May 30, 2006

Barry Bonds moves past Babe Ruth on the career home run list:

Obviously, it's a joke. Yet, we now know that Bonds was clean through the 1998 season, which means that, even though other players, such as Jose Canseco, were clearly cheating with steroids as far back as the 1980s, Bonds was still the greatest player of the 1990s. It's a myth that steroids turned Bonds from a good player into a great one. He'd been a great player for nine years before he tried steroids. Steroids turned him into a cartoon superhero. In the nine seasons from 1990-1998, Bonds led the National League four times in the premier hitting statistic, Adjusted OPS+ (onbase percentage plus slugging average adjusted for park relative to the league, with a dash of paprika), finished second three times, and third twice. He was also a terrific baserunner and flyball snagger. The only thing he couldn't do well was throw. His only rivals as a hitter across this era were Frank Thomas and McGwire, both of whom were slow-footed first basemen.

Bonds had a certain amount of justification for feeling provoked into cheating after 1998 -- the 1998 home run orgy between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was hyped to the heavens by the media as restoring the innocence to the game, when it was obvious at the time that something was fishy.

Bonds is such an unpleasant personality (and the drugs haven't made him a nicer person) that few will put his sins in historical perspective.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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