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  1. Great article Dave! I’m kind of surprised that A-Rod’s April of 2007 didn’t make it, although now that I think about it, I think he peaked in May.

    Comment by Spunky — May 1, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  2. I’ve never understood all the Bonds hate.

    Yeah, the guy was rubbing creams all over himself, and shooting up, etc, but he was just so much better than everyone else. There were plenty of guys juicing at that time (and in my opinion, the majority of the league), but he just stands so much higher than everyone else.

    It wasn’t a level playing field, but not because of the steroids. But because Barry Bonds was just that much better than everyone else. (And I say this as someone who really dislikes Bonds)

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  3. Bonds and others were juiced illegally. His stats should be purged when doing a statistical comparison like this.

    That said, I think Bonds and the others saved baseball by bring in the fans who hate pitching performances and wanted to see amazing hitting.

    Comment by FredMertz65 — May 1, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  4. WAR ages 27-30: 34.3.
    WAR ages 37-40: 47.8

    Not a level playing field.

    Comment by Jay — May 1, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  5. They are performance enhancers, not talent creators.

    Comment by j6takish — May 1, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  6. braun juiced, aroid, manny, slamming sammy, juan gone, big pappi, bagwell, purge em all

    with that said, what about tino martinez 37 rbi april? its one for the ages?

    Comment by braun is crazy? — May 1, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  7. Wouldn’t it be worth looking at positional adjustment too? I know its not going to make up the 7.3 run difference between him and Bonds, but what’s so impressive to me is Kemp is doing this while playing a decent centerfield.

    Comment by Thomas — May 1, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  8. klaw typically presents the argument against the argument against bonds as:
    bonds didn’t play nice with the media and thus will be unfairly viewed by the media when it comes to the HOF.

    this is, of course, a gross misrepresentation of the bonds hate–how many media-voted MVPs does he have?–but whatevz. even the staunchist bonds hater will likely admit he was a HOFer before 1998.

    as for your point…I’m trying to get my head around: “I’ve never understood all the Bonds hate” and “And I say this as someone who really dislikes Bonds”. if you really dislike him–and i’m guessing it’s not because you’re a former pitcher he abused or a racist–how can you not understand the polarizing nature that leads many to dislike him?

    Comment by ccoop — May 1, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  9. I miss Barry Lamar Bonds.

    Comment by Derek — May 1, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  10. Those “enhanced statistics” happened, and it’s a shallow practice to selectively remove pieces of history. For Good or for Bad, it’s still factual. If you get rid of those numbers you might as well just say baseball didn’t exist during that time frame, because you’d have to remove those “tainted numbers” from any aspect of play they effected. And it effected everything and everyone.

    Comment by baty — May 1, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  11. Why couldn’t baseball still be like the old days, when players used amphetamines, cocaine, and monkey testosterone instead of steroids?

    Comment by Big Daddy V — May 1, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  12. Kinda, Kemp overall hasn’t played a decent CF and Bonds for the most part played an extremely great LF. The positional adjustment from CF to LF is like 9-10 runs/year? Bonds was about a +10 LF for his career when Kemp has been around a -2 to -3. It evens out.

    Comment by Azmanz — May 1, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  13. Minor quibble, but Barry wasn’t great from the absolute get-go. A very good young player through ‘Year 4′, but I’d wager most of those don’t step up to greatness. It was ‘Year 5′ that Barry exploded.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  14. By the two latter years cited here, Barry was no longer a +10 leftfielder.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  15. I can’t stand Barry Bonds as a human being. He was, however, one of the finest players of the game of baseball in history. There is no context needed for the previous assertion: he was just that good. Matt Kemp’s month has been preposterous, and yet we see Bonds’ name appear four times. Both the svelte, single-earring, BBD-empathizing version and the Incredible Hulk, crossdressing version of the man enjoyed hitting baseballs in April. The man’s talent requires profound respect, much as the man’s character demands intense scrutiny.

    Comment by muchogusto — May 1, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  16. Cocaine was cheating yourself, rather than against competitors. Similar to suggesting that some players being lazy is an argument for invalidating the statistical record.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  17. Fully agree except that in Barry’s character was such that it needed very little scrutinizing. And unless you’re arguing that such character really really really affected the performance of those around him, it otherwise wasn’t such a baseball issue as to again merit all that much scrutinizing. As to evaluation purposes.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  18. +1

    Comment by gonfalon — May 1, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  19. 37 RBI? The guys who got on base ahead of him sure had an April for the ages

    Comment by j6takish — May 1, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  20. Mind you, I’m of the camp that character does have some effect on the performance of those around you. So does count some against Barry as a player. Just not all that big of a ‘some’.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  21. “intense scrutiny”? Not sure I’d want to waste my time with that.

    “profound respect”? I’ll acknowledge it. The talent certainly existed.

    Comment by baty — May 1, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  22. just wish kemp could knock some sense into mattingly and play jansen as closer, and then they couldve tied most wins in april: 19

    Comment by mattingly is crazy? — May 1, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  23. Cocaine will hurt your chances at a long career, but on a per season basis, it is definitely a performance enhancer, much like amphetamines.

    Comment by jayT — May 1, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  24. “And in my opinion, the majority of the league…”

    How can one have an opinion about whether or not a majority of people used steroids at the time? Seems like it’s something we either have data to support or we don’t, but unless you’ve seen such data, it’s not really an ‘opinion’ kind of a question.

    Comment by BookWorm — May 1, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  25. Ah true. 93 he was tho. If a full season is worth 9-10 runs, then 1 month is only worth like 1.5 runs, which wouldn’t make up the difference either.

    Comment by Azmanz — May 1, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  26. I dislike him because he’s an asshole, and has repeatedly called me a racist (as a member of the city I lived in).

    I still think he should be a first ballot hall of famer.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  27. Of course its an opinion question.

    Steroids have been ubiquitous with sport since the 60s. The idea that baseball was some sort of mystical land of no performance enhancers is absurdly naive.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  28. You’re certain Tino wasn’t using anything?

    Comment by scatterbrian — May 1, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  29. No, they just would’ve lost a game or two in the 8th inning that they instead lost in the 9th.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  30. Even leaving out the “definitely”, jayT’s claim is an astounding one. Even leaving out the “the season” basis, it’s astounding. But on the chance any 8-year old’s read this site, I figure I’ll point that out.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  31. “purge em all” Right. And then we of course have to scrub the records of every pitcher who pitched against any of those guys. And then update in turn the records of any other hitters who batted against them or in the same lineup as the users, and… Ah, let’s just throw out all the records of everything since the first known user of steroids in baseball, which was Pud Galvin in 1889.

    Comment by joser — May 1, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  32. So? Its funny to me that Steroids is always what the media jumps on.

    MLB banned / started testing for Steroids in 2004.

    And basically nothing happened in the leaguewide batting statistics.

    And then MLB started testing for Amphetimines after 2007. And R/G has dropped every single year since.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  33. Its astounding, but its true.

    Pretty much every stimulant is an atheletic performance enhancer. Cocaine is a stimulant.

    Cocaine is also an anesthetic. Which also helps performance, especially in a sport where guys supposedly play hurt the whole seasons.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  34. Gotta purge Babe Ruth while we’re at it. He injected sheep testosterone.

    Gotta purge Hank Aaron. He took amphetimines.

    Gotta purge Willie Mays. He was on speed.

    Gotta purge …

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  35. It’s an opinion question because we don’t have conclusive evidence.

    Comment by matt w — May 1, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  36. I think it should be noted that this season started April 5th (for Kemp). For many of the other guys, it was earlier. For example, Jose Bautista played in one more game than Kemp last year even though he had an early injury that cost him some games. This is because the season started April 1 for him. Since you’re using a counting stat, years in which the season starts earlier give players an advantage. I hardly think that should be a factor in determining “best Aprils ever.”

    Comment by TKDC — May 1, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  37. Back in the day, we recall Roy Smalley of he Cincinnati Redlegs starting out the year hot — 12 HRs in Arpil. Forget the exact year. Think he ended the season with 14 or so. heh heh

    Comment by El Guapo — May 1, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  38. I’ll leave this alone after this, as there’s no point in debating with some folks, never mind arguing. To which end I won’t check this anymore either. But once again, it’s astounding to argue that amphetamines helped hitters, but not pitchers.

    Comment by Richie — May 1, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  39. I never argued that they didn’t.

    I said that banning steroids had no effect on MLB stats. Banning Amphetemines did.

    So the whole “he did steroids” seams a bit silly to me, when removing them from the game has had no effect.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  40. kemp and ethier go bonkers in the 9th for the dub

    Comment by mattingly is crazy? — May 1, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  41. Eric Walker’s research found that the evidence suggests that it was a juiced ball, not juiced humans, that led to the era of high offense:

    His subsequent research into PEDs found further evidence that it could not have been steroids or other PEDs that helped boost performance:

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — May 1, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  42. I dare say that is the nature of man. He whose performance demands the respect of us all has character issues which we should all examine. Abnormally large ego’s and senses of entitlment are either born out of etraordinary performance or a persons’s delusion of etraordinary performance. In Bonds case a little of both.

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  43. Richie, that’s a pretty weak post to go out on.

    Comment by vivalajeter — May 1, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  44. Wasn’t there somebody who threw a no-hitter while high on cocaine, I am think a Pittsburgh Pirate’s pitcher, maybe Dock Ellis?

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — May 1, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

  45. I’m not saying that he had a positive effect on Jeff Kent, but before joining the Giants Kent wasn’t much of a player, wasn’t even a full-time starter, but he ends up MVP one season with Bonds.

    Granted, his rates were such that giving him full time playing helped him greatly, but one has to wonder if Bonds helped Kent get over the hump to go beyond that.

    Still, scuttlebutt was that Bonds drove Kent crazy and was a large part of the reason why he didn’t try to re-sign with the Giants, despite his success with them.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — May 1, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  46. *extraordinary

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  47. Maybe he gave Kent some Cream and Clear an their battles were nothing but roid rage squared.

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  48. Doc Ellis was on LSD when he threw his no-hitter.

    Comment by Michael — May 1, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  49. If you are gonna use RBI’s on a Sabermetric site at least get the number right. It was 34 in 1997.

    Paul O’Neill had a 413 obp in april 1997
    Derek Jeter had a 415 obp in april 1997
    Bernie Williams had a 445 obp in April 1997
    Tim Raines had a 367 obp in 60 PA in April 1997
    Wade Boggs had an OBP of 445 in April 1997

    Tino had a 1005 Ops with 9 home runs, 7 doubles and a 327 batting average. The guys that hit ahead of him in the order had an obp in the range of 430 cumulatively and none of them had big home run months. So needless to say he had RBI chances. I would say this though. Those 97-98 Yankee teams were the true roots of moneyball.

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  50. …but how could that opinion be an informed one? When you say majority, you’re saying that a certain number of players used steroids. On what is your opinion based? No doubt people used, and no doubt it extends further back than is popularly acknowledged, but the word “majority” implies something specific — something based in fact, not opinion.

    Comment by BookWorm — May 1, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  51. Expectation would be a better word to use.

    Comment by Anon — May 1, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  52. 1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

    2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

    The word fits perfectly.

    Comment by RC — May 1, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  53. he was also a huge douche

    Comment by papality — May 1, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  54. Willie Stargell, 1971, .347/.398/ .813 11 HR 27 RBI

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — May 1, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  55. LSD, although containing amphetamines is no performance enhancer. I’ve done a ton a drugs but LSD and love me my heoin and bath salts and cocaine and well you get the idea. LSD is only good for hiding under your covers for 8 hours hoping it all will JUST STOP. KUDOS to Doc Ellis for tossing a no-hitter on that shit. It’s a testament to what kind of man he is. Mentally Strong!

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  56. AROD did tie Barry Bonds record for most home runs in April that year with 14.

    Comment by I am a Red Sux Fan — May 1, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  57. I’m no steroid expert, but I’ve always wondered how much performance enhancers actually help. It’s not like Bonds was a hell of a player before he supposedly juiced.

    Comment by MauerPower — May 1, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  58. i meant to say “wasn’t” in my previous post, reply is giving me troubles for some reason though.

    Comment by MauerPower — May 1, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  59. It blows my mind that people forget that MLB did not outlaw steroids until AFTER Bonds juiced/creamed/etc.

    Comment by Berkeley — May 1, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  60. Hold on, you throw out Walker’s 97 and trash him as being in an extreme hitter’s park with such thin air we need to use balanced metrics Pujols was therefore better etc etc etc. Walker had a higher road OPS than home OPS in 97. He drew more walks on the road. He hit more home runs on the road. He stole more bases….at home. So if we’re going to have yet another anti-Coors circlejerk in here, why not at least make sure the premise isn’t flawed like it is here? Walker’s April should be second, not third

    Comment by Alex — May 1, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  61. Black Flag!

    Comment by will h — May 1, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  62. No doubt Bonds would not have acheived the remarkable dominance which he did without steroids, but it is good to remember that he was hitting against steroids as well.

    Comment by james wilson — May 1, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  63. “people are going to have differing opinions on the validity of the numbers posted by Bonds during his late career surge”


    Comment by Train — May 2, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  64. I completely understand that batting runs and WAR are stats much more indicative of underlying repeatable performance, but it’s completely foolish not to consider runs and rbi. In terms of actual value, luck matters. Really, it does. It doesn’t matter if it’s sustainable or repeatable. The actual events matter. (ie. They are not useless numbers, at least not in terms of accessing past value, in terms of accessing history.) Of course, there are other things to consider like turning the lineup over and not making outs (well, those are actually the same thing), etc . . . Those things are important too. But hitting well with men on base matters. Scoring actual runs matters.

    Basically, situation matters. And if so, not to consider the situation that the hits come doesn’t consider the question. It considers whose April was the best if we were to run it through a computer program. Not whose April contributed most to his team winning actual baseball games.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — May 2, 2012 @ 1:21 am

  65. It blows my mind that people don’t understand that whatever Bonds did wasn’t even legally a steroid until after he did it. Thus, not against the rules. It blows my mind that people don’t know that what is and what is not a steroid is actually quite fluid, and that the use of any number of steroids, like cortisone, are actually allowed by major sports of all types.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — May 2, 2012 @ 1:24 am

  66. The definition of a steroid is hardly fluid. 17 carbon atoms arranged into 4 fused rings forms the basis for all steroids. How that ring set is functionalized determines the physiological activity and sub-classification, ranging from cholesterol to anabolic steroid and more. Whether new entries to the group are legal, available by prescription only, available OTC, or subject to abuse by those looking to gain an edge changes as more is know about each one, but that a compound is a steroid is pretty well defined once it’s structure is known.

    Comment by Tony Tutone — May 2, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  67. We could discuss that at another time in another place, but what does it have to do with the validity of the medical and other sciencitifc literatures and baseball analyses (by well-respcted analysts, not just me) cited on the subject web site?

    You have no idea how tired I have gotten over the years dealing with people who just don’t even read the site; one literally said he read the first paragraph and dismissed it all as obvious error. If someone disagrees with a proposition set forth there, let him or her explain exactly why and set forth reputatble citations or calculations to substantiate his or her contrary position.

    Comment by Eric Walker — May 2, 2012 @ 3:45 am

  68. Maybe I’m putting words in Richie’s mouth, but isn’t it possible that steroids essentially cancelled out some effects since both pitchers and hitters were on them?

    Comment by Matthias — May 2, 2012 @ 3:52 am

  69. How about that Chris Shelton April in 2006?

    wRC+ of 195, 10 bombs, .326/.404/.723 slash. Probably the hottest waiver commodity known to fantasy sports. Not that it really compares to these guys….but it was Chris Shelton.

    Comment by Matthias — May 2, 2012 @ 4:02 am

  70. Pujols tied that record (might have set it as the new NL record too, can’t remember) in 2006.

    Comment by mattybobo — May 2, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  71. Thank you. I can’t believe people don’t talk about that guy’s work more often. I keep wondering if it has been completely refuted somehow and that’s why nobody ever mentions it, but I have never seen such a refutation.

    Comment by mattybobo — May 2, 2012 @ 8:38 am

  72. UZR has historically underrated Kemp – especially his arm. If Barry Bonds had his arm, he would have played CF and been as good as Mays in the field

    Comment by AA — May 3, 2012 @ 2:25 am

  73. So…is that why Jeff Kent had his best years playing on the same team? Rich Aurelia?

    Comment by AA — May 3, 2012 @ 2:30 am

  74. “Regardless of how tainted you may or may not think his end-of-career numbers are, don’t forget that he played like one of the game’s all-time greats from the moment he got to the big leagues.”

    And this in a nutshell is the tragedy of Bonds. He would have been a first ballot HOF’er without juicing. He was that good.

    Comment by KCB — May 3, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  75. So the 22 or 23 games in April wasn’t enough for you? Are his stats tainted because of that? Number 1 on the list is Bonds with just about the same exact amount of PA.

    Comment by Ivdown — May 4, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  76. I’m glad to see an article starting out based on Kemp got him maybe 8% of the total comments.

    Oh well…

    Comment by Ivdown — May 4, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  77. so we’re going through the case where one of the greatest pitcher of the last 20 years is being, rather convincingly, accused of steroids, and you jump on the people that hate pitching???

    the steroid era occured because baseball law hadnt caught up with something that gave people a boost to their livelihood…

    morals aside, if you didnt use, you put yourself at a significant disadvantage… for the natural 7s/8s they had the decision to let similar guys elevate their game at the expense of their conscience, guys like maddux and pedro (hopefully) decided it wasnt worth it and makes their dominance all the more impressive, and im sure there are guys on the offensive side (please cal, your ironman is significantly less impressive if ANY rumor leaked out, some guys werent up to the moral fortitude to watch lesser players play better, comes with the territory of being a world class athlete (ego)…. you can’t erase what happened, you have to tell the truth and let people decide for themselves… as for me, bonds was a great player who let his humanity get the best of him, the only 400/400 player ever was jealous of mcgwire and sosa and it was his downfall….. he is still a hall of famer and a part of baseball history… i hope people see it my way in time, but if not i understand why, but baseball and life is rarely in black and white

    Comment by Pat G — May 6, 2012 @ 6:03 am

  78. would be interesting to scour through the box scores for these games and add each batter’s conversion percentage on game tying or go ahead rbi’s

    will take a look tomorrow, may help if another interested party split the work


    Comment by Pat G — May 6, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  79. don’t know if his story at this point is widely accepted, but i absolutely believe the musings that say he juiced out of jealousy…

    first player to EVER go 400/400 for a career and it happened in 98 when the entire world was focused on baseball… i was 11 at the time and i dont remember this at all, maybe it got some press but i certainly remember the HR chase.

    poor barry bonds didnt get the recognition he deserved so he went out to prove us all dumb by tarnishing his legacy for publicity

    such a terrible way to end the story of one of the greatest to play the game

    Comment by Pat G — May 6, 2012 @ 8:57 am

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