Who Is The King: Hammerin' Hank Or Bulky Bonds?

Chris GubataCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2009

As reported by Terence Moore of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Henry Aaron has no desire to be reinstated as Major League Baseball's all-time home run champion.

As I read the story, I was initially surprised. Not that Aaron, one of the classiest individuals to ever play the game, had said the statesman-like thing.

No, I was surprised because I had to think for a moment as to how many home runs the current leader Barry Bonds finished his career with.

There is something about the number "762" that just doesn't quite have the same ring as "755" does.

While Aaron held the position that he "just doesn't see how you really can do a thing like that and just say somebody isn’t the record holder anymore, and let’s go back to the way that it was," in truth he could not have said otherwise.

As respected as Aaron is, it would have caused far more turmoil if he had come out and said that Bonds was a cheater and the record should revert back to his hallowed 755. Fans and the media would be, to some extent, critical of the Hall-of-Famer.

So, since Aaron cannot come out and say it, I will say it for him.

The Home Run King should be Hammerin' Hank.

Logically, it is very easy to work out. Bonds has only seven more home runs than Aaron, and we know of at least four different positive drug tests for Bonds over three separate seasons.

It does not take a baseball expert to deduce that Bonds' performance benefited by far more than just seven home runs.

Realistically, it is much harder to conceive that Bonds' record will be erased, and Aaron will resume his hold on baseball's most revered record.

No one, especially in the post-Alex Rodriguez scandal world, is naive enough to believe that we have discovered all, or even the majority of those who used performance-enhancing drugs.

Are we to penalize only those who got caught?

Aaron deserves to have his record upheld without restriction for the same reasons that sports writers have not, for the most part, voted for Mark McGwire.

Based on the information that we have, the 1990s and early-2000s mark a time in baseball where players cheated and performed better than they should have.

Professional athletes often talk about giving 110 percent effort, which is euphemistic of course, but we appreciate their sincerity.

However, the steroids era in fact saw players performing with what we might consider more than 100 percent effort.

No matter how many home runs Bonds finished his career with, Aaron's record is clean. And if it were not, who knows how many he would have retire with.