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Did Roger Maris Use Steroids?

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  • Did Roger Maris Use Steroids?

    In 1961, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs (22 more home runs that his career best) to break Babe Ruth's home run record by one. He never hit more than 33 home runs after that and ended his career with a home run/season average of 21.15.

    Given his performance in 1961, should we suspect that he used a performance enhancing drug?
    Attached Files
    15
    Yes
    26.67%
    4
    No
    73.33%
    11
    Last edited by Shek; 28 Mar 09,, 04:12.
    "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

  • #2
    No replies? Doesn't anyone suspect Maris of steroids or some other performance enhancing drug? If we don't suspect someone hitting 61 home runs (with careers bests of 39 prior and 33 post), which is clearly different than past performance, then why do steroids take center stage with Sosa, McGwire, Bonds (despite the ambiguous advantage that PEDs provide in baseball, if they provide one at all)?
    "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


    • #3
      Did they know what steroids were back then?

      I don't think he did. If he did, why didn't he continue to and hit more more runs?

      We should treat this year as an anomaly. Every once in a while, a player does something bizarre that he has never done before and probably won't ever again.

      Look at Jonathan Cheechoo of the San Jose Sharks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Cheechoo

      He scored 56 goals one year to lead the NHL. He had never come close to that before and hasn't come close to that since. He's even worse this year. In fact, he has never scored that many goals at any level.
      "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by gunnut View Post
        Did they know what steroids were back then?

        I don't think he did. If he did, why didn't he continue to and hit more more runs?

        We should treat this year as an anomaly. Every once in a while, a player does something bizarre that he has never done before and probably won't ever again.

        Look at Jonathan Cheechoo of the San Jose Sharks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Cheechoo

        He scored 56 goals one year to lead the NHL. He had never come close to that before and hasn't come close to that since. He's even worse this year. In fact, he has never scored that many goals at any level.
        Anabolic steroids were known to Olympic weightlifters as far back as the 1954 and first marketed in 1956. So it's possible that he knew of them.

        However, I'm really less concerned about his potential usage since I'm not convinced at all of significant, if any, performance advantage in baseball. Barry Bonds' 73 home run season is essentially the same one season outlier. Mark McGwire's 70 home run season is part of two season's of outliers. Why is randomness never a treatment applied to explaning their successes?
        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


        • #5
          it could've just been a good year for him.
          "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" B. Franklin

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Shek View Post
            Why is randomness never a treatment applied to explaning their successes?
            Because we don't look at "the record books" with an eye on statistics?

            It's probably a psychology thing. We revere "records." Who's the fastest? Who's the strongest? Who scored the most points, the most goals, slugged the most homeruns, stole the most bases?

            Consistency is boring. A guy hitting at least 35 homeruns a year for 10 years straight is less exciting to watch than a guy breaking the homerun record, never mind that he came out of nowhere and will fade away after 3 seasons.

            Michael Chang was the youngest to win the French Open. He came out of no where and never won anything since. But he's in the record books and people remember him. We don't remember those who consistently get into the top 4 but never win.
            "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

            Comment


            • #7
              Let’s go back a few years to a time when the only performance enhancement was bourbon. This was the drug of choice for one particular pitcher who admittedly had quite a few the night before the biggest game of his life.
              For those who may have questioned the ability of a player to spontaneously demonstrate feats far and above his normal routine, here is an average major league pitcher at best who played on 9 different teams during a 14 year career that ended with an 81-91 record (.471). In 1956, his best season, he started 20 games, but pitched in 38, so he doubled as a reliever. He was 11-5 with 107 strikeouts, (the only year that he topped 100) and an ERA of 3.26. His lifetime stats demonstrate why he played on 9 teams in 14 years.
              On this day, however, October 8, 1956 he would take the mound to face Campanella, Gilliam, Hodges, Reese, Robinson, Furillo and Amoros, eight of the National Leagues finest hitters, along with the opposing pitcher Sal “The Barber” Maglie, who pitched a gem. Unfortunately, Don Larsen was better this day.

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              • #8
                ^^^
                That sounds like "the rest of the story" by Paul Harvey.
                "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shek View Post
                  Anabolic steroids were known to Olympic weightlifters as far back as the 1954 and first marketed in 1956. So it's possible that he knew of them.
                  Steroids only started coming into the NFL really in the '70s, and it was of more use there than it would be in baseball at the time, as the style of game then was more smallball. I'd say no.

                  However, I'm really less concerned about his potential usage since I'm not convinced at all of significant, if any, performance advantage in baseball. Barry Bonds' 73 home run season is essentially the same one season outlier. Mark McGwire's 70 home run season is part of two season's of outliers. Why is randomness never a treatment applied to explaning their successes?
                  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.

                  Here's the list of home run single-season leaders from the late '80s to now.

                  AL:

                  1985 Darrell Evans Detroit Tigers 40
                  1986 Jesse Barfield Toronto Blue Jays 40
                  1987 Mark McGwire Oakland Athletics 49
                  1988 José Canseco Oakland Athletics 42
                  1989 Fred McGriff Toronto Blue Jays 36
                  1990 Cecil Fielder Detroit Tigers 51
                  1991 José Canseco/Cecil Fielder 44
                  1992 Juan González Texas Rangers 43
                  1993 Juan González Texas Rangers 46
                  1994 Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners 40
                  1995 Albert Belle Cleveland Indians 50
                  1996 Mark McGwire Oakland Athletics 52
                  1997 Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners 56
                  1998 Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners 56
                  1999 Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners 48
                  2000 Troy Glaus Anaheim Angels 47
                  2001 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers 52
                  2002 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers 57
                  2003 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers 47
                  2004 Manny Ramírez Boston Red Sox 43
                  2005 Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees 48
                  2006 David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 54
                  2007 Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees 54
                  2008 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers 37
                  2009 Carlos Peña/Mark Teixeira 39
                  NL:

                  1985 Dale Murphy Atlanta Braves 37
                  1986 Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies 37
                  1987 Andre Dawson Chicago Cubs 49
                  1988 Darryl Strawberry New York Mets 39
                  1989 Kevin Mitchell San Francisco Giants 47
                  1990 Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs 40
                  1991 Howard Johnson New York Mets 38
                  1992 Fred McGriff San Diego Padres 35
                  1993 Barry Bonds San Francisco Giants 46
                  1994 Matt Williams San Francisco Giants 43
                  1995 Dante Bichette Colorado Rockies 40
                  1996 Andrés Galarraga Colorado Rockies 47
                  1997 Larry Walker Colorado Rockies 49
                  1998 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals 70
                  1999 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals 65
                  2000 Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs 50
                  2001 Barry Bonds San Francisco Giants 73
                  2002 Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs 49
                  2003 Jim Thome Philadelphia Phillies 47
                  2004 Adrián Beltré Los Angeles Dodgers 48
                  2005 Andruw Jones Atlanta Braves 51
                  2006 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 58
                  2007 Prince Fielder Milwaukee Brewers 50
                  2008 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 48
                  2009 Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals 47
                  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.
                  Last edited by rj1; 13 Jan 10,, 20:41.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey, Shek:

                    Nobody knew the effect of anabolic steroids back when Mantle & Maris were dukin' it out. Or, at least, as far as I know. I was pretty young.

                    Prof

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I knew there was something weird about this thread. Died in April of last year, resurrected today. MEOWR!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Let me ask this....what is the big deal with steroid use? Other than they are illegal and drugs and all that. If players are allowed to work out and practice to improve their game, why can't they take a medicine that helps, too? If it were available to everyone, then everyone would have the same chances of it helping them.

                        How about all this OTC muscle builder crap that one can purchase at GNC and the like? Should that be banned as well?

                        Serious questions. I just don't see why the players would not be allowed to take a medication that would help them. We all take medications (that may be illegal if not obtained from a Dr) to help us at times.
                        "To dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are."-Sholem Asch

                        "I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures."-Earl Warren

                        "I didn't intend for this to take on a political tone. I'm just here for the drugs."-Nancy Reagan, when asked a political question at a "Just Say No" rally

                        "He no play-a da game, he no make-a da rules."-Earl Butz, on the Pope's attitude toward birth control

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by THL View Post
                          Let me ask this....what is the big deal with steroid use? Other than they are illegal and drugs and all that.
                          They're illegal for the same reason that narcotics are illegal: While they can pump you up (like Hans and Franz) they're also damaging/destroying your body. Liver damage, Heart disease, stroke etc.

                          Supposedly there's no absolute proof that they cause death, but as one columnist pointed out, Lyle Alzado's death was pretty convicing.

                          Originally posted by THL View Post
                          How about all this OTC muscle builder crap that one can purchase at GNC and the like? Should that be banned as well?
                          Not the same thing. You're comparing vitamins and herbal supplements versus hormones and the like.

                          Originally posted by THL View Post
                          Serious questions. I just don't see why the players would not be allowed to take a medication that would help them. We all take medications (that may be illegal if not obtained from a Dr) to help us at times.
                          The whole idea behind sports is that it's your skill alone that determines the outcome. Taking anabolic steriods is considered cheating (really snazzy technologically advanced sports gear doesn't count, apparently).
                          “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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                            They're illegal for the same reason that narcotics are illegal: While they can pump you up (like Hans and Franz) they're also damaging/destroying your body. Liver damage, Heart disease, stroke etc.
                            Then where does smoking and chewing tobacco come into play here?
                            "To dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are."-Sholem Asch

                            "I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures."-Earl Warren

                            "I didn't intend for this to take on a political tone. I'm just here for the drugs."-Nancy Reagan, when asked a political question at a "Just Say No" rally

                            "He no play-a da game, he no make-a da rules."-Earl Butz, on the Pope's attitude toward birth control

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by THL View Post
                              Then where does smoking and chewing tobacco come into play here?
                              *shrug* They're also not illegal to begin with. They also don't enhance performance, merely harm the body, more-or-less slowly.
                              “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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