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tom Bamberger

What about Hank Aaron?

He hit over 40 homers when he was 23, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35, 36, 39.

Jack Lindahl

Arnie said above: "I'm going to make a very controversial statement - why do we care if PRO athletes take performance enhancing drugs. They get paid to entertain us, the know the better they entertain us, the more money they make - it's really a very simple equation."

I think this is where I would come down on this "issue." MLB is no longer a "sport." It is an entertainment mega-industry with monopoly protection granted by Congress. What we want from baseball is to be entertained by witnessing super-human feats. This is what we pay the big bucks for.

So I'd go a step further. I would require, in their contracts, that professional baseball players take extraordinary measures to perform at a superhuman level. And that requirement might include taking performance enhancing drugs.

In professional sports, "cheating" only means you aren't giving the fans what they think they are paying for.

TRACY

I'll see you at the crossroads, Jack.
Ozzy "sold his soul for rock n' roll" and has done quite well financially. Too bad he'll never be able to buy back his (good) health.

Donald A. Coffin Donald A. Coffin

I appreciate your concern with trying to develop an approach that would lend credence to sports records. What, for example, is one to make of this performance record (and, yes, it's a real player):

Age HR/600PA
31 30
32 39
33 35
34 25
35 42
36 39
37 50
38 38
39 51

From age 31 to age 34, it looks like the beginning of fairly normal late-career decline. Suddenly at ate 35, the home-run rate spikes, and at ages 37 and 39 reaches levels that this player had never before shown in his career. Luck? A more workout regimen? A move to a better home-run-hitting home field? Drugs?

You decide. This is Hank Aaron.

M. Henricksen

We can wax on about Hank Aaron, Ben Johnson, FloJo and a myriad of others. It would be nigh-on impossible to determine which numbers in the past are those of "cheaters", and which numbers represent those physical specimens who really are extraordinary.

Today, the average sports fan (I think) wants to see the big power hitter, the mountain-climbing, bike-riding machine, the lightning fast sprinter. We all know sport has transcended from human activity to entertainment.

Forensic analysis, at this stage, would have to assume that athletes prior to, say, Mexico 1968, were clean. So, the Paavo Nurmi's of the world are safe. Everyone - and I mean everyone - after that date are suspect. Hank Aaron, Dorothy Hamill, Secretariat - everyone.

And if we found out "the truth", would we care?

Kevin Bertsch

Further to the Hank Aaron 'anamoly' noted by a few above - park effects have always been a big factor in baseball. Joe Dimaggio, a right-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium, made 10 to 15 "outs" each year that would have been home runs in any other ball park (this was when it was 470 - yes, four hundred and seventy feet! - to left centre at the Stadium). So it's no surprise Aaron's numbers went up when he moved to Atlanta.

Older fans remember Baltimore Oriole Dave Johnson, who had never hit more than 18 homers in a year, moving to Atlanta and hitting 43 to tie Rogers Hornsby for the most ever by a second baseman. It was a fluke, yes, but it was also the combination of a flyball hitter moving to a friendly park in a new league (where pitchers didn't know him) in an era without satellite and video so that it was harder for pitchers to prepare for him. He never hit more than 18 homers after that, as age and familiarity with the new league took over.

How would forensics catch that?

Andrew Smith

The problem I have with removing Barry Bonds' home run records is that you're penalizing someone that did something that WASN'T against the rules.

Was it morally "against the rules"? Of course. Then again, how many of us, if offered a pill that couldn't get us in trouble with the company we work for, but would increase our production at work by 175%, would refuse that? None of us would. We all (well most of us) want to be the best at what we do and get paid more than anyone else at what we do.

Barry Bonds took a substance that his employer (MLB) approved of. I say they approved of it, because they knew about it and about it's effects, and did not outlaw, ban or test for it.

Therefore, due to the fact that his employer allowed this substance at the time of it's use, they have no right to remove his records from the recordbooks.

Baseball is simply using Bonds as a scapegoat for a situation that they ALLOWED. Simple as that.

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