Sunday, December 5, 2004
HOF and asterisks not up to Aaron
ESPN.com news services
Once a supporter and admirer of Barry Bonds, all-time homerun king Hank Aaron is now disturbed to hear Bonds' statements to a grand jury investigating a California lab for illegal steroids distribution, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.
Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but Bonds said he didn't know they were steroids, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"First, since I played the game myself, I know that you can't put something in your body to make you hit a fastball, changeup or curveball," Aaron told the Journal-Constitution on Saturday.
"The only person who can do that is the good Lord. But, at that age , you have to ask: Did he accomplish all of this by rejuvenating his strength from day to day with those substances? I know that when you reach a certain age, you just don't bounce back as quickly as you think you can when you're playing all of those games.
"Drugs won't help you hit the ball. But can they make you recuperate consistently enough to hit the kind of home runs that these guys are hitting?"
Aaron paused, sighed and added, "Let me say this. Any way you look at it, it's wrong."
Is it wrong enough to keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame or force baseball to place an asterisk next to Bonds' slew of records in recent years?
"Really, I can't argue that point, because it's something that everybody [in a decision making] position has to sit down and think about, especially since this new Bonds thing is shedding a whole different light on the issue," Aaron said. "Is this thing involving Barry Bonds in the same category as the guy who gambled on baseball?"
Aaron's reference was to Pete Rose's banishment from the game for betting on baseball as a manager. Then Aaron added with another sigh, "It's gotten so that, baseball gets off to a good start, and then, 'Bam.' Something sends it rocking and reeling. I just wish we could have about four or five years without experiencing any of this stuff."