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Gun to your head: Todd Helton and Steroids


Marc Spector

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In honor of the excellent Albert Pujols potential steroid use post, here's another one concerning a guy with seeming inflated steroid-esque numbers who I've wondered about for years. Helton's a player who hit 49 home runs in 2001 and is only hitting 14 home runs in 2009. He's had a monstrous droppoff in production for years (BA notwithstanding). Granted many years have passed and he has a very bad back.......BUT my "Spider Sense" has a steroidal feel to it regarding Helton, as much as I admire his greatness.

My question is this: If you had a 9mm Glock aimed directly at your cranium and your very survival was at stake, would you say "yes" or "no" regarding Todd Helton's potential use of steroids?

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In honor of the excellent Albert Pujols potential steroid use post, here's another one concerning a guy with seeming inflated steroid-esque numbers who I've wondered about for years. Helton's a player who hit 49 home runs in 2001 and is only hitting 14 home runs in 2009. He's had a monstrous droppoff in production for years (BA notwithstanding). Granted many years have passed and he has a very bad back.......BUT my "Spider Sense" has a steroidal feel to it regarding Helton, as much as I admire his greatness.

My question is this: If you had a 9mm Glock aimed directly at your cranium and your very survival was at stake, would you say "yes" or "no" regarding Todd Helton's potential use of steroids?

No. Save for the cortisone shots for his back.

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He is 36 now, which most on this boards think is old -- at least for playing baseball. You also have to remember that he played in Denver before there was a humidor used for the baseballs.

Tell me what about these HR numbers, you think says steriods, games played in ():

5 (35), 25 (152), 35 (159), 42 (160), 49 (159), 30 (156)*, 33 (160), 32 (154), 20 (144), 15 (145), 17 (154), 7 (83), 14 (131)

Note: 1997-2009 (age 24-36), * = first season of humidor use (2002)

So, I guess my answer would be no.

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He played for Tennessee when I was in law school there, so I saw him play a lot of ball. He was a horse of an athlete then. When you watched him play, he just looked like a guy who would be an MLB star. He's developed some since, as any player would, but his body didn't look a whole lot different then than when he was in his prime.

I would be shocked if he used steroids. He never needed them.

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He is 36 now, which most on this boards think is old -- at least for playing baseball. You also have to remember that he played in Denver before there was a humidor used for the baseballs.

Tell me what about these HR numbers, you think says steriods, games played in ():

5 (35), 25 (152), 35 (159), 42 (160), 49 (159), 30 (156)*, 33 (160), 32 (154), 20 (144), 15 (145), 17 (154), 7 (83), 14 (131)

Note: 1997-2009 (age 24-36), * = first season of humidor use (2002)

So, I guess my answer would be no.

Excellent point Sid.......I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't even know about the introduction of the Humidor, which makes a big, big difference. Maybe that coupled with the bad back and aging issues turned him back into a mortal from his turn-of-the-century immortal days.

BTW, huge fan of your brother (like everybody) and I'm glad there still is a great Sherill presence in O's land !

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He played for Tennessee when I was in law school there, so I saw him play a lot of ball. He was a horse of an athlete then. When you watched him play, he just looked like a guy who would be an MLB star. He's developed some since, as any player would, but his body didn't look a whole lot different then than when he was in his prime.

I would be shocked if he used steroids. He never needed them.

Loved the personal anecdote Tenn.......Anecdotal evidence of lack of real change in body size helps but obviously is not conclusive. And perhaps his very strong religious beliefs would prevent him (though not other Christian players obviously) from using. Still, his major drop off in power numbers have caused scores of others beside me to speculate (do a search of "Todd Helton Steroids" on Google as evidence). Personally, I hope not as I've always been a big fan of his. This uncertainty that tarnishes all players and their records is the cruel fallout of the Steroids Era.

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I'm not sure that I would call that a "great" article, although I agree with the author's point that the entire 2003 list should be released. The implication of the article is that a "steroids era" lasting somewhere around 10 to 20 years (my numbers) exists which was the primary time that steroids were being used. I think that's a gross misconception and I hate to see articles which perpetuate it. Steroids have been around for a long time and the public shouldn't be deceived into believing that it can be neatly bounded as the "steroids era".

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I'm not sure that I would call that a "great" article, although I agree with the author's point that the entire 2003 list should be released. The implication of the article is that a "steroids era" lasting somewhere around 10 to 20 years (my numbers) exists which was the primary time that steroids were being used. I think that's a gross misconception and I hate to see articles which perpetuate it. Steroids have been around for a long time and the public shouldn't be deceived into believing that it can be neatly bounded as the "steroids era".

As you say Migrant, maybe the rest of the article wasn't "great," but I felt the author did an excellent job of explaining Helton and his career trajectory. And, as you astutely say, the more I study the issue the more I am convinced that the steroid issue has been around a long time. While maybe not as over-the-top as in the "so-called" 90's+ "Steroid Era," performance enhancing drugs have no doubt tarnished the game for decades.......

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