Sunday, May 21, 2006


An accountant colleague of mine, when our discussion about compliance in general turned to Barry Bonds in particular, said something I hadn't heard before, probably because its so obvious and so inconvenient.

"If they're going to put an asterisk next to Barry Bonds' home run record, they should also put an asterisk next to Ruth's, because Babe Ruth played against only white players. The exclusion of Black people and Latinos has to be a bigger taint on any statistic achieved, or even partly achieved, during baseball's segregation, than any players' use of drugs to improve their performance."

There's another asterisk you could enter for recent home run achievements: until recent times there was no rule against a pitcher throwing at a batter. The only inhibition was fear of retaliation. When Willie Mays hit a home run, the first pitch of his next at-bat would be a fastball right at his head. It was very common to see batters flat on their backs as a result of avoiding beanballs.

The best home run hitter of all time? Bill Mazeroski. It ain't how many you hit, it's when you hit 'em.

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1 comment:

sfmike said...

I've never heard that asterisk analogy before either, so please tell your accountant friend it's darn brilliant.