Steroids and Willy

Joe Posnanski has a great post on the lionization of Willie Mays and other pre-steroid players. Apparently having been born before the spread of steroids makes you a better person. Read the whole thing, but this statement really encapsulates the BS:

Hirsch, in his own words, believes there’s a big difference between steroids and amphetamines — the former, he says, builds muscle mass and enhances performance while the latter “restores energy and allows someone to perform at full strength.” That seems to be the argument.

This is such unmitigated bullshit that my computer now reeks. Steroids do not enhance muscle mass all by themselves. You have to combine them with workouts and nutrition to get the benefit. And many players claimed that they used steroids for exactly this reason — that it restored them to full strength and energy.

Indeed, the main benefit of steroids may have been keeping players on the field (until their hulked-up bodies broke down). McGwire, for example, always had high home run rate but couldn’t stay on the field or at full strength.