Aaron, Maris, and Gehrig: Their Records Have Not Been Eclipsed

Last night, Alex Rodriguez hit the 22nd grand slam home run of his career, snapping a tie with Manny Ramirez. A-Rod is within one grand slam home run of tying Lou Gehrig for the most career grand slams.

A-Rod has admitted using performance enhancing substances. Manny Ramirez.has also used them.

In 2001, Barry Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single season home run record when he hit 73 home runs. McGwire has admitted steroid use.

On Aug. 7, 2007, Bonds hit the 756th home run of his tainted career. In January of that year, the New York Daily News leaked the fact that Bonds’ had test positive for amphetamine use.

Bonds’ lawyer admitted that his client had used steroids but that he was unaware they were steroids.

Finally, Commissioner Bud Selig recently told the Associated Press that Bonds’ records will stand.

It is a sad state of affairs when individuals who admit breaking the law, the rules, or both, are recognized as holding records they achieved by cheating.

A-Rod claims that he used steroids only when playing for the Texas Rangers because he couldn’t withstand the pressure without them.

“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,”

When A-Rod hits his 23rd and, almost inevitably, his 24th grand slam home run, Lou Gehrig will still hold the record at 23.

Rodriguez claims that he stopped using steroids when he left the Rangers. The public does not if that is truth, but how many fans think that the pressure A-Rod faced in Texas was greater than the pressure he faced and is facing in New York?

If A-Rod manages to hit 756 home runs in his career, Hank Aaron will still hold the record. If Rodriguez manages to hit 763 home runs, Hank Aaron will continue to hold the career record for home runs.

And, yes, Roger Maris holds the single season home run record with 61.

Today’s Americans accept authority too unquestioningly. The fact that Bud Selig, who has not expressed great enthusiasm for Bonds’ achievements and has stated that Bonds’ records will stand does not mean that they are valid.

Selig wants the steroid era to blend into baseball history. With the passage of time, younger fans will tend to dismiss steroid use if the game is eventually cleaned up. Future fans that are not yet born will treat steroid use the way older fans treat amphetamine use during the 1950s and 1960s.

But the fact remains the Aaron’s, Maris’ and Gehrig’s records were all eclipsed by cheaters.

Authority must be questioned. The media are powerful forces. Seeing an image of Rodriguez or Bonds on a giant screen hitting a home run and hearing the announcer scream that a new record has been set tends to make most individuals accept what is being presented.

Would an American president lie to the American people?

Each individual must decide for herself, but the decision here is that Hank Aaron, Roger Maris, and Lou Gehrig, if A-Rod hits two more grand slams, will still have unbroken records.

References:

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds’ Trial

Bonds’ Records Stand

Alex Rodriguez Steroid Use