Maris And Aaron Are Still The Kings In My Book

By: Brian Meador
By: Brian Meador

Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids as America's Pasttime takes another hit.

It was the Summer of 1998.  I was making a road trip to Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series.  Greenville Tar Heel had won the Southeast Regionals for the first time ever to earn a spot in the Series.  As luck would have it, the St. Louis Cardinals were in Pittsburgh for a 3-game series the day I headed up.  Pittsburgh was a bit out of the way but to see history in the making was something I wasn't going to pass up.  Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were in the home-stretch of a sensational home run derby that had revitalized baseball.

McGwire headed into that game against the Pirates with 51 homers on the season.  He wasted little time slugging #52 as he crushed an 0-2 pitch into the right-center field bleachers in the bottom of the first.  McGwire would go on to break Roger Maris' record of 61 by clobbering 70 homers on the season.  Of course Barry Bonds would top McGwire with 73 homers in 2001.

I remember how excited I was to see that homer.  I now look back and think what a farce it was.  McGwire was so juiced up on steroids and other performance enhancing drugs that his legs looked like tree trunks to me that night.  By the time Bonds came along, only fans in denial didn't think he was juicing.  

Bonds went on to pass Hank Aaron as baseball's home run king and the greatest record in all of sports is tainted.  Alex Rodriguez was never a favorite player of mine but I believed him when he said he didn't use steroids.  He even used the negative press on Bonds to his advantage a few years back when he proclaimed that he never felt the need to cheat to gain an advantage on the field.  I was looking forward to a "clean" player knocking Bonds off the top.   So much for that. 

I take a hard stance when it comes to steroid use in baseball.  If a player used, his stats should be wiped from the record books.  Period.  End of discussion.  The Olympic committee doesn't have a problem striking records and stripping medals from users and cheaters.  Baseball should take the same approach.  I know, I know... MLB and the team owners all benefited from the home run derby's we watched in the late 90's.  I don't care.  The record books and the Hall-of-Fame deserve better.  Roger Maris deserved better.  Hank Aaron definitely deserved better. 

 

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bill Location: Greenville on Aug 14, 2009 at 09:34 AM
    This post rings more true with every passing day. Baseball will never be the same.
  • by Dave Location: Behind you on Mar 23, 2009 at 07:43 AM
    The only sports greats in the eyes of ECU fans are Jeff Blake, David Garrard, and Alge Crumpler.
  • by Gringo Location: Greenville on Mar 10, 2009 at 08:34 PM
    wow.... "ecu fan know about sports greats???" what do you know about anything to make a comment like that? Are ECU fans not smart enough or educated in the history of sports to be able to comment on anything not ECU. The guy clearly wrote about an experience he had during McGuire's home run year. That gives him a first hand perspective.. What are your credentials?
  • by WOW on Feb 13, 2009 at 07:38 AM
    Meador what does an ECU fan know about sports greats?
  • by Gator Location: NC on Feb 12, 2009 at 06:04 PM
    And I bet you all still watch and buy the merchandise of these great hero's.
  • by Troy D. Location: 1250 Studio on Feb 12, 2009 at 07:24 AM
    Great article Brian!
  • by Wm. Location: Strabane, NC on Feb 9, 2009 at 04:34 PM
    Why not let all pro ballers take as many drugs as they wish, sooner or later they will look like "the hulk" and only be able to waddle down the street like a duck.
  • by Bill on Feb 9, 2009 at 01:23 PM
    I agree, Aaron and Maris are still the tops COMPROMISE, don't count anything A-Roid did from 2001-2003
  • by John Location: Ayden on Feb 9, 2009 at 12:21 PM
    Although it was not his record that was broken, I would add Cal Ripken, Jr. to that list of merited heroes. He personified dedication to the sport of baseball by breaking the record for consecutive games played. He did not allow minor aches and pains, or other distractions keep him from performing for his fans day in and day out. These men exhibited the work ethic and sportsmanship that should be expected from all professional athletes.
  • by JB Location: Syracuse on Feb 9, 2009 at 06:25 AM
    How do you know Marris/Aaron never took and drugs? Marris had ONE great year? What was that about?
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