FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Elo.

    Comment by Viliphied — November 28, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  2. Jack,

    I do not think a single person disagrees with the argument that in terms of production, Bonds’ numbers are top 3 all time, with Ruth and Williams likely ahead of him. It’s a question of how much of his numbers are “enhanced” beyond talent through the use of PEDs. It’s a hard thing to quantify, though in the minds of many including myself, it’s not enough to disqualify him from the HOF (I think he should absolutely be in).

    Bonds had some of the single-greatest seasons in history. He put up massive numbers his whole career both pre/post roids.

    There is also no reason to hate him. Fine, he cheated, so what? So did many other players. Who is to say a roided hitter isnt cancelled out in “advantage” by a roided pitcher like Clemens?

    Comment by Jeffrey Gross — November 28, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  3. Technically speaking are the voters self-selected? I’ve done it a few times and obviously people are volunteering to vote, but the matchups are also random–I don’t think I’ve ever voted on Bonds.

    Of course I’m not sure if this does any explaining of the outlier.

    Comment by Person — November 28, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  4. Not to be a dick, but just sayin the post seems moot. Hopefully the next article isnt about how great Hank Aaron and Willie Mays were

    Comment by Jeffrey Gross — November 28, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  5. I give this article a 180.

    Comment by TK — November 28, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  6. One other thing is that our opinions are jaded by recent history. While the steroid issue and Bonds general disposition are things that might damage his popularity, they are magnified by how recent they are. If he had cheated and been a jerk a hundred years ago, he probably would be ranked 4th or so–like Ty Cobb

    Comment by Jack — November 28, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  7. Aren’t voters always self-selected? Isn’t it kind of silly to force people to vote in some sort of Bizarro-democracy? Everyone who is aware of B-R’s player rater can choose to vote or not.

    Comment by quincy0191 — November 28, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  8. Best player I ever saw…long before 2000 and beyond.

    Comment by razor — November 28, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  9. Active career bias seems like a good thing — if someone’s accumulated 88 WAR and is still playing, you expect them to wind up with more (perhaps much more) than 88 WAR. It seems fair to credit for that.

    Having Barry Bonds outside the top five is ridiculous. Step it up, internet baseball community! (Another possible contributor: no rings.)

    Comment by matt w — November 28, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  10. I think you are missing one very important metric: the increasing skull circumference of Bonds over the last 10 years of his career. There is a direct correlation between his ‘roided head and the decline in his popularity. He may be the best player to have played the game, but that don’t mean we got to like him.

    Comment by Mark Houston — November 28, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  11. Do authors understand that people know that statistically Bonds is probably the greatest baseball ever? We know this. We understand it.

    What people are saying with their vote is that they’re not giving him credit for the drug-aided stats.

    It’s really not that difficult to understand, and I think authors know this and just use the name/situation of Barry Bonds to write an article that’s sure to get a lot of comments and eventually turn into a debate on whether steroids help a baseball player or not (for the 7,935th time). It has to be great for traffic.

    —————————————

    Now, I didn’t just respond to complain about it.

    I wanted to show that people could take a normal aging pattern of an elite player (even) and apply it to Bonds to replace the “Second Puberty” he experienced due to unknowingly taking two of the most effective and hard to detect performance enhancers in history.

    When you do this, you get career results that are about 20-30 WAR (depending on aging curve reduction) less than his actual performance. You also see the HR mark nowhere near close to 755. Hubry at SI examined this and ended up with 616 HR for Bonds, and he of course typed it 616*.

    According to fWAR, with the “second puberty” (2001+) of unknowingly using PEDs replaced with a normal aging pattern (even starting at age 36, 2001), you get a player that’s about 20 fWAR short of Willie Mays. As most will admit, even before PEDs Barry Bonds was going down in the record books as one of the greatest baseball players ever.

    Everyone knows this. It should go without saying. But, it doesn’t.

    To reiterate …

    1. Everyone knows where Barry Bonds falls in the statistical metric comparisons. It’s ruckin fidiculous as I occasionaly say.

    2. Most people are making an adjustment and/or penalty for unknowingly using two very potent PEDs. Whether he knew it or not, they were in his body. Rather than argue about what % performance increase steroids give a player and require standards of proof that do not exist, we can simply use the normal aging curve to get some idea of the “surplus” amount of fWAR, and it turns out to be damn significant.

    It’s not a case of people not know where Bonds metrics rank all-time.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 28, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  12. Hate the sin, love the sinner works for me—not that I have all *that* much affection for the San Francisco Cheat.

    A couple of nuances neglected within the otherwise fine article:

    (1) When Barry was in full denial mode, he claimed that he was being unfairly accused of using roids specifically because he was black. In other words, the same sportswriters who’d voted him his three legit MVP awards, were in fact racist. That offensive suggestion certainly didn’t endear him to me.

    (2) “When you attack me, you attack my family.” Unseemly at best, for Bonds to drag his family into the maelstrom—and total BS, of course.

    (3) Even after being busted, Barry stuck around for a couple more years, and broke Aaron’s career HR record. He could’ve retired and left Hank with his rightful place in baseball history, but Bonds chose not to; maybe a minor point to some people, but it’ll always bug me more than a bit. (Same for all the other PED cheats who broke Maris’ single-season mark.)

    Finally, all the athletes who broke federal drug laws in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage in their respective sports—whether Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Marion Jones, Michelle Smith, or whomever—regardless of how *much* the drugs did or didn’t help, have no place being *honored* by a spot in any Hall Of Fame. In my opinion.

    Comment by Bob — November 28, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  13. A bunch of countries use compulsory voting, including that bizarro-democracy known as Australia.

    But Singapore is the only country that requires its citizens to vote in every single online poll that exists.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — November 28, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  14. CircleChange 11:

    You make some good points but even with the “adjustments” to rank Bonds behind Ripken is strongly indicative that the evaluation is largely based on his being a jerk. A normally-aging Bonds was still a far better player than Cal Ripken, Jr.

    I recall that the first edition of the Bill James Historical Abstract, James had the pre-second puberty (love the term) Bonds already knocking on the all-time top 10.

    Comment by Roberto — November 28, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  15. That said, Bonds is behind quite a few players he should be well ahead of in the ratings.

    Hate is probably the wrong word, since no one seems to hate Bonds more than those that have been around him longest. The “internet” most likely either over penalizes Bonds or has forgotten just how good he was before he went ridiculous.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 28, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  16. So this is why Gaylord Perry isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — November 28, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  17. I think it’s a bit silly to take Barry Bonds and simply assume he would have aged according to an average curve. Everything he did was insanely good (including, it seems, digest steroids, because no one else had their performance spike like that), and he was one of the most well-rounded players of all time. I’d guess if there was no roiding, his reality would fall in line somewhere between the “ruckin fidiculous” and the average aging pattern. Also, how do you discount the benefits roided out pitchers and defensive players had when they faced him?

    Comment by Bubba — November 28, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  18. If you’re asking a serious question, I don’t think people view scuffjng the ball as being anywhere near as severe as taking PEDs. While he is probably penalized for that, it’s likely not to the degree that Bonds is penalized for PEDs.

    Perry, IMO, gets penalized for ….

    1. Being a knuckleballer and not a real pitcher, despite 97 brWAR and 2 CYA.

    2. Cheating – At this point GP is basically known as the guy that inspired the cliche character we get to see in every baseball movie.

    3. Playing for losing teams. 22 years, 1 post-season. He pitched primarily in SF, TEX, and CLE, and not in the good years. His 265 L is a lot for a 300-game winner. I’d imagine quite a few folks look at that.

    Before I looked up his WAR, I figured he was around the quality of Tom Glavine. Both played a long time and are viewed as some of the weaker 300 game winners. Both have ~700 starts over 22 seasons. Perry has 60 more losses, and 10 more wins. The amazing thing to me is that over a similar number of starts and seasons, GP has more than 1000 IP over TG.

    I don’t think anyone really uses cheating against Perry to a large degree, and at this point, the clowning about it has sort of turned it into endearing.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 28, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  19. Bubba, I said give him the average aging curve for elite talent, not just simply the average aging curve.

    He was a speed/power guy, so he probably (obviously) ages better than average.

    But, what he likely doesn’t do is jump up 4-6 WAR a season from ages 36-43, y’know? He may be special, but as far as I know, at least one of his parents is human, and he does breath oxygen, he ages, and other human stuff.

    There is no shortage of graphs on barry Bonds and his “aging years” as compared to the other players that he is ranked alongside in the “bets ever” lists.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 28, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

  20. I cannot believe that there can be a lot of baseball players with a higher ELO rating than Garry Kasparov at chess whose peak was at 2850 (when he actually played, now just replace Karsparov with Magnus Carlsson or Viswanathan Anand). This suggests that

    Comment by Black_Rose — November 28, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  21. Edit

    This suggests that baseball ELO ratings are inflated.

    Comment by Black_Rose — November 28, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  22. I think we should add (4) Barry, while still able to put up gaudy numbers and very willing to play, was blackballed by MLB. He really ought to have at least two more seasons on the tail of his career.

    I consider blatant collusion to remove one of the best hitters ever to play the game a much bigger stain on baseball than steroids.

    Comment by Tim — November 28, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  23. What’s so weird about nearly doubling your career high in HR at age 37? There’s probably a bunch of guys that’ve done that! Barry Bonds is so amazing! A true WARrior. How bout Slammin Sammy, breaking Maris’ record not once, but 3 times!!

    Screw these guys, now when I have to explain to my son, when he asks how amazinggggg Bonds, McGwire, A-Rod, & Sammy were that it was all a lie.

    Roger Maris is now 7th in most HR single season, and that fact disgusts me and its good to know I’m not the only one.

    Comment by Melkman — November 28, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  24. Blackballing a lying cheating scumbag isn’t even on the same field as steroids. It’s not even in the same universe.

    I’m glad he was not given a spot to play. It was ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING TO DO, and was a huge step towards rebuilding MLB’s reputation.

    Comment by Phrozen — November 28, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  25. Regardless of what Bonds did to become what he was, he was the most exciting player I’ve ever seen. The stadium, and presumably the fans at home like me, rocked whenever he came up to bat, especially with runners on.
    I loved that excitement and personally don’t care what he did to achieve it.

    Comment by Husker — November 28, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  26. Bonds made himself into a PR nightmare. Only the fanbase of SF would not be outraged at signing Bonds.

    The risk and downside to signing Bonds far outweighed his (still significant) production capability.

    Comment by Anon — November 28, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  27. I’ll reiterate what other (presumably Giants) fans have said: Bonds was by far the best player I’ve ever seen and it is impossible for me to look back on him with anything but utter awe.

    Comment by Greg — November 28, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  28. mays is hugely overrated

    Comment by bob — November 28, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  29. Taking the sliders in a video game and adjusting them to 100 for home runs is really fun. Hey, look! Dave Krynzel hit 77 bombs!

    Watching one of the already best players of all time do so in real life, less so.

    Comment by grandbranyan — November 28, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  30. “…over baseball for much of the lsat decade. Not only that, but he had a tendeny to come off as short and angry…”

    Way to proofread.

    Comment by Keystone Heavy — November 28, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  31. What Barry Bonds turned himself into was the greatest player I’ve ever seen, but what he turned himself into was not real. There’s a big difference between taking greenies every day, corking your bat, or scuffing the ball and what he turned himself into. He consistently used the best of the best designer drugs to give himself strength that is otherwise unachievable by a human being.

    Was he facing juiced up pitchers? Yes. Were there other players juicing? Yes. My point is in an era of cheaters he was by far the biggest offender. Just like of all the wall st thieves, Bernie Madoff was the worst offender.

    And from a criminological standpoint, the worst offenders should be punished more than the petty offenders.

    Comment by West — November 28, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  32. This. Absolutely this.

    Test him every month, and let him play. Give him the chance to prove that he could (or could not) succeed without steroids. Give him a 1 year suspension, let him pump iron the natural way, and let him play until he breaks. That’s the baseball way. I think Barry had another couple years in him, at least, and could have possibly broken Babe Ruth’s all-time mark for Career WAR.

    Whatever people say about Barry, they cannot deny he was a spectacular, once-every-quarter-century-level talent. The man had a career where he did amazing things and gave fans so much joy, pleasure, and excitement; I’m thankful I got to see Barry Bonds in my lifetime.

    I don’t know these guys in real life–most athletes are scumbags, and I don’t care. I only care that they do amazing things.

    Comment by Matthew — November 28, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  33. Speaking of video game ratings as one who makes/made rosters for MVP, High Heat, 2K, The Show, etc.

    Barry Bonds later seasons broke all of the formulas for calculating power, plate discipline, etc. On a scale of 1-100, there were some years that his power rating would have been 132 and his plate discipline numbers were near 200. Having him be a 100 in those categories meant that the next best guy at those ratings should have been less than 80.

    That’s how ridiculous his seasons were. It disn’t matter if you were using straight formulates, weighted formulas, or percent better than league average.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — November 28, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  34. Well Maris took 8 more games than Ruth and had a more watered down league to beat up on. But then again, Ruth didn’t play against the very best since no blacks were allowed. So, uhhh our least shadiest-looking home run champ is ’06 Ryan Howard. Congrats Ryan!

    Comment by djp — November 28, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  35. You make a lot of assertions here without a shred of evidence to back them up.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — November 28, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  36. Since he played probably 5-6 years longer than he should have due to PED’s, “blackballing” him for two years doesn’t seem as big of a stain as you make it out to be.

    Comment by SOB in TO — November 28, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  37. Bonds is the greatest hitter to ever play the game, and I don’t even think it’s that close when you consider era and competition. The old timers faced syphilitic scrub pitchers who were gassed in the late innings, hit into terrible defenses by modern standards, in ballparks with cavernous outfields and short porches.

    Bonds used steroids, but so did all of the competition. He did things we’ll likely never see on a diamond again, things no so-called PED could make possible.

    His biggest error was being a complete dickhead to everyone. And of course there’s an element of racism to the vitriol people spew about him. It’s hilarious to watch white people fall onto their fainting couches at the suggestion of it.

    The collusion to keep him out of the game is a much bigger travesty for baseball than any creams he rubbed on his body, and when the same thing happens to keep him out of the Hall, it will render the thing obsolete.

    Comment by Evan — November 28, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  38. My best guess is that Barry started taking steroids after the 1999 season, while we can’t be sure, he started doing so much better than before, was coming off an injury and got much heavier, so I’ll discount all the WAR after that, that’ll give him 112.5 WAR, a very good player, but not in the top 5 conversation.

    Comment by thomas — November 28, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  39. “mays is hugely overrated”

    The graph states otherwise. ;)

    Comment by B N — November 28, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  40. “Graphs don’t talk!”

    Comment by Buster — November 28, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  41. I’d trust Barry Bonds with my son about a million times before I gave Ty Cobb a chance.

    Comment by NBarnes — November 28, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  42. Grading on a curve for being a dick seems unfair. Bonds may be one of the top five hitters to play MLB (he is), and may be one of the top ten ‘cheaters’ to play MLB (possible, but it’s hard to beat Gaylord Perry), but there’s no way he cracks the top 100 for biggest assholes to play MLB. The competition on that front is pretty fierce when you’re up against Ty Cobb, A.J. Pierzynski, Carl Everett, and Chick Gandil.

    Comment by NBarnes — November 28, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  43. Even if he realized the most benefits (unclear–maybe Raffy Palmiero would have washed out the Majors entirely without steroids), that doesn’t make him the worst offender. His culpability as the same as others who used steroids to the same extent. You’re just pissed because he broke all the “sacred” records, which no one else was able to do even with steroids.

    Comment by Anon21 — November 28, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

  44. During the years before Barry Bonds apparently started using steroids, he was very obviously the best position player in MLB, vastly superior to all of his peers. Here are the WAR leaders from 1986-98:

    1 Barry Bonds 101.1
    2 Ken Griffey, Jr. 68.0
    3 Wade Boggs 66.8
    4 Cal Ripken 66.1
    5 Rickey Henderson 65.0
    6 Barry Larkin 58.6
    7 Frank Thomas 54.9
    8 Rafael Palmeiro 53.7
    9 Tony Gwynn 51.5
    10 Fred McGriff 50.5

    Bonds was approximately 50% better than the next-best player during this era. That is incredible! My guess is that one could take every single 13-year period over the history of MLB and find almost no one besides maybe Babe Ruth who was 50% better than his next-best peer. The point here is that, before Bonds started using steroids and presumably before very many of his peers started using steroids, he was by far the best position player in MLB.

    Now take a look at how he stacks up vs. his peers during the 1999-2004 era:

    1 Barry Bonds 59.3
    2 Alex Rodriguez 48.4
    3 Todd Helton 40.0
    4 Andruw Jones 39.4
    5 Scott Rolen 38.9
    6 Brian Giles 36.8
    7 Bobby Abreu 36.6
    8 Jim Edmonds 35.5
    9 Chipper Jones 34.4
    10 Jason Giambi 34.4

    For the sake of argument, let’s toss out Alex Rodriguez, another one of the all-time (top ten) great position players. Bonds is, again, 50% better than the next-best guy, Todd Helton. So what has changed? In both instances, if we ignore context and all that entails, we have a player who is 50% better than the next-best guy. The counting stats are obviously absurd but if we can get past that then nothing has changed. Bonds basically refused to be a member of what was surely a minority of players who were taking the high road at tremendous personal and obviously financial expense and joined the fray. Sadly, since he was, again, 50% better than all of his peers, his statistics were obscene, offensive even, and he became the poster child of the steroids generation.

    What appears to be the accepted narrative is that Bonds witnessed the adoration bestowed upon two lesser players during the summer of 1998 (Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa), was supremely irritated that lesser players were putting him to shame, and set out to show the world what the best player in recent memory was able to do when HE was on steroids. And he was vastly superior to McGwire, Sosa, and all of his peers, many (most?) of whom were also using steroids. Again, what exactly changed? In both eras, Bonds was significantly better than all of his peers. The correct interpretation here should be to compare apples with apples, and oranges with oranges. When we compare Bonds to his pre-1999 peers, he was significantly better. When we compare him to his peers from 1999 on, again, he was significantly better.

    For what it’s worth: in 2007, Bonds’ final season, he led MLB in OBP and bases on balls. He led MLB in bases on balls despite only 477 plate appearances. He turned 43 during the 2007 season. I’m not sure how many players led the league in OBP at age 43 but I am guessing that the number is zero. I do believe that Ted Williams led the league in OBP during his final season, when he was probably 39 or 40 years old, and I’m guessing that this was the previous record.

    And, as an aside, the total number of people who judge Bonds for using steroids is far less than the total number of people who wouldn’t have done the exact same thing that he did (i.e., use steroids) if they were in his situation. These sorts of people, whether they are judging a baseball player or whoever, truly disgust me.

    Comment by Robbie G. — November 28, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

  45. Is your son black?

    Comment by adohaj — November 28, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

  46. Let me clarify that last statement. Imagine two circles. In one circle, Circle A, you have the people who judge Bonds for using steroids. In the other circle, Circle B, you have the people who would have done exactly the same thing (i.e., use steroids) if they were in Bonds’ position. A large portion of Circle B overlaps with Circle A. All people who are in both circles disgust me.

    Comment by Robbie G. — November 28, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

  47. In Rand McNally, hamburgers eat people…

    Comment by Hejuk — November 28, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  48. Barry Bonds has always been one of my favorite players. Steriods didn’t change that.

    A ton of his value in the “roid seasons” was due to BB and IBB. Which he always did well.

    Comment by adohaj — November 28, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  49. Maybe for McGwire and Sosa, but Bonds and A-rod were clearly ridiculously awesome all time creates even when they didn’t have steroids.

    Comment by William — November 28, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  50. Great post, Robbie – thanks for completely invalidating the Bonds Haters.

    Another quick invalidation: with Bonds’ allegedly steroid-fueled late peak he’s probably the second greatest player ever, certainly in the top five; without it (with a “normal aging pattern”) he’s probably still a 140 WAR player, which is good enough to put him among the ten best players of all time. So: with steroids top 2, without steroids top 10…who the f#$k cares? He’s pretty clearly the best ballplayer since Mays and Aaron retired, which means he’s the best ballplayer of the last 40 years…which means he’s the best ballplayer in the conscious memory of 99% of the readers of this article. Let’s honor him for what he is and was: One of the greatest players to ever swing a bat, with or without steroids–and probably the best player that most baseball fans have ever seen.

    Comment by Angelsjunky — November 28, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

  51. Whoops I just gave myself a thumbs down instead of pressing reply…oh well.

    Anyhow, to put it another way, if we take out all of Bonds’ career from 2001 forward, he is still tied for 17th all-time (with A-Rod, ironically enough) with 112.5 WAR. That’s amazing, if you think about it. Then if we add in a very conservative one-third of the remaining WAR, we get a total of 131 WAR…which would put him at 12th between Eddie Collins and Lou Gehrig. Of course the fact is that Bonds ended up with 168.2 WAR, second highest of all time, and that’s how I will view him.

    In the end, what happened is what happened. We can’t assume that Bonds was the only player gaining a significant edge, or that the pitchers he was facing didn’t have an edge as well. We can only take those numbers in the context they arose. This is what makes Pedro Martinez such an amazing player at his peak–he was doing that while facing Roid Era Bonds, McGwire, Bagwell, etc.

    I’d rather just accept that that was the nature of the game in the 90s and early Aughties. There is and never will be a WAR adjustment that will account for the impact of steroids; might as well take those numbers at face value.

    Comment by Angelsjunky — November 28, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  52. Are you insane?

    His biggest error was making a mockery of the sport itself, by throwing away one of the greatest natural talents of all time!

    “So-called PED?” “All the competition?” “White people?”

    That “collusion” was the first major thing MLB did right about steroids. Like it or not, Bonds became the face of steroid use, and he had to go.

    What the eff is wrong with you?

    Comment by LouSkizas — November 29, 2011 @ 12:02 am

  53. I think many of you need to go examine the

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 12:08 am

  54. Ok, that didn’t work. Derp.

    Many of you need to take another look at the LOLZone.
    http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/372192/ARC-OF-WAR-90s_and_00s_contemporaries_ii.png

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 12:09 am

  55. There.

    You see that upward bubble? That?

    Now what do you Bondsian Knobslobberers suppose caused that? Was it from practicing extra hard? Did Clemens et al stop roiding? Or did he get tired of the media attention levied on McGuire and Sosa et al and start juicing himself?

    Yes, Bonds was one of the greatest all time, and that makes this all the more sad. He could have been the best. Now, to me, at least, he’s a black mark on the game. He doesn’t even deserve an asterisk. He deserves to be expunged from the books entirely.

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 12:11 am

  56. What caused the upward bubble? No one knows, except for those internet experts who can detect steroids use (or mix of the best designer drugs available, whatever they are) by poring over a graph of an ELO-rating. For what it’s worth, Bonds has never admitted to knowingly using steroids, when it would have been so easy and inconsequential to do so.

    Comment by jeff_kent — November 29, 2011 @ 12:19 am

  57. “No one knows.”

    Right. Sure.

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  58. Calm down you cunt. We get it, you hate Bonds. Holy fuck.

    Comment by wat — November 29, 2011 @ 1:29 am

  59. People indifferent to ethics are the ones who disgust *me*.

    Hmmm. 1986-1998. Yes, let’s look at those years. It’s absolutely true that Ken Griffey Jr. was much less valuable from age 16 to 28, than Barry Bonds was from age 21 to 33.

    Of course, only a buffoon would make that comparison…and luckily there are no buffoons at Fangraphs. Whew!

    Comment by Bob — November 29, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  60. You calm down, pottymouth.

    Comment by Bob — November 29, 2011 @ 2:08 am

  61. No, you ain’t the only one, Melkman.

    There are a *ton* of people out there who still believe in fair play, honor, and integrity.

    Sure, plenty of “fans” would honor Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, et. al., as the Best Of The Drug Cheats (Hooray, you’re terrific at being very effectively dishonest!), but they’re just misguided cynics. Forgive them, for they know not what they posit.

    Comment by Bob — November 29, 2011 @ 2:18 am

  62. Cunt? Really? That’s some insightful stuff, there, “wat,”

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 2:33 am

  63. even Arod was ranked above Bonds.

    now thats pretty insulting

    Comment by cs3 — November 29, 2011 @ 2:51 am

  64. No, but it means you should acknowledge it. Or, as the article states, ELO player rater voters should base it on performance, not his increasing skull circumference.

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:13 am

  65. I was a little kid and they’re my heroes. To call me a “‘fan’” is ridiculous. Why can’t my heroes be honored in the Hall of Fame? Because they broke rules that didn’t exist? You can’t imagine what it was like as a 7 year old kid watching McGwire and Sosa go after the record.

    So, basically, fuck off with your holier-than-thou attitude about the steroid era. I loved it, to say all fans of these guys are “misguided cynics” completely misses the point of baseball. Home runs are awesome, and I got to experience that as an innocent kid! Hahaha, you guys can’t even begin to understand what you missed!

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:25 am

  66. Hey, the best player before steroids was also the best player after steroids! Who knew?

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:27 am

  67. My internet browser showed the name of the article as “The Internet Baseball Community Hates Barry…”, so with every fiber of my being, I assumed it to end with ZITO.. As for Mr.Bonds, too much is said about his part in BALCO scandal, so it overshadowed his accomplishments on the field to the degree, where people don’t even consider him to be a real HOFer. It’s a crying shame, cause he is a real face of the era, even though this era is associated with inflated offensive numbers and roids. To me, he’s a sure shot HOFer, even with clear evidence of him being a roid abuser. Just one glance at his BBref page is just too much to ignore, even if you consider his numbers to be greatly inflated. Personally, I can’t imagine that these numbers could be influenced to the degree of him being left out of top 25 all time, be it a knock against steroids or principal punishment.

    Comment by stjz — November 29, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  68. Eh, some of Bonds’ biggest dickhead moments have also been driven by racism.

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  69. Phrozen: Does that mean all the other players who did steroids in the era should also be expunged from the books entirely? I mean, all the other players who played in that era?

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  70. Btw, the LOLZone is funny, and pretty cool imo :)

    Comment by BlackOps — November 29, 2011 @ 7:38 am

  71. Except that there are many other players who we now know took steroids, and they did not have a similar aging process to Bonds either, so concluding that it’s solely caused by roids seems irrational.

    Comment by Simon — November 29, 2011 @ 8:14 am

  72. I nominate this comment for most “not getting the point of the article at all” comment of the year.

    Comment by William — November 29, 2011 @ 9:36 am

  73. “mays is hugely overrated”

    You obviously never saw him play, that statement is almost idiotic.
    He was the greatest five tool player in the history of baseball.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — November 29, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  74. Great post! I’m a Giants fan so I admit my bias, but Bonds was clearly one of the greatest players in baseball history. He will never win a popularity contest because he became the face of the steroids problem, despite many other players doing the exact same thing. All of that was bad, but Bonds is made to be particularly bad because he was already a great player. No one understands why the best player in the game felt the need to be even better through artificial means. Why isn’t Roger Clemens thrown under the same bus??

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — November 29, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  75. “collusion”? come on now, look at the big picture. If a company hires 5 year old asian kids to make shoes, and the american people boycot the product. Then retailers stop stocking their shelves. are the retailers bad? or is it just good business?

    Same thing. It would have been bad business to sign bonds. He brought so much bad publicity. It wasn’t some conspiracy. Hell, he already broke the record. it was a business decision.

    no stain on the game. I’m not arguing morality or saying that Bonds was a jerkoff. Simply that Bonds was bad publicity and no gm wanted that. it was business, not conspiracy.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 29, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  76. Personally, being great in a league without blacks or latinos and supporting such action makes you a much bigger piece of shit than someone who used roids to make more money.

    Students take aderal (spelled wrong I know) to do better on exams. No one is drug testing for that when they hire you. I’m guessing adderal has helped more students (and to a greater degree) than roids has helped baseball players.

    Business are being filled with a bunch of spoiled suburban brats who used a drug (likely not prescribed) on the false pretense that they’re really smart and driven. To me that’s a lot worse than guys using physical enhancements in something that’s basically public exhibition. If Bonds/McGwire shoot up and jack 500 foot home runs, it helps the economy. If some douche who drank and took adderal all through college and benefits from nepotism to get a job and does a bad job (as you would expect), that hurts our economy.

    No but sure, babe ruth, the racist/sexist he was, or Ty cobb, the complete ass he was, are way better people.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 29, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  77. Is it collusion if no one hires a guy who causes trouble? Again, I don’t care about morality or any of that. bottom line is, keeping Bonds OFF your team was good for business. It’s not collusion if you have a legitimate business reason behind it. Which they all did. maybe Bonds shouldn’t have been a dick and/or done PEDs. Not from a morality standpoint, I honestly don’t care, there are a million other things people do to get an advantage that no one gripes about, it was bad for business. The way he acted made him bad for business. He made his bed, he became a figure of hate, he made his bed, he had to sleep in it. Pretty simple. No collusion conspiracy, just business.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 29, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  78. Plus he got a really big head…..

    Comment by Mark Houston — November 29, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  79. Roger Clemens is lucky enough to have Greg maddux. Maddux (over his career) and Pedro (in his insane prime) were both better than Clemens with or without roids. Bonds doesn’t have that. With Clemens is like “okay cool dude, you cheated and guys were still better than you”. With Bonds there isn’t anyone who was even close. So the reaction is stronger.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 29, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  80. Phrozene, can you imagine how good Roy Halladay would be if he didn’t have to face Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, or any other black/latino players? Or how good Ryan Braun would be if he didn’t have to face any black/latino pitchers?

    Now imagine how inflated Babe Ruth’s numbers are. Talk about people who don’t deserve what they’ve got.

    Not only that, but there isn’t a single poster on here who hasn’t done something immoral to get an advantage. We just don’t do it in front of 40,000 people 162 times a year.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 29, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  81. http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1000001,1109,1008315,1009405,1012309

    Comment by Anon — November 29, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  82. Well Mays was clearly underrated when he was playing

    Comment by pssguy — November 29, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  83. Sorry link did not work

    Comment by pssguy — November 29, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  84. There is a fundamental difference between benefiting from immoral advantage imposed by society, and benefiting from immoral advantage committed by one’s self.

    Comment by john — November 29, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  85. To suggest that no team in 2008 would have been willing to put up with all the crap surrounding a player who led the NL with a .480 OBP the previous season is ludicrous. Every GM knew then how good that was … and no player has been able to reach that mark since!

    Comment by AdamM — November 29, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  86. If I had my way, yeah. Everyone reasonably suspected of having taken steroids would be permanently banned from baseball, be they JC Romero or Barry Bonds.

    Maybe saying their numbers should be expunged is a bit over-the-top, but they need asterisks, at least.

    Comment by Phrozen — November 29, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  87. Anyone who says that Mays is hugely overrated has lost all credibility in all matters. He should be sentenced to wear a permanent sign that reads, “Do not trust me, for I have no capacity to reason.”

    Comment by Greg — November 29, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  88. Well, given that Ty Cobb has been in a grave for 50 years, I agree that Bonds would be the better choice for a babysitter.

    Comment by Greg — November 29, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  89. I don’t think I’d put McGwire over Mays as Best of the Drug Cheats.

    Or are amphetamines not drugs anymore?

    Comment by matt w — November 29, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  90. What bothers me more than the criticisms of Bonds and other PED users is the assumption that PEDs weren’t in use by the other great baseball players before the 80s/90s.

    People do realize that steroids have been in use in professional sports decades longer than that right? Not that I’m accusing either of having used steroids, but they were in use decades before Maris’ and Aaron’s respective HR records were set.

    Comment by Greg — November 30, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  91. Actually, BlackOps, the (between 8 and 11, according to the court documents and testimony from the BALCO trial) illegal drugs that Barry used were “against the rules.”

    Of every person, in every occupation. They were illegal. Which is why Bonds denied using them.

    Sorry about the “misguided cynic” remark. In your case, it would be “young, profane, petulant, stuck-in-childhood-hero-worship, misguided cynic.”

    Am I a better person than Barry Bonds? I have no idea whatsoever, and wouldn’t presume to *morally* place myself above anybody else, in any walk of life, as I haven’t walked in their shoes.

    But a drug cheat is a drug cheat is a drug cheat. Plain & simple.

    Comment by Bob — November 30, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  92. Eh, I did mention McGwire and Sosa as the ones I watched, but I’ve defended Bonds as well and he’s no hero of mine. Should’ve made that clearer in a Bonds comment section. I believe performance enhancing drugs were not banned by MLB in 1998. That doesn’t matter, though, because they were still illegal. The blame in my mind is placed on MLB for allowing essentially open steroid use with a blind eye. Those players took advantage. Bonds got in on the party a little late.

    I’m not worshipping any baseball player, but fans always talk about the things they saw as kids, and that’s all I got to see. Steroids were baseball.

    I probably hate the world more than I’m “stuck-in-childhood” but that also sounds childish. Can’t win.

    Comment by BlackOps — December 4, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  93. I guess while we’re trading insults, pompous arrogant asshole might work for you. Maybe I’ll check back in a few months and we can trade some more.

    Comment by BlackOps — December 4, 2011 @ 7:17 am

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