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Dan Naulty talks about steroid use, sexual abuse, Yankee prayer meetings

May 29, 2012, 7:17 PM EDT

Dan Naulty

While I’d recommend skipping the intro, the body of Tom Verducci’s latest work for Sports Illustrated is an incredible tale, that of former Twins and Yankees pitcher Dan Naulty. Among the things Naulty discusses are how steroids took him from 180 pounds to 240 and added 10 mph to his fastball, how the sexual abuse of a male coach and a female teacher affected his development and how alcoholism nearly led to him committing suicide.

Less enthralling but more baseball-related, Naulty notes the prayer meetings members of the Yankees held during the 1998 championship season. From the article:

Naulty was assigned a locker between relievers Mariano Rivera and Jason Grimsley, two of many devout Christians on the team, a group that also included Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi, Mike Stanton and Chad Curtis. They would invite Naulty to what they called “daily devotionals,” gatherings in a dingy storage room in the bowels of Yankee Stadium to read Scripture and pray together. After a month or so, Naulty decided to join in.

… Naulty was shocked at the participants in the Yankees’ daily devotionals: star players with huge contracts. “I was just floored that people who made that much money needed God,” he says. “Why on earth would I need God when I was with the Yankees and I’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’ve got whatever I want?”

… Years later, Pettitte, Stanton and Grimsley, like Naulty, were named in the Mitchell Report. “Shocked,” Naulty says. “It would obviously contradict everything we believe as Christians. That was certainly shocking.”

Go and read the whole thing when you have 15-20 minutes. It’s well worth it.

  1. deathmonkey41 - May 29, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    “Naulty discusses are how steroids took him from 180 pounds to 240 and added 10 mph to his fastball”

    Steroids don’t help- that unpossible!

    • hackerjay - May 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      They also led him to an awesome 4.54 career ERA in 160 innings!

      In other words, even if steroids gave him more strength, something nobody denies, they didn’t give him the needed skill to stick in the majors.

      • Glenn - May 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM

        I imagine he would have had even less of a career without PEDs.

      • deadeyedesign23 - May 29, 2012 at 8:30 PM

        “They also led him to an awesome 4.54 career ERA in 160 innings!”

        So a guy who probably wouldn’t have cracked the majors had a 4 year career with the aid of steroids.

        A guy who would likely have been an above league average 1B breaks Roger Marris’ record.

        A guy who was already a top 20 player became a God king made flesh and put up cartoon numbers into his 40’s.

        I don’t think anyone ever said that steroids were the super soldier serum, but is there any doubt that Hank Aaron and Roger Maris are still record holders with out them?

      • drewsylvania - May 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        For the millionth time:

        1) PEDs didn’t originate in the 90s.
        2) Aaron did greenies.

      • Reflex - May 30, 2012 at 2:07 AM

        I still want to know why Maris gets a pass on the PED accusations. He only had three seasons of 30+ HR, and that was 33 and 39, plus the huge 61 right in the middle.

        Why couldn’t he have been juicing? Steroids existed back then. After his age 27 season Maris couldn’t stay healthy, who breaks down at 28 except a drug abuser? The whole thing is pretty suspicious, in my opinion far more suspicious than the whole Brady Anderson accusation…

        Why stop the PED accusations with the 80’s? We know they were using meth for decades before that, why not anabolic steroids, which were already being used in other sports. Seems silly to assume baseball players didn’t use them, especially with non-guaranteed contracts and low pay…

      • Kevin S. - May 30, 2012 at 8:08 AM

        While I’m not one to throw accusations, especially on stuff like random spike years, I agree it’s hypocritical to throw baseless accusations at guys today while revering Maris.

      • pmcenroe - May 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        That 4.54 career ERA comes out to a career 107 ERA+, not too bad

      • lessick - May 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        I still want to know why Maris gets a pass on the PED accusations. He only had three seasons of 30+ HR, and that was 33 and 39, plus the huge 61 right in the middle.

        That huge 61 right in the middle was in an expansion year. There are a lot of unusual statistical spikes in expansion years.

      • deadeyedesign23 - May 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        “I still want to know why Maris gets a pass on the PED accusations. He only had three seasons of 30+ HR, and that was 33 and 39, plus the huge 61 right in the middle.”

        Yeah in addition to the expansion year he was also the MVP the year prior which saw an uptick in HR for him because of Yankee Stadium’s short RF. 314 Down the line and Maris hit most of his home runs to right.

        Also people were still doing amphetamines in 90’s and 00’s so interms of the numbers the playing field is even on that front. I don’t think people have a problem with steroids because it was a moral issue so much as how it made the records irrelevant. Can anyone tell me the alltime HR record right now? I can’t. I know it was 755, but I don’t care about the new number because it’s irrelevant. Same with the single season record. Is it 73? I’m honestly not sure off the top of my head…because it’s silly no one will ever break that cleanly. It took 40 years for someone to break 60 and it took a few extra games for him to break it by one homerun. Now we’re supposed to expect that it’s possible for someone to hit upwards of 15 more? Clean?

        And I know pitching records have always been this way, but there’s a reason you knew the numbers 61 and 755 and why you don’t know 363 (the modern wins record) and 1.12 (the modern ERA record).

      • Reflex - May 30, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        Wait wait wait, so you guys are saying that there are other circumstances that can lead to spike years that have nothing to do with PEDs? Reading these forums, I was under the apparently mistaken impression that unusual performances always meant someone was ‘on the juice’ for those seasons…

        Does this mean that we can stop calling Brady Anderson a roider without proof now?

      • Matt S - May 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Wait- Bonds a top 20 player? He was clearly the best before he ever took steroids, and he was the best afterwards.

      • deadeyedesign23 - May 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM

        @Matt S

        I was saying top 20 all time. Position players at any rate. After the juice he was the best player to ever breath air…but it was bulls***.

  2. stevietimmy - May 29, 2012 at 8:13 PM


  3. SmackSaw - May 29, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Pizza and beer took me from 190 lbs. to 305. That stuff must be loaded with steroids.

    • deathmonkey41 - May 29, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Did your head grow to gargantuan proportions?

      • SmackSaw - May 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        Nope. It’s always been a size 8. I had a Buffalo head to begin with.

  4. phillyphreak - May 29, 2012 at 9:08 PM


    • msipesjr - May 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      If n=1, then m*n=m

  5. hushbrother - May 29, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    And Chad Curtis was arrested just a few days ago for allegedly diddling underage girls. Not very Christian of him to do that either.

    • deathmonkey41 - May 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM

      Wait, religion and hypocrisy are mutually exclusive?

    • js20011041 - May 30, 2012 at 6:54 AM

      Well, actually……

  6. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 29, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    What a shock, Verducci doesn’t understand the difference between causation and correlation. However, that’s not even the most egregious part.
    The rationalizing and enabling goes on even today by players, fans and media. The popular myth is that before testing, steroids in baseball “weren’t illegal” (in fact, their use was made illegal by the federal government in 1988 unless prescribed to treat a medical condition), were “not against the rules” (a 1991 memo by commissioner Fay Vincent specifically prohibited steroids) and that “everybody was doing it, anyway.”

    Tons of things are illegal according to the Federal Gov’t, chief amongst them is DUI which no one seems to have a problem with. Two, Vincent didn’t have the power to enact that without the approval of MLBPA, and we know how long it took for all sides to agree on it.

    However, that’s not the most damning. How the hell can you write about how things were illegal because they were banned by the Federal gov’t, make a comment about how “everyone was doing it” was a rationalization, and COMPLETELY SKIP OVER THE COMMENTS ABOUT EVERYONE USING AMPHETAMINES.

    It’s not even worth reading after that.

    • Kevin S. - May 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      I stopped reading at the part where he claimed drug testing was the biggest reformation in the game since Mountain Landis kicked out the Black Sox. You know, more important than integration. Okay.

    • pickelback - May 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      Amphetamines are awesome (and nostalgic). Steroids- not so much…

    • Mr. Furious - May 30, 2012 at 7:08 AM

      The prohibition of illegal drugs *was* collectively bargained, and the 1991 memo was a reminder rather than an executive order. Verducci has that wrong. This article by Richard Justice in 2006 describes it more accurately:

      Two very important things about that ban differ from the way things work today, though. First, it was intended to prevent drugs of abuse rather than performance enhancers, in the wake of the Pittsburgh drug trials. Second, testing worked completely differently. Though there was no random testing, the CBA allowed clubs to test a player if there was a strong enough suspicion of drug abuse (Steve Howe is probably the best example of this rule in practice). Even then, though, the penalties weren’t codified.

      It would’ve been within the rights of any organization that suspected one or more of their players to be tested for illegal performance enhancers if they had a reasonable* suspicion that they were using, but AFAIK that never happened between 1988-2005, when the old rule would’ve applied to steroids.

      * I don’t know enough about the old policy to say what would’ve been considered reasonable, though. Howe’s abuse was pretty obvious, from what I’ve read about it.

      • vivabear - May 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Thank you Mr. Furious. Can one of you please blog ^….there are way too many people who believe PEDs weren’t against the rules until 2003.

  7. ch0psuey - May 29, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Shocker – Yankees and Steroids.

    Lets just look back and count the bloated steroid faces…… ready ?

  8. ningenito78 - May 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    If that ‘shocked’ him, go check out what Chad Curtis has established lately.

  9. drewzducks - May 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    I guess rather than passing around the collection basket they passed around a waste basket to dispose of their needles.

  10. barrywhererufrom - May 30, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    wow the stupidity on this thread is amazing. Why would one take steroids? let’s take a wild get bigger and stronger. some jackass stated that ‘its unpossilbe nice gain 60 lbs and 10 miles on your fastball..what planet are you on? How about guys going from being a midget like Lenny Dystrka, Brady Anderson, Ivan Rodriguez et al..I hope you were joking..finally sinners which we all are turning toward God is something we should all do..not a shocker there too..

    • nolanwiffle - May 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      I think you missed an attempt at humor there.

  11. barrywhererufrom - May 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    The Yankees were not the only team to take steroids..the biggest fraud was that Sen.Mitchell that d-bag who was on the Red Sox board heading up the investigation..Big Papi..Manny, Veritek were all stop with your Yankee BS..Yeah Clemens, Pettitte and Curtis, were the only players in baseball on ROIDS at the time..nice try

    • jwbiii - May 30, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      Please. Not this tired argument again. Here’s a list of players mentioned in the Mitchell report by team:

      If the list seems New York centric, it’s because two of the four main sources were formerly employed by New York teams. The members of the Yankees and the Mets weren’t necessarily more likely to be steroid users than the members of the (insert two random team names here), they just were named more often because former members of their training staffs gave evidence.

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