I am an advocate for McGwire on the first ballot in the Hall of Fame!! In addition to McGwire's class, positive reputation, and special charities for children, I would like to note that there is only one factor that determines the best homerun hitter of all time. That is based on the "Homeruns per At Bat" ratio.
Here is a comparison of the best homerun hitters ever (the top line is the key, but more interesting facts follow):
• Hit one every 10.6 times at bat in career – BEST RATIO EVER!!
o At bats: 6187 – suffered from injuries throughout his career.
• Hit 49 homeruns his second year in the league, and you can't tell me he was doping then.
• More than 50 four times
• More than sixty twice and
• 70 in one year
• Probably the best homerun hitter in history…maybe over 1,000 homers if he was healthy!
• Hit one every 11.7 times at bat in career – SECOND BEST RATIO!!
o At bats: 8399 – 35% more than McGwire.
• Hit over 50 homeruns his 3rd and 4th full season (non-pitcher).
• Hit more than 50 four times and 60 one year
• He spent 4 seasons as a pitcher and still has lowest ERA for a southpaw in a World Series…4 seasons average 40 homeruns – add 160 to 714 = 874!!! Over 100 more that Aaron!!
• Without pitching – there would be no contest who was the all-time HR champion!!
• Hit one every 12.9 times at bat in career – THIRD BEST RATIO!!
o At bats: 9098 – 47% more than McGwire and still going.
• Did not hit more than 30 homeruns until his fifth year and
• Never more than 49
• Except he hit 73 in one year…
• Hit one every 16.37 times at bat in career – WAY DOWN THE LIST (see below)
o At bats: 12364 – 10 at bats less than double McGwire's career total!!
o Homeruns: 755
• Hit 44 homeruns his 4th year in the league
• Never hit more than 47 homeruns…ever.
• Hit 40 or more 8 times in career
• A super player who was healthy and consistent – but sorry, not really a Homerun King…just a long, consistent career
Maris – great guy but a one-year wonder…one homerun every 18.5 times at bat and never even hit 40 except for the one year he broke Babe's record at 61.
I'm not some old guy out here trying to make people remember Babe Ruth, just someone who thinks that we forget about details that set true champions apart. Hey, I'm not belittling Bonds or Aaron, but longevity and superlative talent should be separate awards…like the Iron Man – Lou Gehrig.
What about some of the other greats in the top 20 overall homerun derby?
Sammy Sosa: One every 13.97 at bats
Harmon Killebrew: One every 14.21 at bats
Ted Williams: One every 14.79 at bats
Mickey Mantle One every 15.21 at bats
Lou Gehrig: One every 16.23 at bats
Willie Mays: One every 16.48 at bats
There you have it. An avid baseball fan's objective review of the true homerun kings. If McGwire did dope, it would have started later in his career and it didn't really help him much – his homerun average stayed about the same.