Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Lost Generation
Ask not to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee

The phrase "the lost generation" was made famous by Ernest Hemingway. It described the generation of American writers who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe, some after military service in World War I. Members of the Lost Generation included Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, Waldo Peirce, and John Dos Passos.

Baseball has their own Lost Generation - the players of the so called Steroids Era.

Take a look at the Top 20 Home Run Hitters of all-time. There are 11 players on the list who played from roughly the time of Ernest Hemingway's original Lost Generation back when Babe Ruth first took the field for the Red Sox in 1914 til Mike Schmidt retired in 1989. That's 11 players from a span of 75 years. The Steroids Era put 9 players into the all-time top 20 in just 20 years.

Of those 9 players - 3 are proven steroids users (Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez) and two are assumed by pretty much everybody to have been users (Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa). That leaves just 4 players on that list who have not been tainted - yet.

Ken Griffey Jr. - injuries have robbed Junior of much of his career. He was considered the natural (pun intended). After A-Rod's revelations would it be so shocking to find out that Junior juiced too? It should be remembered that the accepted story is that Barry Bonds decided to juice after meeting with Junior at Griffey's home and being upset at the attention McGwire was getting.

Jim Thome - let's be honest. If you asked people who knew nothing about baseball to pick out the players on steroids from any team picture of any team Thome has been on - then the stocky muscular Thome gets picked almost every time.

Manny Ramirez - I was the biggest Manny apologist for the longest time but I wouldn't be surprised at this point if his name was among that list of 104.

Frank Thomas - Oh no - not the Big Hurt! Many people point out Barry Bonds magic hat size expansion as proof of his juicing. Who has a bigger noggin in baseball than Frank Thomas?

The point is that none of the home run hitters of the steroids era are above suspicion anymore. If feel bad for Junior, Thome, Manny and Frank Thomas if they did things the clean way because now they will forever be lumped in with the Bonds, Palmeiros and A-Rod's.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you and your favorite home run hitter.

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