There is a fanciful notion that legitimacy is conferred by a line in the record book, as black and white as the type on the page or the line on the screen.
Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. You can read that Barry Bonds holds the legitimate home run records: 73 in a season, 763 in a career. If there were no dispute about the legitimacy of those records, Bonds would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame four years ago.
There would seem to be no way to end the debates about legitimacy, to shrink the stain of the steroid era to a historical footnote, unless someone could break Bonds’ records.
Mark McGwire, the only player besides Bonds to hit 70 home runs in a...