added 1/1/2014 by Bob Hulsey
I bring to baseball fans a sad message but it needs to be written to clear the air and set the record straight. I will not be voting for Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter when he is eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mr. Jeter benefitted unfairly through the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED) to become a superior baseball player. With the uberpiety run amok among baseball writers today, such information needs to be put forth.
With Jeff Bagwell up for consideration for the Hall, pious baseball writers, many of whom have never stepped foot in an Astros locker room, have decreed Bagwell guilty of using steroids.
Their proof? They have none. Jeff's never been named among players who turned up positive in drug tests, was in the Mitchell Report or had his name mentioned by suppliers of the nefarious chemicals. He's not had so much as one accuser within the game itself.
The only proof they have is anecdotal or guilt-by-association. Let's look first at the anecdotal. PED abusers are said to have large muscles, enlarged heads, back acne, shrunken gonads and can be given to fits of uncontrollable rage. On the field, indicators are a sudden jump in home run production and sometimes injuries that take an extraordinary time to heal.
While Bagwell was a line drive hitter in the minors, he hit 15 homers in his rookie season, jumped to 39 three years later and otherwise showed a steady progression of power numbers one would expect of a young athlete in the prime of life. He developed poweful arm muscles but was known to be a weight room demon in the off-season. Other than two broken hands in his early years, his only major injury was the arthritic condition in his right shoulder that got progressively worse even after surgery until it forced him to retire.
It's the anecdotal that some writers use to tar him. He was friends with Ken Caminiti, an admitted user who, unlike Bagwell, showed all the telltale signs of steroid abuse. Surely Bagwell and Caminiti shared stories about workout secrets didn't they? Surely if they hung out together they juiced together, goes the logic.
Bagwell's chief accuser is New York sportswriter Jeff Pearlman who claims he is 100% certain Bagwell was a juicer. He has 0% proof however and will not put forward any evidence. Pearlman, it should be noted, resides in the same state as the headquarters for the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) so we cannot rule out that Pearlman is a member.
New York, which elects known perverts like Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer to high office and is the home base for Bill Clinton, is also the home of New York Times writer Murray Chass who raises guilt-by-association to another level by lumping in Bagwell's teammate Craig Biggio among the players he will not vote for because they "were proved to have cheated, admitted they cheated or are strongly suspected of having cheated."
Biggio, you see, was a teammate and friend of Bagwell and Caminiti. If that's how this witch hunt works, I presume Mr. Chass won't be voting for Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Kenny Lofton, Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner or Lance Berkman either since they were all teammates of Caminiti, Bagwell and Biggio. Further, Bagwell and Biggio were teammates of suspected users Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
Before mailing in that ballot, Mr. Chass should also know that Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were teammates of Caminiti too.
Biggio seems like an odd name to add to the mix. He had a wiry yet waifish physique for much of his time in Houston. Bulky arms? No. Big head? No. Acne and gonads? Not going there. Jump in home run production? All I can say is that if he was getting steroids, they didn't work very well. Roid rage? You've got to be kidding. Late-career injuries? None, just a bad knee in 2000.
No, it seems like with Biggio, friendship with Caminiti and Bagwell is the only thing they could possibly use to tar him. But the lunacy is spreading. Boston sportswriter Dan Schaughnessy decided not to actually defend his accusations but said Bagwell and Biggio "look dirty" to him. Well, with Biggio, he's guilty as charged - if you're talking about pine tar.
But, now that we know where the line is drawn, Derek Jeter has to be guilty. Bulky arms? Well, no, but then neither were Biggio's. Big head? Well, if you believe some of his girlfriend confessions in the tabloids, possibly. Big ego, at least.
Jump in home run production? Check this out. He has gone from 10 in 2003 to 23 in 2004 and also jumped from six in 2011 to 15 in 2012. That's over a 100% increase. Mighty suspicious there.
But the real proof is that he's spent the last decade manning the same side of the infield with admitted roider Alex Rodriguez. In fact, that home run spike in 2004 coincided with Rodriguez' first year with the Yankees. You don't think Jeter and Rodriguez swapped workout secrets with each other? Don't think they know the same trainers?
And it doesn't stop there. A whole Murderers Row of juicers have come in and out of the Yankee locker room over the years Jeter has been there including Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi and Melky Cabrera. And, of course, Messers Clemens and Pettitte were his teammates. The special sauce was available virtually any time Jeter wanted it.
Plus, Derek's been dogged by injuries in his waning years that have taken longer than expected to heal.
I think I have more than proven my case that the doors of Cooperstown should be locked away from the Yankee great forever, at least using the type of logic Messers Pearlman, Chass and Shaughnessy have. But who am I kidding? All three of these will undoubtedly put Jeter in on the first ballot because scandalmongers are also usually hypocrites and represent one more reason baseball writers are a poor panel of judges for deciding who should be enshrined in a Hall that is, each year, becoming more and more of a grotesque joke.