exist and never did (although I'm young and you should strike that last statement). The purity of the game is gone in your mind but it was never there in the first place. I love the anti-hero, but no I don't think Bond's record will have the same emotional impact as Ruth or Aaron (obviously). The illusion of innocence is impossible to ignore these days, but I would argue that it never existed in the first place. You think Ruth would've taken enhancers if it was availabe (granted he didn't need them). In conclusion I think the way we think of sports "heroes" has been overhyped for a long time due to our own latent misgivings. What that means I couldn't possible mean.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 02:53 PM
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Bonds has passed every drug test since 2003. Who's to say Howard isn't on HGH? The game has never been clean, and never will be. Mays, Aaron are proven cheaters. Accept it.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 06:29 PM
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Originally posted by Kwyjibo
BaseballHistoryNut,

Whith all deserved respect (and I have a lot for you), this is one of those issues I could argue with you for eternity. Fair play is an ideal that doesn't exist and never did (although I'm young and you should strike that last statement). The purity of the game is gone in your mind but it was never there in the first place. I love the anti-hero, but no I don't think Bond's record will have the same emotional impact as Ruth or Aaron (obviously). The illusion of innocence is impossible to ignore these days, but I would argue that it never existed in the first place. You think Ruth would've taken enhancers if it was availabe (granted he didn't need them). In conclusion I think the way we think of sports "heroes" has been overhyped for a long time due to our own latent misgivings. What that means I couldn't possible mean.


You already know my answer to this one. It's been the same all along, and it will remain the same.

When steroids and HGH came onto the scene, it was like when fighting with bows and arrows changed to fighting with machine guns and aerial bombs. I'm not a biochemist--nor, I suspect, is anyone else here. I have no idea how bad the long-term effects of greenies and other forms of speed which are not crank are, compared to the pernicious long-term effects of steroids and HGH, though I'm sure all of them are just terrible for you. But the issue here is not their relative effects on players' health, but rather their relative effects on the game of baseball. And in that respect, there is no way any RATIONAL person who does not have a pre-existing ideological AGENDA seriously could compare the two.

I could go on for 20 paragraphs--and, now that I look at what I've written, I pretty nearly did, lol--with a detailed recitation of what the Steroid/HGH era has done to the record books. The tiny list of single-season performances with 100 or more XBH's doubled. One year, FOUR guys did it, whereas pre-Steroid Ball (pre-1994), it had been done only 8 or 9 times ever. I concede part of that is due to Helton's playing in Coors Field... which isn't to say he's clean.

The number of 50 HR hitters has gone from 10, where it had been since George Foster did it in 1977, to 24... with two more having a chance to join the club in the final games of this year. One guy, the fraudulent Sammy Sosa, hit over 60 in a season THREE times and won exactly ZERO crowns in those seasons.

There's the innumerable ways in which Bonds' various feats are provably absurd. You've seen me seen me document them all, and conceded I'm right about them. But in his defense: (1) He was a Top 20 player all-time before he joined all these other frauds; (2) he's being singled out for persecution/prosecution, in my opinion, because he's an angry and dislikable black man, while literally hundreds of other players were taking steroids before he was and the two giant frauds of 1998--neither of whom has/had 10% of his natural talent--should be prosecuted first; and (3) the people who want to toss out Bonds' ENTIRE career and exclude him from the Hall of Fame really upset me.

Jose Canseco had a great and frankly HOF career when, by his own oft-stated admission, he was "no way good enough to play in the majors without steroids."

Through 1957, this is a complete list of the players who had ever slugged .700 in a single season: Babe Ruth (NINE times), Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Hack Wilson, Al Simmons, Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial. Nine guys.

FROM 1958 THROUGH 1993, WITH GREENIES AND OTHER AMPHETAMINES BEING USED EPIDEMICALLY, TO HEAR SOME TELL IT, do you know how many guys joined the .700 slugging club? Exactly ZERO. Nada. Zilch. Not a single one.

From 1994 through 2005, here is a list of the guys who have joined the NINE prior members of the .700 club: Barry Bonds (FOUR times, all after his freakin' 37th birthday), Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker and Albert Belle.

So please, please save me the nonsense about how previous players have cheated. I KNOW THEY HAVE. But it's like saying almost everyone in my generation smoked lots of pot (which we did), so why make a big deal out of all the young people who now use methamphetamine? As a criminal lawyer of 20, I can tell you with no doubt whatsoever that there is NO DRUG anywhere near as bad for anyone as methamphetamine. Any experienced cop or prosecutor will say the same.

Steroids and HGH are baseball's methamphetamine. And the fact Bonds and others have "clean tests" is a laughably dishonest thing to say. THERE IS NO TEST FOR HGH. A guy I played poker with on the Internet, a former not-very-good Phillie pitcher now in Japan, told me virtually every MLB player is on HGH because "you're at a huge competitive disadvantage if you're not." Yes--him, too.

Now, WOULD Babe Ruth have used that crap? I don't know. Frankly, I doubt it, although I think he pretty clearly would have used greenies to help deal with his all-night drinking binges and screw-fests. (I've read 3 Ruth bios and know a lot about him, as well as many other players from 1900-1950.) So yeah, he WOULD have cheated, given the opportunity, in my belief, but not with these things they take now.

But so what? I can think of a couple of people who, in the course of my 53 years, have wronged me SO grievously that if they'd been standing in my living room laughing in my face at the time, I probably would have taken out my gun in a rage and shot them dead. That doesn't make me guilty of murder (actually manslaughter), and it sure as hell doesn't make Ruth, Gehrig (who was a nauseatingly straight arrow), Foxx (a real drunk), Greenberg (6'7" or 6'8"), Cobb, Speaker, Wagner or the execrable Hornsby cheaters. They were a lot of other things, and if given the opportunity, many of them might have done what the frauds from 1994-present have done.

BUT THEY DIDN'T, and to say that Babe Ruth, one of the game's ultimate lawbreakers, would have broken that particular ethic if given the opportunity is: (1) speculation coming from people who don't know the man 5% as well as I do; (2) not necessarily true and in fact, probably false; and (3) irrelevant, since he didn't do it.

Moreover, the "cheating is cheating" notion is nonsense that appeals only to those desperate to validate the b.s. that has occurred in the past 13 seasons. If you want to validate Bonds in particular, there are a million ways to do it: he was a major Hall of Famer when he was clean; the fact he's been the king of the cheaters is attributable to the fact he was a vastly better natural player than the other cheaters; and, in my belief, steroids and HGH do NOT prolong your career, so he would have had all these extra years--and a ton more plate appearances, because of 80% fewer walks--had he not cheated, which would have given him some very fine career stats anyway... just not absurd ones.

But the fact is, Bud Selig and company--desperate for funds after the shutdown THEY forced in 1994--have been willfully blind and complicit in a fraud of enormous proportions. There are pages you can go to on the Internet and study teams' year-by-year stats. I checked the Braves' stats for 20 straight years. There was a period in the early 90's when they suddenly went from having 2 to 4 players per year with double-digit HR totals, and usually only 2 that were meaningfully over 10, to having EVERY starter over 10. In one year, just BOOM, it suddenly happened. If you believe that's real, put your next dislodged tooth under your pillow.

There are two times in baseball history when the record book has been under the kind of attack to which Hitler subjected Eastern Europe and England in 1939-1940: First, in 1920, when the live ball came in and Babe Ruth, that year, broke basically every meaningful record that was not related to batting average; and second, from 1994 to the present, when the above-described annihilations of the record book have occurred.

SO PLEASE! Give up these lame analogies to greenies and other amphetamines that have been used since the 1950's! There is a difference between stealing a peak at someone else's answer to Multiple Choice #8 on an exam and bringing the answer grid to the entire exam to class with you. And THAT is the degree of difference between the "baseball crimes" of using speed vs. using PED's like various steroids and HGH to make yourself into a small mountain.

Who cares whether or when Selig said it was illegal? The steroids have always been federal crimes. And anyway, ANYONE knows using that sort of garbage to transmogrify their body to, say, the incredible degree Bonds did his is grossly unethical--not to mention extremely dangerous, as his and other players' heart palpitations can attest, to say nothing of the late Ken Caminiti.

Comparing these respective baseball crimes is like comparing grand theft to kidnaping for ransom. Please note I didn't call using speed "shoplifting," nor did I call using the garbage of McGwire, Sosa, Brady Anderson, Kent, Sheffield, Palmeiro, innumerable others, and finally Bonds (a VERY latecomer) "murder."

Baseball "murder" is what Tris Speaker and his teammates, most notably pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, did in Game 6 of the 1912 World Series, and it's why I believe--even though it's so late in time now and even though Speaker is inarguably one of the 10 greatest players ever--Speaker should be removed from the Hall of Fame. Throwing Game 6 of a World Series, much less doing so when you know you must face Christy Mathewson in Game 7, well, THAT is "baseball murder."

But these steroids and HGH? They're the next rung down on the ladder, and those with a felt desire and/or political agenda to bash the baseball past about which they usually know very little...? They need to look at this in an honest, logical light. Any objective review of the record book makes it pellucid, from the records onslaught of the past 12 years vs. the non-onslaught from 1950-1994, that there's no statistical comparison between the effects of amphetamines and the effects of steroids/HGH.

And the question of whether Cobb, Speaker, Wagner, Hornsby, Collins, Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Ott, Greenberg, Musial, Ted Williams, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Campanella and Banks, plus Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Hubbell, Feller, Spahn and Koufax would have used HGH and steroids, if given the chance? Absolutely moot and irrelevant. Would Caligula have dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (Of course. And every other city, too.) Would "The Iron Chancellor," Otto von Bismarck, the genius who inspired Prussia's King William I into taking the steps that led to German unification from 1862-1870, have taken the ultimately suicidal step of invading Russia in WWII? (Of course not.) Would a rational, fair, just, proper and non-activist Supreme Court agree with EITHER the current Supreme Court's b.s. or the infamous "Warren Court" of the 1960's on much of anything? (Of course not.)

And how relevant are any of those questions and their obvious answers? Not at all. PLEASE think of those things before engaging in the idle speculation about what players from 1900-1950 would have done, IF they'd had access to the garbage which has ruined baseball for the past 13 years and put an indelible stain on the record book.

For myself: I sit here, hoping against hope that Howard is legit, that Pujols is legit, and that the past 10 to 12 years of Clemens' career have been legit. I mean, he DOES look like a pitcher's version of Bonds, doesn't he? He has two more ERA titles than every other pitcher in the history of MLB, except Grove, and he's within two of the master. And he puts up Adjusted ERA figures that are unthinkable at his age, and throws at speeds that are impossible. Wouldn't you love to see him with his shirt off? He's my #2 pitcher of all-time, and when his career ends I'm open to the possibility he should pass Grove (though that will be a tough sell, given the huge ballpark difference). But ya gotta admit the whole thing smells awfully fishy... and so far, pitchers have come out of all of this scot free, even though the pitcher I played Internet Poker with said they're the guiltiest of all.

I've loved the game passionately my whole life, and I can barely stand to watch it. Every time some 5'10" second baseman hits the ball 15 rows deep over the opposite field fence, I want to vomit. The one good thing is this: It's gone on long enough that the guys like Kent, who had several undistinguished years and then suddenly exploded into a bigtime player (a dead giveaway), are pretty much gone or one their way out.

Here is what I wonder: What will happen when they DO develop tests for HGH and whatever other designer cr@p the players come up with to take its place? What will happen when only the natural strength which weightlifting, swimming, biking, etc., provide will have to suffice, and these "wonderful" stats disappear, and a lot of "superstars" have their stats shrivel up immediately after REAL drug testing is forced down Selig's corrupt throat?

There will be no denial then. The playing field will be level and it will be like baseball in the 1970's and 1980's, except that the small strike zone and some small parks will make it not quite so tepid. But the public will know what's happened.

Will baseball die? Will nobody ever give a damn again? And why should they?

October has always been my favorite month of the year. For about the third year in a row, I'm not even particularly interested in it. I'm more interested in the bios I'm reading of long-dead players, including one who never even got to play MLB but was almost certainly the greatest catcher of all time: Josh Gibson. In the half century that Griffith Stadium (home of the Washington Senators, including the second Senators team, for their first season) was open, only three balls were hit completely over the distant LF bleachers and out of the park. One was Mickey Mantle's famous blast off of Chuck Stobbs, often called a 565-feet HR. BOTH of the others were hit by Gibson, who's also rumored to be the only person to hit a fair ball completely out of Yankee Stadium.

His life, truncated by a brain tumor that was probably brought on by his drug abuse, went from 1912-1947. They called him "the black Babe Ruth," and although it's documented ad nauseam that Ruth hit scores of impossibly distant HR's, it's possible Gibson hit them just about as far.

Can you imagine what HE would have done on steroids or HGH? He--or, of course, Ruth--might have hit the ball 800 feet. Hell, here is a fact for y'all, and it's a very well-documented fact. Babe Ruth's LAST major league HR came in a 3-HR game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, when he was 40 and completely washed up. He hit .181 in that fraction of a season, and must have been very sad to watch. But on this one great day, a week before he quit, he got his last 3 hits, and they were all HR's. He hit the last one over the 375 FT. sign in right field, over the lower-deck bleachers, over the high upper deck, over the roof and completely out of the stadium. This had never been done before, and would not be done again for a long time.

Robert Creamer, whose scholarly, unsentimental, objective and well-balanced bio of Ruth is widely regarded as the best bio ever written about an American sports figure (buy it, folks; you won't regret it), wrote his magnum opus while many connected with that HR were still living, including the pitcher. He did a lot of research into the HR and concluded it went about 600 feet. And that was Ruth's LAST home run, hit at a time when he was a washed-up shell of his former self.

Now, Ruth's an unfair example. A Babe Ruth comes along every 500 years or so, just like a Wilt Chamberlain does, and in both cases they were men playing against boys. Ted Williams saw Ruth's swing at a charity affair, years after Ruth's retirement and when Ruth's eyes were shot, and he said you could still tell Ruth had a swing that came from the gods. In 1938, Ruth was in a HR-distance-hitting contest, 3 years after retirement, against great sluggers still in their primes: Foxx, Ott, Greenberg, Gehrig, etc. HE WON, hitting the longest HR of the contest.

So perhaps Josh Gibson and Babe Ruth are unfair examples. And it really IS scary to think how far they would have hit balls if they'd used, although I think there is a physical limit to how far a baseball can go, even if shot out of a cannon. But this notion that guys from back then WOULD HAVE cheated if given the chance? Can it. They weren't given the chance and the real-life crimes of modern cheaters cannot be forgiven--nor mitigated one iota--on the ground others might have done the same, if only they'd have gotten the chance to turn themselves into small mountains.

Nor can these huge modern baseball crimes be mitigated because of several decades of obviously far less effective, and thus far less severe, baseball crimes. If you want to say that Mantle, Mays, Aaron, etc., deserve less credit for their own feats because they used greenies, you're probably right. Perhaps I should rethink the fact I rank Willie Mays (my #2 player) ahead of Ty Cobb (#3), though the idea putting Cobb ahead of Mays sickens me. But none of that legitimizes Bonds from 2000-2004, much less does it make me inclined to treat the CAREERS of McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro and so many others seriously. If I did, McGwire would be my #2 first baseman of all-time, and would be crowding Gehrig for #1. As it is, he doesn't make my Top 10 and, if such a list existed, wouldn't make my Top 20.

BHN



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:21 AM
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Nice post BHN. I agree with 99% of it. The 1%, as you can probably guess, has to do with steroids and HGH not extending a players career. I strongly believe that each case is different. The physiological make-up of the player in question and how his body reacts to A) what was taken B) how much was taken C) and most importantly when it comes to this issue imo, WHEN was it taken. If we are to believe that Bonds did start using when he did, then my opinion is that is not only prolonged his career, but enhanced it to an enormous degree. Small issue though. I couldn't agree more with the other aspects of the post, namely, any comparison between greenies/steroids in regards to their impact on the game, being laughable at best. Even more laughable and absurd imo, is this notion that "if" something was available back "then" others "would have" done it. This screams of strong bias and comes across as a blatant attempt to excuse this eras cheaters.

In response to the original post, I think that the testing technology will always be at least one step behind the chemists and the players, who have the finances/motivation/resources to continue this. I wouldn't put money on anybody right now being completely clean, and that especially includes Bonds, who, with so much on the line at this point, is even more likely to continue using imo.

Would Ruth have cheated? Who knows. In all the research I've done on him, my opinion is that he would not have. But it doesn't matter anyway because we KNOW he didn't use steroids or any other PED.

Has baseball not done enough to draw the casual masses to the ballyard? Do these hitters not have enough going for them? The incredibly small strike zone, allowing hitters to crowd the plate while at the same time prohibiting pitchers from even throwing 4 inches off the inside corner...the rock hard balls with the lowest possible seams, the ridiculous fence distances, and turning a blind eye to bat specs. All of this increases the margin of error for hitters to an epic degree. Nope, all that isn't good enough. Gotta throw in PED's to make it a complete joke. Here's something funny.

1970-1993 NL (leaving out '87, ball was messed with, fluke year)

Foster -----52 in 1977
Kingman ---48 in 1979
Schmidt ---48 in 1980
Stargell ---48 in 1971
Mitchell ---47 in 1989
Aaron - ---47 in 1971
Bonds - ---46 in 1993
Bench - ---45 in 1970
Schmidt ---45 in 1979
Stargell ----44 in 1973
Johnson ---43 in 1973
Williams ---42 in 1970
Burroughs -41 in 1977
Evans -----41 in 1973

14 TIMES(50+ once)


Since 1998 NL

Bonds -----73 in 2001
McGwire ---70 in 1998
Sosa ------66 in 1998
McGwire ---65 in 1999
Sosa ------64 in 2001
Sosa ------63 in 1999
Gonzalez --57 in 2001
Jones -----51 in 2005
Sosa ------50 in 2000
Vaughn ---50 in 1998
Bonds -----49 in 2000
Green -----49 in 2001
Helton ----49 in 2001
Sosa ------49 in 2002
Beltre -----48 in 2004
Bagwell ---47 in 2000
Thome ----47 in 2003
Castilla ----46 in 1998
Bonds -----46 in 2002
Dunn ------46 in 2004
Pujols -----46 in 2004
Lee -------46 in 2005
Bonds -----45 in 2004
Sexson ----45 in 2001
Jones -----45 in 1999
Vaughn ----45 in 1999
Bonds -----45 in 2003
Sexson ----45 in 2003
Galarraga --44 in 1998
Guerrero ---44 in 2000
Hidalgo ----44 in 2000
Sheffield --43 in 2000
Lopez -----43 in 2003
Pujols -----43 in 2003
Edmonds --42 in 2000
Helton ----42 in 2000
Bagwell ---42 in 1999
Guerrero --42 in 1999
Berkman --42 in 2002
Green ----42 in 2002
Edmonds --42 in 2004
Thome ----42 in 2004
Nevin -----41 in 2001
Pujols -----41 in 2005

44 TIMES(50+ ten times)


BHN, you mention Ruth and his final three homers. That last one reportedly cleared Forbes' 86 foot high roof at the 375 marker in right-center. For comparsons sake, Tiger Stadium's right field roof was 94 feet high. Guy Bush told his thoughts as he tipped his cap to Babe while he rounded the bases..."I've seen everything now Babe. He hit that ball over the triple deck, it was the longest cockeyed ball I ever saw in my life."


[Edited on 9/25/06 by Sultan]

[Edited on 9/25/06 by Sultan]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 10:08 AM
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You forgot to include Howard's 58 this year in your list.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 12:19 PM
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Its only through 2005. As of right now, these guys would be added.

Howard - 58
Pujols - 46
Soriano - 46
Berkman - 43


And these guys have a shot at going over 40.

Beltran - 40
Dunn - 40
Jones - 39
Delgado - 38
Ramirez - 37



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 07:41 PM
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Tiger Stadium's roof was slightly higher, but right field was 325 feet away, whereas it was 375 feet at Forbes Field. Also, the upper deck in Tiger Stadium hung OVER the field of play, which is why we'd see right fielders going back near the fence, lining up the ball, then watching in futility as it banged off the facing of the upper deck for a home run. The upper deck at Forbes was slightly recessed, leaving the first few rows uncovered. Ruth's HR was a LOT more impressive than the ones over the RF roof in Detroit, and probably more impressive than the three hit over the LF roof in Detroit (by Killebrew, Howard and Fielder), where it was 340 feet down the line.

I don't know the name of the second guy who hit a fair ball over the roof and out of Forbes Field, but I know it was a good many years later. I do know who the third guy was and when he did it: Mickey Mantle, in the 1960 World Series. But the fence came in sharply at Forbes, from 375 ft. in right field, where Ruth hit his final career HR (not really RCF, which was more like 416 ft. at Forbes), to 300 ft. at the foul line (with a high screen running from the 300 FT mark to the 375 FT mark). I do not know what part of the roof Mantle hit his 1960 HR over.

It does bear noting, however, that Willie Stargell hit SEVERAL balls over that roof in his years at Forbes, which is why I believe he'd have hit 600 home runs, had he not been stuck in that cavernous ballpark, where it was 365 FT down the LF line, 406 FT to left (where Maz's HR went out), 457 FT to deepest left center, 435 FT to straightaway center, 416 FT to right center and a whopping 375 FT to right field. Stargell turned 30 years old in 1970, and yet for the 1970's as a whole, he was the leading home run hitter in the major leagues. Not Reggie, not Kingman, not Schmidt. Willie Stargell. He finished with 475 HR's, but there's no doubt Forbes cost him a ton of HR's.

BHN



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