Friday, November 16, 2007
Rewriting the Record Book *
Note: The following was written before it was revealed that Alex Rodriguez had used steroids while with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.
The following are baseball home run records. They do not require asterisks.
Most home runs, single-season: 61, Roger Maris, 1961.
Most home runs, single-season, right-handed hitter: 58, Jimmie Foxx, 1932, also Hank Greenberg, 1938.
Most home runs, single-season, National League: 56, Hack Wilson, 1930.
Most home runs, single-season, National League, left-handed hitter: 58, Ryan Howard, 2006.
Most home runs, career: 755, Hank Aaron.
Most home runs, career, left-handed hitter: 714, Babe Ruth.
Most home runs, single-season, San Francisco Giants: 52, Willie Mays, 1965.
Most home runs, single-season, St. Louis Cardinals: 49, Albert Pujols, 2006.
Most home runs, single-season, Chicago Cubs: 56, Hack Wilson, 1930.
Most home runs, single-season, Arizona Diamondbacks: 38, Jay Bell, 1999.
The entire list of players who have hit 40 home runs and stolen 40 bases in the same season:
Alex Rodriguez, 1998 Seattle Mariners
Alfonso Soriano, 2006 Washington Nationals
That's it. Only two.
American League Most Valuable Player, 1988: Mike Greenwell, Boston Red Sox.
National League Most Valuable Player, 1996: Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers.
National League Most Valuable Player, 1998: Moises Alou, Houston Astros.
National League Most Valuable Player, 2001: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.
National League Most Valuable Player, 2002: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.
National League Most Valuable Player, 2003: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.
National League Most Valuable Player, 2004: Adrian Beltre, Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, these are neither officially recognized by Major League Baseball nor capable of being enforced by me. And there may be others who will have to be stripped of records and awards, just as B---- B----, M--- M------, S---- S---, J--- C------, R----- P-------, L--- G------- and K-- C------- have been.
But those players whose names I have obscured above did not deserve those awards, and should be stripped of their records.
"When the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name
he marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game."
-- Grantland Rice (1880-1954)
OK, that flies in the face of things I've said about Alex Rodriguez. But he is now miles ahead of those others, regardless of whether he ever hits 62 homers in a season, or 74; or 756 home runs in his career, or 763.
But after being indicted yesterday on four counts of perjury and one charge of obstruction of justice, charges that would bring, if convicted on all, a maximum of 30 years in prison -- and they wouldn't have indicted if they weren't pretty sure of a conviction -- we can be pretty sure that B---- B---- will remain stuck on 762. Even if he's acquitted (fat chance), who would risk the radioactive publicity they'd get by signing him?
2007: Perhaps the strangest year baseball has ever had, from the home run record chase to "As the A-Rod Turns"; from the Mets blowing a big lead to the Phillies taking advantage of it, instead of the historical other way around; from the Rockies winning 21 out of 22 to the Red Sox violating the once-every-86 years rule.
I'm glad I went through it, but I hope we never go through a year like it again.