Steroids and Home Runs


When discussing steroids in baseball, home run records are consistently associated with suspected steroid use. Although increased speed and arm strength have also been linked to the use of steroids, home run statistics have glaringly increased more than any other statistic during the steroid era. That is why the Home Run Curve is such an important addition to our statistical formula in ranking players.

Steroids and home runs

The inevitable discussion of steroids and home runs arises when long standing records are broken. Traditionalists like to see records stand, and when those records fall under the cloud of steroids, there is not the usual jubilation there once was when a record is broken or a milestone is passed.

The subject of steroid use becomes magnified when a home run record is broken or milestone is passed.

If a suspected steroid user bats .350 or a pitcher strikes out 300 batters in a season, these great achievements simply do not have the same impact as great records achieved prior to the steroid era. In general, it seems most baseball fans do not like to see home run records or milestones broken, let alone broken under the influence of steroids.

Home run records at a glance…

  • 1927 – Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, a record that would stand for 34 years.
  • 1961 – Roger Maris hits 61 home runs.
  • 1998 – Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa eclipse the record, McGwire by nine, Sosa by five, both in the same year.

A stat formula that takes into account possible use of steroids and home run records.

In many cases, home run statistics rose significantly due to steroid use, which makes it very challenging to compare these players’ statistics to those of the pre-steroid era.

Our new stat formula allows players of all eras to be ranked on an even playing field using the Home Run Curve. The Home Run Curve allows you to weigh the significance of home run production for each player based on the years they played Major League Baseball.

Please review our chart as it follows the websites ERA breakdown of homerun benchmarks for the top home run hitters on an annual basis. This chart further emphazises how the home run statistic boomed during the steroid era.

ERA 40+ HR seasons 50+ HR seasons 60+ HR seasons 70+ HR seasons
The Dead Ball Era (1901-1920) 0 1 0 0
Babe Ruth Era (1921-1935) 18 4 1 0
Baseball During WWII (1936-1949) 11 5 0 0
Baseball 1950’s-mid 60’s (1950-1964) 50 3 1 0
Pitching Era (1965-1977) 27 2 0 0
Last Clean Era (1978-1989) 18 0 0 0
Steroid Era Pt. 1 (1990-2001) 83 11 4 2
Steroid Era Pt. 2 (2001-2013) 62 9 0 0
Baseball after Steroids (2014-2020) 33 3 0 0



Content copyright 2017. Joe Angelini. All rights reserved.