In case you missed it, Alex Rodriguez allegedly tested positive for steroids in 2003. Since he will probably hit 800 home runs in his career, it seems appropriate to compare A-Rod to Hank Aaron as Richard Justice does for the Sporting News.
To those of us who love the game, the Hall of Fame is a sacred place. It’s supposed to stand for the game’s best. Of course it’s not perfect. As long as mere mortals are deciding who gets in, there will be mistakes.
Hank Aaron turned 75 this week and was honored with a party in which people talked about his grace and dignity. Dusty Baker had the best line ever on Hank Aaron. He said the worst thing Aaron ever did was hit 755 home runs because it made people overlook the fact that he was a great baserunner, defensive player, situational hitter and leader.
In other words, Aaron was a great baseball player in every sense of the word. He was also a gentleman. He received death threats and various snubs and insults as he chased down Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. He couldn’t have handled it with more dignity. He did the game proud.
When you’re around Aaron, you’re struck by how small he is. He is barely 6 feet tall and around 180 pounds. Frank Robinson wasn’t a huge man, but he had huge hands. You could see how he generated power. Aaron did it with an astonishingly quick bat and a great eye. He was the perfect combination of instincts and smarts.
Aaron was baseball’s home-run king for 33 years, until the summer of 2007, when Barry Bonds broke his record. Aaron’s 75th birthday came the day after the government unsealed the evidence in the Bonds perjury case. Included in the evidence is a positive urine sample.
So what should baseball do now? Should Bonds still be atop the home run list in the record book? Should there be an asterisk there? Or should we allow fans to figure out, to know that Roger Maris and Aaron always will have a special place in the hearts and minds of fans?
Robinson has said that steroid users should have their names removed from the record book. I tend to agree. The problem is, there’s no way to know who used and who didn’t.
All we know is that five of baseball’s top 12 home run hitters now have been linked to steroids.
And whatâ€™s left for baseball, which now looks to a future where a suspected steroid cheat will pass a confirmed one?
Jeff Passan explains how the most naturally gifted baseball player in generations had this name show up on the SIâ€™s list.
Heâ€™s a raging narcissist, consumed so much by the idea of himself that his actions made it crumble into an ironic pile of rubble.
Itâ€™s sociopathic, in a way, the single-mindedness of it. Baseball has always romanticized the one-on-one nature of its game, pitcher against hitter. The steroid era has brought out the worst in that ethos: players concerned for themselves, their money and their legacies, sport â€“ or anyone else, for that matter â€“ be damned.