Well, it had to happen. More old timers piling on the so called “steroid era”. Here is Ferguson Jenkins’ particular bit of erudition:
The Hall of Fame ace sent an open letter to The Associated Press this week, telling the former home-run king: “You have not even begun to apologize to those you have harmed.”
“How many pitchers do you think he ended their careers by hitting numbers of home runs of them?” Jenkins said during a telephone interview Wednesday.
Ummmm … ok … well, let’s see here … first of all, it’s not like pitchers did not use steroids, right? Somehow I cannot think they are hapless victims – or complete morons depending on your point of view – the pitchers who used were in the same proportion as hitters, unless proven otherwise.
Also – and this is opening a can of worms of sorts – why are we under the impression that only these guys did steroids? Let’s draw the start of the Steroid Era as the strike of 1994 for the sake of argument, so Matt Williams’ run at Maris stays in play. As far as I can tell, steroids had been around for an awfully long time before that, in some form or another. Is it possible that old timers were also using? After all, the performance pressures were the same – possibly moreso before free agency where one employer controlled your ability to make a living in the sport you love? Also – nobody has really offered conclusive evidence that steroids created a new distribution in terms of results among players … we anecdotally remember the absurdly great seasons (which can be caused by expansion) but it is not like crappy players didn’t take them at the same rate and still stayed crappy. If 70% of players used, then 70% would have outpaced 30% distinctly, but none of that causation has been shown, let alone investigated by the Verducci-Olney-Heyman set.
McGwire is no hero – he broke the law, and most likely engaged in seedy, crack-head like things – and I am not calling any of the steroid guys good. But this is an era of great mystery, and a drug environment that we know almost nothing about, aside from the fact that it happened for a period of time. We don’t know the causation – what the causation was – and who actually used both now and in the past. The old timers piling on current players or protecting their reputations, and their name in the sun – should not obscure that. I guess this makes me the asshole, huh?