Roger Maris: A Breath of Fresh Air Compared to Mark McGwire
What a great feat Roger Maris accomplished when he broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.
When a reporter discovered androstenedione, a legal steroid, in McGwire's locker, the ersatz home-run champion—whose "record" would soon be eclipsed by an even more disingenuous individual—explained what "andro" couldn't do.
It cannot help a hitter's timing. It cannot improve hand-to-eye coordination. It cannot help a hitter distinguish between a slider and a splitter.
McGwire used androstenedione to help protect him from muscle tears.
The girth of McGwire's forearm was greater than Mickey Mantle's neck. His biceps might have been inflated with a bicycle pump—shade of Popeye the Sailor.
In Jan. 2010, McGwire admitted that he had used steroids when he broke Maris' record. He added that he didn't need performance-enhancing drugs to hit the long ball. Right. He only needed PEDs to hit enough home runs to set a new record.
McGwire didn't agree that the drugs gave him more power to hit home runs. He told Bob Costas, "I was given a gift to hit home runs."
What a breath of fresh air when I think of 1961 and Roger Maris.
Maris' "rival" in the home run chase was Mickey Mantle. McGwire's rival was Sammy Sosa. What a comparison.
It was a different society, and it was a different game in 1961. Maris and Mantle were self-effacing individuals. Maris tried to shun the spotlight, but his home runs put an end to that forever.
Sixty-one home runs was a reasonable total for the new record because it was only one more than Ruth had hit.
How in the world did McGwire hit 70 home runs? A better question is how in the world did Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs?
The answer to each question is likely the same.
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