December 5, 2004

Jason Giambi and Steroids

No surprise: The New York Yankee's slugging (but now sick) first baseman Jason Giambi is revealed by the San Francisco Chronicle to be a steroid user.

Last summer, I pointed out that the much acclaimed philosophical revolution in baseball player evaluations pioneered by author Bill James and first put into practice by Oakland general manager Billy Beane (under whom Giambi suddenly leapt to superstardom) had a downside: it particularly valued the kind of accomplishments (homeruns and walks) that could be significantly boosted by taking steroids.

"Sabremetricians" have long derided the bestowing of the 2001 American League MVP award on Seattle's singles-hitter Ichiro Suzuki instead of Giambi. From a statistical point of view, this critique was flawless, but from the perspective of the health of baseball, it was all wrong: Giambi was obviously just another steroid abusing Mark McGwire clone, while Ichiro was a unique talent.

This year, Giambi's health broke down, quite possibly because of steroid and human growth hormone abuse, while Ichiro, at age 30 broke George Sisler's ancient record for most hits in a season.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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