Here’s an intriguing — if not totally unrealistic — outlook on Barry Bonds’ pursuit of the home run record, courtesy of the great Freakonomics blog. Stephen J. Dubner wonders about Barry’s future Hall attempts amid steroids talk and Mark McGwire’s denial into enshrinement.
Here™s one proposal: hit your 755th home run and then retire, making an earnest speech (on national TV at the All-Star game, perhaps?) that recognizes your own accomplishments in the skein of history that includes Aaron, Jackie Robinson, and, yes, Babe Ruth. In exchange for this gracious gesture, however, you require Major League Baseball to agree in writing to never ban you as it banned Pete Rose. While this hardly guarantees admission into the Hall of Fame, it would at least not preclude it. And you would be tied forever (or at least until Albert Pujols finishes his career) with Hank Aaron for the most memorable record in baseball ” the tie being an acknowledgment that you could have broken the record if you wanted to but, out of a keen understanding of the baseball public™s psyche, you chose to take the high, noble road.
Interesting theory and, of course, it will never happen. There’s a lot of key words and phrases we must emphasize that likely never will be attached to Bonds’ name: “earnest,” “gracious,” “keen understanding of the baseball public’s psyche,” “high, noble road.”
Good try, though. At least Dubner knows it hooey: I put the odds of this happening at about 20,000-to-1.