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April 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Barry Bonds and the Truth

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Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth. Two names that soon will be forever linked in baseball history. And from what I've read about both, perhaps they deserve each other. Bonds, a surly, unlikable fellow who has cheated his way toward a spot in the record books, and Ruth, the overweight, overindulgent slugger whose childish off-the-field antics would have been front page headlines if he were playing today. Bond numbers are inflated, of course, by steroids. Ruth's numbers were never legit to begin with because he never played against the likes of Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson.

The best scenario would be, of course, if Bonds were just man enough to step away from it all, own up to the error of his ways and do what's best for the game of baseball. But Bonds doesn't care about the game. He considers the major leagues a business, and for him it's all dollars and cents and what's in it for him. Bonds cares about Bonds and little else.

So I say let him chase Ruth's record. Let him, by artificial means, hit more than Ruth's 714. That I can live with. But if he were to stay long enough to top Hammerin' Hank Aaron's 755, it would be the worst day that baseball has ever known. Worse than the Black Sox scandal and worse than Pete Rose betting from the dugout. Because Hank Aaron was a warrior. A man who stood in the face of horrific racism and unwarranted criticism with grace and dignity and became the greatest home run hitter baseball has ever known. He was, and is, a good man with a huge heart. And those are traits that Barry Bonds knows nothing about.

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I had this image of Barry Bonds that I did during spring training, and I really liked it then. When the grand jury story broke, I thought about how I could tweak this a little to make it work. I originally though about changing the image to a minefield but then I arrived instead at the rough below.

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I considered this a topic for a while Friday but decided the Bonds story was really more pressing and that this as subject matter was a bit too obscure. Maybe it will become a more publicized 2006 season trend, and I can use it later.

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Discussion

  • April 15, 2006

    2:30 AM

    Tom Stockman writes:

    Ahhh, good, I was wondering when I'd see something from you about Bonfs! Reading your comments your comments...obviously you're a true fan of the game...was even more enjoyable than reading the toon. and I really agree with your thoughts about the mighty Hank. I hadn't looked at Babe in quite that way before, but I have to agree with your thoughts there too, and yep he didn't have to compete against the best players of his day.

  • April 15, 2006

    7:45 AM

    no1uknow writes:

    don't blame babe for the time he played, sure he carried a pot belly
    but is'nt that the beauty of it all. A big guy playing the game... b4 roids got into play just a big guy who happened to be that good of a pitcher a hitter a drinker a womanizer era vs era argue all day and night long but at the end of it all one of the best players not to stain the game to the boys of summer your pal rookie stick from pittsburgh. big head me
    not on roids just livin the life that my parents chose me to live healthy not wealthy even not too wise but i know this at the end of the day babe was babe once again don't blame him for his time thank you babe 714 rip baltimore

  • April 24, 2006

    2:13 PM

    Mark writes:

    Babe Ruth was the greatest athlete of the 20th Century. ESPN voted him no 2 behind Michael Jordan but in my book there was no one like Ruth. Before he became the Sultan of Swat he was a pitcher who set a record in his first World Series that has still never been broken. He had another series pitching record that took 43 years to break. As a hitter his record of 60 homeruns in a season was only beaten 34 years later and had an asterisk next to it because Roger Maris played more games. Maris record would still stand today if you throw out the steroid era. Ruth’s 714 homeruns stood for 39 years. His career batting avg was .342 Aarons was .308. Aaron played 23 years and came to bat 12,364 times. Ruth Played 22 years, 6 of them as a pitcher. He hit his 714 homeruns in 8399 at bats. Babe Ruth was voted the top player of the century by the AP in 2000, so most media members haven't tainted their thinking based on his lifestyle. You can't compare a guy who liked to go out at night and have a good time to Bonds. And you mention Josh Gibson? He was a catcher not a pitcher like Satchel Paige. To say, let a scum like Bonds break the Babe's record is ridiculous and totally undermines your point regarding the integrity of baseball and its history.

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