JC Bradbury and Steroids in Baseball

Posted on May 9, 2006 by


JC Bradbury, currently an economist at the University of the South, but soon to be sports economist at Kennesaw State University, has a wonderful site called Sabernomics.  Today he posted a great essay detailing why home runs have increased in baseball.  Bradbury dismisses the issue of steroids and instead builds upon the work of Stephen Jay Gould.  Gould’s work is detailed in our book, and also was referenced heavily in a paper Marty and I published in Economic Inquiry entitled “On the Evolution of Competitive Balance.”  It is nice to see a fellow sports economist also note the work of the late evolutionary biologist.

In addition to noting the work of Gould, Bradbury also referenced a paper, entitled “Steroids, Home Runs and the Laws of Genius” by Art De Vany.  De Vany debunks the role steroids have played in baseball via a variety of methods; including a discussion of how taking steroids would not actually help a player hit more home runs. The role steroids would play in hitting home runs is outside my field of expertise, but it would be interesting to see how sport scientists would react to De Vany’s arguments.  If a player took steroids would he be able to hit more home runs?  Conventional wisdom says yes, but De Vany is clearly saying this is wrong.  Anyone else care to comment?

– DJ