Thursday, August 9, 2007

Asterisky Business

Every Major League Baseball player that played before 1947 was a cheater. The most efficient form of cheating is to not allow quality competitors to even participate. Every single Major Leaguer at the time benefited from the exclusion of blacks, from Babe Ruth to Moonlight Graham. Sure Babe would have still been great, but he might not have looked quite so immortal if he had to face Satchel Page, or other great black pitchers, instead of some awful white 4th starter. Mediocre starters would have been bench warmers. Bench warmers, career Minor Leaguers. My SAT scores were pretty decent. But they would look substantially better if Jews and Asians were forbidden from taking the test. Whether or not they agreed with the segregationist policies, their participation alone is a tacit endorsement of them. The Nuremberg Defense does not apply here. They played these games of their own volition. Theirs is a disgraced era, tainted if you will, and none of their records should be acknowledged.

Everyone who played after 1960, put up completely fraudulant stats. I'm looking at you Roger Maris, and you Sandy Koufax, and even you Henry Aaron. Roger Maris hit 61* in '61, not coincidentally the first year of the expansion era. MLB added two teams in 1961, both of them to the American League. So the AL jumped from 8 teams to 10 teams. This meant 25 percent more pitchers in the league, the majority of whom would have been considered AAA ballplayers prior to expansion. This sounds like the perfect recipe for turning a very good Major League hitter, Roger Maris, into a monster.

The following year, two new National League teams debut. One of those teams, the 1962 Mets, were famously awful that year, bumbling their way to only 40 wins. Not entirely surprising then, that Sandy Koufax's ERA dropped a run that year and he began a reign of terror on the NL for the next 4 seasons.

Hammerin' Hank was still averaging 40 home runs a season, from ages 35 to 39 (1969 to 1973). It stands to reason that some of that production was aided by the fact that the Major Leagues were 50% bigger by 1969 than they were in 1960. Also, in the last 17 years of his career, Hank's teams played 8 more games per season than Babe Ruth ever did. Add that up and you get 136 more games.

Without the extra games and expansion teams, it's pretty safe to say Aaron never would have broken Ruth's record. 755 never happened. 714 is still the record. Oh wait I erased those records. Who hit the most home runs between '47 and '59? He is the true Home Run King. Actually a lot players lost time to the Korean War between '51 and '53. Those seasons should be stricken from the record. What kind of pussy boy would be playing baseball, while his countrymen were being drafted into war? The guy who hit the most homers from '47 to '50 and '54 to '59...He's our man!

Do I believe all of this nonsense? Sort of. Nothing I said was factually incorrect. The point is that any fan smarter than Kige Ramsey is able to look at the homerun record, or any other record, and understand that the context of one era is different from another era. Even within a given era, there are a million variables. Henry Aaron had the benefit of a home park nicknamed "The Launching Pad" and was protected by Hall of Famer Eddie Matthews for much of his career. That equals more home runs. Barry Bonds has played in extreme pitchers' parks and has had a subpar supporting cast for much of his career. That equals less home runs. Were steroids a factor? Sure. But one of a great many.


Jimer said...

Great take Tremont. Love it.

Have we figured out who that player was?

Tremont said...

My limited research leads me to believe it was Ted Williams. I wasn't confident enough to post that though.

notthatgood4 said...

Good stuff. I love how people want your head if you say anything bad about Aaron or Ruth.