A Few Different Ways To Look at The Steroid Era, Graphically

Trying to point out where the steroid era begins and ends, using data, is not as easy as you might think. While there are substances you can take to increase muscle mass, and that has direct consequences on athleticism, there just isn’t a clear moment where one the numbers pinpoint the beginnings of steroid usage in Major League Baseball. That might be because the pitchers were on them too, or that the steroid era reaches further back than we suppose, or continues more into today’s game than we prefer to think.

Let’s start with something simple. Home runs per balls in play back to 2000, noting that 2005 was when the CBA language introducing testing was agreed upon:

HRBiPsince2000

So the steroid agreement totally nailed it. Helped reduce home runs off balls in play by 0.5%. *Does the cleaning up the game dance.*

Less facetiously: this doesn’t seem like a big difference in homer rates. Physicist Alan Nathan penned a paper in 2009 that suggested that a 10% increase in muscle mass could beget a 30-70% increase in home runs per ball in play, by way of increased bat speed. But even if the increase had been on the smaller side, say 30%, we could have expected home runs per balls in play to reduce to about 3.1%. Which we didn’t see.

But not all of baseball was doing steroids. And there were pitchers, doing it too. And where on your body you put that 10% of muscle mass seems very important. And if you zoom out a bit, it gets problematic. Here’s the same graph back to 1994:

HRBiPsince1994

Oh. Yeah. Now it looks like there’s no real difference between the beginning of this era and the end. Fluctuations as much as .5% must be random, considering the ebb and flow of this graph.

Why cut it off in 1994? Ken Caminiti admitted to doing steroids, and his career started in 1987. Let’s pull this back to 1980:

HrBiPsince1980

What happened in 1993? Did they disperse needles after the season was over? More likely, it was baseball’s expansion that year (the Rockies and the Marlins) that diluted the pitching pool some. You see a little temporary boost in 1998 when Arizona and Tampa were added to the mix too. And add in the Coors Field effect.

But the Steelers were doing steroids in the 1970s… let’s just do the post-war-time HR/BiP graph, and annotate it with important dates, including rule changes and expansions:

HRBiPsince1950annotated

If the zooming in and out didn’t do it for you, perhaps the annotated full version may convince you that this is a very complicated issue. Almost every big change in home run rate has a big change in baseball associated with it — if not two. In 1969, the mound was lowered (good for offense) and two teams were added (good for offense), and the strike zone was changed as well, to eliminate the high strike between the armpits and the shoulders. All of these changes pushed home runs on balls in play from 2.8% to 3.05%.

If there is a suspicious place on this graph, it’s in the mid-eighties. Here’s a table:

Year HR/BiP
1982 2.68%
1983 2.65%
1984 2.63%
1985 2.92%
1986 3.15%
1987 3.67%
1988 2.60%

If we didn’t know anything about Jose Canseco, maybe you could call it random. But we know there were steroids in baseball in the mid-80s, we know that home runs per balls in play took a lurch forward then, too, and we know that this lurch forward was stymied for a while by a 1988 change in the strike zone, and we know that baseball has largely returned to the homer rate that we settled on in 1987.

But before we say that 1987 was when baseball revealed what would it look like in the Steroid Era, we have to at least consider the other possibility. 1987 was the year of the Rabbit Ball as it was commonly called. Larry Granillo wrote a great piece chronicling the players’ comments about the ball, and linking to prominent writers of the day surmising that there were other reasons. Other reasons like pitchers of the late eighties were yuppies missing work ethic. Seriously.

Jay Jaffe, in his book Extra Innings, pointed out that baseball switched ball manufacturers in 1977 and that balls of different era haven’t appeared similar in constitution. You’ll find 1977′s power peak annotated in the graph above as an expansion year, but it seems we could add something about the seams there too.

Hitting a baseball is a complicated mix of athleticism and learned skills. While it might be folly to say that steroids have no effect on the results of that endeavor, it’s also nearly impossible to pinpoint what steroids have meant to baseball’s most hallowed number. The home run rate has changed — drastically at times — over the history of baseball. It’s just that the rules, strike zone, and even the ball has changed during that time, too. Which effect is to blame for 1987′s surge? Maybe the yuppies.

[My definition of balls in play for the purposes of this article was: BiP = PA - (K+BB+HBP). I used this definition because it included HRs, and I used BiP to try and control for fluctuations in the number of balls put in play.]




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


76 Responses to “A Few Different Ways To Look at The Steroid Era, Graphically”

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  1. walt526 says:

    Please either set the vertical axis to 0% or provide confidence intervals. These “trends” are very likely just random chance.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I can’t tell if you are kidding, but I play with that very idea throughout the article. And there are no confidence intervals. These are observed phenomenon, and there’s no way of knowing how many homers were not homers or vice versa. Nor would it matter on the final scale.

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      • Clark Kent says:

        You have a data set with a reported average, and a whole bunch of data which deviates from that reported average. It’s not a question of whether homers are homers or not, but a question of homoscedasticity.

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    • Nate says:

      Do you have HR/BiP for each individual player in these data? If so you could bootstrap the league wide HR/BiP to obtain confidence intervals. This could also have the interesting side effect of certain players showing up more often in the extremes of the distribution, possibly suggesting steroid use.

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      • anothernate says:

        I was thinking the same thing. There is also Demming’s famous paper on treating a census as a sample for theoretical motivation.

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        • Anon says:

          Do you have a citation on the paper? A quick check of Wikipedia was fruitless without more detail

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    • Dave Cameron's Puppy says:

      Even the most stat minded baseball writers have a long way to go in terms of reporting data. There are never any error bars on any plots here and it drives me nuts.

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  2. KidA says:

    Look at that jump in 1993, 1994. Did MLB players all collectively start using steroids that off season?

    And adding expansion teams does not increase offense, stadium effects aside. The effect of good hitters hitting against bad pitchers is equaled out by bad hitters hitting against good pitchers. Will it help individual hitters? Sure, but league wide, it’s barely a blip on the radar.

    Also, I wanted to point this page out: http://steroids-and-baseball.com/

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    • RMD says:

      Yeah right. Scoring went up in all the recent Expansion years. That’s because pitchers are just a riskier commodity and much more prone to wild results. That means that most Expansion year pitchers aren’t actually ready, which that favors hitters. In last year’s draft pitching accounted for nearly 54 percent of the picks despite teams keeping less pitchers on their MLB rosters than hitters. Teams draft more pitchers because they just have less MLB ready pitching prospects.

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      • KidA says:

        They draft more pitchers because pitchers burn out at a much higher rate than hitters.

        Not many hitters go down for a career ending injury, or a season ending injury in comparison to the number of pitchers who go down for Tommy John.

        Also, saying “Runs increased each expansion season” isn’t very telling, the only major jump was in 1969, and that was much more likely caused by rule changes as opposed to expansion.

        Scoring also went DOWN when the league expanded in 1962, and was only .05 runs/game higher than 2 years earlier, when there were 4 less teams.

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        • Eno Sarris says:

          It’s true that expansion doesn’t have a clear effect on scoring, you can see that in the various annotations on the chart. But figuring that out is a little less important to this endeavor because it’s at least a huge change in baseball that *could* explain a change in HR/BIP. Been told on twitter that the baseball manufacturing plant moved locations and may have gone to machine stitching in 1987. But we know players were juicing.

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    • Rick Rivas says:

      Thanks for the link. Quickly scanning it, I see that Mr. Walker makes assertions (supported by facts) that contradict by beliefs about PEDs. His arguments are the best and most complete I have found on the internet. I am always looking for the best arguments against my beliefs. They will either convince me or show me how to best defend my beliefs. I will give Mr. Walker’s page a thorough read.

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  3. olethros says:

    Wouldn’t BABIP-time or ISO-time give a fuller picture? Increased power isn’t going to just increase HR rate. Might smooth out some of the noise in there.

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  4. MK says:

    Why would we limit ourselves to balls in play? I thought players today were trading strikeouts for home runs? Do the graphs look the same for HR/PA? If we look at total home runs/team since 1990 there is certainly a peak around 2000. I disagree that the data set used for the basis of this article (HR/BiP) is useful in trying to even conclude the effects of steroids are inconclusive (which was my takeaway).

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    • Rex Manning Day says:

      Here’s HR/BIP (red), HR/PA (orange), and BIP/PA (blue) since 1919: http://i39.tinypic.com/iqe88k.png

      So the short answer is that HR/PA tracks HR/BIP pretty closely, partly because the BIP/PA rate hasn’t changed nearly as drastically as the HR rate.

      It might interest the curious to note, however, that the BIP/PA rate does tend to dip when the HR rate peaks. Note, e.g., the big HR peak in 1987, which coincides with a little u in the BIP rate. The BIP rate then rallies for a couple years before dipping into its current valley at the same time as the HR rate leaps up in 1994. That’s probably to be expected and isn’t indicative of causation, but it’s worth noting.

      Though I’m still inclined to agree with Sarris that these peaks and valleys can’t be easily attributed to any single event. The BIP rate has been declining fairly steadily since 1919, and the HR has been concurrently increasing, albeit at a more volatile rate. Do with the data what you will, though.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        1986-1987 is very interesting to me. If I was looking for the steroid jump, I’d be looking there. Because it looks awfully like there was a jump in home run production with no explaining rule change. Juiced ball or juiced players, and we know one of the two was true. The other is conjecture.

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        • Brian Cartwright says:

          There was a jump in 1987, but it went right back down the next year. There were also one year jumps in 1970, 1973 and 1977. ’73 was blamed on the balls that were manufactured in Haiti.

          Also consider ballparks. The early 90′s was the start of the modern boom in new ballpark constructions, and most of them were smaller than the ones they replaced. Fenway Park went from one of the easiest parks to homer in 1979 (compared to all the other parks in the league) to one of the hardest in 1999. Fenway hadn’t changed, just the collection of parks it was being compared to.

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      • Jason B says:

        Also a hat-tip to sexy Rexy for the graphs on this and the previous comment.

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        • Rex Manning Day says:

          Thanks muchly. I will jump on any excuse to download giant spreadsheets from Fangraphs and turn them into Excel graphs.

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      • EL says:

        It might interest the curious to note, however, that the BIP/PA rate does tend to dip when the HR rate peaks.

        Do these sweet graphs use the same BIP definition as the article? If the BIP definition is one that excludes home runs (to capture defensive efficiency), the causal effect could be fairly direct; a 2-for-5 with a home run and no walks can be considered .200 BIP/PA or .250 or .400, depending on how HRs are treated in the numerator and the denominator.

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        • Rex Manning Day says:

          Ah, nope, this BIP includes home runs. BIP here is PA – (K + BB + HBP), which is a mislabeling, but in my defense I pulled these together a while back for a different post and just relabeled them this time without thinking.

          Anyhoo, more HRs shouldn’t directly reduce BIP simply by not counting them, per this version.

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  5. TKDC says:

    Players now are so much bigger, stronger and better looking athletes than they were in the 80s. Terry Pendleton won the MVP in 1991. The money, even when adjusted to real dollars, is so much greater now. There is more incentive to train 12 months a year. Whether guys use steroids or not, training more, lifting weights, can make you stronger.

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    • kwyjibo says:

      Pendleton winning was like an anomaly. Bonds was obviously robbed. You go down (or up) the list before that year and no real surprises.

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  6. Shankbone says:

    I saw a good amount of Barry Bonds home runs live from 2002-5. What was truly remarkable about it was he only got 1 pitch to hit every two-three days. And then he hit that pitch out. Teams just stopped pitching to him, and that accelerated after Jeff Kent left. I have no idea how that lined up for other HR hitters of the era, but for Bonds, that is what happened. Where’s that effect in the chart? If teams pitched to him he would have hit 100, easy.

    I’ve seen versions of these charts for a while, concentrating on the long ball as the all or nothing “do PEDs really make a difference”. HRs lead highlight shows, and its what everybody shows up to see. I’d like to see some with ISO. I’d really like to hear more first hand accounts from athletes that used. The story of Dan Naulty was very interesting.

    Eric Walker puts up some very interesting theories about juiced balls, his site is linked up above.

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  7. brentdaily says:

    What about looking at DL time? Outside of tripling the size of Bonds’ head, didn’t many take steroids to speed the healing process?

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    • ndbrian says:

      That’s what I’d like to see. I have a feeling that steroids did a lot more to keeping people healthy and productive throughout the season (i.e., not wearing down) than anything else. Would love to see hr by age grouping as well, as the steroids era seemed to really prolong some guys’ careers.

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      • ItsFine says:

        I’ve been looking at trying to find some of this data. http://www.prosportstransactions.com/baseball/Search/Search.php

        That’s the best that I could find, but it’s clearly incomplete. From 1990 to 2000 it says 860 players in all of Major League Baseball had a DL stint but from 2000 to 2010, there were over 8000. If anybody else knows where I could find a complete list or database, I’d appreciate it!

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      • pft says:

        Plenty of evidence that steroids actually cause more injuries, especially to players who use them to get bigger and stronger as opposed to taking them to recover faster between starts or from injury.

        Pretty sure Arods problems with his hips are partly related to steroids and partly HGH, despite what his Dr says

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        • Cliff says:

          The only real evidence that exists on the matter shows that steroids helps recovery from tendon injuries. No serious evidence of it causing injuries at all.

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  8. Hurtlockertwo says:

    We already know that pitchers took them too, that may offset the “average”
    player contribution. If you subtract Bonds, Sosa, McGuire, Clemens and other “known” superstar users, did the numbers change dramatically??

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    • Nick says:

      Exactly, the averages may well be the same as pitchers took steroids as well, but that doesn’t mean that individual player stats did not benefit. Obviously not EVERY pitcher Bonds pitched against was on steroids, but he got the steroid benefit against every pitcher.

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  9. ErnestoSalvaderi says:

    using HR/BIP seems flawed to me on the simple basis that use of steroids would also help you put balls in play at a higher rate with increased batspeed. AB/HR or ISO seems like it would be more representative of league-wide increases in power.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      The problem with ISO is that speed can change that number pretty easily. I wanted to focus on mass=>bat speed=>homers. As for more BIP, the trend has been to fewer.

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      • Brian Cartwright says:

        You could try (do+tr)/(h-hr), treating doubles and triples the same (getting more than one base. This correlates +42% with HR% while -6% with my base running speed score.

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      • olethros says:

        The graph of league BABIP over time linked above looks pretty damning – decades of a more or less flat line post 1930 or so, followed by a sudden spike in 91-92, then re-flattening at a higher level, which it’s still basically at today. Seems like ’87 could be chalked up to the presumed ball doctoring (which was all over that year – even though I was only ten, I remember it being a big deal), with the real steroid era beginning in the early 90s.

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  10. Nevin says:

    1986 – 1987 == cheaply available video to review. Hitters could review and refine mechanics at a slowed down speed unlike any previously.

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  11. Gates says:

    How about looking to see if the hitters’ aging curve changed? I’m always stunned when I look at Barry Bond’s career. It’s pretty typical with a peak in wRC+ (190s) in his late 20s and then a slow decline. Pretty much what you would expect. And then his late 30s happened with wRC+ of over 200. Sosa’ peak happened in his 30s. And it would seem that the motivation for some players to take steroids would be to prolong their careers. So what does aging curve look like say pre 1990 and after? Thanks

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  12. channelclemente says:

    Is there any relationship to ‘power’ that is more revealing, such as weighted OBA (wXB)such as Slowinski suggested in 2011 here.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-should-we-measure-power/

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  13. xoot says:

    This is interesting stuff, but the simplest, most persuasive graph I’ve ever seen simply charted the number of hitters with 40 or more HRs per year.

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    • JayT says:

      Why would that be the most persuasive graph? Not only are there significantly more players in the game now than there were pre-1993, there is also a much larger group of people to choose from (ie more international players are getting into the MLB) so you would expect the talent level to increase, and finally there’s the issue that there has been a conscious decision to try for the home run.

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    • I think it’s very convincing (though it doesn’t prove causality as implied by your first reply). Like this: http://www.harlemlink.org/blog/?attachment_id=160

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  14. Careless says:

    So the steroid agreement totally nailed it. Helped reduce home runs off balls in play by 0.5%

    It’s always weird to read things like this that implicitly assume that steroids are out of the game.

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  15. Ctownboy says:

    Simple question; from 1919 to say, 1985, how many players hit more home runs during their age 31 to 40 seasons than they did during their age 20 to 30 seasons?

    Look, Jimmie Foxx was one of the greatest home run hitters in baseball history but he was pretty much done by the age of 32. Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra were retired by the age of 35. The list gos on and on.

    However, starting after the mid – 1980′s, guys seemed to buck the age and power curve trend (start young, progress to their peak years of ages 26 – 29 and then go into decline mode) and instead started hitting better in their early to mid 30′s than they did in their 20′s.

    That doesn’t seem out of the ordinary?

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    • Gates says:

      Exactly. A friend of mine dubbed it the Twin Peaks phenomena. My favorite example is Bret Boone. He hits 24 taters at age 29 (first peak). Then goes 20, 19 the next two years. Then at age 32 explodes for 37, followed by 24 and 35. It landed him in the home run derby where he in turned in one of the worst performances ever. You can also find the news reports of his rigorous offseason training regimen that added 15 to 30 lbs of muscle. Not saying this is proof of anything.

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    • JayT says:

      I don’t think it’s all that strange that in the last 30 years people have been able to maintain performance better than the people that proceeded them. It wasn’t until the 70s-80s that baseball players started really treating the game as a year-round job and actually tried to stay in shape.

      I would be surprised if players careers weren’t getting longer as time goes on.

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      • Gates says:

        No doubt Jay. But there is a difference between maintaining and extending your career and creating a new level of performance later in your career. Again, I don’t think what I’m pointing out is proof of anything, but it is a curiosity. I don’t think we will ever know for sure the impact PEDs have unless we ever find out exactly who was taking them and at what point they started to take them. For example, do pitchers benefit as much from PEDS as hitters? I think pitchers would benefit from EPO (stamina) more, but you never here about that. An increase in velocity can lead to wildness and also doesn’t necessarily help the curve or change up, but I’ve never heard that an increase in bat speed is detrimental. Just a lot of questions still.

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        • Hurtlockertwo says:

          Barry Bonds went from a great player to the greatest hitter ever over 4-5 seasons with 4 MVP’s starting at age 35. Roger Clemens won Cy Young’s at age 38 and 41.
          There is plenty of research that shows certain drugs work better on certain people. These two examples seem to support the premise that PEDs were very effective in these two cases at least.

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      • Ctownboy says:

        Hank Aaron yearly home run totals from age 21 to 40:

        13, 27, 26, 44, 30, 39, 40, 34, 45, 44, 24, 32, 44, 39, 29, 44, 38, 47, 34, 40, 20.

        Mike Schmidt yearly home run totals from age 23 to 37:

        18, 36, 38, 38, 38, 21, 45, 48, 31, 35, 40, 36, 33, 37, 35.

        Barry Bonds yearly home run totals from age 21 to 39:

        16, 25, 24, 19, 33, 25, 34, 46, 37, 33, 42, 40, 37, 34, 49, 73, 46, 45, 45.

        Sammy Sosa yearly home run totals from age 21 to 36:

        15, 10, 8, 33, 25, 36, 40, 36, 66, 63, 50, 64, 49, 40, 35, 14.

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  16. Uninterested Cat says:

    If the HR/BiP rate dropped from 4.0% to 3.5% (roughly), that’s probably more accurately described as a 12.5% (relative) drop than a 0.5% (absolute) drop.

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    • Paul says:

      I think we posted this at the same time. As I scrolled down to the comments, I was surprised not to see it at the top. I guess we really are in an age where ideology completely trumps rational skepticism. Either that or Fangraphs readers are really bad at basic arithmetic?

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    • Train says:

      Absolutely, and 12.5% is statistically relevant.

      I dunno, when I look at that graphs from the 70′s to current I see a clear and distinct jump in the steroid era. Get rid of the yearly markers and do sa smoothing and you can really see it once you eliminate some of the noise.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        However you say it, it can’t be a statistically relevant drop if it jumps or raises by the same amount every other year. 1987 is interesting to me. But 1988-1990 happened too.

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        • Train says:

          Not to nit-pick, but how you say it does matter.

          Regardless, 1994-current all hovers right around 3.5%.
          Approximately 1967-1992 all hover around 2.5% save for a couple of 1 year anomolies, and we all know about small sample size – one point is not a trend.
          1955-1965 is all around 3.0%.

          These are the macro trends.
          1967-1992 saw a rough decrease of 17% in hr/bip versus the previous ten years.
          1994-current has seen a rough increase of 40%! over the previous 25 years.
          What drove these macro trends? And disregard the one year blips , they are statisticalloy insignificant when taken in this context.

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        • Eno Sarris says:

          I agree with some of your macro trends, but I don’t agree that the cause is so easily defined, that’s why I annotated the chart. The 1990s brought Coors, expansion, strike zone changes, and different roster construction.

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        • Train says:

          reply to 6:33

          Totally. I make no claim to what drove or is driving those macro trends. But, at least imo, they are fairly distinct and sustained. Something (or some things)occured that changed the hr/bip pace dramatically in 1994-now vs 1967-1992. You certainly can’t pin it on steroids without a lot more evidence, but neither can you say steroids had no effect based on hr/bip. Hr/bip increased dramatically during the steroid era. Could be just correlations, or…

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        • Train says:

          And btw, thanks for all the work you and the rest of the FG crew put in. It’s easy to sit here and arm chair quarterback and I’m sure it’s tiring sometimes to have people who know so little compared to the work and experience you have put in quibble about your work. But know that being able to disagree and engage in a conversation about these things is great and not taken for granted by me and I’m sure most of the followers of FG.

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  17. Jason Powers says:

    To do any of this analysis correctly, you have to start at the beginning of the modern era – 1903-1908, when the game ostensibly has the form it does now. (To read history – start behind the events, not at, or backward into the events.)

    Denote the changes to ball (1910, 1921, 1930, 1942-43, 1977, 1987, 1993-94) and do evaluations on primary position players (remove pitchers, part-time players, minor league call ups), essentially, any one under 150 ABs (not PAs) a season – because we want to see how it effects normal everyday players. Measure this. Notice patterns.

    Check out Doubles% as that too measures gap to gap power – and has rose over the years. I’ve done this – started in 2005/6, and got much different conclusions that “it’s steroids alone” also, find +/-3 Standard Deviations levels.

    Ball, bats, bandbox ballparks (designed formerly HOK Sport), shrinking strike zones, faster pitching (if you do hit it – more velocity adds distance), players striking out (cause they swing for dingers) and yes, steroids. Take the juice out of the ball – like Colorado does, when it suits, too – and you got more going on than is measurable by a few charts.

    That’s my analysis without numbers. But, I’ve ran them, long before people were intelligently looking at them. Instead, they let media bias tell them what they want to hear. (And MLB proper would want anyone to look at the big, bad selfish multimillionaire players – remember: 1980s collusion and the 1993-94 strike made these owners look really bad. And they are not ones to like looking bad, ever – Selig, included. Don’t think they can’t influence published results of Coefficient of Restitution testing of baseballs to make it sound all good there. And the leaks of confidential information – builds the agenda.)

    Where there is smoke there is fire. Of course, can we statistically quantify this – in dollars? How much did steroids help the profit lines of seemingly-dumb-but-really-not-so-oblivious owners? Of players? How much do you think that strike cost, $500 million by some estimations. Gotta get that back.

    There’s your blog post. Write to that.

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  18. Paul says:

    So, the percent decline in HRs 2000 and HRs 2012 is 13.3%. And 2011 was the low over that period. Just using the rates in your first chart, if you eyeball the rate as you did, the percentage decline is 12.5%, not .5%.

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  19. Shane says:

    The other thing that started in the early 90s was the move to new ballparks. Do we know if there was any change in the average distance to the wall at the foul poles, alleys, center field, across the league as all these new parks opened? Maybe it’s just me, but weren’t Fulton County, Old Busch, Three Rivers, Riverfront, etc. bigger than their current counterparts?

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    • Jason Powers says:

      Most were moved in by 10-15ft. The dimensions not being at all uniform, 330-375/85-400-375/85-330 again went to all sorts of weird, and often, lesser distances (315 down the lines). HOK Sport designed the new parks with simulations to the air flows in the park, maybe influencing alley carry of balls. Like the new Yankee stadium having that RF jet that takes out balls at a record pace.

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  20. Ctownboy says:

    If home runs were up because of new, smaller ball parks being built then WHY since the steroid rules went into effect in 2005 have run scoring and home run totals dropped? Did the powers that be all of a sudden require the new ball parks to raise the height of the fences or move them back (or both)?

    Since 2005, if I remember correctly, the Mets, Padres and Mariners have ALL either lowered the height of the outfield walls, brought the fences in or both. It would seem to me then that the total number of home runs hit and runs scored would have increased. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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  21. Jason Powers says:

    Because the underlying driver may not be ballparks. Steroid either. We do know that baseballs can be manipulated, changed internally, placed in humidors, et. al. (White Sox put balls in freezers in the 1960s…)

    I want MLB to randomly test throughout the season via 2 independent outfits balls used in games. Use appropriate methods on storage, temps, humidity for all balls at all parks. Test before and after games at least 10 times a season.

    Why? First, I do not trust MLB 100%. Since we can not trust players – and MLB is using any means at their disposal to catch them – we should be equally suspicious of MLB. Wouldn’t it be a travesty if we found out that baseballs had been contorted in both directions (added abilities to carry or made less lively) and it was coinciding with steroid policy/ignorance from the mid-1990s to today?

    That would pretty tell you that while players were no angels, their pursuers were no saints either. But I doubt anyone will do anything. When the next strike or game stoppage happens, and HR rates tickle upward dramatically, you’ll have to wonder what again is the underlying factor.

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  22. Drew says:

    Does anyone have a link to the study done by a college professor that more-or-less concludes that steroids confer no real power benefit and most offensive numbers were due to balls being juiced?

    Was posted on Bonds’ article a few years back, but having trouble finding it.

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  23. John Chess says:

    The other circumstances that come into play would be the designer drug era.
    Turning Horse steroids into eventually HGH. A lot of athletes wanted to be stronger without the bulk.
    A lean machine if you will.

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  24. John Chess says:

    A Good example of the effects of Ped’s on the physique would be
    Skinny Sammy Sosa then Bulky Sammy Later then look at Ryan Braun who is skinny compared to the
    Mcguires and even Bonds.

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  25. James h says:

    I always thought the high HR numbers in 86 and 87 were because the twins were turning Bert Blyleven into a sinker ball pitcher and ended up giving a colossal number of gopher balls!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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