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Willie Mays: serial cheater

Mar 1, 2010, 2:20 PM EDT

Joe Posnanski got off the phone with the Royals’ ticket office and banged out a hell of an essay this morning on Willie Mays, greenies and cheating that flows quite nicely with what some of us were discussing in the Hall of Fame thread this morning:

Baseball in Willie Mays time, like baseball in every time, was rife
with cheating and racism and alcoholism and small-mindedness. You know,
people love to talk about the players of the steroid era cheating the
game. But did anyone in baseball history more willfully and brashly
cheat the game than Leo Durocher and the 1951 Giants, who rigged an
elaborate sign-stealing system that undoubtedly helped the Giants catch
the Dodgers and win the pennant, win the pennant, win the pennant.

There’s much more to it than that — amphetamines mostly — and it’s worth a full read.  After doing so, I would ask that someone please explain to me the basis for withholding a Hall of Fame vote from, say, Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.

  1. CharlieH - Mar 7, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    If you want to bring up players of other eras, fine, go ahead. We have over 100 years of baseball so there are plenty of players to choose from. But if you are going to accuse someone of cheating then you should back up your case with facts. And to quote some other writer that also doesn’t have facts won’t get it done. To compare using uppers to steroids is being dishonest. The same players of the last twenty years that have been accused of using steroids and hgh might have used uppers too. All of the things that you have accused players of the 50’s and 60’s of doing might still be going on in addition to the PED use. Todays athletes have much more access to pain killers and stimulants then ever before, and most of these are legal. Would you really vote for Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez. If you vote for Bonds and Clemens how can you keep them out.

  2. Trotter - Mar 8, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    This is a great forum going here, I like the arguments and the general level of civility.
    1st things 1st, I have to take issue with this from IDidntCheat:
    How many of us have not taken a mild steroid prescribed by your doctor for an ailment. I took it at age 12 to heal a knee that popped out during a ski trip. Rather than surgery, the doctors recommended rehabilitation and steroids.
    There’s a huge difference between a corticosteroid and anabolic steroids. Look ‘em up if you don’t believe me.
    Next, “misdemeanor vs. felony cheating” or “cheating vs. overcheating” as Bergmann said (I like that last one). The fact of the matter is that during the so-called Steroid Era, the 60 homer barrier, which was broken twice in over a hundred years of baseball beforehand, was busted 6 times in 4 years. Sammy Sosa bested Maris 3 times and NEVER WON A HOME RUN TITLE. This, my friends, is “overcheating”. That’s why people get mad. If you have the answer key to the SAT’s, don’t get a 1600. Get a couple wrong on purpose. It makes you look better.

  3. Libservative - Mar 10, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    First of all, Posnanski never concluded that Willie Mays was a “serial cheater.” This two-bit clown Calcaterra concluded that. And on what basis? None, except that he needed an inflammatory headline with which to stir up sh*t, and how better to do that than to besmirch the name of the greatest player in the history of MLB with hearsay and innuendo?
    This is another example of a little man trying to build himself up by tearing someone else down. To what standard of truth is he being held? Why should anyone believe a word he says? How lucky for him that the libel laws are basically toothless.

  4. boz - Mar 10, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Jim Palmer said that if he took a greenie he threw a 2 hitter

  5. Really - Mar 11, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Well then, the question must be asked, why didn’t he take greenies all the time. How many times did he take them.

  6. talex - Mar 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Craig, you are just amazingly stupid.
    Amphetamines don’t make you hit the ball harder or farther or throw a 97 MPH fastball when you’re 42. Steriods do!
    You’re a nitwit!

  7. hyman peskin - Mar 16, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    When a player reaches an age when nature would dictate that his statistics ought to indicate a decline- and instead his performance is dramatically improved, you may be sure he is on something. And that something often is being masked by another pharmaceutical agent. Oh the wonders of science

  8. Willie Richter - Mar 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Peskin you are the greatest!!!!!

  9. madhatters - Mar 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Doesn’t the massive amphetamine use of the 60s-80s parallel the increasing use of adderal today? Obviously players today can easily get a prescription, but addies are nothing more than time released speed. It certainly sharpens mental acuity, provides energy, and raises the sense of confidence. Ask any college student why they take adderall.
    greenies ; addies … what’s the difference? As long as there is competition whether in sports or anything else people are going to look for an advantange illegal, immoral, or whatever.

  10. CharlieH - Mar 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Right, tell that to Craig, The Serial Apologist.

  11. Andre - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    I’m afraid you’re missing the point Ace. Hamill got to see Mays AND Pujols. You, on the other hand, have only seen Pujols. Pujols is a nice player, but overall, he doesn’t compare to Willie Mays, in the opinion of many (including myself) the best 5-tool (run, throw, field, hit, hit with power) baseball player in history.

  12. bunbun - Mar 25, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Barry bonds is a punk ass fool, idiot and just plain ignorant street trash cheater and doper. Scum. There are crack addicted prostitutes with more moral and ethical value than ALL of Bonds and his family combined. BB has earned the right to go to San quintin and drink from
    the urinals as a prelude to his a working urinal marking his grave. this guy is trash

  13. bunbun - Mar 25, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    when anyone, anyone, from any walk of life decides to cheat, that person is saying to himself and the world “I am not good enough to compete, produce, or prevail”. These cheaters are trash.

  14. Mike - Mar 28, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    This is in response to whomever asked about the motivation for taking amphetamines if they provided no positive results: back near the turn of the century, it was common knowledge among cyclists that smoking tobacco opened up your lungs and provided a boost to your stamina. People do things because of peer pressure and because they’re gullible. If one professional athlete says, “Hey, I played better on this,” then a bunch of other people will try it. Amphetamines are not performance enhancing, apart from allowing you to temporarily feel less pain. It’s like being mildly drunk and on painkillers, except without the bloating and vomitting. Steroids measurably make you stronger, improve your eyesight, and improve your reaction times. Amphetamines don’t. Check the medical journals. As far as sign stealing — if they can steal it, good for them! That takes practice.

  15. lysander - Mar 31, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Greenies? Similar to a couple of cans of “Monster”

  16. Dick Mc - Apr 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Drugs? Who cares what they did to improve their performance? I say let the biggest,strongest,most jacked up man win.After all it is only baseball/entertainment.Impossible to say who did what.If they deserve the HOF they deserve the HOF.God is the final Judge.All else is for fun.

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