As another disgraced ballplayer received jeers for steroid abuse (Hi, Manny Ramirez, we’ve been expecting you), the baseball record books became further muddied in the water.
We already have endured Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and …oh yes… hundreds of others yet to be named.
OK, we get it. Baseball players and Russian Olympians had more in common than we originally thought. Let’s move on.
One thing is abundantly clear. The Major League Record Book now reads like a used college textbook with highlights, asterisks, and dog-eared pages all over the place. Throw the thing out already, it’s useless.
What we need is some clarity. How we can organize this mess so it makes some sense to a reasonable baseball fan?
Oh, and thanks Bud Selig. You can go now. Your services are no longer needed. Thanks for playing.
With the help of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball-Reference.com, I have created the NEW Major League Baseball Record book. It actually compares baseball players who played during similar times, with similar equipment, against similar competition, and using similar drugs.
OK, so we no longer have only one home run champion, but now a bunch of kiddies get a trophy! Isn’t that what Americans like nowadays, anyway?
I just don’t think you can compare Babe Ruth to Hank Aaron when he didn’t have to face ALL of the best pitchers of the day. I don’t know if you recall, but they made Satchell Paige pitch in the back alley in the “other” league. And he didn’t have to actually serve the food on the train rides to games in other cities. No airplanes either. He was well rested and amply nourished, to say the least.
And, we might as well group ALL the juice-heads together. After all, they were playing against each other, so there is some point of reference here. It’s kind of like eighth-grade Algebra where the two negatives cancel each other out.
So, without further adieu, here is the NEW (and improved) Baseball Record Book, adjusted for common sense. It is a bit thicker, but now there will be less books you need to purchase to fill out the third shelf in your grand library.
Baseball Infancy (Pre-Integration) 1901-1948
Golden Age (Post Integartion) 1949-1957
Runs from the re-establishment of baseball post World War II until the relocation of the Giants and Dodgers from New York to California. Fairly stable period featuring relatively high levels of offense.
Expansion Era (1958-1969)
The westward expansion of baseball, and a jump from 16 to 24 teams. Full racial expansion of the sport. Offensive production varied wildly from year to year.
Dynasty Era (1970-1976)
The period right before full-blown free agency. Three teams (Cincinnati, Oakland, and Baltimore) accounted for six of the seven World Series titles. Offense was relatively low, which led to the DH in the American League in 1977.
STRIKEOUTS-Nolan Ryan 1854
Balanced Era (1977-1985)
The 1977 season saw offense increase as Major League Baseball expanded to 26 teams and a new manufacturer of baseballs.
Canseco Era (1986-1993)
Begins with Canseco’s Rookie of The Year and ends with the last full season before the 1994 strike. Saw a large year-to-year fluctuation in offensive levels.
Juiced Era (1994-2006)
One of the great booms in baseball history. Associated with small ballparks, small strike zones, and widespread steroid usage.
The Mitchell Report Era (2007-present)
Drug testing brought to the forefront to regain control of game performances. 50 game suspensions begin. New, smaller ballparks abound.
So, there you have it. Isn’t it ironic that the most “non-juiced” guy in the world, Greg Maddux, led everyone in wins during that era? Kind of like a mouse hitting an elephant in the nuts, isn’t it?
Sorry, Barry and Mark. Sammy is king of the juicers.
Also, Nolan Ryan? Stud. Led two different eras in strikeouts.
Best ballplayer? You have to give credit to Hank Aaron. He not only led his era in home runs, but also led it in hits. Gotta love The Hammer.
Walter Johnson and Robin Roberts? Never saw them pitch, but they must have been tossing some mean spitters.
And who thought Cecil Cooper and Joe Carter would be ANYWHERE on this list?
You can order your copy today, free of charge. Just call 800-FIRE-BUD.