Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Home Run King

Barry Bonds broke the home run record last night, hitting his 756th career blast off of the hapless Washington Nationals during a home game in San Francisco.
It’s kind of sad and ironic that Bonds will likely never be inducted into the Hall of Fame despite holding the career home run record. But the taint of the steroid scandal is too strong for most people to ignore. Despite Bond’s denials and/or protestations of ignorance, people will always believe that he benefitted from an illegal drug that enhanced his strength and stamina beyond normal means. One could argue that steroids alone are not enough to make a great ballplayer and that it still took a boatload of talent for Bonds to get to where he is today. Just look at all the other players who we know or suspect took steroids and fell far short of breaking the home run record. But you can’t get past the fact that without steroids, some of those home runs that piled up over the years would have fallen short of the fence and been recorded as flyball outs instead.
Unlike, for example, Pete Rose who broke Ty Cobb’s career hits record fair and square. The scandal that felled Rose - gambling - had no impact whatsoever on his performance on the field and thus, in my opinion, should not have resulted in permanent banishment from the Hall of Fame.

Here is how the baseball home run list shapes up now. I guess I haven’t been paying attention lately because I was surprised by the number of current players who are now in the top echelon. Active players are in bold with their ages in paretheses, but only A-Rod is considered to be a future threat to the home run record at this point.

1. Barry Bonds (42) 756
2 Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Sammy Sosa (38) 604
6. Ken Griffey Jr. (37) 589
7. Frank Robinson 586
8. Mark McGwire 583
9. Harmon Killebrew 573
10. Rafael Palmeiro 569
11. Reggie Jackson 563
12. Mike Schmidt 548
13. Mickey Mantle 536
14. Jimmie Foxx 534
15. Willie McCovey 521
16. Ted Williams 521
17. Ernie Banks 512
18. Eddie Mathews 512
19. Mel Ott 511
20. Frank Thomas (39) 505
21. Eddie Murray 504
22. Alex Rodriguez (31) 500
23. Lou Gehrig 493
24. Fred McGriff 493
25. Jim Thome (36) 490
26. Manny Ramirez (35) 489
27. Gary Sheffield (38) 478

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