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Will The Legacy Of Alex Rodriguez Be Tainted Like Barry Bonds?

Submitted by on July 26, 2010 – 9:32 am3 Comments

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.

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  • Voice of Reason says:

    Barry Bonds was unfairly blacklisted by MLB because of his alleged steroid use. Thats also noting when compared with the governments relentless pursuit of Bonds which has wasted taxpayer dollars. Alex Rodriguez, an admitted steroid denier certainly took PED’s during at least three of his seasons. You can bet that A-Roids personal handlers and media people advised him to admit to steroid use when he was in Texas. Given his history of telling bald face lies I suspect that he also used many other years. In fact if it was not for the sudden release of the test results you can bet he would have gone into the Hall of Fame without ever having admitted using steroids. Just look at his numbers in the years before his contract was due to be renewed. Are we to believe that he suddenly became more productive? Its a joke. Bonds was a far better player than Rodriguez. However, given that he is now a Yankee more “fans” are willing to look the other way. Bonds deserves to be in the hall of fame and had he not been blacklisted would have hit well over 800 home runs. Rodriguez should be admitted but his Cooperstown exhibit should run both his video denials and video admissions side by side so people can draw whatever conclusions they wish about hsi character.

  • Oh really says:

    Just 2 quick questions.
    1. Does being the best hitter equal being the best player ever? Seems like most players spend more time fielding the ball than swinging the bat. Can a great pitcher ever be better that a great hitter?
    2. How exactly does racism keep Bonds from being in the record books with Willy Mays and Hank Aaron. Last time I checked they seemed to be of the same ethnicity. This might not be the best time to use race as an excuse. Keep that card in your pocket for something else to complain about.

  • Mark Salomon says:

    Bonds won 3 MVP’s BEFORE the juicing – A-Rod’s numbers are all tainted. There shouldn’t even be a comparison. Yeah, Bonds was a jerk to the media 99% of the time, but that shouldn’t factor into judging his playing career. If he hadn’t seen steroid-ridden lesser talents like McGwire and Sosa getting all sorts of adulations for their homers, he probably wouldn’t have bothered with the stuff himself.

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