Math and Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds has surpassed Babe Ruth’s homerun record but a large contingent of basefall fans are less than thrilled at the news.  The likelihood of steroid use has tainted the achievement of Bonds prompting many to suggest either an asterisks beside the record or simply a denial of the record entirely.  David Young of Glenshaw, Pa.. has suggested that simple math could resolve the whole issue. Apparently, he believes any suspicious use of performance enhancers should require the actual number of home runs obtained by an individual be multiplied by a 0.9 weight factor. On the other hand, any performance inhibitors, such as the legendary obesity, beer guzzling and womanizing habits of the Babe, should require a weight factor of 1.1. When all is said and done, the single season record would still go to Roger Maris at 67, who survived crushing media scrutiny. Second place would be the Babe with 66, Bonds a close third with 65.7, then McGwire at 63 and Sosa at 60. By the way, actual totals are given by Bonds (73), McGwire (70), Sosa (66), Maris (61) and then Ruth (60). In should be noted, however, that exactly where Young’s numbers of 0.9 and 1.1 come from is a mystery. It likely was derived just to put the order as he would like it. We should be careful not to use math to simply artificially manipulate the decision process. After all, 95% of all statistics are made up, right?

By the way, I find it quite interesting that amidst all the controversy of Bonds, we are likely to see others join the exclusive club of Aaron-Bonds-Ruth in the fairly near future. Alex Rodriguez recently became the first player to top 400 homeruns before the age of 30. Others in the realm of possibility include Pujols and possibly even Manny Ramirez or Jim Thorne. Read more here.

6 thoughts on “Math and Barry Bonds

  1. The greatest home run hitter… There are so many variables: number of seasons, games per season, sizes of ball parks, pitcher quality, ball hardness, yada, yada. I calculated HR/AB on the top three guys and found that Bonds delivers a homer in 7.82% of his at bats, Ruth in 7.6%, and Aaron in 6.11%. So, there you have it: Bonds is the best, which means I have to go back and adjust the stats to accomodate Bonds use of performance enhancing drugs. Or just record it as:


    * thought by some to be a jerk.


  2. Oh, no. I accidentally added a mere 1,000 at bats to Ruth. So the real results (until I find further mistakes) are: Ruth 8.5%, Bonds 7.82%, and Aaron 6.11%.


  3. I thought that Ruth had a very strong HR/AB ratio. I looked up the others that I mentioned and they had the following HR/AB ratio (through 2005 season):
    A. Rodriguez: 6.9%
    Pujols: 6.8%
    M. Ramirez: 7.1%
    J. Thorne: 7.3%
    Sosa: 7.0 %
    McGwire: 9.4%

    So I guess, McGwire wins the HR/AB ratio title. That has a catchy ring to it, don’t you think?


  4. I agree with splineguy that the weight factors of 0.9 and 1.1 are completely iffy.

    The HR/AB ratio is nice, but does that take into account intensional walks? I used to be a Bonds fan until the drug scandal. I hated it when the opposing pitcher intensionally walked him.


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