Murray Chass: Non-professional pusslinger.
At the time Anderson hit 50 home runs, in 1996, no one was talking about steroids or suspecting players of using them, though as it developed, some clearly were. Was Anderson among them? He has always denied it, and the circumstantial evidence isn’t as voluminous as it is in Bonds’ case.
However, his 50 home runs and other offensive statistics from that season stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.
In his first eight seasons in the majors Anderson hit a total of 72 home runs. In his six seasons after his 50 year he hit 88 homers. In 1996 he drove in 110 runs and had a .637 slugging percentage. Before and after, his best single-season numbers were 80 r.b.i. and 81 r.b.i., and his next best slugging percentage was .477.
As weird as the 1996 performance seemed to be as produced by Anderson, equally weird was his reversion to his previous levels of hitting.
Did he decide to use steroids, then decide after a year of use that he didn’t like the threat they posed to one’s health? Did he decide he didn’t like cheating? Did someone close to him who knew he was using prevail upon him to stop?
Efforts to reach Anderson by telephone to ask him these questions and others were unsuccessful.
...There is, however, a difference in the prelude to their hitting 50 home runs. Davis established himself as something of a home run hitter in the minor leagues and hit 33 last year in his first full season in the majors. Given the way he has started, Davis isn’t likely to fall to low double-digit homers as Anderson did, plunging from 50 to 18 the next season.
Posted: September 20, 2013 at 04:24 AM | 47 comment(s)
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