“Hell, If I’d known 40-40 was going to be a big deal, I’d have done it every year!”- Mickey Mantle
This is exclusivity at it’s best. Fellow blogger Brett (aka my lil brother) wrote a piece on baseball’s influence over hip-hop music. I felt that out of tribute, I should find my own quote from this same influence. The above quote is from Jay-Z. He is rapping about how he is above the rest. He spits about pushing weight (crack-cocaine to be exact) to promote his growth as an exclusive member. He is actually the owner of a NY night club called The 40/40 club. Can you name all of the club member VIP’s? Jay-Z probably couldn’t either, so it’s all money.
The 40/40 club is exclusive. So exclusive in fact, that it only has 4 members. Quick, what do Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano have in common? If you guessed being homos you were close, but not correct. They have all been linked in one way or another to steroids. (As a responsible reporter, ehhh, I should note here that Soriano has only been indirectly linked to ‘roids.) That’s right; the 40/40 club is the prime example of what the steroid era meant for baseball. Sure, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Vlad Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano (for a 2nd time) and Carlos Beltran all came close. But that is no horseshoe or hand grenade throwing. These 4 men (using the term loosely) are the only to achieve such asterisk laced glory.
Here are the actual stats for the four members.
Year Player Team HR SB
What this means? I am not exactly sure. Does it mean that this ballers’ club is merely a symbol for steroids? Or does it represent what the human body is capable of under the greatest scientific oversight? Some might agree of with the first comment; I call them pessimists. I like to view this group in a more positive light. I like to think that the truth of science was once on display for all of the world to see. I mean why not? What fun is it, as a life-long baseball fan, to think of this club as being “only allowed to cheaters”? For me it is none. Sure, it goes against most American morals, but as a guy who believes morals are a paradigm thrust upon society, I tend to see such things in a much more flexible sight. Honestly, in the opinion of someone who defended steroid use in a freshman English class, I feel that steroids are the only reason baseball is evaluated the way it is now. But whether you did steroids or not, the amazing athletic talent it takes to still pull off 40 steals and 40 bombs is magnificently impressive. (Since it is considered common knowledge that the majority of major leaguers were taking some sort of supplement that would have failed the MLB drug test, I feel it provides an equal playing field for the majority of MLB players to achieve these records; minus pitchers of course.) The fan inside of me was young, sure, but I was still old enough to know that scientists were tapping into a human potential that only Hitler and his Nazis could have created. (Insert any prior knowledge of Ivan Drago). Even in fantasy baseball today, the power/speed combo guy is highly coveted. Think of David Wright prior to Citi Field.
I firmly believe that there will never be another member to join the 40/40 club. This will forever cement the exclusivity of the club in the record books of baseball. Sure it might have been approved through cheating. Does that mean that Bobby Bonds was living vicariously through his son? Maybe it was all Bobby’s idea to hook his son up with BALCO. Just saying. But the way any intelligent person should view the elite club is through their scientific, logical eye. Science was able to progress the human race to levels that are incapable of being reached naturally. It was chemists who wanted to push the human envelope. Without these behind the scenes nerds(and hopefully sports fans that would have the ability to appreciate such progress), fans would not have been allowed a glimpse into the future. Or maybe it is a look into the evil soul of a capitalist nation on the demise. Maybe the fall of the 40/40 baseball player is a tragic symbol for the American economy. No matter how you view it, the club should be respected. Some might see the era is to the history of baseball the same way old timers see Ebbets Field. It simply marks a point in time and is seen in the rearview as a way baseball used to be played. Just as our grandparents talk about Ebbets, we shall talk about the 40/40 club. Something that will most likely never been seen again, yet something that we will remember forever. One.