Unlike Bonds and Rodriguez, Thome has largely eluded suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs. His country-strong physique was never chiseled like some of the hulking sluggers who proliferated his generation.
From the moment he belted his first homer—off Steve Farr on Oct. 4, 1991— to the big one on Monday night, Thome has always seemed like a natural.
First homer Thome:
A couple homers later, circa 1998 Thome:
I grew up in Cleveland during the heyday of Thome and Ramirez. They are both two of the best hitters the game has ever produced. But don't tell me they weren't juicing. Bonds was arguably the third best baseball player of all time, ever. That isn't mutually exclusive from the fact that he juiced.
Thome was great. Then he inflated like a balloon. Then there was a crackdown on roids and he went AWOL. Then he reappeared and was okay. Then he made a few more adjustments and got closer to his old form. Then he declined, while still gaining weight.
Don't tell me he didn't put some juice in his body. I don't blame him if he did. In fact, I'd rather just hear about it than deal with the media saying stupid shit like he was a natural, or he was different from A-Rod and Bonds.
Same with Ripken and Junior. These guys were the best and they weren't jerks. I'm completely willing to dig them, even if they juiced. I'm also willing to dig them if they never juiced.
All I ask is that the media not do any special favors for people they haven't deemed juicers, yet.