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Monday, April 19, 2004



Brooke, I'm wondering about your choice to omit Barry's alleged use of designer steriods.


Those would have to be miracle steroids to enable what Barry has done and is doing.


Also, given that if he ever was taking questionable substances he definitely isn't now with the heat on, he is busting records faster than ever. 'Splain that.


Honestly, I'm no expert on steroids... or baseball for that matter. I admit, its entirely possible that the perfectly aligned timing of Bonds' steroid use and his rocketing performance is entirely coincidental. And, who knows, maybe this time MLB is not just protecting one of its own, as it tends to do. Could be that Barry's urine is pure, like the waters of Hetch Hetchy... I guess that's between him and god... and he'll still blow away all the pitches and the records.
It just struck me as interesting that your discussion of whether or not Bonds is the greatest player of all time addressed the implications of him as potential "asshole" and not a potential "cheater."
BTW, there's great article in the Merc today on this topic.


Another question I have. If Bonds was only one of many players implicated in the scandal (by the way, HGH was not expressly illegal, whether or not they actually used it). How do you explain why none of the others has put up numbers like he has?

Also, he's been accused of using steroids dating back to the Pirates years. This is not a new accusation, just a new scandal. So why is he som much better now than before, if he ALWAYS used?

I think this is about the aspect of human nature to knock people off pedestals, combined with a media jihad against the guy.

If it turns out he took illegal performance enhancing substances, I'll be disappointed. But I do not think it significantly diminishes his accomplishments.


Sorry Brooke, but until Bonds wins 94 games on the mound, finishes in the top 10 in ERA three straight seasons, and pitches nearly 30 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series to go along with his offensive dominance, he will have to settle for being the 2nd best player of all time. Which still ain't bad.


This is curious. I always feel on the fence when it's a Bonds-Ruth debate. Yes, Ruth also pitched, which gave him access not only to records on both sides of the ball, but total dominance of the games he was in (he had greater potential to influence more aspects of the game, although healmost never hit AND pitched in the same game). However, I'd put Bonds today up against the 1920 Babe Ruth any day. The problem with any comparison is that a player can only ever really be judged in the context of his era. Today's game is far too different an animal to compare it with the game a hundred years ago. It's inaccurate and unfair. Could Bonds do what the Babe did? Probably not. Could the Babe do what Bonds is doing? No way.

Found this 2-year old Salon piece that makes a compelling argument.


I didn't care for the Salon article. He didn't say anything. He dismissed Babe's pitching while arguing that Bonds' defense is all-important to the debate. Here's my favorite part: I don't deny that it was an amazing thing for Babe Ruth to have been a great pitcher and a great hitter. But except for a few games, he didn't pitch and hit at the same time Um, it wasn't an amazing thing. It was a completely unique thing. No one did it before, no one has done it since. And I'd hate to be the one to tell the writer but Ruth hit in every game he pitched. There was no DH in Ruth's day. That statement really makes me question whether the writer has any knowledge of baseball history at all.

Anyway, in only one season did Ruth regularly play the outfield and also pitch. Check out that 1918 season. He pitched 20 games, played outfield for about 75, and didn't play at all in 60 (40% of the games). He finished in the top 10 in the AL in ERA, winning percentage, fewest hits allowed per game, complete games...and batting avg, OBP, doubles, triples, total bases, RBI, walks, while leading the league in home runs and slugging percentage. Plus, he went 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in pitching the Red Sox to the World Series title.

As for Ruth 1920 versus Bonds 2003, just one quick fact:
Avg 2003 NL hitter: 15.1 HR/500 AB (Bonds 58/500)
Avg 1920 AL hitter: 3.8 HR/500 AB (Ruth 59/500)

The entire record is filled with these kinds of performances by both players but with Ruth clearly the more dominant in his era. Sorry for the long post but as a baseball geek it really bugs me when people dismiss Babe Ruth, especially with reasoning as specious as that in the Salon article. So again, until Bonds takes to the mound and becomes the best left-handed pitcher in the National League, as Ruth was in the AL in his day, Babe is clearly in a class all by himself.


(I know I'm a few days late here...)

We must not forget that Babe Ruth, regardless of how he changed the face of the game, and regardless of his skill as a pitcher and hitter, played every single one of his games in an era in which many, many, MANY extremely talented ballplayers were excluded from the major leagues because of the color of their skin.

PS - love the site. :)


Aaron makes a great point about Ruth. Yes, he did dominate his age..completely. But, when you consider that Blacks were banned from the game, you have to ask, did Ruth play against the best of his era.

As for the debate, Ruth vs Bonds, I think it is a worthy comparison. I love Barry. I believe I'm priveledged to watch the second greatest ball player of all time. I must give the nod to Ruth based only on stats and not even considering his pitching accomplishments. I wonder, what would Ruth have done if his entire career was spent as a pitcher? Make the mind reel.

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