PED apologists violate their own liturgy

Familiar language from ESPN’s Christina Kahrl, who claims the HOF is already compromised by PEDs.

I mean, c’mon, no Mike Schmidt or Hank Aaron in the Hall of Fame? By their own admission they broke the same baseball rule on the books that Bonds did, and they did so for the same reason — to enhance their performance.

She’s talking about amphetamines, which were once doled out like Morrison’s peppermints in most, if not all, of baseball clubhouses. That doesn’t make it right, but they weren’t consumed in the shadows. Eddie Mathews wasn’t snorting lines with Hank in a toilet stall, for instance, a la Canseco injecting McGwire. Greenies didn’t give one player a significant advantage over another.

Besides, it’s ridiculous to compare the banned substances.  The proof is in the stats, yet the apologists ignore the evidence. Perhaps because it totally destroys their argument.

What else explains Bonds’ production in the twilight of his career? Bonds’ lowest OPS, in four seasons from ages 36-39, was 1.278. His highest OPS in the prime of his career, from ages 26-29: 1.136. He had 69 more homers from ages 36-39.

Fortunately, someone else crunched the numbers typically required by the statistically obsessed.

Below are the top 15 OWPs of all time, regardless of age. Before 2001, no player had reached .924, Bonds’ OWP for the whole period that covers ages 36-39. Notice how unusual it is for someone aged 36-39 to have such a great OWP. It appears that no one has aged as well as Bonds.

Rank

Player

YEAR

OWP

AGE

1

Barry Bonds

2002

0.942

37

2

Barry Bonds

2004

0.929

39

3

Barry Bonds

2001

0.922

36

4

Mickey Mantle

1957

0.915

25

5

Babe Ruth

1920

0.913

25

6

Fred Dunlap

1884

0.909

25

7

Ted Williams

1941

0.908

22

8

Barry Bonds

2003

0.897

38

9

Babe Ruth

1923

0.896

28

10

Babe Ruth

1921

0.891

26

11

Ted Williams

1957

0.891

38

12

Babe Ruth

1926

0.883

31

13

Ted Williams

1942

0.881

23

14

Pete Browning

1882

0.88

21

15

Babe Ruth

1924

0.879

29

Dare I mention the freakish guns and engorged head?

Apparently none of this is sufficient proof for the likes of Kahrl, who writes of “the purported performance-enhancing benefits of PEDs.”

This from the group that sneers at those who ignore the irrefutable evidence found in the numbers.

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4 Comments on PED apologists violate their own liturgy

  1. Viva Rufino Linares! // December 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm //

    Greenies helped a player get on the field for a day game after a night game. They did not turn warning track power into 50 home rnuns. That is the difference in my mind.

  2. Amphetamines don’t make you stronger or more able to hit home runs. The only parts of athletic performance they improve are cardiovascular endurance (non-required in baseball, just ask Pablo Sandoval) and attention. Unless you’re ADD like Adam LaRoche, amphetamines aren’t going to help you hit home runs.

  3. pepefreeus // December 30, 2012 at 2:46 am //

    This seems to be the editorial position of that blog and of sabermetricians in general (with the notable exception of Brian Kenney, who gets it and has tried to talk sense into Neyer on “Clubhouse Confidential” several times, to no avail.

    I’m particularly infuriated at the linkage of Aaron into this. Even if greenes compared to a multiyear program designed for layering 20 pounds of muscle onto a grown man’s body (which any sane person knows they do not), Henry Aaron took ONE FUCKING GREENIE.

    Uno.

    He said he hated the effect and never took another. To compare that to Bonds or Clemens goes past disingenuous sophistry and into the realm of actual madness.

    Read the comments section. Several people really rip into her, which she richly deserves.

  4. Jack Straw // December 30, 2012 at 8:50 am //

    I always had the impression that “greenies” were a pick-me-up to get through a hangover. I am unaware of any statistical anomalies resulting from their use. 1968 would have been near the apogee of greenie use, and the hitters were over-matched by the likes of Ray Washburn and Woodie Fryman.

    I might feel differently if Clemens and Bonds were decent people. And I might have forgiven McGwire if he had shown any humility while mocking Maris’ record and family.
    Had Greg Anderson testified, and had Andy Pettitte testified truthfully, this wouldn’t be an issue.

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