"Senate Reasoning" on Steroids

Senator Bunning's statement puts it this way: "I remember when players didn't get better as they got older. They got worse. When I played with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and Ted Williams, they didn't put on forty pounds of bulk in their careers, and they didn't hit more homers in their late thirties than they did in their late twenties...I'm willing to trust baseball, but players and owners have a special responsibility to protect the game. And they owe it to all of us to prove that they are fixing this terrible problem. If not we will have to do it for them.''

He doesn't define the "terrible problem" but presumably it is the pace at which new records in home runs were set over the 1999 to 2001 period. It turns out that he is wrong on even the simple factual assertions he managed to make, aside from the leap to a conclusion and the speculation he states in other parts of his testimony. Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth did not go into a steep decline; they sustained a high level of home run hitting far beyond modern hitters like Maris, McGwire, Sosa, and perhaps even Bonds, though we have yet to see how his career goes. Nobody, so far as I can discover, put on forty pounds, except players of the past many of whom drank rather than trained as modern players do. . . .

People might find the whole post from Art DeVany's website interesting. As usual, a few numbers go a long way in correcting some myths, in this case about steroids and home runs.


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