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So who's the Hall of Fame 'roider Tom Boswell mentioned last night?

Sep 29, 2010, 8:23 AM EDT

A Washington Post reporter watched a Hall of Fame player use what he assumed were PEDs. Why are we just hearing about this now?

Note to Ken Burns and PBS: I’d be much more willing to watch “The Tenth Inning” if it wasn’t airing on a night when multiple games with playoff implications were going down. Thanks.

Second note to Ken Burns and PBS: if what my friends are saying is true and “The Tenth Inning” spends a bunch of time on the Jim Leyritz game of the 1996 World Series, I’m probably going to delete it from my DVR before I have a chance to watch it this weekend. Because, really, I never want to see that again. If a highlight that even looks like Jim Leyritz vs. Mark Wohlers comes on my TV I get nauseous as it is, so the last thing I want to do is watch George Will and Doris Kearns Goodwin and God knows who else waxing eloquently about it over some evocative mandolin music. Thanks again.

But some people are watching “The Tenth Inning,” including our friend lar from Wezen-Ball.  And he notes this morning that the most interesting thing from last night’s episode was when Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell said that he once saw a player — who is now in the Hall of Fame — drink something in the clubhouse which the player called “a Jose Canseco milkshake.” Which could have been Slim Fast and B vitamins for all we know, but since Boswell was talking about it during a segment about steroids, he clearly took it to mean that the thing was chock full of PED-ly goodness.

Based on the clues Boswell gave to the player’s identity — a guy who (a) is already in the Hall of Fame; and (b) who hit more home runs after Jose Canseco
arrived in the league than he ever had before — lar tries to figure out who it was.  I won’t give it away but his number one suspect is a guy about whom people have whispered in the past and whom would certainly have benefited from proximity to Jose Canseco.

But back to Boswell.  I recently spouted off about making evidence-free accusations of PED-use, and I stand by such spouting. But in this case, Boswell has apparently been sitting on evidence of a Hall of Famer using what Boswell believed to be PEDs for over 20 years.

I know that Boswell reported as early as 1988 that Jose Canseco used steroids — and his reports were basically ignored by all but a handful of booing fans that fall — but why haven’t we heard anything about this Hall of Fame player before now? Given all that has transpired in the past decade, wouldn’t information about a Hall of Famer’s PED use have been extremely relevant to the national discussion? I’m not saying Boswell just tell the mikshake story and leave it at that, but why not interview the player about it? Why not do some more reporting on it? Why wasn’t this out there before last night?

I won’t accept “what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse” as an answer here. Because if what everyone who goes on about steroids says is true, they damn nigh destroyed the national pastime. In such an instance a reporter seems more than justified — indeed, he seems obligated — to followup on what he saw in the clubhouse and get the story out there. If not in 1988, then certainly by 2002 when the steroid story broke big.

But that didn’t happen. What has happened, if what Boswell says is true, is that a PED user was elected to the Hall of Fame by baseball writers who currently believe that the world will end if a PED user is elected to the Hall of Fame. Mr. Milkshake has a plaque in Cooperstown, but because of the perceived need to keep the Hall of Fame pure, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire won’t get one anytime soon.

I don’t have a problem with PED users in the Hall of Fame and I wish Mr. Milkshake all the best. But I do have a problem with double standards. If what Boswell says is true, a steroid user is in the Hall. If it were widely known that a steroid user were in the Hall — and the world didn’t end because of it — it would necessarily change the way that other steroid users such as Bonds and company were treated when they came up for a vote. Or, at the very least, it would lay the hypocrisy of the electorate bare should it continue to bar the door to the Hall for those guys.

I don’t think we should out guys simply for the sake of outing them, but this seems important to me. People should know which member of the Hall of Fame was a PED user if, indeed, one is. Boswell should follow up on this or, maybe better, someone should follow up on this in his stead using Boswell as a source.  It’s not just a matter of journalism at this point. It’s a matter of history.

  1. smokehouse - Sep 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    The same morons on this comment board that say it doesn’t matter that they cheated are the same ones that voted for someone like Obama. There is a segment of our society that have no standards or character.

  2. matt - Sep 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I would say Ricky Henderson. When the hall of fame stuff was going on when Ricky got in last year there was a story on TV with Ricky and another player who was already enshrined (cant remember who it was). The other player was going off on steroid players and saying they shouldnt be in the hall, etc. Then they show Ricky’s part of the piece and he says something to the effect of “we need to move on… people don’t understand that players back then didnt know what they were putting in their bodies…they thought they were just trying to stay competitive with everone else”. As I heard him saying this stuff it struck me that he was essentially giving an excuse to all the steroid players and I thought it honestly sounded like he was defending himself. So anyway the story ended and I didn’t think about it again until a day or so later when Canseco made the statement that the Hall of Fame has now enshrined a known PED user. Right away Rickys defense of steroid users in the piece he did came right to my mind. I thought it made sense. He was a former teammate of Canseco. He had a tremendously muscular body well into his 40’s. That may all be coincidence but it seemed to fit.

  3. Rob Abruzzese - Sep 29, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Jose Canseco has said for a few years now that there ALREADY IS a player in the Hall who has taken steroids. So this really confirms that statement.

  4. Detroit Michael - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    The goal of a professional athelete is to help his team win championships. Joe Jackson conspired to intentionally lose the World Series. It’s not introducing a tangential moral judgment to believe that Joe Jackson should not be in the Hall of Fame.

  5. Detroit Michael - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Follow the link to the wezenball article in Craig’s post.

  6. Detroit Michael - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Presidential politics have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Stick to baseball.

  7. Scott - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    I won’t bite on the retarded and irrelevant political stab; but no ones said that it “doesn’t matter” that people cheated, just there’s never going to be a way to have a comprehensive list of who did and didn’t cheat. Therefore punishing them is wrong because there are many who won’t be caught and will get “unfair” praise relative to their cheating peers.
    So in the end all you’re doing is punishing people for getting caught.

  8. Joe in NYC - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Rickey is the easy choice — he played with Canseco in Oakland, he’s a maniac who tried to keep playing baseball into his 50s and clearly would have done anything to stay on the field — and he always had the worst acne!
    But I have to say the Puckett possibility also fits. He was super skinny when he came into the league (http://blogs.citypages.com/sports/2006/03/kirby_puckett_tribute_spaceope.php), bulked up a lot over the years, ended up leaving the game with a bizarre health problem (glaucoma) that could be a consequence of corticosteroid use (and I am sure that back in the 80s, they were juicing with steroids, rather than hormones, which are expected to be much safer), and was notorious for having a bad temper. And then he had a stroke and died in his mid-40s — how many professional athletes die from strokes in their 40s? There are guys in their 40s still playing!
    All of this evidence is circumstantial, but it the shoe certainly fits.
    And he was so highly-regarded around the game, everyone loved him, that you could see why Boswell wouldn’t push an investigation on him.

  9. Steve C - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    Rickey does not seem to really fit.
    Canseco played in Oakland from 85 to mid way through the 92 season. Rickey did not come back to Oakland until the 90 season. 1990 was his most prodigious season at the plate (.467 wOBA, 28 HR). Rickey also hit 28 back in 1986.
    If you check out Rickey’s isolated slugging over the years, the only season that stands out is 1990.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=194&position=OF&page=6&type=full
    IF he used the data seems to point to a single season.

  10. Jonny5 - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    “Founded in 1939, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the oldest and most well known sports museum and Hall of Fame in the world. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of the game of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime. ”
    Then they need to stop acting like they’re a museum and educational institution if they’re going to give the revisionists history of the game by excluding great players they banned. I don’t like Hitler and what he did, should we exclude him from history books?

  11. Alex K - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    They don’t erase the guys from the history of the game, they just don’t get a plaque with their likeness. There is plenty of mention of Pete Rose in the Hall.

  12. Kiwicricket - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    I mentioned him a month ago regarding this subject, and I still stick by it. What age did he play to again? PED’s and homers are still a debate for some reason. PED”s and athletic performance have never been in doubt.

  13. ThatGuy - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    He also turned into a giant balloon when he retired. That is likely the cause of his early demise, the guy had to be pushing 325-350 lbs.

  14. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    If is Cal, then the consecutive games streak looks a little different, no? Wonder if the purists will start hunting for an asterisk.

  15. The Rabbit - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    After 40 years of experience in both politics and the financial arenas, I saw a disturbing trend: He who spent the most time pontificating about morals, rules, and values would screw his mother for an extra 1% commission. Corollary: Those that understood human frailities (and put things in perspective) tried to avoid making those mistakes and just lived their lives with the values that the aforementioned hypocrites promote.
    I won’t bore you with the multiudes of studies by sociologists that confirm this and because you’re probably unaware of them, I’ll forgive your ignorance.

  16. Largebill - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    SouthofHeaven,
    You’re nuts! Ruth from all accounts was rather fond of his genitals and not likely to approach his crotch with a sharp object. Also, he didn’t need anymore homers. He had no worries of someone breaking his record. He had about twice as many as anyone else when he retired. When he died there was not a single active player with over 400 homers. Heck, if Ruth wouldn’t work out or stick to a decent diet to lengthen his career he darn sure wouldn’t stick a needle into his favorite toy.

  17. Professor Longnose - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    It turns out that that’s exactly what he did, as you posted in a later post. But in that post, you say even that isn’t enough.
    I really don’t understand what you’re driving at. I know you think we should simply accept PEDs but why should whether someone knew about it or not 20 years ago matter to me on the issue of how we should treat players we suspect of using PEDs? And why should a PED user in the Hall of Fame change whether PED users SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame?

  18. btberry - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Love the postmodern libs who don’t realize they’re criticizing people for having critical opinions. This joker even uses the word ‘hypocrite’ which makes it that much better.
    Saying that known cheaters should continue to be disallowed does not equal pontificating, just so you know. It’s merely having an expressing an opinion. Now slamming people for having opinions while denying any possibility that those opinions are at all reasonable would be pontificating.

  19. walk - Sep 30, 2010 at 2:13 AM

    The way the above quote reads to me “who hit more home runs after Jose Canseco arrived in the league than he ever had before”, seems like he could also be talking about total hr’s not just peak.

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