BTBS: Testing A Theory on Barry Bonds’ Career WAR

From Bill Petti at Beyond the Box Score on February 24:

The question arose whether we could use [Barry] Bonds’ arc as a method for locating players whose performance was assisted by banned substances. Since there is a preponderance of evidence that Bonds used various steroidal and anabolic substances, can’t we just chalk up his “double peak” to the drugs and look for other players that exhibit the same arc?

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From Bill Petti at Beyond the Box Score on February 24:

The question arose whether we could use [Barry] Bonds’ arc as a method for locating players whose performance was assisted by banned substances. Since there is a preponderance of evidence that Bonds used various steroidal and anabolic substances, can’t we just chalk up his “double peak” to the drugs and look for other players that exhibit the same arc?

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To find a group of comparable players I used Baseball-Reference’s Play Index to locate players age 34 or older that managed a WAR of >=8 in a given season. As you can imagine, the list was pretty small. There have been only 21 seasons that match that description.

Barry Bonds heads the list with five seasons, Babe Ruth had four, Honus Wagner managed three, Willie Mays had two, and seven other players managed just one (Ted Williams, Eddie Stanky, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, Lou Gehrig, Jim Edmonds, and Hank Aaron).

Given that only four players managed more than one 8+ WAR season after age 34 it made the task of comparing arcs pretty easy. I plotted the WAR by age for Bonds, Ruth, Wagner, and Mays.

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/2/24/2004532/can-we-use-bonds-career-war-arc-to-identify-ped-users-in-a-word-no



Originally published: February 25, 2011. Last Updated: February 25, 2011.

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