Several times this week we’ve tried to compare players from different generations, almost always with frustrating results. Attempting to liken one player’s accomplishments (and the challenges he faced) with another’s from an entirely different era is the height of subjectivity; everyone has a different opinion on what corresponds fairly.
Now John, despite being a Saybrook man at Yale (there’s Stiles blood in my family), presents an interesting argument about Roger Maris and the single-season home run record. He posits that Maris is still the rightful holder because, if you remove all players who have admittedly (or very nearly been show to have) used PEDs than Maris’s performance is still tops.
It’s a tough question. One could make a reasonable case that, actually, Babe Ruth should still have the record since Maris needed eight more games in his season to hit one more homer than Ruth. I don’t happen to agree with that thinking – a season is a season and Maris can’t be faulted for that, much like earlier stars couldn’t control who was and wasn’t allowed to play in the majors – but if a player isn’t penalized during a particular season (for something that wasn’t penalize-able, if you will, during that season) than is it fair to retroactively say the accomplishment doesn’t count?
It’s easier for me to formulate an opinion on how to handle the Hall of Fame issue. If I’m fortunate enough to become a voter in a few years, I’ll be more comfortable coming up with a way to handle PED users whose stats put them in the HOF discussion (as discussed earlier, I lean towards leaving out admitted “cheaters” on the morals clause, though I’m still considering).
With the records and the so-called “asterisks,” I’m more conflicted. How do you differentiate? What are “felonies” and what are “misdemeanors” on the grand PED scale? Are greenies as bad as stanazonol? HGH? Boli? How do you rank them?
The only answer is that there is no easy one. And the sad reality is that the harm inflicted by those who use PEDs stretches much farther than most would imagine. Posts like John’s show the damage can reach across generations.