Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » August 2005 » Of Records and Recordkeeping…

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08/10/2005: Of Records and Recordkeeping…

”For all the reverence that baseball's record book receives - few volumes are treated so sacredly - the sport has, historically, never been inclined to penalize the convicted or admitted cheats within it.

Consider Gaylord Perry, who from 1962 to 1983 unabashedly threw pitches slathered with Vaseline while winning 314 games and earning entry into the Hall of Fame. Or Norm Cash, a slugger for the Detroit Tigers, who in 1961 admittedly corked his bat and hit an impressive .361 with 41 home runs and 132 runs batted in; in his next 13 seasons in the major leagues, he never finished with a batting average above .283.

Their numbers live forever in encyclopedias and on various lists, as if they had been accomplished squarely within the rules.

But with the recent 10-day suspension of the Baltimore Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for using steroids, the debate was joined once again over how, or even whether, to enter steroid-tainted achievements in the record books.

One might expect that the disclosure would outrage the records committee of the Society for American Baseball Research, a worldwide organization of nearly 7,000 intent on maintaining the integrity of baseball's historical record. The group held its annual meeting here.

The members of this committee are known for two things: caring deeply about home runs, batting averages and other statistical details; and, just as starkly, never agreeing on anything. After all, these are the people who argue for days about a double here and a putout there, and whether Ferdie Schupp of the New York Giants actually posted the National League's lowest earned run average back in 1916 - a jaw-dropping 0.90.

The group of about 50 experts, mostly middle-aged men wearing the jerseys or caps of their favorite team, almost immediately reached a consensus on the steroids quandary. Perhaps more reflexively than most baseball fans who were stung by Palmeiro's suspension, most of these seasoned numbers buffs remained resignedly pragmatic when determining how steroids should be dealt with in the record book.

Courtesy of AOL News.

So what do the sports statistic’s purists think of this? What should be done in light of these new revelations of *cheating* with illegal steroid usage?

Karen on 08.10.05 @ 07:47 AM CST

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