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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheaters should be going, going, gone

Various media outlets are reporting today that Alex Rodriguez's seventh-inning grand slam last night was his 587th career home run, moving him ahead of Frank Robinson and into seventh place on the list of all-time home run leaders.

By AP's count, the current home run leaders and their totals are:
1. Barry Bonds, 762
2. Hank Aaron, 756
3. Babe Ruth, 714
4. Willie Mays, 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr., 630
6. Sammy Sosa, 609
7. Alex Rodriguez, 587
8. Frank Robinson, 586
9. Mark McGwire, 583
10. Harmon Killibrew, 573

... except that A-Rod and McGwire are admitted cheaters - both having 'fessed up to using performance-enhancing drugs - and there isn't a person with a brain stem who doesn't believe Bonds and Sosa were juicers, too. Including these four people on any list of home run leaders is an insult to the game's history and its fans.

So, for the record, here's the real list, as of today, of baseball's Top 10 home run hitters:
1. Hank Aaron, 756
2. Babe Ruth, 714
3. Willie Mays, 660
4. Ken Griffey Jr., 630
5. Frank Robinson, 586
6. Harmon Killibrew, 573
7. Jim Thome, 569
8. Reggie Jackson, 563
9. Mike Schmidt, 548
10. Mickey Mantle, 536

(So-called official lists of home run leaders have Rafael Palmeiro tied with Thome, and Manny Ramirez between Jackson and Schmidt, but they, too, are proven cheaters and thus unworthy of any mention among the great - and honest - players of the game.)

Baseball fans and the game's historians understand the difference between real and fake achievements on the field, and they know enough to laugh off the likes of Bonds, A-Rod, Big Mac, Palmeiro and Ramirez, and to never include them on any list of the sport's top performers. It's time for the writers who cover the game to get on board and make the same distinctions. Otherwise, they're just part of the problem.



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