It's obviously a small sample size, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports took a poll of 15 Major League Baseball players at the All-Star Game asking whether Roger Maris or Barry Bonds held the single-season home run record, particularly with the pace Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is on. Of those 15 players, 14 said Bonds held the record.
Maris, who hit 61 homers for the New York Yankees in 1961, held the record until 1998, when Mark McGwire broke it with 70. Bonds then broke that with the San Francisco Giants in 2001 by hitting 73.
Unlike Maris and Davis, McGwire and Bonds had help in the form of steroids.
“I hadn’t really given it much thought until this year, and after everything came out, I assumed 61 was the record,” Davis said. “I think it’s what a lot of fans would agree on. Regardless, 73 home runs is ridiculous, especially in the ballpark he was playing in.”
And Davis has been no stranger about telling everyone how clean he's been in the process, which led Reds first baseman Joey Votto, an incredible hitter in his own right, to speak some harsh words.
“If Chris feels like 61 is the home run record, maybe he’s just selfishly pegging that number as the home run record so if he passes it he can wear a crown or something like that,” Votto said. “There would be a lot of money in that.”
Davis enters the second half with 37 homers in 343 at-bats. If he wants to put the debate to rest for good and surpass Bonds, he'll have to step it up. Davis is currently averaging a homer every 9.3 at-bats, while Bonds in 2001 hit a homer every 6.5.
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