Remember, nothing is alleged to--or can have--happened to all of MLB over some one or two seasons: the claim is that PEDs were being used at a slowly but steadily increasing rate (and thus "distorting records") from very roughly 1980 through the present. Were that so, or anything like it, we would expect to see a clear long-term uptrend during this period. But we don't: we see a nearly flat line that, if anything, slopes slightly down. The "boost" just isn't there. But that doesn't seem to stop anyone from talking about it.
10. Adrian Burgos Jr., Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line (2007). Until recently, baseball historians routinely ignored the reality that Latinos were a part of professional baseball (including the Negro Leagues) from its early days, beginning with Esteban Bellan, a Cuban who played in the National Association between 1871 and 1873. Using archival materials from the United States, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and interviews with major league and Negro League players, Burgos reveals how Latino players negotiated racial barriers. Some Latinos "passed" for white, and some Black players "passed" as Latinos, depending on which group was more accepted in particular times and places. He shows how the idea of "race" is an arbitrary category, subject to changing prejudices and conditions. Some Anglicized their names to avoid discrimination. Some Negro League teams were comprised almost entirely of Cubans. Some major league teams were more willing than others to recruit Latino players, laying the groundwork for the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey to sign Jackie Robinson to officially dismantle the major league color line in 1947. Burgos, a history professor at the University of Illinois, offers captivating profiles of the trials and triumphs of players like Minnie Minoso, Robert Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, and other Latino pioneers, many of them little-known even by many baseball fans.
Speaking of our most important figures, a recent edition of The Washington Post contained a piece on A-Rod’s recent decline and cited Yale economist Ray C. Fair’s mathematical model of how hitters age, derived using the stats of every batter who played at least 10 full seasons between 1921 and 2004. He uncovered that the typical peak is around age 28, even with a selective sample of hitters who aged gracefully enough to make it in the majors for a decade or more. By 29, such hitters are already in a decline. It’s worth noting that pitchers are at their best even earlier (around 26, which is when I noticed my own descent).