Sabernomics in the SF Chronicle

Thanks to Jon Carroll for discussing my posts on steroids and home runs (Part 1 and Part 2). He writes about the alternate hypotheses proposed by Art De Vany and me.

Recently, two such researchers, Arthur De Vaney and John Charles Bradbury, both of them trained economists, separately developed a remarkably counterintuitive proposition: Steroid use in baseball over the past 10 years had nothing to do with the home run records set during that time.

They offer no opinions about steroids, and no opinions about who used them and how often and who’s lying and who isn’t. They’re just looking at the numbers. …

A lot of people aren’t going to like this idea. They are convinced that Barry Bonds achieved his records by cheating. Here’s the weird part: It is perfectly possible that Barry Bonds cheated but that the cheating had nothing to do with the records. So if you are worried about the taint on the game brought about by illicit drug use, fine. Boo away. But of you think the records are tainted — well, check your math. Everything you know could once again be wrong.

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