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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cheaters sometimes prosper

So much ink has been devoted to Barry Bonds, the home run chase and the allegations of steroid use that I'll keep my comments brief. But I feel I'd be remiss, as a journalist and a lifelong baseball fan, if I didn't comment at all.

April 8, 1974, was one of the most memorable days in baseball history. Virtually the entire nation -- I, at age 10, included -- watched TV that Monday night as the Braves played the Dodgers in Atlanta. And virtually all of us cheered when Hank Aaron parked his 715th home run, the one that beat the Babe, in the Braves' left-field bullpen.

Anyone who was watching that game remembers Hammerin' Hank's mighty swing, the ball clearing the fence, the two fans running onto the field and joining Aaron's home run trot between second and third base, Aaron's mother hugging the new home run king after he crossed the plate, and Braves relief pitcher Tom House handing Aaron the ball. It was a truly great moment -- for Aaron, for baseball, for the fans, indeed for the entire nation.

Now the memory of that great moment is about to be tarnished by a man who virtually everyone -- I, now 43, included -- believes is a cheater. How sad. How terribly, terribly sad -- for Aaron, for baseball, for the fans, indeed for the entire nation.

A man of suspect practices, questionable character and atrocious demeanor is about to supplant one of the most talented, honorable and kind men ever to put on a Major League uniform. The thought nearly sickens me.

But alas, at some point in the next few days, the record will show that Barry Bonds has hit 756 home runs, one more than Aaron's career total of 755. It's a virtual certainty. Know this, though: When that day comes, if you ask me who the all-time home run king is, my answer will be the same as it is right now: Hank Aaron. Barry Bonds' home run total, in my opinion, will be zero.



Blogger smokesmarvin said...

Every record from the 1960's until now is suspect. Amphetamine use has
been in baseball since the 1950's.
Lyle Alzado the late football player started using steroids at Yankton College in South Dakota in 1969. I'm sure that if a college kid in a small town in South Dakota could get steroids, every professional baseball player had access to them. Only recently have the armchair moralists of our time, the sports writers, focused
on performance enhancing drugs in
baseball. Start digging back in time, the focus is unfairly only on

July 21, 2007 at 12:04 PM 
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July 21, 2007 at 11:26 PM 

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