Giancarlo Stanton has hit 51 home runs this season. He’s on pace for 63, which would put him two homers ahead of Roger Maris’ 61. Maris ranks seventh on the all-time single-season home run list, but for many, he is still king.
That’s because the three guys ahead of him – Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa – have all been tied to PEDs.
So, who’s the real home-run king? Maris, who hit 61 in 1961? Or Bonds, who hit 73 in 2001?
“That’s a good question,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Obviously Barry Bonds, there’s an asterisk next to his name and that whole era. But I will tell you that playing against Barry Bonds, Barry Bonds was the best player in the National League for 10 years – before there was any allegations of him using PEDs. This guy is a tremendous talent. The year that he did it, I think in hindsight people are trying to talk about the fact that, hey, his body was different, this happened, that happened. It’s never been confirmed.
“I think that Roger Maris – having hitting 61 home runs, what he did at that point and at that time – is a record for all time (in terms of) the people that he passed, the people that he beat,” Scioscia continued. “I don’t think you can just take it away from Barry Bonds because of his 70-plus home runs in one season. So in my mind – although I love Roger Maris, love what he did, I think the time that he did it (and) the team that he did it (for) is special – you have to look right now at Barry Bonds as having that record.”
But isn’t it odd that Babe Ruth (1927) and Maris (1961) were the only players to hit 60+ homers for the first, oh, century of baseball, and then all of a sudden three guys do it six times in four years? McGwire hit 70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999, while Sosa hit 66 in 1998, 63 in 1999, and 64 in 2001. And then, of course, there’s Bonds.
“Well, I think historians are going to have to muddle through this muddy time in our game, the PED era,” Scioscia said. “There are obviously guys that did it, there are guys that did it that admitted it, there are guys that used PEDs that nobody found out about, and there are guys who used PEDs that have not come out and been forthcoming and admitted they used. So there’s a whole quagmire here . . . that historians are going to have to muddle through, and it’s not going to be a pleasant task. But until . . . it’s proven, I don’t know how you just disregard it and say, ‘Okay, I think this guy was doing it, so I’m not going to count this record, and we’re just going to go to the second guy in line.’ I don’t know if you can do that.”