The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Michael Bauman, the esteemed former writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, posited a very interesting comment about asterisks around statistical milestones.

He didn't take the point ad extremis, which you honestly can do (let's not forget about the expansion era from 1961 onward, or the pre-1920 "clean ball" era, or the pre-1893 variable-pitching-distance era), but he did bear the most important point of the call for "asterisking" people like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds: Ruth didn't hit his 714 home runs against all of the possible best pitchers in the United States from 1917-1936. Williams didn't hit .406 against some of the best pitchers in the land. DiMaggio didn't complete his incredible streak against some of the best fielders and fastest outfielders in the land. And Ty Cobb didn't set his steal mark playing against some of the fastest men who ever played the game.

If there was ever one thing we did learn from the Great Home Run Chase, it was that asterisks, on the whole, are not good for the game. A record is a record, even if it's held by a complete jerk who bet on baseball.