Major League Baseball's record book should be reshelved in all bookstores and libraries; it belongs squarely in the fiction section. Five of the top 12 home run hitters of all-time--including Barry Bonds, who tops the list with 762--have been implicated in some way as users of performance-enhancing drugs; the latest revelations concern Alex Rodriguez, who reportedly failed a drug test for steroids in 2003. That drug test was part of the anonymous testing that MLB conducted to determine how big a problem performance-enhancing drug use had become in the sport--and 104 players, including Rodriguez and Bonds, flunked a test that they knew was coming.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig encouraged fans to view Rodriguez as the sport's clean poster boy--in contrast to the disgraced Bonds--but, as Howard Bryant writes, "If Bud Selig did know the individual results, he knew that Bonds' 73 home runs were steroid-tainted, and that in touting Rodriguez to be the player to pass Bonds and restore glory to the home run record, he was willing to replace one steroid-fueled slugger with another, albeit one with a better reputation and nicer smile."
When Hank Aaron became the all-time home run king he was a thick-wristed, wiry strong athlete who was listed at 180 pounds; he was undoubtedly a bit heavier than that by the end of his career but the extra weight had come naturally with age, not in the form of outsized, comic book-hero style bulging muscles fueled by illegal performance enhancing drugs. He and the other old school athletes who did things the right way do not deserve to be surpassed in the record book by liars and cheaters who belong in jail. Steroid cheater Marion Jones was rightly stripped of her tainted medals and MLB should do a similar cleansing of its record book.