Originally created 02/28/04

Point is raised by Kent



KISSIMMEE, Fla. - If baseball fans are going to talk about steroids, Jeff Kent thinks Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other past stars should be included in the discussion.

Kent created a stir this week when he wondered whether past stars were clean.

"People are so pinned on the era now versus the era then," the Houston Astros second baseman said Friday. "Do we really know about then? I think we're starting to understand and learn more facts about now, so everybody's trying to relate the records broken, the way ballplayers are bigger and badder and better than ever now, but how do we know about then?

"We never really tested, so that was my reference. I apologize to all the Babe Ruth fans out there, but geez, I was just trying to make a point."

In comments that appeared in Friday's Houston Chronicle, Kent asked whether it can be proved that players such as Ruth and Gehrig didn't use drugs to improve their performance. Steroids were developed in the 1930s.

"Babe Ruth didn't do steroids?" Kent was quoted as saying. "How do you know? ... People are saying Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth - how do you know those guys didn't do steroids? So all of a sudden, you've got guys doing steroids now in the 20th century, 21st century? Come on.

The Hall of Fame's "file on the history of steroids dates back to 2001," said Jeff Idelson, vice president of communications.