Easier to reach: 600 homers or 3,000 hits?

July 11, 2011

PEDs make a difference

Mark Emery

The Morning Call

Eliminating admitted or suspected performance-enhancing drug users Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez from the list, only four "clean" players have hit 600 home runs. Since baseball has cracked down on PEDs, that club will not grow anytime soon after Jim Thome gets there, with the possible exception of Albert Pujols.

Even prodigious power hitters Ryan Howard and Jose Bautista are too far along in their careers to dream about 600. On the other hand, 28 players have notched 3,000 hits, making that club much less exclusive. Quite simply, a game without PEDs affects cleanup hitters much more than leadoff hitters.

As long as the game remains free of steroids and similar drugs, the Incredible Hulk-like numbers we saw beginning in the 1990s are gone forever.


Pendulum will swing

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Baseball's record books are polluted by the steroid era. Four of the seven players to hit 600 home runs got there in the last 10 seasons. Jim Thome will soon become the eighth, and the fifth in 10th years.

Clearly, in this era it has been easier to pile up home runs than base hits, so it's easy to say that it's easier to get to 600 homers than 3,000 hits. The sinking offensive totals suggest both will become really hard to reach in the future, but I'll guess it's going to become easier to reach 3,000 hits.

I'll offer Miguel Cabrera as proof. He's a terrific power hitter, but at 1,496 career hits he's almost halfway to 3,000 but only 44 percent of the way to 600 with 265 home runs. It'll be at least a decade before 500 is restored as a milestone with luster, but that's going to happen.


3,000 remains rare feat

Peter Schmuck

Baltimore Sun

It would have been a lot easier to answer this question at the height of the steroid era, when Sammy Sosa hit 323 home runs over a six-year period on his way to 609 career homers. Four players have reached the 600-homer mark over the last decade, and Jim Thome is just five homers away.

I'm not suggesting that all of them used steroids, but when five players reach 600 homers in a 10-year period after just three did so over the rest of baseball history, it says something about the relative difficulty of the feat.

Before Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit Saturday, just two players — Rafael Palmeiro and Craig Biggio — had reached that milestone since 2002. That suggests that it is tougher to reach 3,000 hits, though you're likely to see that milestone reached more often over the next decade.


Sluggers face tough tests

Ben Bolch

Los Angeles Times

While hardly foolproof, baseball's improved drug-testing procedures will likely make hitting 600 homers an even more otherworldly achievement than it already is.

Of the seven players who have reached that milestone, four — Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. — played during baseball's steroid era. Of course, several of the 28 players who have collected 3,000 hits were part of that same scandal-plagued period, but bulking up through performance-enhancing drugs presumably enhances muscles more than it does hand-eye coordination.

So it seems reasonable to think that the 3,000 hits club will likely grow more quickly than the 600 homer club under present conditions.


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