Can Anyone Break the 'Real' Single Season Home Run Record?

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Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 12:00am

Can Anyone Break the 'Real' Single Season Home Run Record?

If politicians have been good for anything the last few years, it has been pushing Major League Baseball (MLB) into cleaning up their game from performance enhancing drugs.  The MLB Players Association resisted drug tests, but Senator McCain and others members of Congress forced them to institute testing.  Unfortunately, steroids helped three frauds surpass the clean home run record before testing could be implemented.

   Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961.  He is the real record holder for home runs in a single season.  Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa have been the only ones to pass that mark and all three of them are cheaters.  Bonds has admitted under oath that he took steroids, McGwire's steroid use has been documented in The New York Daily News, and there's more evidence against Sammy Sosa than there was against O.J.

As we come to the beginning of August, there are two men that seem most capable of approaching Maris' record.  David 'Big Papi' Ortiz hit his 36th and 37th home runs last night.  His 37th home run was a walk-off, 3-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth inning.  He wound up hitting 14 home runs in the month of July.  If he hits 12 home runs in both August and September, he will tie Roger Maris.  After watching what he did last night, anything is possible.

   The other phenom is Ryan Howard, a second year stud for the Philadelphia Phillies.  Howard got off to a slow start in April, but heated up in a hurry.  He hit his 35th home run on Sunday.  Since he won the Home Run Derby contest, Howard has hit 7 home runs in 16 games.  He would have to hit 13 home runs in both August and September to tie Maris, but this is a man who continues to improve.

Both of these guys are long shots to tie or break Maris' record, but at least we can be assured that neither one is taking steroids to get there.  Sure, MLB can't test for everything and there is always a way to beat the system, but this is about as clean as it gets.  I, for one, will be rooting for both men to break the record.

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