As twilight comes to the steroid age and testing for PED’s creep into the day to day lives of every player; there are two questions that come to my mind. First, are the days of 50 home run years over? Second, what will be next?
How many more 50 home run seasons will we see? Will we ever see another 60 home run season for a player? I can see there being more "50's" but I have serious doubts about 60. In 2012, six players hit 40 or more home-runs. In the AL, Miguel Cabrera led with 44 and in the NL, Braun led with 41. Cabrera won the AL triple crown narrowly missing the MLB triple crown by six one thousandths of a percentage point. But let’s not forget that Cabrera (.330) played in 161 games and Posey (.336) only 148. A lot can change in 13 games both good and bad. Is 40 plus home runs the new (old) standard for a great season? I believe it is. 50 homers is now merely a dream for hitters and 60 plus is something that only fantasy can produce. So be it legitimate or not, I believe Ruth, Sosa, McGwire and Bonds will go down in history as the only players to hit 60 or more home runs in a season. That is unless equipment technology changes the sport. If someone comes up with a better wood hardener or a better "long flight" baseball (dimples anyone?) then we might see the numbers go up again. But until that, let’s enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played, "hit it where they ain’t!" I personally would like to see someone chase Rickey Henderson’s single season record of 130 steals or Earl Webb’s 82 year old record of 62 doubles in a year. But that’s just me and my old school ways. Did anyone know that Chief Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates set the triples record of 36 in a season in 1912? I would like to see someone make a run at that as well. How about Billy Hamilton’s "runs scored" record of 198 in 1894. These are some records that no one talks about because they're not glamorous like the long ball. If baseball is transitioning away from the long ball and more towards "inside ball" you would assume that some of these records could be threatened in the near future. You have to believe that if someone had a chance to break a record that is more than 100 years old ESPN would be all over that. If this is the way the game will be played with baseball in transition, will speedy, short stroking, line drive hitters be at a premium. You better believe it.
What will be next? Is there a new PED that is currently undetectable? Is there a product that can be perverted to make someone bigger, faster and stronger? We don't know. But as long as there is a quest to win, a quest to break records using whatever means are available, someone will find it and we could see another power spike in the MLB. But the next time we will all question those players. Next time we will all wonder if there's someone behind the scenes encouraging this. Next time, Mr. Selig’s replacement will not be able to shed all blame as Bud has done. Next time it could kill one of the greatest sports in the world. Next time could be the last time and no one will ever trust anyone with a bat or a glove again.