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Aaron smelled something fishy even 10 years ago ...

Nobody has been any classier about discussing the odd surge in home runs that took place during the steroids era than the guy who took the biggest hit, in a manner of speaking, from that curious period.

After the news about Sammy Sosa’s name appearing on that infamous “List” of those who tested positive for PED’s in 2003, I looked back at an interview I did with Henry Aaron 10 years ago as Major League Baseball was celebrating the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s passing Babe Ruth on the all-time home run charts.

Ever gracious, there were still little hints that The Hammer knew something was out of whack back then. “The game is watered down a bit. Some players are capable of hitting home runs year-in and year-out, but you’ve also got guys who will hit 10 home runs one year and 40 the next. You’ve got to start thinking, ‘Is it real, or what?’ ”

Turns out, it wasn’t, but unfortunately the legion of sportwriters and MLB officials who might have been thought to have noticed something amiss just as Aaron did weren’t exactly performing at their peak efficiency.

One of the other things I was struck by was the realization in 1999 that it was Ken Griffey who was thought to be the likely challenger to Aaron’s record, not Barry Bonds. At the time, Bonds was 36 years old and had 445 home runs, and Griffey was only 47 behind him and was six years his junior, pardon the pun, again.

I wonder what would have been the response if somebody had predicted that a 36-year-old, even a Hall-of-Fame-bound one, who had hit 37 and 34 home runs in his last two seasons, would add another 317 home runs to his lifetime total from that point on?

The only thing goofier than Bonds hitting 213 home runs over the four-year span of 2000-2003 was Griffey socking 83 over the same span. Of course, The Kid missed roughly 260 games over than span as he continued a struggle with nagging injuries that has plagued him for virtually the entire second half of his career.

Gee, if only they had some kind of synthetically created substance that would help athletes recover from injuries more quickly and more effectively.