Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
Amphetamines didn't produce the offensive output we saw. Absolutley, positivley nothing of the sort.
To compare an "upper" with drugs that altered players physical appearance and increased muscle mass...you're not playing fair. Again, look at the number of 50 homer seasons during this era: more than all of baseball history combined. You used to blame the parks, pitching...funny, same parks, same pitching, not so many 50 homer seasons. Funny how that works out.
You can throw your head in the sand and talk about Gaylord Perry or how we don't know who was doing it and who wasn't...
I would say it's safe to say that Bonds and Clemens used, wouldn't you?
I agree that amphetamines are a much less egregious form of cheating than steroids, but I disagree that steroids "produced the offensive output we saw". You can explain the number of 50 homer seasons by simply looking at the size of the players. Players are simply much, much bigger today than they were for the first 100 years of major league baseball -- and very little of that size is due to steroids. Players lift weights nowadays. They have personal trainers and complex workout regimens to improve every facet of their core strength, flexibility and speed. They eat a much healthier diet, not only when they reach the majors but as kids too, which helps them grow up much bigger than their parents and grandparents. They have better coaching. And they benefit from improved medical and surgical techniques to get them back to full strength after an injury. Compare that to prior decades where players drank and smoked in the clubhouse, ate junk food and held real jobs in the offseason instead of working out and practicing. When a player got injured the only cure was time -- no surgery or medicine or rehab. Baseball players were told that lifting weights would hurt their bat speed. It is a different world today. The average player is 6-7 inches taller now than back in the 1930's and 40's. Ballparks are smaller. It is no surprise at all that home runs are more common in today's game.
Even in the 1970's players were so much smaller and weaker than today. As Joe Posnanski wrote in his book The Machine, there was a running joke in the Big Red Machine clubhouse that nobody ever used the brand new Nautilus weightlifting equipment that was put there for them to work out on. Some players used the occasional dumbbell and did some stretches before practices and games. That was it. Ted Kluszewski was considered a giant in his day but now there are dozens of players bigger than he was.
Another point to realize is that run scoring in the major leagues began to decline BEFORE
the use of steroids even reached its peak. The height of the steroid era is considered to be the years 2001-2004 when more players were juicing than ever and was just before baseball began testing and suspending players for using PEDs in 2005. But scoring reached its highest level in 2000 and has been steadily declining ever since. That does not correlate with the commonly-held perception that steroids usage caused scoring to skyrocket. In actuality, scoring was plummeting while PED usage was booming. Yet people still want to believe that steroids lead to excessive scoring.
The average player is bigger today than during the height of the steroid era. Players today are bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic than ever before in history, yet scoring is lower than it was in several prior eras.
Baseball Prospectus has written extensively (especially in their recent book Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers) on the topic and has largely concluded that the effect of steroids on scoring has been drastically overblown. Scoring was elevated, but not at a historic rate at all. Home runs were higher than ever, but they concluded that smaller ballparks, bouncier baseballs, denser bats, a smaller strike zone and team expansion were all bigger factors than PEDs when it comes to home run rates.
The biggest reason that people get so upset about the PEDs era is because they feel the cheating re-wrote the record books and fundamentally changed the game, but that notion just doesn't match up with the facts. Yes, the game changed a lot -- but it wasn't due to steroids.
I don't condone the use of PEDs. Those players were cheating and they deserve to be punished. They should have been punished years ago when they were still playing. Punishing them now by denying them induction to the Hall of Fame is a cynical slap on the wrist as far as I am concerned. If baseball truly had a problem with PEDs they would have put a swift stop to it 25 years ago when the problem first became apparent in the 1980's. Getting all holier-than-thou at this late point is a total sham.