posted on May, 8 2007 @ 05:52 AM
It astonishes me that some people don't think Bonds' juicing matters, or that they say, "If he cheated"--tantamout to saying, "If the sun will
rise in the east tomorrow...."
I have written over 10,000 words on this subject at 2 other sites, replete with factual/statistical discussions. At 3:30 a.m. and counting, I won't
do so again right now. But here are 3 facts:
(1) Bonds NEVER hit a home run over 450 feet before June of 2000, except 3 seriously wind-blown balls. Then, 2 months before his 36th birthday, he
magically found a fountain of youth and started hitting them by the dozen (over 3 dozen now, I understand). NOBODY could be gullible enough to
believe that's legit. Every player except knuckleballers goes into decline at about that age, give or take a few years, unless he's cheating with
PED's (performance enhancing drugs). It's ludicrous to think that at that age, Bonds legitimately changed from being: (1) the best combination of
power and speed since Willie Mays, which he was prior to 2000; to (2) Babe Ruth, Jr. Nobody who understands baseball or athletics in general could
believe in such a huge quantitative AND qualitative metamorphasis.
(2) Before 2000, Bonds never had a season which could be compared with Ruth's many great ones. Before 2001, he never had a season slugging average
of .690 or higher. Babe Ruth's CAREER slugging average was .690--over .700 if you don't count the Dead Ball years. Then PRESTO, he breaks Ruth's
single-season slugging record--one of the most untouchable in sports--and later has another .800+ slugging season. They are, of course, the only two
guys in the .800 slugging club, and Bonds tossed in a .799 and .749, for good measure. He's not close to Ruth's # of .700 seasons, and his career
slugging average is 80 points behind Ruth's (not crediting Ruth for what the dead ball did to him), but he's suddenly shot up at a geriatric age
into one of MLB's most exclusive clubs: The Career .600 Slugging Club--Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Bonds (Pujols' career is too short); Foxx (.609); and
Greenberg (.605). If you think he accomplished that sea change at that age, without cheating his brains out, I have swampland for sale and my nephew
would like to discuss the Easter Bunny with you.
(3) I agree Bonds was a legit Hall of Famer--and then some--before he began cheating. By great fortune, Bill James wrote after the 1999 season that
Bonds was the 14th greatest MLB player of all-time... assuming his career was over and he would never play again. Everyone else I know thinks that's
an overstatement, but I don't. Of the 13 MLB players James has listed ahead of Bonds-thru-1999, there are 3 you could make an unbiased, rational
case for putting behind him: Walter Johnson, Morgan and the overrated Wagner. Of those, I have only Johnson behind Bonds-thru-1999, but you can make
a case with the other 2, also. Of those James has behind Bonds-thru-1999, I can see making cases for putting ahead Lefty Grove (plus credit for 5
stolen seasons from 1920-1924), Schmidt, Hornsby and Frank Robinson ahead of Bonds-thru-1999. But Grove is the only one of them I rate ahead of
Bonds-thru-1999, and despite Grove's phenomenal 9 ERA titles in 17 years spent in hitters' parks, and ludicrous W-L figures, I would have Bonds
ahead of him if I weren't giving him credit for seasons Dunn stole from him.
So I understand how great Bonds was. He belongs in the Hall, slam dunk--unlike guys whose "greatness" rests on b.s. stats (McGwire, Sosa). And he
was a LATEcomer to cheating, which many have forgotten. But with his blatant PED use--and please, nobody say he might not be on HGH now; they ALL
are, and it's blatant in his case--you shouldn't take his post-1999 stats seriously. I sure don't.
I rate him higher than any baseball fan I know in real life. He was a great player thru '99, and I don't think he cheated until then. But better
than Ruth, Mays, Cobb, Williams, Mantle, Musial, Gehrig, etc.? Ha ha ha.