August 10th, 2007 | Posted in General


I’m a pretty big baseball fan.

While the sport has taken it’s lumps the last decade or so, it’s still the best sport in the U.S. Pro football is full of monstrous egos and grossly overpaid showoffs that play for a whopping 60 minutes every week. Every time I see a player crawling around on the ground and barking like a dog after making a routine tackle I get sick to my stomach. The ridiculous hype and endless rehashing of that 60 minutes of play time is even worse. Pro basketball is full of thugs and criminals, and players who whine and quit playing hard if they feel they are being ‘disrespected’. I’ve never been into hockey, so I’ve got zero opinion on that. Pro Baseball is the one sport where you truly have to work your way up through the minor leagues and develop yourself into a major league player with hard work. That tends to keep the players humble, although the egos in baseball are getting bigger along with the paychecks. Players don’t play as hard as they used to, either. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the rest.

And then you have Barry Bonds.

Everybody knew Bonds was going to break Hank Aaron‘s record. A lot of people are saying he doesn’t deserve the record or to be in the Hall of Fame because he cheated by using steroids. I agree with the first but not the second.

He doesn’t deserve the home run record. He has it, it can’t be taken away and it shouldn’t be taken away, but I hope in some quiet moment in the future Bonds looks in the mirror and realizes he doesn’t deserve it. He would not have it without the steroids.

I get a laugh out of the Bonds apologists who have two major arguments. The first is that steroids don’t help you hit home runs. I could take as many steroids as possible and never be able to hit 756 home runes. True, but putting an illegal exhaust system in a Ford Escort won’t make it win the Indy 500 either. Putting one in a world class race car will. A good hitter being stronger will get a few balls out of the park that would probably have been caught. That aside, the real benefit Bonds got from the steroids was extending his career and his ability to stay relatively healthy. Bonds and Aaron each had 22 seasons in the majors (Bonds may have more if he keeps playing). Arron’s home run production naturally declined in his later years, but Bonds suddenly erupted at that same time and he set the all time single season record at age 36. He could not have done that without the steroids.

The second pro-Bonds gripe is the race card, of course. People want to cheat Bonds out of the home run record because he’s black. News flash: HANK AARON IS BLACK!!!! I’m pretty sure a racist won’t care much if one black player takes a record from another black player. This is not Hank Aaron passing Babe Ruth, which saw ugly, horrible examples of racism in the 70’s. If anything, people may not want Bonds to have the record because he is an incredible jerk and asshole, and is a role model to no one. Aaron was one of the greatest role models of a generation.

Bonds has it, but he doesn’t deserve it. Its baseball’s fault for not cracking down on steroid use years ago, when it would have prevented someone like Bonds from extending his career and increasing his production long enough to get within reach. Aaron did it when steroids were in their infancy, were only a part of bodybuilding and had not reached into most other sports outside of Russia.

As far as the Hall of Fame goes, that’s a different story. Bonds would have been a Hall of Fame player without steroids. He deserves to be in the Hall, regardless. There are plenty of jerks in the Hall. You cannot take away his other accomplishments. He is a Hall of Fame player, no question.

Bring on A-rod to break the record in a few years.


  1. quikdraw4 says:

    Awesome sports cartoon Tom!
    I was lucky enough to have lived in an era of newspapers where major dailies had the luxury of having both an editorial AND sports cartoonist on their staff. It was in incredible! Here in Bahston we had such great sports
    cartoonists as Bob Coyne,Phil Bissell,Leo White ,Larry Johnson.
    Of course Karl Hubenthal was a legendary sports cartoonist in S.F. .
    Again..thanks for Kevin Garnett,Manny Fernandez and Big Papi ! lol
    Go Red Sox!

  2. mengblom says:

    I agree with your assessment of Bonds. I guess I take solace from the fact that most anybody who cares about baseball and its grand history know the truth and automatically discount the guy’s dubious achievement.

    In a related story, I heard the other day that big-time baseball fan President Bush didn’t call Bonds to congratulate him (as anyone would expect him to do for such a record). Read into that what you will.

  3. pmcmicheal says:

    OH YEAH, Alex is the NEW guy to cheer on!
    This is a Great “ball-bustin” illustration of Bonds!!! Bravo! He looks so JUICED !!!
    Hey, A couple years ago I was taking some CREATINE before weight training…..would that be considered illegal in the majors? – PAT

  4. paulcapurso says:

    Hey Tom,

    I TOTALLY agree with you. While I am a major NBA fan and football fan, I enjoy baseball (Mets fan)no matter what Bonds or anybody else says “his” record should have an asterick by it. Geez at least Jason Giambi admitted to using steroids. The only good thing is that he will not hold onto the record as long as Hank did! Want to see something funny, check out Bonds rookie baseball card and the size of his head.

    Take Care

  5. Mark Hill says:

    The noted baseball historian, Bill James weighed in on the steroids issue a few years ago when so-called experts were claiming that anabolics have no effect on home run hitting. He said then that one thing adding lots of fast-twitch muscle fiber DOES do is increase bat speed. And bat speed definitely helps one hit a ball farther. Additionally, a fastball that slides by you at age 36-42 is one that you can catch now…and if one looks, Bonds batting average increased along with his homers — coincidentally right after his hat size did.

    No, Bonds’ record is not deserved. But if there is any justice, in my mind this recent era, (beginning with McGwire’s 70 homers and Bond’s 73), is going to viewed with extreme suspicion by fans and historians — for a long, long time. No one came close to breaking Maris 61 homers before then…and interestingly, no one has come close again since the drug testing started. Bonds and McGwire, who look like cartoonish bodybuilders, are going to have asterisks, (on paper or in conversations about baseball), forever.

    It’s a real shame, especially for a sport so wrapped up in keeping statistics. But Bud Selig presumably wanted to maintain the revenue flow and looked the other way…so he, along with McGwire, Bonds, Giambi and others will have their own legacy as a reward.

  6. jeremy townsend says:

    pujols, go pujols


I am close to adding a second caricature workshop in January in Orlando. Details here: http://www.tomrichmond.com/2016/10/21/second-orlando-workshop/

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