Thursday, August 09, 2007

When a Hero's Record is Broken

There has been a lot of discussion by talking heads on TV (and radio, even though I can’t see their heads) in the last several days leading up to and since Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record to become “baseball's new home run king.”

Most of the talk has been about Bonds and steroids. One of the most interesting (to me) talking heads pointed out that, when Bonds and other athletes began their steroid régimes, steroids were considered the same as other body building products, such as protein powders and vitamins. It was only after the producers of the steroids began peddling them to young athletes, he said, and the potential of serious health problems from their use and misuse became apparent that prohibitions began to be established. (I’ve not done any research to confirm this).

Regardless of the history of baseball players and steroids, I suppose it is always traumatic when a hero's record is broken. I remember back in 1961 when Roger Maris61 home runs set a new major league season record, breaking Babe Ruth's previous mark of 60 home runs set in 1927. There was not only the sadness of The Babe no longer being #1 in the records book, but there was also the question of fairness of Maris' record because modern baseball teams play more games in a season than they did in Ruth's day.

Bonds may be the new record holder, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget Hank!


  1. Good points, Rev Saint.

    Did you do something to your blog? It seems easier to read.

  2. I can see where you're coming from about more games...and you're probably right. It is exciting to see records broken, but bitter sweet when it's a popular sportman who's record has been broken and they're not longer No 1.

    How are you feeling, Nick?

  3. Puss-in-boots said it best, bitter sweet.

    How many years did Hank hold that record?

  4. Jif and I were discussing this, and he maintains that the Babe is still the homerun king, due, as you pointed out, to the number of games, plus he said the parks were bigger back then (later made smaller so there'd be more homeruns and more excitement for the fans), and baseballs were manufactured differently, making them harder to hit far. Sounds right to me.

    I love the cartoon.

  5. And there's a guy in Japan who has hit 800+.

    Hank will always be special because of what he had to endure as he approached the record. He's an outstanding athlete and a gentleman.

    But - I'm from San Francisco. I'm still waiting to hear that Barry has failed a drug test. If he used steroids it was, as you say, back when it was common and not forbidden as far as I know. And it's still an "if."

    Barry is being punished because he didn't say or do what the media wanted.

    As for attitude, the Babe was a drunk and Ty Cobb was a sadistic racist.

    I heard someone say on t.v. the other night that if jerkism kept one out of Cooperstown, Cooperstown would be empty.

    As for the game evolving, of course it has. Perhaps they should toss out the record books entirely because every player who sets any new record is playing under different conditions than the one who went before.

  6. Several years ago I came to the realization that profession and collegiate sports are nothing more than big bucks entertainment. If we think otherwise, then we are just fooling ourselves.

  7. They must go under tons of pressure to resort to taking performance drugs.

  8. And nobody has done it the way Babe Ruth did: 100 pounds overweight, with a hangover.