No *: MLB making right decision with A-Rod’s stats.

Certain numbers in baseball are sacred and can be considered milestones when they are achieved. The rarity of these key statistical accomplishments usually all but guarantee that an individual would join the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are only 29 members of the 3000 hit club, 8 individuals who hit over 600 home runs and only 4 players who drove in 2000 runs in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). When Alex Rodriguez obtained his 3000 hit he joined Henry Aaron as the only 2 people to obtain the three aforementioned milestones. While Alex Rodriguez did achieve these rare feats Rodriguez has become a lightning rod of controversy over the last several years.

The primary objection to Rodriguez’s career numbers is that he has been linked to performance enhancing drugs (PED) during two stints in his career. The first stint was when he was linked to PED use from 2001-2003 while he was with the Texas Rangers. The defense for Rodriguez is that Major League Baseball did not outlaw PED use during those years. The second allegation was when Anthony Bosch stated that he sold PEDs to the Yankees slugger which resulted in Rodriguez being suspended for the entire 2014 season.

Because of these allegations many people believe that there should be an asterisk (*) placed next to Rodriguez’s stats. Some people will even go as far as suggesting all stats for a selected time period should be given an asterisk because of alleged ramped PED use in the MLB. The asterisk was brought into MLB in 1961 when Roger Maris was chasing Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. Since Babe Ruth was a beloved icon that popularized baseball it was believed that Roger Maris needed to hit 61 home runs in 156 games to set the single season home run record. Why that number of games? Because Babe Ruth only played in 154 games in 1927 while Roger Maris could play in 162 games in 1961.

While there is justification to criticize the character and integrity of Rodriguez for taking PEDs there are three reasons why there should be no asterisk on Rodriguez’s individual stats. The first reason is there is no concrete way to determine which athletes were taking PEDs during the same time as Rodriguez. Since there was no PED testing during most of Rodriguez’s career there is no definite way to determine who and how many people were boosting their performance by taking illegal substances. For example if Rodriguez, while he was subjecting himself to banned supplements, hit a home run off a pitcher that was also taking steroids who has the unfair advantage? A devil’s advocate would clearly state there was no unfair advantage and the record would be legitimate.

Second reason that placing an asterisk next to Rodriguez’s stats is invalid is because the concept of placing asterisks next to any stat is ludicrous. In 1961 people witnessed the 61st home run of Roger Maris, just like Mark McGwire’s 70th home run in 1998 and Barry Bonds 756 career home run in 2007. People can be upset but that does not change the reality that these events occurred. Nothing MLB does now will change the outcome of any of the previous games therefore the asterisks should never be used on anyone stats.

Third reason is that the fans now can have ownership of the record by deciding the individual records in baseball and determine which players should be considered elite. Each person who goes to a stadium, watches a ball game on TV, or checks the score with their phone can decide if Rodriguez deserves to be ahead of Willie Mays on the home run list. A person reading the sports section on the way to work can determine in his/her own mind if Rodriguez should be in the same class as Hank Aaron. People have different opinions and are entitled to decide if Rodriguez deserves adulation or contempt. But in either case the fan should decide at not the MLB.

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