Bunning: Perjurer?

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Quoth he:

When I played with Henry Aaron and Willie Mays and Ted Williams, they didn't … hit more homers in their late 30s than they did in their late 20s.

Hank Aaron's HRs, ages 25-29—202.
Hank Aaron's HRs, ages 35-39—203. In 646 fewer at-bats, too.

Ted Williams' HRs, ages 28-29—57.
Ted Williams' HRs, ages 38-39—64. In 206 fewer at-bats.

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  1. Geez, these guys can’t even put on a show trial without screwing up. And Jim Bunning? Wasn’t he the one that was accused of losing his mind before the last election, or am I thinking of someone else?

  2. He he he. Bunning is a cretin.

  3. I’m sure you could make these stats say anything you want.

    HR’s by Barry Bonds
    (28-29): 83 (200 walks)
    (38-39): 90 (380 walks)

    What does that tell you. If you are a baseball fan, it tells you that while Bonds was a great player from 28-29, he is a force of nature now. Aaron and Williams were Hall of Famers, and stood out for their longevity, while shooting stars like Mickey Mantle did not. The point is that neither markedly improved their ability and stats so late in their careers.

  4. “There is no doubt in our minds that steroids killed our son,” said Denise Garibaldi, whose son committed suicide after using steroids in 2002.

    Lemme guess, the suicide was ruled as a self inflicted steroid syringe puncture to the back of the head?

  5. RS — I guess I missed the part in Bunning’s quote when he mentioned Barry Bonds….

  6. Now you’re just being obtuse.

  7. while shooting stars like Mickey Mantle did not.

    Hey, it’s hard to play MLB with a screaming hangover.

  8. Oh please, Matt, everyone here has read far too many of your posts for you to successfully play that dumb.

  9. Bunning: Douchebag?

  10. Matt:

    Painful as it is to see your heroes tarnished, what exactly is your point here? Are you trying to say that nobody’s juicing? That it’s nobody’s business who’s juicing? That the presumptive health issue — steroid use among young people emulating the big leaguers — is false?

    I’m with you on the shitty show-trial aspects of these hearings and the grandstanding by congressional windbags Waxman, Bunning et al.

    But you lose me when you appear to insist that nobody’s using steroids or that juicing to enhance performance isn’t a problem…

  11. fun with stats: was wondering why the same age range wasn’t used for both players. Let’s do Ted from 27-30 and 37-40, from 27-30 he hits 138, from 37-40 he hits 108. agree that all the roid outrage is gay, but certainly libertarians wouldn’t cherry pick years to skew stats to make a point now would they?

  12. Jim — Did I ever insist nobody’s using steroids? Nope. In this case I wanted to point out that Bunning’s statement is not what you might describe as true. Is that important? Maybe just to me…. My broader “point,” which I’ve written about ad everyone’s nauseum, is that this is a piss-poor way for a “House Government Reform Committee” to expend its time & power, that it sets several illiberal precedents that affect people who couldn’t give a shit about baseball, and so on.

    Also, none of these people are my “heroes,” though I’m beginning to like Rafael Palmeiro….

    joe — Who says I’m playing!

  13. Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.

    It is interesting to note that Ted hit more than half of his homers from 37-40 in the two middle years.

    And since Bunning’s quote dealt with late 20’s/30’s, the ages 30 and 40 shouldn’t be included.

    What are the stats 27-29?

  14. waitaminute — If I can’t cherry-pick baseball stats, the terrorists will have won!

    Basically, Williams & Aaron’s 30s/20s comparison in home runs is a push; doesn’t prove anything one way or another, beyond that you shouldn’t make a blanket statement that they’re hugely different. They hit ’em at a higher rate in their 30s, but had fewer at-bats.

    If you want to somehow prove that Bonds is freakish, there *are* ways to do so without making crap up about how Williams & Aaron didn’t hit home runs in their late 30s.

  15. Stretch — Click on the links to get the results… I think if you took both guys at 27-29/37-39, you’d get a handful more homers in the 20s, and a significantly higher homer *rate* in their 30s.

  16. Yeah, I just clicked. Interestingly enough, Williams only hit 10 HR at age 40, but at 41 he hit 29, which is pretty much normal.

  17. As a Phillies fan, I could never forgive Bunning and his teammates for choking away the 1964 pennant.

  18. SPD — I’ve got a review coming out in the May issue, partly about a book called “September Swoon” …

    But Christ, instead of blaming Bunning, how ’bout the guy who started him on two days’ rest over and over again down the stretch?

  19. Matt,

    You mean Gene Mauch? Oh, yeah, he’s going straight to H-E-double-hockey-sticks with the rest of ’em. Except perhaps Dick Allen. I always liked him.

  20. SPD — I’m an Angels fan, so I know all about Mauch-helmed choke-jobs…..

  21. SPD- I can only relate to that in retrospect, but at least you remember the 1980 Phils. I was all of 2.

  22. I was 7 when the Phightins finally took it home, so unfortunately I don’t remember all that much. But I understand your pain, Stretch. Matt — yours, too. Especially now with that crazy new name your team has.

  23. What is the Government Reform’s committee’s justification for putting this under their purview? Waxman mentioned some earlier hearings from the 1970s done by the Commerce Committee. If the Commerce Comittee held hearings today, they would still be a show trial, but at least they would have some tenuous connection with that particular committee.

  24. James — Literally, they have asserted their right to hold hearings about anything. Also, they have exercised some oversight over national drug policy, so they’re experts….

  25. We need Bunning to backtrack without quite admitting that he was wrong, and then Gary Gunnels will go after him.

  26. thoreau,

    Here I am minding my business listening to Jane’s Addiction, and you got to start some shit Cathy. 🙂

    I’ve been caught stealing:once when I was five.
    I enjoy stealing, it’s just as simple as that.
    Well it’s just a simple fact,
    when I want something, man,
    I don’t wanna pay for it.
    I walk right through the door and I walk right through the door.
    Hey all right!
    If I get by, it’s mine.
    Mine, all mine!

    My girl, she’s one too.
    She’ll go and get her a skirt, stick it under her shirt.
    She grabbed a razor for me.
    And she did it, just like that.
    When she wants something, man, she don’t wanna pay for it!
    She’ll walk right, through the door, walk right through the door.
    Hey all right!
    If I get by, it’s mine.
    Mine, all mine!

    We sat around the pile. We sat and laughed.
    We sat and laughed and waved it into the air.
    And we, did it, just like that.
    When we want something, man,
    we don’t wanna pay for it.
    We walk right, through the door,
    walk right through the door.
    Hey, all right!
    If I get by, it’s mine,
    mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine.

    It’s mine.

  27. I could give a shit whether professional athletes take performance enhancing drugs. I do worry though that the Government Reform Comittee may attempt to intimidate models into giving up breast implants and colligen injections that enhance their “performance”…

  28. JBOLD, I understand, and even share, your sentiment to some degree, but the bottom line is that it’s not illegal for a model to have breat implants. It’s illegal to use steroids, and against the rules of the MLB, therefore anyone who violates that rule is cheating, whether or not you think it should be. An extra 10-15 HR a year is a huge deal.

    Do I think the gov’t should be involved in any way? Of course not, but your analogy is false.

  29. I think it’s safe to assume that Congress will never, ever take action to discourage women from getting cosmetic procedures. Oh, they might regulate such procedures if they believe (however rightly or wrongly) that it’s necessary to ensure the safety of the women getting them, but there is no way in hell that Congress will ban such procedures as unfair “performance enhancers.”

    On second thought, a good fraction of our politicians (including the Dear Leader) are current or recovering drug users. So maybe they will ban boob jobs, and then have affairs with women who got their chests done on the black market.

  30. Bonds, Aaron, and Williams did all hit more HR/PA at age 37-39 than 27-29. The difference was Aaron and Williams had far fewer plate appearances at the older ages, while Bonds had roughly the same number. (Bonds’s at bats are artificially reduced by the increase in walks – he walks, routinely, 75 times more per season than he did when he was younger.)

    Another thing Bonds and Aaron share is that both stopped stealing bases around age 34. In other words, both sacrificed speed for strength to maintain their viability as older players.

    I hate to throw a wild card into all of this, but Aaron played into the late 60’s. Steroids came to the fore in 1956, and were reasonably easily available in the 60s. If we question Bonds’s stats, shouldn’t we question Aaron’s? (And Yaz, Dwight Evans, and the rest of the stars of the 60s and 70s? For that matter, Roger Maris’s stats look a lot like Brady Anderson’s – one big year more or less out of nowhere. Maybe both of them used, albeit for shorter times?) The modern run of home runs probably has more to do with training methods, diluted pitching through expansion, and ballpark design than with the ‘roids, at least compared to 30 and 40 (not 60 or 80) years ago.

  31. Map props, rvman, for singling out Dwight Evans as a star of the 70s.

  32. rvman — I’d guess that the vast majority of weird-looking spikes in individual home run data have more to do with the context of league & park than steroids. Check out the weirdo totals in 1970 and 1987, for example … were Bert Campaneris & Wade Boggs on steroids? No, probably not. Same goes for expansion years, which *always* bump up offense & homer production. Note that Maris & McGwire *both* broke the HR record the same year their leagues expanded by two teams.

    Also, though Dwight Evans does indeed have an unusual aging pattern, he was no “star” in the ’70s. Wasn’t really until ’81 that he took off.

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