Chris Davis is Chasing the Home Run Record, but Which One?

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis finished with 37 home runs before the All-Star break tying an American League record set by Reggie Jackson in 1969. (Photo by Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis finished with 37 home runs before the All-Star break tying an American League record set by Reggie Jackson in 1969. (Photo by Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

By Dave Holcomb

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis finished with 37 home runs before the All-Star break tying an American League record set by Reggie Jackson in 1969.

Jackson only hit 10 more that season finishing  with 47 dingers, and didn’t even lead the league in the category.

That does not seem possible for Davis as he went deep four times in the last four games leading up to the break.  But as the Orioles first basemen continues to climb the single season home run leader chart, what record will Davis be trying to break?

Over a decade ago, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa all eclipsed Roger Maris’ 61 home run record, but their careers have been smeared with rumors of steroid use.

But in a sport featuring it’s fair share of cheating, with spitballs and amphetamines, it is difficult to not knowledge the accomplishments of Bonds, McGwire and Sosa.

Despite the moral dilemmas, during those players’ eras, steroids were not an illegal substance, and many current players do admit that Bonds’ 73 homers in 2001 makes him the single season home run king.

Yahoo Sports asked several players participating in the All-Star festivities this week who owned the real Home Run Crown. Only Davis and Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist thought it was Roger Maris.

“I hadn’t really given it much thought until this year, and after everything came out, I assumed 61 was the record,” Davis said according to Yahoo Sports. “I think it’s what a lot of fans would agree on. Regardless, 73 home runs is ridiculous, especially in the ballpark he was playing in.”

But to at least one player, Davis’ belief that 61 is the record might be in the best interest for himself.

“If Chris feels like 61 is the home run record, maybe he’s just selfishly pegging that number as the home run record so if he passes it he can wear a crown or something like that,” Reds first baseman Joey Votto said according to Yahoo Sports.

Davis has been aggressively denying he has used any performance-enhancing substances to the media as some question his own morality. Maybe Davis’ words are as much of an attempt to make a morality standpoint for the game as it is to getting the home run record for himself.

But the fact remains, Bonds hit the ball over the fence 73 times in 2001.

“I don’t think [Bonds] was the only one doing [PEDs],” said Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis according to Yahoo Sports. “I don’t think the pitchers were guilt-free, either, from what I hear. He was a product of his era. That’s what was going around the game at the time.”

Even Zobrist had to use the phrase “natural record” to describe Maris’ 61.

“If it was proven the other guys who have all gone over 61 were all using performance-enhancing substances at that time- if it was proven- yeah, I’d have to say the natural record is 61,” said Zobrist.

Ever since Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chased Babe Ruth’s record in 1961, controversy, and the word asterisk, has always surrounded the home run crown.

Fittingly, it is no different in 2013.

One Response to "Chris Davis is Chasing the Home Run Record, but Which One?"

  1. G Holcomb   September 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Natural hr record or otherwise, it is great to see someone NOT on steroids hitting them so far and often!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.