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Did Roger Maris Use Steroids?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    *shrug* They're also not illegal to begin with. They also don't enhance performance, merely harm the body, more-or-less slowly.
    TopHatter:

    Just to cut the clutter, steroids indulged in to the extent that some athletes use them to improve performance do indeed kill people. There is a virtual 1:1 association with down-the-line coronary disease. You use the things enough to improve strength in your teens or twenties & you will develop coronary disease. The same is true, only worse, with cocaine. You don't even need to develop CAD to croak. Cocaine related coronary artery spasm will flat kill prople with clean coronaries, or in its arteolar version will produce a dilated cardiomyopathy & progressive congestive failure in people without any detectable coronary disease at all. The stupid anti-drug TV commercials depicting the eggs frying are known by any reasonably intelligent 8yo to be bullshit, but for some reason nobody bothers to talk about the genuine dangers.

    On the other hand, the athletes concerned are grownups. It's no one's fault but their own that they're ignorant, or can't manage delayed gratification, or whatever. Those athletes deserve the asterisks on their records they're doomed to, but that's it, assuming they survive past their 40s & 50s.

    Apart from steroids & cocaine, there aren't any particular medical concerns about other illegal recreational drugs (I am not talking here about "huffing" aromatics or date rape shit), including the opiates. Even Heroin. Sure, you take too much & they'll kill you, but that danger is primarily a problem due to the drug's illegality itself.

    Mostly the problem is social, & derives from illegality. Associated political, police & judicial corruption are due to the money secondary to their illegal status. Street violence, yadayada. None of it would be there if the goddam things were legal. It wouldn't be profitable, or at least in a criminal sense, if it were legal. & it could be taxed. & its medical purity & sterilty could be controlled.

    Sorry to fulminate, but I'm a major-league antidrug guy with a bunch of professional experience with the problem. From time to time I get hand-wringing about it. I could go on forever, & I doubt if you want me to do that.

    Whatever, being reasonable about the medical dangers of drugs is very important, & myths don't help. Sorry.

    Prof

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    • #17
      It's true that steroids are banned due to the damage they cause the body, but tobacco is another story. Much like alcohol, tobacco is heavily, and I mean heavily taxed by the government. Can you imagine the pressures on congress if they were denied their annual raise because tobacco was made illegal? So smoke 'em up, boys, they have big bills to pay in D.C.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by rj1 View Post
        Because you had guys that never did anything in their career suddenly doing 50 HR seasons. It's a bit like the swimmers that were always middling in the world scene suddenly setting world records. It wasn't because they were any better, it was because they got a super great expensive swimsuit.

        Three years ago, David Ortiz led the AL with 54 homers. In 2009, his power disappeared and his first home run came a month into the season and just barely cleared the right field wall on the foul line. No one in the last two years in either league has hit more than 50. How many did it from 1998-2002? It's not like the pitching of the league at that time was poorer than it is now.

        The bit on Maris is incredibly cruel. Baseball placed an asterisk next to his name for no reason other than he wasn't Babe Ruth and wasn't a charismatic Yankee. If it was Mantle breaking the record instead of him, there'd've never been an asterisk.
        McGwire hit 49 as a youngster (23). The average peak age for home runs is 30, although this profile doesn't fit all and many athletes show their best performances in their 30's. Add in diluting the talent of pitching in the league by bringing in four baseball clubs worth of AAA pitchers, some wiggle room in the tolerances in the core of the ball, the dynamics of home run races (look at the strikeout rates by many of the individuals compared to other years - they were clearly swinging for the fences), and randomness, and there are plenty of very good explanations that don't include steroids.

        Next, look at what steroids enhance (slow twitch muscle fibers in the upper body) vs. where home run hitting comes from (core body strength and hand/eye coordination combined with fast twitch muscle fibers), the actual physiological benefit of the increased bulk doesn't translate into the monster home runs that these guys were hitting. The benefit would have made warning track fly balls wimpy, barely clearing the fence home runs.

        For an example of HR vs. SO, McGwire is a great example of where swinging for the fences can be signaled to a large degree by the variation in strikeouts.
        Attached Files
        "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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        • #19
          Prof and RJ1,

          I'd agree totally that Maris didn't use steroids given that they weren't well known at the time. However, that was a rhetorical question to serve my point - why the fixation on steroids as THE explanation for the recent record breaking performances? We have an example of where randomness and league expansion apparently are enough, and yet, given the exact same conditions in the 90's, not only is it not enough, but it's not even discussed!
          "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Prof View Post
            Sorry to fulminate, but I'm a major-league antidrug guy with a bunch of professional experience with the problem. From time to time I get hand-wringing about it. I could go on forever, & I doubt if you want me to do that.

            Whatever, being reasonable about the medical dangers of drugs is very important, & myths don't help. Sorry.

            Prof
            Thanks for the info Prof, well said. I'm also a major-league antidrug guy and I agree, myths don't help, either on the pro- or anti- side.
            “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
            ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Shek View Post
              why the fixation on steroids as THE explanation for the recent record breaking performances?
              Run your chart you're doing for McGwire for the annual home run leaders from 1985-2009.

              As far as randomness, 10-20% sure. Something like 45 home runs to 70 the next for home run leaders? That's an improvement of 80%. How many times did you see Michael Jordan go from a points per game output in his career of 23ppg to 40ppg for the season? You're saying randomness but where your's standard deviation, where's your tolerances based on traditional numbers where 99.7% of the numbers are inside the bell curve (+/- 3 standard deviations)? Find those and I think you'll find it's not so random.
              Last edited by rj1; 14 Jan 10,, 05:10.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by rj1 View Post
                Run your chart you're doing for McGwire for the annual home run leaders from 1985-2009.

                As far as randomness, 10-20% sure. Something like 45 home runs to 70 the next for home run leaders? That's an improvement of 80%. How many times did you see Michael Jordan go from a points per game output in his career of 23ppg to 40ppg for the season? You're saying randomness but where your's standard deviation, where's your tolerances based on traditional numbers where 99.7% of the numbers are inside the bell curve (+/- 3 standard deviations)? Find those and I think you'll find it's not so random.
                Great home run hitters aren't part of the bell curve (as in they're so far out in the tails that you can't apply normal distribution thinking to their performances).

                As far as MJ goes, you see it once.
                Last edited by Shek; 14 Jan 10,, 12:34.
                "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by rj1 View Post
                  As far as randomness, 10-20% sure. Something like 45 home runs to 70 the next for home run leaders? That's an improvement of 80%.
                  Roger Maris' record breaking season is better than his best ever before by 56%.

                  Mark McGwire's record breaking season is better than his best ever before by 35%.

                  Barry Bond's record breaking season is better than his best ever before by 49%.

                  Not only are McGwire and Bonds within Maris' "tolerance", it's by quite a bit in McGwire's case. My point is even stronger based on your line of reasoning.
                  "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                    Thanks for the info Prof, well said. I'm also a major-league antidrug guy and I agree, myths don't help, either on the pro- or anti- side.
                    HGH has no identified performance enhancing benefit. Pre-steroids has no identified performance enhancing benefit. Steroids has a minimal performance enhancing benefit. If anything, the placebo effect is stronger than any actual effect.

                    Given little tangible benefits and the huge downside of use, a big part of ridding baseball of them is to simply educate players.

                    On the flip side, there are lots of legal and accept means of achieving performance enhancement that way outperform the PEDs. For example, Tommy John surgery will bring a pitcher's speed back - where's the outcry over this performance enhancing procedure? There's a huge double standard in MLB.
                    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Shek View Post
                      Great home run hitters aren't part of the bell curve (as in they're so far out in the tails that you can't apply normal distribution thinking to their performances).
                      Sabermetricians I think would disagree with you.

                      As far as "are not part of the bell curve", perhaps that shows how "extraordinary" those performances really were and maybe there's a reason for it. They can be part of the normal distribution, it's just that distribution is then skewed to the upside. I got Minitab at my work, when I get some free time, I'll run the numbers and post here.

                      HGH has no identified performance enhancing benefit. Pre-steroids has no identified performance enhancing benefit. Steroids has a minimal performance enhancing benefit. If anything, the placebo effect is stronger than any actual effect.

                      Given little tangible benefits and the huge downside of use, a big part of ridding baseball of them is to simply educate players.

                      On the flip side, there are lots of legal and accept means of achieving performance enhancement that way outperform the PEDs. For example, Tommy John surgery will bring a pitcher's speed back - where's the outcry over this performance enhancing procedure? There's a huge double standard in MLB.
                      First, you can't die from Tommy John surgery. If you don't think HGH and steroids can kill you early, why don't you go look at pro wrestlers or certain football players from the '70s. Dave Meltzer, who writes a trade industry paper for pro wrestling in the U.S., writes at least one obituary every month or two for a guy that died in his 40s from predominantly steroid use. If you want I can give you his email, even in a non-competitive fixed sport such as pro wrestling he thinks steroids should be banned just because he's tired of going to see so many of his friends die young.

                      If steroids offer no benefit, why did 17-year-olds in high school that want to make it in the big leagues start using it in increasing numbers? Why did big leaguers start taking them if it offers no performance advantage? It's not like the stuff is cheap. And why do you think David Ortiz went from awesome in 2006 to a joke in 2009? Sure, there's aging, but not to that degree in three years.
                      Last edited by rj1; 14 Jan 10,, 15:06.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by rj1 View Post
                        Sabermetricians I think would disagree with you.

                        As far as "are not part of the bell curve", perhaps that shows how "extraordinary" those performances really were and maybe there's a reason for it. They can be part of the normal distribution, it's just that distribution is then skewed to the upside. I got Minitab at my work, when I get some free time, I'll run the numbers and post here.
                        I'm not too concerned about sabermetricians calling this distribution normal. However, I'll get worried when statisticians start calling it a normal distribution. I'm still working through getting my Stata files all setup since I switched over to a Mac and I'm still trying to track down the documentation for the Lahman Database v5.7, so this is from so old work that looked at the distribution of individual season home run totals from 1959-2004 for those who had at least 200 at bats in a season. However, widening the sample wouldn't change the outcome that the distribution isn't Gaussian.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Shek; 15 Jan 10,, 02:37.
                        "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by rj1 View Post
                          First, you can't die from Tommy John surgery.
                          Strawman. I'm not examining the risk of the action - I'm looking at the performance enhancing impact, and Tommy John surgery clearly does so.

                          Originally posted by rj1
                          If you don't think HGH and steroids can kill you early, why don't you go look at pro wrestlers or certain football players from the '70s. Dave Meltzer, who writes a trade industry paper for pro wrestling in the U.S., writes at least one obituary every month or two for a guy that died in his 40s from predominantly steroid use. If you want I can give you his email, even in a non-competitive fixed sport such as pro wrestling he thinks steroids should be banned just because he's tired of going to see so many of his friends die young.
                          Another strawman. I never argued that they didn't harm individuals. In fact, I argued that the downside of using them was much greater than any potential performance enhancement.

                          Originally posted by rj1
                          If steroids offer no benefit, why did 17-year-olds in high school that want to make it in the big leagues start using it in increasing numbers?
                          Lots of 17 year olds do drugs, have unprotected sex with multiple partners, drive recklessly, etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure if you want to use 17 year olds as a population against which to illustrate smart behavior based on knowledge.

                          Originally posted by rj1
                          Why did big leaguers start taking them if it offers no performance advantage? It's not like the stuff is cheap.
                          Because they aren't educated. Studies show that HGH and pre-steroids are worthless as PEDs, yet the confirmed stories and rumors abound of usage. Steroids increase muscle mass, but the benefits of this in hitting for power is small if not negligible once you sort out swing mechanics and muscle composition. What drives them then to do it? Lack of education, the prisoner's dilemma of the steroids game, and the tournament nature of MLB contracts. All of this is very consistent with economic theory and lack of knowledge.

                          And why do you think David Ortiz went from awesome in 2006 to a joke in 2009? Sure, there's aging, but not to that degree in three years.
                          Aging, randomness, injury, number of at bats, and swing are all explanations that can explain the decrease in home runs. Look at his BA in 2009 - not a good hitting year in general. Look at his AB in 2008.

                          Furthermore, a change from 54 to 35 (as in 2006 to 2007) isn't that abnormal. Roger Maris went from 61 in his best year to 33 the next year. For comparison, that's a 46% decrease (Maris) compared to a 35% decrease (Ortiz).
                          "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I think that you can throw all of the charts and graphics out the window regarding how well some players performed at one point as opposed to another in their careers. There are always players who will perform far and above the norm at any given time, and it usually happens when they, or anyone else least expects it.

                            A good example of this is Don Larsen who ended his 14 year career after playing on nine different teams with a record of 91-81. He faced not only the Nationals League Champs in the 1956 World Series, but eight of the finest hitters in baseball, and in their prime. He demonstrated nothing before nor since that dictated that a perfect game was within him.

                            As for the increase in home runs for Sosa, Bonds and McGwire, all anyone needed to do was just look at them. All three were pretty lean early on, but they sure on some mass real quick, didn't they? What a coincidence that for almost 40 years no one really challenged 60 home runs. Other than McGwire's 52 in 1996, not one of the three had hit 50 HRs prior to that 1998 season when suddenly 70 and 66 baseballs hit the seats, then 65 and 66 the following year. In 2001 when Bonds hit 73, Sosa hit 64.

                            Poor old Sammy hit more HRs than Maris did in three out of four years, and has nothing to show for it, just like Roger. I wonder what he and Rafael Palmeroid are doing now since they both just vanished after the cat got loose.

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                            • #29
                              Furthermore, a change from 54 to 35 (as in 2006 to 2007) isn't that abnormal. Roger Maris went from 61 in his best year to 33 the next year. For comparison, that's a 46% decrease (Maris) compared to a 35% decrease (Ortiz).[/QUOTE]

                              Maris had a broken bone in his hand during the '62 season that wasn't properly diagnosed. It wasn't discovered until he was traded to the Cardinals in '65. He was subsequently labeled as a whiner because of it, but he continued to play nonetheless.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                For Shek, the first couple segments: http://podloc.andomedia.com/dloadTra...10_simmons.mp3

                                Although I just realized how ridiculous this is: Citing randomness as the reason for the improved numbers and then saying "big home run hitters don't apply to the bell curve" when the bell curve represents how much randomness (standard deviation) there is.

                                Sorry Shek, I just think you are 100% wrong unless you can provide better data and proof beyond circumstantial evidence which you haven't. It's not up to me to believe you, it's up to you to convince me and the rest of your audience that you are correct in your argument. And you've not even provided an argument, you've made one statement of "35% down is nothing" using a very selective set of data of only certain years after their peak years and that's been about it while ignoring the broader data on offer.

                                If yoou're interested though, here's a baseball forum thread on it: http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=95381
                                Last edited by rj1; 15 Jan 10,, 05:07.

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