Originally Posted by edabbs44
In 2000, 48 players had OPSs of .900 or greater, 19 of whom were at or above 1.000. 2012 had 11 and zero, respectively.
Earlier this year it was stated by some in another convo that the .900 OPS barrier was Willie Mays and Stan Musial territory. In 2000, it was Sean Casey, Geoff Jenkins, Bobby Higginson and Edgardo Alfonso territory.
In 1976 exactly three players in all of MLB posted a .900 or better OPS (one above 1.000) - Joe Morgan, Bill Madlock and Mike Schmidt. In 1977 15 guys did it (three above 1.000), including Mitchell Paige, Andre Thornton and Larry Hisle.
In 1992, 7 guys above .900, one above 1.000 (Bonds). In 1993 it jumped to 19 and 7 (including Chris Hoiles).
Expansion has an enormous effect on upper end production. It was no coincidence Roger Maris hit his 61 HR in 1961 (and expansion year) and that he never hit more than 39 in a single season outside of that.
You can go back to the 50s and 60s and find plenty of Geoff Jenkins type .900 OPS players. It's not that hard.
BTW, are we now putting Casey on the list of PED abusers? He's one guy I can fully believe played clean (body type, personality, chronic inability to put two productive half seasons together). Because, if he was clean, then something else was going on to drive up his OPS.
No one's arguing that PED didn't fuel production in the late '90s and early '00s. However, as WOY noted, there's documented history that changes in baseballs can get you offensive explosions like in 1930 and in 1987. And you can see how expansion plays a huge role.
I can't vouch for the baseballs in the roids era (though I suspect the powers that be wanted more scoring after 1994 and liked the way their cash registers were ringing once the homers started flying). I can vouch for expansion. I can vouch for smaller parks. I can vouch for it profiling as a hitters era regardless of other factors. We're still seeing roughly 50% more HR in the game today than we did 20 years ago.
No one's saying PED didn't fuel some of the production, but pitchers took roids too and it didn't seem to create a lot of supermen on the mound (outside of the older Roger Clemens). My guess is PED simply fed into the direction the game was taking even if there had been no PED. It pumped the volume to 11, but the volume was going to be 9 or 10 anyway. So you get Barry Bonds' turn as a Greek god and Brady Anderson whacking 50 HR in 1996, but to think the entire era came straight out of a bottle is, IMO, naive.