Will The Legacy Of Alex Rodriguez Be Tainted Like Barry Bonds?
Alex Rodriguez is currently sitting 599 home runs and—barring a freak injury that puts him out for the rest of the season—will reach the 600 plateau (7th all time) before the end of the season. Only six other players in the history of the league have surpassed 600 home runs and A-Rod will be the only active player in the elite club. Chances are, at the age of 34, Rodriguez will take the #1 spot before his career ends. The man who currently occupies the #1 slot with 762 home runs is none other than Barry Bonds.
It’s no secret that Bonds and PEDs have been linked together since his torrid home-run pace blasted off into the new millennium. But there has never been proof Bonds knowingly used performance enhancing drugs. However, his career will always be tainted by the notion and he will always be one of the most polarizing figures in sport’s history. Rodriguez, on the other hand, has actually admitted to using steroids from 2001 to 2003 (where he hit 52, 57 and 47 home runs) after vehemently denying he used any performance enhancing drugs for years.
So my question is this: Should A-Rod’s legacy be tainted like the one which belongs to Barry Bonds?
Bonds may have never been a media darling, but his level of skill is undeniable, with or without steroids. No matter what anyone says about Bonds accomplishments, without any proof, there shouldn’t be an asterisk by his stat totals. He should easily waltz into the hall of fame and go down as arguably the best all-around player in baseball history. It’s hard to deny the records he broke and the fact he is a 7x NL MVP, 14x All Star, 8x Gold Glove Award Winner, 12x Silver Slugger and 3x Hank Aaron Award Winner. His career totals of 762 home runs, 2,558 walks, 688 intentional walks—all MLB records—to go along with a career batting average of .298, 1996 RBIs, 2227 runs scored and 1440 extra base hits are nothing short of remarkable. Yet, Bonds will always be demonized with the belief that he knowingly used PEDs.
If you are going to put Bonds’ entire career into question, you absolutely must put A-Rod’s career in that same space. How could you not? He admitted in a tearful 60 Minutes interview to knowingly used steroids because he was under “an enormous amount of pressure” to perform. I’m not saying I think Rodriguez is a villain. I’m saying he should be subject to the same scrutiny—if not worse—than Bonds. Currently, A-Rod is on pace to break a number of records before his career is over. He’s 7th in home runs (599), 20th in RBIs (1784), 18th in extra base hits (1097) and 22nd in runs scored (1733). If A-Rod can play into his 40′s, he’s likely to crush a few. But will the media and fans come down on him as much as Bonds? For some reason, I do not think so.
Everything from racism to plain old hate have hovered as reasons why Bonds will not go down in history like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron or Willie Mays. As for Rodriguez, he may not be the superstar he was before admitting to using steroids, but he is still one of the most recognizable faces in all of sports. Once he hits home run 600, fans will adore him and the media will follow his march towards 763. It’ll be interesting to see if the steroid scandal comes up as he inches closer. In all fairness, if they had left Bonds alone, then nobody should bother A-Rod either. Baseball has a tainted past two decades. We will never know who did and didn’t use PEDs and perhaps we should just get over it. There are many players who used PEDs and couldn’t post numbers close to that of Bonds and A-Rod.
Let’s see how A-Rod places historically in relation to Bonds.