Does This Prove That Hank Aaron Was Juicing?
By: Jeff Riger
I’m not saying Hank Aaron was juicing, I have no idea whether he was or not. However, something recently has been brought to my attention that sheds a whole new light on steroid use in baseball and it amazes me that more people don’t know about it.
It’s simply called the “May 3rd, 2005″ article. Read it HERE.
If you don’t want to read it, let me give you the gory details.
The article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and then was picked up by USA Today in 2005 where former MLB pitcher Tom House is quoted extensively about his use of steroids back in the 1960s and 1970s. House, probably best known for catching Hank Aaron’s 715th record breaking home run ball in 1974 as it flew into the bullpen, admits steroids were big in baseball even 40 to 50 years ago.
After his playing days, House went on to be a pitching coach for the Texas Rangers and also co-founded the National Pitching Association near San Diego. Currently House is trying to spread the word as to how bad steroids use truly is and he’s also has worked with several NFL quarterbacks, including Tim Tebow, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer and Matt Cassell, on their throwing technique.
Now that his bio is out of the way, here are the quotes…
-“I pretty much popped everything cold turkey. We were doing steroids they wouldn’t give to horses. That was the ’60s, when nobody knew. The good thing is, we know now. There’s a lot more research and understanding.”
-“We didn’t get beat, we got out-milligrammed, and when you found out what they were taking, you started taking them.”
-“I tried everything known to man to improve my fastball, and it still didn’t go faster than 82 miles per hour, I was a failed experiment.”
-“I’d like to say we were smart, but we didn’t know what was going on. We were at the tail end of a generation that wasn’t afraid to ingest anything. As research showed up, guys stopped.”
-House also estimated that six or seven players on each team were at least experimenting with steroids. House said players talked often about losing to opponents using more effective drugs.
This seems like huge news, but nobody seems to know about it. If what House is saying is true then steroid use has been going on forever and players currently in the Hall of Fame might have used as well. I have always believed if a player has Hall of Fame worthy numbers then let them in and now after reading the above article, how could you disagree with me?
I know what you are thinking. A follow-up interview was never done and this article essentially vanished once it was written; so how could the accusations be true — Right?
But why would House lie?
Maybe baseball shut him up. I don’t know the answers. But what I do know is that it’s now even harder to pretend that steroids were just a “this era” problem.
This leads us to Hank Aaron…
Everybody always says Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens played their best baseball towards the end of their careers and that must be proof they were cheating. Well, the same can be said for Hammerin’ Hank. Aaron’s HR percentage started to increase the older he got. Home run percentage is defined as being the number of home runs per 100 at bats and Aaron saw his highest percentage at age 39 where he hit 40 home runs in 1973. In fact Aaron led the National League in home run percentage in three consecutive years late in his career at ages 37, 38 and 39.
Again, if you don’t want to read it, all you really need to know is that Aaron was not the only player on the Braves in ’73 that saw crazy home run percentages. Former Tiger Darrell Evans and Davey Johnson did as well only to see those numbers return to normal the following year, a year after a Congressional Committee issued its final report stating that anabolic steroids were rampant in baseball. Johnson later went on to manage the 1996 Orioles, a team that set, at the time the record for long balls in a season. That year Brady Anderson hit 50 homers, a campaign for the centerfielder that was viewed as very suspicious.
So how is Aaron any different from Bonds?
Does this prove anything? Maybe not, but how is it any different than this era? It’s not!
House claims his teammates were juicing and Aaron and others just happened to experience the best production of their career during that time. Seems way too suspicious to ignore.
Aaron since has gone on record saying he wants past steroid users exposed and banned from the Hall of Fame.
So who do you believe?
I know this is old news and you might be wondering why I decided to write this blog. Well, it’s new to me, so I figured it might be to you as well.
People are so adamant about calling Clemens, Bonds and others cheaters; well, maybe after reading this blog those same people will realize that the cheating began way before Sosa and Big Mac in 1998
Do you believe Aaron juiced? Do you believe House is lying? Do you believe players of the past never used performance enhancing drugs?
Seems like the answers are obvious to me! So stop blaming just this era of baseball. Like I said, if you have the numbers, you should be in the Hall. It’s that simple.
No matter what, the one constant in baseball has been players looking for that added edge. So tell me, am I wrong?