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Did Roger Maris Use Steroids?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
    Players 3 and 4 have completely abnormal years, so those two jumped out at me first.

    Player 2 looks like a good player on the downside of his career. Player 1 looks like they just randomly jump, have some clearly better years, a super year, and then possibly get hurt and begin the decline. Player 1 for sure I test.

    Player 5 has an increase too, but not quite as dramatic as player 1. The big year he has is clearly a jump, but not as out of control as 3 or 4 had. Player 6 is kinda close to player 5 but with bigger random spikes.

    Forced to pick, players 1, 3, and 6 look the most suspect to me. Player 3 and 4 have huge spikes, but the arc on player 4 is smaller. I can narrow to two if it's that important I guess. Know who they each are?
    You just tested Hack Wilson (1923-1934), Davey Johnson (1965-1978), and Wade Boggs (1982-1999). The two people who you didn't think to pick (or at least weren't even on the bubble as I read it) are two home run kings, Roger Maris (1957-1968) and Barry Bonds (1986-2007).

    You'll find the graph with all the players named underneath, and you'll see that in this version they all share the same y-axis scale. In the anonymous version, they are scaled to each individual, making it easy to see that Wade Boggs' best year resulted in hitting just under 300% more home runs than his second best year ever (in his case, there was a one year spike in home run rates in 1987, making the ball a likely culprit). It also makes it possible to see that Maris' best year was basically the same % increase as Bonds' best year relative to their second best year.

    In the face of such large jumps in relative performance, it should give us pause when we try to infer that a smaller (but still large) jump in performance has to signal steroids. Given that the change in the home run rate across the league in the post-steroid era (after the implementation of steroid testing that would result in real penalties) is not statistically significantly different than during the steroid era (see post #38), in other words it hasn't changed, it makes the steroids as the cause an even harder sell.

    You bring up that the home run record hasn't been broken since 2001 (or that we haven't even seen a 60 home run season) , but why should we expect it to?

    It took 36 years before Babe Ruth broke the record, and then it was broken another three times in the next eight years. It then took another 34 years for Maris to break Ruth's record. It then took another 37 years to break Maris' record (McGwire), which was then broken three years later by Bonds. Based on history, it seems more likely that we need to wait another two plus decades to see it broken. Although I wouldn't subscribe to such a predictable "cycle", I find it unsatisfying to think that if it hasn't been broken again in seven years that that somehow should infer that steroids is the reason for home run record performances (or even performances above 60). Rather, we should expect that home run geniuses will come along randomly, and even then, other random factors (league expansion, the ball, stadium construction) may have to align to result in witnessing the home run genius of a Ruth or a Maris or a Bonds.

    For example, if not playing at Wrigley Field, what would happen to Sosa's totals? If not playing at PacBell Park, a left-handed pull hitter's dream, what would Bonds have hit (or for that matter, what would his HR totals have been if he hadn't been playing in home run unfriendly Candlestick Park for 6-7 years prior to the opening of PacBell Park.
    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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    • #47
      Actually I picked Anderson, not Boggs, and said Bonds looked very similar to his. Also, the dots you showed me and the dots here are different, so I also had to work with botched information. To top it off, the Bonds and Boggs graphs I had suspected, since Bonds got hurt after his year of 73, and Boggs's 24 in 87 I was familiar with since I met him as a kid in 87. Still have the autographed ball.

      Had I seen those same graphs with the names whited out, I would of gotten those two correct. The other 4 I did not know at all.

      What the graph shows, is that HR totals of some past players, had random spikes in it, and give an appearance of how some totals today dipped and spiked.

      Graphs aside - there's a glaring difference. McGwire admits he juiced. He got significantly better in his mid 30's?

      McGwire's best three years - ages 33-35
      Boggs best year - 29
      Barry Bonds - 36
      Hack Wilson - 30

      Just something that sticks out. Not the normal time to peak when most are declining. Sosa has a tear for 4 years, then returns to normal. Just a bit odd certain players all randomly get ridiculously hot for a few years, some admit steroid use, and you do not believe it is steroids.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
        Graphs aside - there's a glaring difference. McGwire admits he juiced. He got significantly better in his mid 30's?
        Can you point me to a scientific study that links steroids to hitting for power in baseball that is scientific, i.e., it doesn't use assumptions to build its case?

        Originally posted by Freeloader
        McGwire's best three years - ages 33-35
        Boggs best year - 29
        Barry Bonds - 36
        Hack Wilson - 30

        Just something that sticks out. Not the normal time to peak when most are declining. Sosa has a tear for 4 years, then returns to normal. Just a bit odd certain players all randomly get ridiculously hot for a few years, some admit steroid use, and you do not believe it is steroids.
        I go back to my earlier question and the point of the original anonymous graph. Out of the normal seasons are labeled abnormal (even though they're the same or less abnormal from performance increases from a non-steroid era), steroids become THE explanation, and than any admitted use of steroids immediately becomes causal, and no other explanations are pursued. It's the exact same story as Iraqi WMD. Saddam had WMD, and evidence that doesn't prove he had WMD becomes rock solid evidence that he had WMD because alternate explanations aren't explored. It's simply an article of faith that steroids improves power hitting as you won't find any scientific studies that causally link steroids to power hitting in baseball.

        Since age is an issue that you bring up, how is that this Olympic medalist at age 41 swam the fastest time of her life in the 50m, crushing the world record she had set at age 15?



        She had the most invasively possible testing regime an athlete can have, which never once detected any PED.

        Make a case for me as to why or why we shouldn't suspect steroids for this Hall of Fame player's personal HR record coming at age 37? If the mere fact of having a career blip at late age isn't proof in and of itself, then you can't convict Bonds simply by the same performance.
        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

        Comment


        • #49
          My view is this, you don't know when steroid use began, who was and who wasn't taking them and if it ever stopped. All we have is gut feelings. Some guys we never could have suspected might have been on the juice and others who were highly suspected could have been clean. When it comes down to it the only thing you have conclusive is the numbers themselves. Accept that is was part of the game (and many other sports) and move forward trying to keep ahead of PEDs as best as you can. I would rather let all those that were guilty into Cooperstown than rob a player who was falsely accused.
          F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Shek View Post
            Can you point me to a scientific study that links steroids to hitting for power in baseball that is scientific, i.e., it doesn't use assumptions to build its case?
            I guess you are suggesting that steroids don't help HR totals otherwise you wouldn't be asking that.

            Look you're throwing out examples of people who have performed well, and who WERE tested extensively. Baseball was NOT doing that, I stated some reasons why and people have come out and ADMIT they were juicing. Jason Giambi juiced hard - and his numbers took off. A Rod - numbers took off. Sosa - looks to be the same if he did. These aren't coincidences, and one of these athletes said exactly why they took them - to hit more HR to earn their giant contracts.

            Not sure why you are so adamant to denounce steroid use like it's not the reason why, when people are admitting they took them. Why else would they? Surely you don't believe it is "to get healthy quicker" crock.

            How come no teams were willing to sign Bonds after his tenure in San Fran? Why didn't they keep him?

            "If the mere fact of having a career blip at late age isn't proof in and of itself, then you can't convict Bonds simply by the same performance."

            It's far more than the "blip" but the baggage that surrounded him, McGwire, etc.

            Comment


            • #51
              A-Rod's #s during his steroid years are no different that you would expect if he hadn't used steroids.
              "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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              • #52
                Alex Rodriguez Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com

                Note his Texas years. Now note this quote of his:

                ""When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,"

                His HR totals clearly went up from his Seattle days to his Texas days. He denied using in 2007, then admit it in 2009, so who knows between 2004-2009 when else he used steroids. I'm sure you've seen the interview with him and Gammons. He took them "to perform better". To hit more Home Runs. He's arguably a douchebag in some circles, but at least he finally admit using.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
                  Alex Rodriguez Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com

                  Note his Texas years. Now note this quote of his:

                  ""When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,"

                  His HR totals clearly went up from his Seattle days to his Texas days. He denied using in 2007, then admit it in 2009, so who knows between 2004-2009 when else he used steroids. I'm sure you've seen the interview with him and Gammons. He took them "to perform better". To hit more Home Runs. He's arguably a douchebag in some circles, but at least he finally admit using.
                  1. Look in your junk mail and look at the "products" that people will send you "to perform better." If someone purchases those "products," how do we know that they "perform better?" What is the proof?

                  2. If A-Rod hadn't used steroids, how many home runs would he have hit in those years?
                  "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


                  • #54
                    It should be noted that A-rod's highest slugging percentage actually came in his age 20 season in Seattle. (until 2007 anyway) , also, any semi serious follower should realize that Arlington's a much better HR park for right handers than either the Safeco / Kingdome or Yankee Stadium (it's just a good HR park in general, though YS is probably better for lefty)

                    I wouldn't go as far as saying that PEDs don't do jack , but the extend of it's effect on baseball performance seems grossly exaggerated. A-rod would be a awesome player with our without it, Bonds would still be a Ruthian player. and you or me taking it wouldn't do jack.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Shek View Post
                      1. Look in your junk mail and look at the "products" that people will send you "to perform better." If someone purchases those "products," how do we know that they "perform better?" What is the proof?

                      2. If A-Rod hadn't used steroids, how many home runs would he have hit in those years?
                      Proof?

                      People taking them, and then proceeding to perform better?

                      ARod himself said that. Is he lying? Did he take them cause they taste good?

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
                        Proof?

                        People taking them, and then proceeding to perform better?
                        Well then global warming is clearly caused by stamp prices then by your reasoning. After all, global temperatures have increased after stamp price increases.



                        Originally posted by Freeloader
                        ARod himself said that. Is he lying? Did he take them cause they taste good?
                        Mark McGwire answered that they didn't help with home runs, so clearly they must taste good.

                        However, you still haven't answered my question. If A-Rod hadn't taken steroids, how many home runs would he have hit otherwise?
                        "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


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Shek View Post

                          Mark McGwire answered that they didn't help with home runs, so clearly they must taste good.

                          However, you still haven't answered my question. If A-Rod hadn't taken steroids, how many home runs would he have hit otherwise?
                          Global Warming analogy doesn't work - you're stretching now, you stated I picked players earlier that I did not. Your asking an unanswerable question and you know it. You're fading fast here, Shek.

                          Mark McGwire was also called out as a liar by people in his clubhouse. Did you see his size growth? Strength doesn't help you hit home runs? He stated that to "less tarnish" his career and make all the HR's he hit look valid.

                          See ARod reference - he took them "to perform better"

                          The fact you are continuing to argue steroids don't help is actually laughable. A player actually STATED he took steroids to perform better (and he isn't the only one - Jason Giambi is another) and you're saying they lied? Again - strength doesn't help one hit homeruns?

                          Seriously?

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
                            Global Warming analogy doesn't work - you're stretching now, you stated I picked players earlier that I did not. Your asking an unanswerable question and you know it. You're fading fast here, Shek.
                            Actually, the position is getting stronger. You can't provide any fidelity to how steroids add to a player's production of home runs. Thus, the evidence then falls back to more home runs = steroids, but since many things can cause additional home runs (randomness, more home run friendly ballparks, strike zone changes, equipment changes, league expansion, training), you are left with poor evidence and an argument about correlation.

                            I did mistakenly misstate one player that you chose, but the fact still remains that your top two suspects were people who played in the non-steroids era. It's clear that you (or I) can't separate random fluctuations in home run totals simply by looking at a home run total is greater than before.

                            As to the use of global warming, it's actually pretty spot on. The stamp price causes global warming is a great example of spurious correlation. The use of CO2 is another example of something that correlates with global warming, but as people have realized that there's more complexity to the global climate, the causality attributed to CO2 has been eroded. Likewise, the first explanation for increased home run production in the wake of Canseco's book, the BALCO tabloid reporting, and the Mitchell Report was the use of PEDs. Yet, it's a much more complex story.

                            Originally posted by Freeloader
                            Mark McGwire was also called out as a liar by people in his clubhouse. Did you see his size growth? Strength doesn't help you hit home runs? He stated that to "less tarnish" his career and make all the HR's he hit look valid.
                            The scientific literature is mixed as to the strength benefits of steroids. You have to separate out the exercise component from any potential benefit from steroids. Then there's a complicating factor in that not all strength gain equals greater home run hitting prowess. The wrong type of muscle gain could create more weight for your body to get in motion, meaning that it's possible for weight to adversely impact your hitting.

                            The fact remains that there's no scientific literature out there that specifically addresses the impact of steroids on home run hitting in a controlled experiment that could prove causality. There are some studies that point to increased strength benefits, but then it's a speculative jump to literature that derives potential power benefits through the use of physics.

                            The exercise in using McGwire is that you were trying to extract "proof" from the confession of someone who used steroids, and yet, when given an opposite conclusion from someone who use them, it's now invalid because it doesn't conform to your conclusion. Of course, McGwire could be a liar, but A-Rod is also one, and so that doesn't get you anywhere. Frankly, I think neither one carries weight, because our minds will perceive causal explanations when causality doesn't exist.

                            Originally posted by Freeloader
                            See ARod reference - he took them "to perform better"
                            Some players won't change socks during hitting streaks - do dirty socks help with hitting? Players pay big money for HGH, but all the scientific literature states that it doesn't do anything for strength. People buy all sorts of stuff because they think it will increase the size of their genitalia. Just because someone takes something because they think it will improve performance doesn't mean that it does improve performance. This is exactly the point from my comments above.

                            Originally posted by Freeloader
                            The fact you are continuing to argue steroids don't help is actually laughable. A player actually STATED he took steroids to perform better (and he isn't the only one - Jason Giambi is another) and you're saying they lied? Again - strength doesn't help one hit homeruns?

                            Seriously?
                            Once again, if I ate jaguar dung because I believed that it made me competitive with porn stars, would that be proof that jaguar dung works? That's what you're arguing here.

                            I also have a question - for all the players named on the Mitchell report, how come their average home run production decreased by .246 home runs once they started using?
                            Last edited by Shek; 26 Feb 10,, 03:41.
                            "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


                            • #59
                              [QUOTE=Shek;719928]Actually, the position is getting stronger. You can't provide any fidelity to how steroids add to a player's production of home runs. Thus, the evidence then falls back to more home runs = steroids, but since many things can cause additional home runs (randomness, more home run friendly ballparks, strike zone changes, equipment changes, league expansion, training), you are left with poor evidence and an argument about correlation. [quote]


                              The scientific literature is mixed as to the strength benefits of steroids. You have to separate out the exercise component from any potential benefit from steroids. Then there's a complicating factor in that not all strength gain equals greater home run hitting prowess. The wrong type of muscle gain could create more weight for your body to get in motion, meaning that it's possible for weight to adversely impact your hitting.
                              Yeah. Except that you can see the clear muscle gain on players in question. The wrong gain, as you said, would make them perform worse right? That did not happen.

                              You don't seem to deny that some players are taking steroids. Why would some players take them, state "to perform better" if not to perform better? What else?

                              The fact remains that there's no scientific literature out there that specifically addresses the impact of steroids on home run hitting in a controlled experiment that could prove causality.
                              Steroids are basically synthetic versions of testosterone in males. Testosterone promotes muscle growth and development. Combined with steroids, it promotes muscle growth. How on Earth you are not seeing this is beyond me. If you are stronger, then when you hit the ball, it can travel father. What I would argue is that they may not help you hit for a better AVERAGE, but they help with HR's. Steroids don't control how well you see the ball and can make contact at all. It effects power.

                              The exercise in using McGwire is that you were trying to extract "proof" from the confession of someone who used steroids, and yet, when given an opposite conclusion from someone who use them, it's now invalid because it doesn't conform to your conclusion. Of course, McGwire could be a liar, but A-Rod is also one, and so that doesn't get you anywhere. Frankly, I think neither one carries weight, because our minds will perceive causal explanations when causality doesn't exist.
                              Uh, nope. ARod stated why he took them. McGwire gave an alternative scenario to less tarnish his legacy. I have no plans to concede this point. Especially considering McGwire's clearly diminished size and strength after he retired is quite suspect. I believe strength helps one hit the ball farther is why. You're free to believe otherwise, but you are currently in the minority.

                              Some players won't change socks during hitting streaks - do dirty socks help with hitting?
                              Semantics, again. This is a superstition with some. Do the players claim "it actually helps them perform better" ever? If so - who?

                              I also have a question - for all the players named on the Mitchell report, how come their average home run production decreased by .246 home runs once they started using?
                              Elaborate?

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Freeloader View Post
                                Yeah. Except that you can see the clear muscle gain on players in question. The wrong gain, as you said, would make them perform worse right? That did not happen.
                                Wrong. They would perform worse holding everything else constant. That didn't happen. More home run friendly ballparks were introduced. Changes in equipment were introduced. Lesser pitching talent was introduced. Better training was introduced.

                                Originally posted by Freeloader
                                You don't seem to deny that some players are taking steroids. Why would some players take them, state "to perform better" if not to perform better? What else?
                                You are still confusing expectations and reality. People buy products from informercials expecting a certain level of return. It doesn't always happen.

                                Ballplayers take HGH expecting better performance, but it doesn't provide anything. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Zero.

                                Originally posted by Freeloader
                                Steroids are basically synthetic versions of testosterone in males. Testosterone promotes muscle growth and development. Combined with steroids, it promotes muscle growth. How on Earth you are not seeing this is beyond me. If you are stronger, then when you hit the ball, it can travel father. What I would argue is that they may not help you hit for a better AVERAGE, but they help with HR's. Steroids don't control how well you see the ball and can make contact at all. It effects power.
                                There are several issues here. First, where you see the muscle growth is an issue (steroids affect primarily the upper body - your power comes from your lower body/core). Next, muscle growth is not the same and muscle strength - HGH stimulates muscle growth, with zero corresponding strength gain. For steroids, the literature often finds strength gains, but sometimes it doesn't. However, by the time you separate the strength gain from exercise from the strength gain from the steroids, you allocate it to various muscle groups in the body, and then calculate a potential impact on distance (assuming that the steroid regimen used did increase strength - remember, there's not a lock in the literature that this is always the case), you're measuring an impact in feet by counting fingers on a single hand in the maximum.

                                Originally posted by Freeloader
                                Uh, nope. ARod stated why he took them. McGwire gave an alternative scenario to less tarnish his legacy. I have no plans to concede this point. Especially considering McGwire's clearly diminished size and strength after he retired is quite suspect. I believe strength helps one hit the ball farther is why. You're free to believe otherwise, but you are currently in the minority.
                                So McGwire continued to lift weights just as he did while he was playing? Even if he did, he would have started losing muscle mass/strength a half decade ago since you start doing so right around age 40.

                                As to ARod, let's look at his numbers. We'll use home run rates (HR/AB) so that we cancel out noise created by seasons where he experienced more at bats. We'll use neutralized rates to dampen noise created by playing for different teams in different ballparks with different run environments. We'll project out predicted home run rates based on his pre-steroid seasons immediately prior to his use using a comprehensive aging study by JC Bradbury that was published last year. Home run production peaks out on the average aging curve at age 30. Not all players are average in the way they age, so some variability can be expected.

                                As we can see, ARod's increase in his home run production tracks pretty well with the average aging curve. Against that curve, he hits 2.37 more home runs in 2001-2, meaning that steroids gave him a boost of a single home run per season. Given the variability in home run production per season, we have no way of knowing whether that's simply a randomly produced difference or an actual gain caused by steroids, so we wouldn't be wrong in saying that there's no difference.

                                If we include 2003 as a steroid season (I've shaded it to highlight that year as well, but according to ARod, he quit after an injury in spring training, and so it's possible that his positive test came during spring training), then over the course of three seasons, he -5.35 extra home runs, or in other words, he hit less than expected by simply aging and approaching the average peak HR hitting age. Of course, that's just a difference of two less home runs per season, which given the variability of home run hitting from season to season, would mean that we wouldn't be wrong here in saying that there's no difference.

                                Bottomline, there's no distinctly observable boost in ARod's HR production that we wouldn't have expected from him simply physically maturing.
                                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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