On August 4th, 2007 Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run to tie Hank Aaron for the all-time lead. On the same day Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th home run. Alex Rodriguez is the youngest player to reach 500 home runs and everybody expects that one day he will pass Barry Bonds in career home runs.
It’s easy to see why people think Alex Rodriguez will surpass Barry Bonds. Alex Rodriguez is only 32 and has stayed healthy his whole career. Many people think he can easily play until he’s 40, maybe a couple more years after that. Even if his home runs per game dropped to 35 a season he would break the record by the time he is 40.
I don’t want to know how many home runs Alex Rodriguez will hit if he continues to hit his average though. I want to know how many home runs Alex Rodriguez will hit if he had an explosion of home runs like Barry Bonds did, which is allegedly because of steroids.
According to some, Barry Bonds started using steroids after the 1998 season because he was jealous of all the attention Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were getting for the single season home run chase. I’m not going to say that Barry Bonds definitely took steroids because I don’t know, but let’s just say for the sake of argument that it was the reason for his increase in home runs. What if A-Rod got jealous of Barry Bonds and started taking steroids and the same increase in home runs?
Barry Bonds supposedly took steroids after 1998, when he was 33 years old. Next year Alex Rodriguez turns 33 years old so if he decided to take steroids he would have about the same amount of years on steroids as Barry Bonds supposedly had.
So how do we figure out how many home runs Alex Rodriguez would hit on steroids? I’m not a professional mathematician so I’m sure it probably isn’t as simple as this but for this particular argument we’ll take Barry Bonds average home runs and then see what percent more than his usual average he hit each season after he supposedly took steroids. Then we’ll also increase Alex Rodriguez’s home runs by that same percentage each year.
I’m going to throw out Barry Bonds first season because I’m not sure he was a starter as a rookie. Barry Bonds from his second season through the 1998 season averaged 33 home runs per season. Throw out Alex Rodriguez’s first two seasons because he didn’t really start playing until his third season. Also Alex Rodriguez is on pace for 52 home runs this season, so we’ll give him that many for this year. So that means that Alex Rodriguez is averaging 42 home runs a season from when he became a starter until this season.
2008 – Barry Bonds supposedly didn’t start using steroids until after he turned 33 and Alex Rodriguez will turn 33 years old next year. For the sake of this comparison we’ll say Alex Rodriguez doesn’t start using steroids until after he turns 33, which means he just hits his average 42 home runs next year. The 42 home runs he hits in 2008 (along with the 17 more I figured he would hit in 2007) brings his total up to 559 home runs.
2009 – During his first season of supposedly taking steroids Barry Bonds hit 34 home runs, just one home run more than his average. One home run more is only an increase of 0.03%. So in 2009 an increase of 0.03% for Alex Rodriguez would be 43 home runs, bringing his total up to 602.
2010 – The following season is when Barry Bonds started to heat up. Barry Bonds increased his home run total to 49, an increase of 48%. If Alex Rodriguez’s average amount of home runs increased by 48% then that would be a 62-home run season. Sixty-two home runs would bring Alex Rodriguez’s total up to 664 homer uns at the end of 2010.
2011 – Barry Bonds following season was the big one. In 2001 Barry Bonds hit a single season record of 73 home runs. That’s nothing though. If we took Barry Bonds 121% increase and added it to Alex Rodriguez 42 home run average, then Alex Rodriguez would shatter Barry Bonds single season home run record with 93 home runs. Ninety-two home runs would also land Alex Rodriguez at 757 home runs. That would put him ahead of Hank Aaron, but you have to figure Bonds will hit a few more home runs before now and his retirement so Alex Rodriguez probably wouldn’t pass him just yet.
2012 – In 2002 Barry Bonds’ home run total dropped to 46 but that is still an increase of 40%. A 40% increase of Alex Rodriguez would be 59 home runs, bringing his total up to 816 home runs.
2013 and 2014 – The next two seasons Barry Bonds hit the same amount of home runs, 45 home runs in each season. Forty-five home runs for Barry Bonds is a 36% increase. If Alex Rodriguez improved his home run total by 36% in each of the next two seasons then he would hit 57 home runs each season, bringing his career total to 930.
2015 – 2015 is tough to predict. If we are going to assume that Alex Rodriguez goes on the exact same path as Barry Bonds then Alex Rodriguez will get injured and only play 14 games. That season Barry Bonds only hit 5 home runs, which is an 84% decrease. For Alex Rodriguez an 84% decrease would be 7 home runs, bringing his total up to 937. If we were to assume that Alex Rodriguez didn’t get injured like Barry then his total would be much higher.
2016 – Last season Barry Bonds hit 26 home runs, a 21% decrease of his usual average. A 21% decrease would for Alex Rodriguez would give him 34 home runs in 2016, bringing his total to 971.
2017 – This year may not be Barry Bonds last season but since this season is the last one we know of we’ll assume his career stops here and Alex Rodriguez ends his career in 2017. This year Barry Bonds has 21 home runs, which puts him on pace for 32 home runs this season, just a 0.03% decrease in his average. With a 0.03% decrease in his average Alex Rodriguez will hit 41 home runs, ending his career with 1012 home runs.
As I said before, I don’t know if Barry Bonds used steroids. I don’t have any proof Barry Bonds used steroids, and no, “his head is bigger!” is not proof. I also don’t believe Alex Rodriguez has ever used steroids and I don’t believe he ever will. But if Barry Bonds did use steroids and if steroids was the reason for his increase of home runs and if Alex Rodriguez used steroids and had the same increase in home runs, then it is safe to say that Alex Rodriguez would have over one thousand career home runs.