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Jeff Bagwell denies using PEDs

Dec 29, 2010, 12:11 PM EDT

Jeff Bagwell

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick interviewed Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell flat denies ever using PEDs. He said he got big because of an almost obsessive weight-lifting regimen he began in the mind-90s.  He ads that he believes his weight-lifting was a mistake and that it contributed to his shoulder injuries that ended his career.

At the same time he is not at all judgmental about those who did take PEDs. He flat-out admires Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Andy Pettitte, and does not judge them at all for the drugs they took.

As for the Hall of Fame:

Would I be honored to death to be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I would. But it doesn’t consume me at all. I loved every single part of what I did as a baseball player. But I’ve got my kids, I’ve got my family, and getting in the Hall of Fame isn’t going to affect my life one way or the other. And it won’t make me feel any better about my career … So much has gone on in the last eight or nine years, it’s kind of taken some of the valor off it for me. If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, ‘He took steroids,’ then it’s not even worth it to me. I don’t know if that sounds stupid. But it’s how I feel in a nutshell.”

We all know how this game works. Someone accuses — or refuses to actually accuse but does just as much in their own cowardly fashion — and the player denies. Then someone notes how even those who have proven to use have denied it, some even getting charged with perjury for doing so.  It ultimately gets us nowhere.

I know this much, however: I have no idea if Jeff Bagwell took anything he wasn’t supposed to. But nor do those who are withholding their Hall of Fame votes from him.  I also know that those who continue to withhold their Hall of Fame votes for him are necessarily calling him liar now, in addition to calling him a drug user.  In their own sad way, anyway.

  1. largebill - Dec 29, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    I want to believe him. Then again, I also want to believe Raffy when he says he thought he was taking a B12 shot from Tejada. Am I 100% certain that either or both are telling the truth? No, but the people who don’t believe them can not honestly be 100% sure they are lying.

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 29, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    On a personal note: I categorically deny any claim that I have used steroids. I do admit to Lipitor and a daily dose of ASA. I also deny having sex with that woman… Miss Lewinski.

    • rsnorth - Dec 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM

      It’s not all about you Proudly. We welcome your opinions but you don’t have to thrust yourself into every conversation.

      • The Common Man/ - Dec 29, 2010 at 5:07 PM

        You tell him, Captain Buzzkillington Nofun!

  3. adambuckled - Dec 29, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    If PED-use were an important reason not to vote for someone, I’d agree with the voter’s (or voters’) hesitation. A voter can always write in a player’s name further down the road if his name is cleared, but there’s no removing someone from the Hall once damning evidence surfaces.

    But cheating is a part of baseball. Baseball writers who don’t understand that are intentionally ignorant.

    • aarcraft - Dec 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

      How would you propose someone clear their name? Proving you didn’t do steroids is impossible. The burden should not be on the accused to clear their name, it should be on the accusers to prove the accusation.

      • adambuckled - Dec 29, 2010 at 5:30 PM

        I don’t. I don’t care. For a very long segment of time, baseball was a game that allowed PEDs to be used without repercussion. It was against the rules, just like traveling is against the rules in basketball. It was illegal, just as driving faster than 55 mph is illegal on many highways. But players who enjoyed winning used PEDs in an effort to gain a competitive advantage because no one bothered to prevent it.

        So that was baseball. Every player from the steroid era either a) used steroids, b) knew about steroid use and said nothing, or c) was dumb as dirt.

        As far as “clearing his name,” not that it’s necessary, if a player who did use were to come forward and corroborate Bagwell’s denial by saying, “Yeah, I used, but I don’t think Bagwell did. He was just a beast in the weight room,” it would be something. But outside of players who need money from book deals, no former player is talking candidly about the steroid era. But I can see how a writer would be hopeful that more would come to light in the future.

        Again, though, I don’t think it matters. The game involved PEDs in that era. It did. And everyone, by their participation or silence, gave their tacit approval of baseball in that format.

      • sonnyboyterry - Jan 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        We all need to understand the HOF people have provided written criteria to the baseball writers w/tenure so a writer really has no right to not vote a guy in based on his own suspicions not based on any fact. Jeff Bagwell has never been caught or rumored to be associated with anything. He just had muscles.

        Here the writer has already proven he is not willing to go by the criteria provided by the HOF and therefore ought to be the one investigated or come before the committee because he is now the one who is compromizing the integrity of the HOF.

        Now, if there were even a smidgen of evidence, the writer may have at least a little to go on but there is absolutely nothing on the borderline HOFer Bagwell.

        It’s important for baseball writers to get off thier high horse and vote in deserving players anyway because too many players don’t get in based on unrealistic made up criteria by writers who really have just a bird’s eye view of the game and what players go thru to be successful. They are just not objective enough.

  4. ekwinski - Dec 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Well of course he is being called a liar… virtually everyone who has not tested positive for PEDs has denied using, obviously they are lying in many cases. Saying you believe a player used PEDs necessarily means you believe they lied about it as well.

    I don’t know (or particularly care) if Bagwell used but a denial doesn’t change the equation one bit.

  5. diamondduq - Dec 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    That’s funny, I seem to recall a fellow by the name of Roger Clemens who was simply a workout machine too!

    • Kevin S. - Dec 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

      Yeah, every workout fanatic was a roider!

  6. bigcatasroma - Dec 29, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    If you look at Bagwell’s career arc, it is in line with hitters from yesteryear who didn’t take steroids. Peak at 26, prime at 25-30, last great year at 31, decently good years until 34-35, then retires because of injuries (look at his OPS+ on B-R). The only accusation is because he was muscular. The problem with that is that while he was muscular, others who didn’t fit the photo profile (like Clemens – fat ba$tard – or Palmeiro – just looked like a guy who ran a hardware store) did take the stuff. I’m not saying he did or didn’t, and nor do I care if he did or didn’t. He certainly was one of the top 5-10 first basemen *ever*, and his career path seems pretty normal.

  7. stankfinger - Dec 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Admiration for the juicers? Right after denying having juiced? Smooth move, dummy.

  8. Detroit Michael - Dec 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    We don’t know whether Bagwell took steroids. How that translates into a “yes” or “no” consideration or has no impact may vary depending on the voter, but we should at least start from that premise. Thinking that one can infer steroid use from physique or power hitting totals at the individual level is pretty nutty.

  9. Adam - Dec 29, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    Can I just veer off the PED course for a second and say that Bagwell’s quote regarding where getting into the HOF fits into his life is one of the most reasonable quotes I’ve ever read from a player?

    The guy is obviously in a good place in his life and while he’d like to be honored he isn’t going to judge himself by it. Good for him.

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