FanDuel - WFBC

August 28, 2006

Time to restore 61 as the gold standard in baseball: It was 45 years ago last week, and Roger Maris' hair had not yet begun to fall out. A bigger milestone awaited, but on Aug. 22, 1961, Maris hit a home run off of Ken McBride of the Los Angeles Angels that had its own place in history.

posted by irunfromclones to baseball at 03:43 PM - 36 comments

The point is! He did it without cheating. nuff said!!

posted by scotsman at 04:20 PM on August 28

The point is! He did it without cheating. nuff said!! Right on!

posted by commander cody at 04:25 PM on August 28

"The numbers may be suspect, but as long as they're allowed to stay in the record books, clean players won't have a chance of matching them and fans won't have a chance to enjoy a home run race." ^^Very true statement. Now that the juicing era is over no clean players will be able to match the monster amounts of home runs. I believe all the suspect records(all those after maris) should be stuck with an asterisk.

posted by vegaskid63 at 04:27 PM on August 28

Well this is a new and exciting concept.

posted by tron7 at 05:01 PM on August 28

Now that the juicing era is over I wouldn't bet the farm on that. no clean players will be able to match the monster amounts of home runs. Or that, either.

posted by mjkredliner at 05:03 PM on August 28

Best of all, the 61* can stand, except now the * can mean something else.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:29 PM on August 28

Why is there such a continued outrage about steroids in baseball? A story comes out about NFL lineman and steroids and it doesn't even get mentioned on sportsfilter, ESPN barely touches it, and all the print stories I've read seem to focus only on how damaging steroids can be for your health. Don't get me wrong, I don't want everyone to go Bonds batshit crazy on football. The steroid 'problem' is a bit overblown IMO. I just don't understand the continued contempt towards baseball while football seems to be getting a free pass.

posted by tron7 at 05:29 PM on August 28

The fact is that these numbers really don't matter much. In my mind, 60 and 714 are still the key numbers. Why? With all due respect to Roger Maris and Henry Aaron, who were fine ball players and and better people, only Babe Ruth remains larger than life. Passing Babe Ruth on the all time list will be a bigger deal to Bonds, A-Rod, Pujols, and anybody else in the foreseeable future because that name and that number are part of our (sports) cultural identity; 61 and 755 are not. Steroids don't matter: Ruth would have hit 100 home runs in the steroids era because he would have been more juiced than anybody. Aaron and Maris would have been bigger and stronger because they would have had the benefits of more modern medicine and training facilities and science. The new numbers are fine because they are both irrelevant and appropriate. Keep in mind, to do what Ruth did in 1927, Bonds would have had to hit 240 home runs: Ruth hit more than most teams!

posted by hercher at 05:31 PM on August 28

"I just don't understand the continued contempt towards baseball while football seems to be getting a free pass." Because we all assume football players are using.

posted by hercher at 05:33 PM on August 28

"I just don't understand the continued contempt towards baseball while football seems to be getting a free pass." a) Because the hallowed numbers in football (which aren't anywhere near as ingrained in the memories of the average sports fan as the numbers "61" and "755" in baseball) aren't currently being challenged by anyone who is currently suspected of cheating. b) Nobody cares about punters and linemen (who I believe are the prime suspects in this case) cheating, because no big numbers are associated with them. Nail a star QB, RB or WR, then you'll have something.

posted by TheQatarian at 05:44 PM on August 28

Ruth would have had a colossal heart attack if he were to have played today. "Gimme uh,.... gimme two a' dem Luther Vandrosses."

posted by igottheblues at 05:50 PM on August 28

a) Because the hallowed numbers in football (which aren't anywhere near as ingrained in the memories of the average sports fan as the numbers "61" and "755" in baseball) aren't currently being challenged by anyone who is currently suspected of cheating. Agree, the records aren't as hallowed in football as they are in baseball. Disagree, Manning just broke the passing touchdowns record and I think it would give him a distinct advantage if his lineman were using.

posted by tron7 at 06:01 PM on August 28

"The numbers may be suspect, but as long as they're allowed to stay in the record books, clean players won't have a chance of matching them and fans won't have a chance to enjoy a home run race." Really? So human progress is over, and records can never be broken? Damn. Time to call it quits. Keep in mind, to do what Ruth did in 1927, Bonds would have had to hit 240 home runs: Ruth hit more than most teams! I hate it when people bring that up. The number one reason Ruth hit more home runs than teams is that he was the only player that ignored "common knowledge" that using an upper-cut was a "bad idea", and that trying to hit a home run every at-bat was "folly". Hitting home runs in 1920 wasn't something a good batter did. Ruth, being the "screw you, I'll do what I want" sort of person, ignored it. It wasn't like he was some sort of mythical colossus who was the only one able to hit a HR on command. The equivalent would be someone stealing 150 bases in the American League 2007. If Ichiro decided to go for the SB title, and ran every single time he got on base, he might have a shot at it. However, "common knowledge" (or statistical analysis, your pick) now says that stealing bases at anything less than a 70% success rate is silly. But Ichiro could say "screw that" and just attempt a stolen base every time he got on 1B or 2B. In 2004, he was on first base or second base around 300 times in the season. Imagine if he ran EVERY time he had the opportunity... Agree, the records aren't as hallowed in football as they are in baseball. What about the magical 2000 yards rushing in a season? If a running back used PED, it might help his chances of breaking that mark.

posted by grum@work at 06:17 PM on August 28

When Ruth was playing they also counted balls that bounced into the stands as home runs. Out of the park meant home run. I wonder how many would be ground rule doubles today?

posted by poppopp1945 at 07:13 PM on August 28

I think the reason steroids in baseball get more vitriol aimed at them than football is football is still a TEAM game. Baseball, while perhaps the ultimate team game (in that you often rely on your teammates so YOU can score a run), has man-on-man action. When the 'roided up rage monkey that is Barry Bonds steps up to the plate, he's on his own. No team members backing him up etc... It's him, a ball, a bit of word, and several litres of cow hormone. As for Maris... The entire universe seems to be telling me to go watch "61*" lately... And if you've never seen it, I highly recommend you check it out. What sucks is exactly the problem stated. Clean players don't stand a hope in hell of matching records. The record books should be expunged. Fuck Big Mac, and most definitely fuck Barry Bonds. I love the sport of baseball. But the records are a farce.

posted by Drood at 07:50 PM on August 28

Ken Griffey Jr steriod free, he will never hit 61. He probably won't pass Aaron, but where ever he ends up in career hr's, there will be no *.

posted by hemistud at 08:13 PM on August 28

Babe Ruth hit 60 homers without "nutritional supplements" except for hot dogs and beer (neither of which ever helped me any). Even more impressive was his ability to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's 295-ft. right field line while swinging a 42-ounce bat. (The right center and center field distances were murderous, and dead-pull hitting was essential). Thanks, IRFC, for reminding us of Roger's 1961 feats and ,implicitly, Babe's before him.

posted by judgedread at 08:41 PM on August 28

Umm....Babe never had to face steroid-enhanced pitching, either. It goes both ways.

posted by smithers at 09:37 PM on August 28

In case you're interested, a local radio station announcer here in Denver/Boulder announced Give it Back to Maris.com a couple months ago.

posted by drumdance at 09:55 PM on August 28

Babe Ruth hit 60 homers without "nutritional supplements" except for hot dogs and beer To me that was always the most amazing thing about Babe. He abused the hell out of himself and still whacked the long ball with a heavy bat. I abused the hell out of myself and just ended up abused and old. Makes you wonder how good he could have been if he'd trained and worked out, instead of just going with his natural ability. Even a die hard Al Kaline fan like me has to admit the Babe was the best.

posted by commander cody at 10:06 PM on August 28

Hey,CC, Al Kaline and Norm Cash could really hit too,without artificial enhancements. However, I'm not so sure about Willie Horton and Gates Brown; those guys were awfully huge...

posted by judgedread at 11:08 PM on August 28

Wille and Gates were both built like football defensive linemen, but I'm glad they played baseball instead. Both were scary strong and I used to love it when Gates esp would come off the bench to pinch hit in a tight spot. I know they never went on to be considered a legacy team, but player for player I'd put the '68 Tigers up against just about any ball team before or since. I turned 12 that summer, the perfect age to be a fan of that team.

posted by commander cody at 12:14 AM on August 29

Oh and don't get me started on Stormin' Norman and his habit of hitting grand slams.

posted by commander cody at 12:15 AM on August 29

Look! I know that this whole steriod era has brought a dark cloud over the head of the greatest game ever played but (and I know I'm gonna hear it) Barry Bonds has not been caught using anything so his record should stand. Until #25 does a Canseco and writes a book or a Palmeiro where he points a finger at Congress and tests positive or even a McGuire where he looks like a complete idiot saying, "I don't want to talk about the past" while sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter, let him be. Barry Bonds has been doing things in this game that no one will ever comes close to 'roids or no 'roids. He was always a triple threat with his bat, glove and speed. The media and Bonds have never been on the best of terms and I honestly feel like there is a vendetta out there against one of the greatest players to ever play the greatest games and until there is actual proof that he did anything, let's just play ball

posted by BornIcon at 06:41 AM on August 29

I swear the biggest legacy of the steriod era will be how it rendered the record book irrelevant (which is really the big deal with baseball - this is why no one cares about it in football or other sports - the numbers don't mean as much) and brought out the stupid in players, owners, and fans. I mean, some of the comments - Day-yam.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:54 AM on August 29

The point is! He did it without cheating. nuff said!! I have yet to see the expression "nuff said" at the end of a sentence containing everything that needed to be said. a) Roger Maris' career home run pattern by season: 14, 28, 16, 39, 61, 33, 23, 26, 8, 13, 9, 5. b) By the end of 1961, Maris' hair was falling out in clumps. He died of lymphatic cancer at the very young age of 51. c) Dianabol was approved by the FDA in 1958. Stanozolol, sold under the name Winstrol, was developed by Winthrop Laboratories in 1962. d) One of the listed possible side effects of anabolic steroids is accelerated baldness. And prostate cancer. Now, looking at that home run progression, Maris' physical and emotional behavior in '61, and noting the development of steroids in that time period, are you sure, are you positive Maris was clean, that he wasn't using steroids or even some other type of experimental product not yet released by the FDA? You can't be. I have no interest in staining the good name of Roger Maris. I personally am convinced he was clean. The fact is, though, that we don't know who was cheating, with what they were cheating, when they were cheating, or even if it was technically cheating when they were doing whatever they were doing. And, in the era of supposedly rampant steroid use, it's still true that only three of the 1000+ players between 1998 and 2002 broke the 61 HR mark. Steroids or no, it still takes a spectacular hitter to reach that mark. (Here is where I run out the very tired fact that none of the players who broke 61 have ever tested positive for anything or been convicted anywhere for cheating. All those who "know" the real deal may do their ritualistic eye-rolling.) I guess we could just hang the ones we want to hang and reward the ones who were sly enough to dodge public scepticism. It worked well for a slew of players before the Black Sox scandal. If that's your bag, feel free to buy a copy of Total Baseball and insert the asterisks as you see fit. Keep your hands off mine, though. On preview: I swear the biggest legacy of the steriod era will be how it rendered the record book irrelevant (which is really the big deal with baseball - this is why no one cares about it in football or other sports - the numbers don't mean as much) and brought out the stupid in players, owners, and fans. While I respectfully disagree with the first legacy, the second is dead on.

posted by BullpenPro at 08:20 AM on August 29

Barry Bonds has not been caught using anything so his record should stand McGuire where he looks like a complete idiot saying, "I don't want to talk about the past" while sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter What exactly did Big Mac test positive for?? He might have been taking Andro, but it wasn't banned at the time, neither was the Cream, the Clear, or HGH, all supplements Barry took. I don't think you can separate the two of them like you just did. No double standards.

posted by jhkaplan at 08:56 AM on August 29

Even more impressive was his ability to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's 295-ft. right field line while swinging a 42-ounce bat. All baseball parks should have the same outfield dimensions as other sports have the same dimensions of the entire playing surface.

posted by joromu at 09:27 AM on August 29

Indeed. Baseball needs to make more of an effort to conform so that it is like every other sport. The absence of a play clock needs to be looked at, too.

posted by BullpenPro at 09:51 AM on August 29

Don't hockey arenas have different length rinks? At one time I know they did, and of course, golf, with it's varying venues and holes, still compares records from one site to another. Cookie cutter ballparks? Bah.

posted by mjkredliner at 09:52 AM on August 29

All baseball parks should have the same outfield dimensions as other sports have the same dimensions of the entire playing surface. What kind of narrow-minded boring ass sports do you want to watch? Blecch. This is the opinon of a person who does not watch/like baseball.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:35 PM on August 29

Hey jhkaplan, only one of those quotes were from me so please, if ur going to use a quote, make sure that u get the right person who wrote it. U must write for the NY Post. What exactly did Big Mac test positive for?? Big Mac didn't need to test positive for anything except that he positively made himself guilty in the public's eye. IF Barry Bonds used any type of steriods, he's doing a hell of a job denying it. I'm not saying that IF he cheated it's all good. But at the same time, he's not the one looking stupid as hell saying the he doesn't want to talk about the past in front of Congress where ur sworn in to tell the truth. Period

posted by BornIcon at 12:38 PM on August 29

Nice post, BullpenPro. Now I too don't think Maris was using steroids, but we certainly don't know that. And he probably was using amphetamines, like the majority of the players were at the time. If we're going to reset the home run record, we'd have to go back and reset the hits record too, since Rose was using lots of amphetamines. Aaron was probably using amphetamines too, though, unlike in the case of Rose and Willie Mays (Mays was also a dealer), I don't recall anyone ever declaring that publically. Nash and Zullo's Baseball Hall of Shame books reported about 15 years ago that Ruth used testosterone, though I'm not fully convinced of that. But if that's true, we'd have to think about giving the all-time home run record to some 19th century guy.

posted by spira at 12:58 PM on August 29

Home Run Baker, hooray!

posted by yerfatma at 01:15 PM on August 29

The NFL conducts approximately 10,000 steroids tests a year, or about 7 players per team per week. Of the Panther players who tested positive, all but one has since retired, and the one still active is facing a possible career ending suspension based on the outcome of the current investigation.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:38 PM on August 29

One thing I didn't see mentioned is that football avoids some of the vitriol that baseball doesn't simply because they got on the problem sooner than baseball did. The NFL made a decision to be tough on anabolic steroids, specifically, and other PEDs to a lesser degree, and they've had years to perfect their testing apparatus. Major League Baseball, because of the greed and hubris of the owners and officials, is just now getting a policy with teeth in place, and it will take years to win any kind of public trust.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:14 PM on September 03

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