Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Unknown Soldier

A few days ago, another name on the initial anonymous testing list was leaked. Always looking for a way to earn money, Jose Canseco mentioned that baseball has already elected a steroid user to the Hall of Fame. Will this be the beginning of another book from Canseco?

Set aside the immoral character of Jose Canseco and his quest to make a quick buck at every turn. Whether you like to admit it or not, he's been right. When Jose was shunned and branded a liar for his outing of certain players, who were later named as steroid users, he was telling the truth. Every time that he's opened his mouth and named players, he has been right. Why shouldn't he be right? It's a subject that he knows about more than baseball.

Why should this time be any different? I'm not a fan of the way Jose spreads his gospel. It's the calling card of snake oil salesman and charlatans throughout history. Unlike those people, Jose (so far) has spoken the truth.

This new bit of information intrigued me. Could there actually be a steroid user already in the Hall of Fame? I had to find out. I spent the day pouring through information and I haven't come to a definitive conclusion. In fact, I really haven't come to any type of conclusion. Some numbers have surprised me and others look like normal decline.

I decided to start with any player who played in 1985, Jose's first year in the majors. Anyone whose career could have been in direct line with Jose's playing time has been included. I found 29 players who fit the criteria. My apologies to everyone on this list who is innocent. Unfortunately, these are the times baseball must exist in. In no way does inclusion on this list make any of these 29 players guilty of anything.

All I'm trying to do is present the facts based on this recent statement from Jose Canseco. I was hoping to find nothing that would cause a red flag, but that isn't the case. I can't pinpoint anyone based on this information, but I can't exonerate anyone either. That's the sad truth with so much deception.

Here's what I found.

Jim Palmer
Retired in 1984, before Canseco was in the Major Leagues, but attempted a comeback in 1991. Jim got no further than two innings in Spring Training.

Rod Carew
Retired in 1985. His numbers started to decline in his last two years. He was never a teammate of Canseco and never faced the Athletics when Jose was on the team.

Rollie Fingers
Retired in 1985. His ERA soared in his last year. He never played the A’s when Jose was on the team.

Tom Seaver
Retired in 1986. His numbers declined after his 300th win. Faced Jose’s team in 1985 with the White Sox and in 1986 with the Red Sox.

Reggie Jackson
Retired in 1987. His numbers were horrible during his last year, but still managed 15 home runs, when he was a teammate of Jose Canseco.

Steve Carlton
Retired in 1988. His numbers took a nosedive in his final years. He played against Canseco.

Mike Schmidt
Retired in 1989. He retired when his numbers started to slip. He had no contact, as a player, with Canseco.

Phil Niekro
Retired in 1987. Saw his numbers decline in the last few seasons. He played against Canseco.

Don Sutton
Retired in 1988. His numbers declined in his last few years. He was very briefly (a week or two) a teammate of Canseco in 1985.

George Brett
Retired in 1993. His numbers went up and down the last half of his career. He played against Canseco and was an All-Star teammate.

Nolan Ryan
Retired in 1993. He threw two no-hitters after 1985. One in 1990 and one in 1991. He was Canseco's teammate in Texas and was an All-Star teammate.

Robin Yount
Retired in 1993. His numbers declined in his last few years. He played against Canseco.

Carlton Fisk
Retired in 1993. His stats declined in his final years. He played against Canseco.

Tony Perez
Retired in 1986. He saw a dramatic spike in his average in 1985. He never played against Canseco.

Kirby Puckett
Retired in 1996. His numbers never declined, but he retired due to complications from glaucoma. He played against Canseco and was an All-Star teammate.

Dave Winfield
Retired in 1995. He played against Canseco and was an All-Star teammate.

Ozzie Smith
Retired in 1996, His numbers dipped in the second to final year and went back to normal in his last. He only played against Canseco in All-Star games.

Gary Carter
Retired in 1992. His numbers spiraled down in his final years. He only played against Canseco in All-Star games.

Eddie Murray
Retired in 1997. His numbers were pretty steady, except for spikes in average in 1990 and 1995. He played against Canseco.

Dennis Eckersley
Retired in 1998. His numbers turned around when becoming Canseco’s teammate in 1987. At that point he also went from being a starter to a closer.

Paul Molitor
Retired in 1998. Led the league in hits in 1996. He played against Canseco and was an All-Star teammate.

Wade Boggs
Retired in 1999. His numbers went slightly up after becoming Canseco’s teammate in Tampa Bay.

Ryne Sandberg
Retired in 1995 and in 1997. His home run total took a huge spike in 1990. His home runs after un-retiring were up for him. He only played against Canseco in All-Star games.

Bruce Sutter
Retired in 1988. The last few years of his career was marred by injury, missing all of 1987. He did not play against Canseco.

Tony Gwynn
Retired in 2001. He had a consistent batting average throughout his career. The last two years, he played limited games. He only played against Canseco in All-Star games.

Cal Ripken Jr.
Retired in 2001. He holds the consecutive games played streak, which took a toll on his body. His average dipped in his last two years. He played against Canseco and was his All-Star teammate several times.

Rich Gossage
Retired in 1994. He was a teammate of Canseco’s in Oakland in 1992, where his ERA lowered 0.73 points from the previous season. It skyrocketed 1.69 points, the next season, well after Canseco moved on to Texas.

Rickey Henderson
Retired in 2003. He was Canseco’s teammate in Oakland. Jose has publicly stated that Rickey was clean.

Jim Rice
Retired in 1989. His numbers went down his last few years. He played against Canseco during the last part of his career.

I'm not exactly sure what this means, but that is for someone else to decide. One of my favorite players is on this list, so I tried to be completely objective about everyone. No opinions. Just facts. I've done the research, now someone else can speculate and debate it.


Johngy said...

There are a couple guys on this list who wouldn't surprise me either way. Most I would 'guess' are clean, but who knows anymore? That is the sad part.

Andy said...

I've been through this list and if I had to place a guess, I would guess Ryne Sanbderg. He developed a lot of extra power later in his career, hitting 30 HR in a season for the first time at age 29 and 40 HR in a season for the first time at age 30.

I'd like to stress that this is purely a guess on my part and I have no information or evidence.

ManOfSteal said...

Great post, thanks! This is something that I wanted to put together since I heard Canseco's comments, but never got around to it. If I had to guess, I'd lean towards Reggie. He definitely seemed to bulk up later on in his career, and there's been more than a few rumors that he was taking something in the 70's.

Anonymous said...

My guess is Cal Ripken Jr. come on breaking the record games played in row is like breaking the homerun record. Why is it Jeter and ripken get this "pass" on all bad things?

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