Diamond: Giancarlo Stanton stokes baseball’s great home run debate

From Jared Diamond at the Wall Street Journal on September 11, 2017, with mention of SABR member John Thorn:

As Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton continues his march toward 60 home runs, his power surge has reignited one of baseball’s fiercest debates: What makes a player the “true home run king?”

From a strictly numerical standpoint, this isn’t a complicated question. Regardless of one’s opinion about performance-enhancing drugs and their legacy in the game, Barry Bonds holds the single-season home run record with 73, a total he reached in 2001. As Major League Baseball’s official historian John Thorn puts it, “There’s no getting around the arithmetic.”

If only it were that simple. Bonds’s connection to PEDs has cast a shadow of illegitimacy over his achievements in the eyes of many. The same goes for Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, two other steroid-era mashers who surpassed Roger Maris’s hallowed mark of 61. Stanton himself has stoked these flames, telling local reporters last month that “considering some things” he views 73 as tainted and that 61 had “always been that printed number.”

Read the full article here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/giancarlo-stanton-stokes-baseballs-great-debate-which-home-run-milestone-matters-most-1505146313

Originally published: September 11, 2017. Last Updated: September 11, 2017.