Kevin Lauro

Expository Writing
10/30/15

The Steroid Era: A Dark time in Baseball

Throughout the great game of baseball, there have been exciting times, sad times, and dark

times. Perhaps the darkest time in baseball was the steroid era. The steroid era was a time in

which players used any performance enhancing drug to chase records and become the best

players they could be. Baseball was not as popular in the early 1990’s, but the steroid era, and

players who played during the steroid era, were at least partially responsible for the rise in

attendance and sales. Players cheated during this era and although their careers are impressive,

the fact that they cheated cannot be ignored. The fact that they cheated has also affected their

eligibility for baseball’s biggest achievement, the hall of fame. The steroid era in baseball was an

iconic part of the game.

As dark of a time as the steroid era was, some people overlook that it did have a positive

impact in some ways. Throughout the early 1990’s baseball was in a slow decline. It wasn’t as

popular as it was in the past, and that worried the commissioner at that time, Bud Selig. For

example, baseball underwent a strike in 1994. The league could not agree to a new deal. Fans

were fed up. There were no pennant races, and no World Series. The season returned in 1995, but

it was shortened. When comparing the attendance levels from the 1993 season to the 1995

season, it dropped by 12%. However, the league revenue began to grow from 1995-2001. In

1995, the league revenue was $1.4 Billion. In 1998, it was $2.5 Billion. It wasn’t until 1998 that

the league started seeing a big spark in attendance, as well as revenue. There was a race for the

single-season home run record that year. The St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Mark McGwire and
the Chicago Cubs’ dominican threat Sammy Sosa kept going back and forth in one of baseball’s

most exciting home run races. It was so exciting because they were going to pass Roger Maris’

record of 61 home runs in a single season (Fool). McGwire finished with 70 homers that season,

while Sosa finished with 66. It was a great race that really helped raise baseballs overall revenue

at a perfect time. McGwire’s record was ultimately broken by San Francisco’s Barry Bonds in

2001. In 2001, Bonds had a historic season— one for the ages, if that. He hit .328 with an

astonishing 137 RBI’s. He also hit 73 home runs. Eventually, Barry Bonds broke the record for

most home runs hit by a player, previously held by the great Hank Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank hit

an astronomical 755 home runs in his career. On August 7, 2007, Bonds broke the record by

hitting his 756th home run and eventually finished with 762. These records not only brought the

revenue from 1995 to 2001 up from $1.4 Billion to $3.7 Billion, but also saved the game of

baseball from a rapid decline. (Fletcher).