scanner

scanner
Location
North Carolina, North Carolina
Birthday
June 11
Bio
Birdwatcher Extraordinaire

MY RECENT POSTS

JANUARY 10, 2013 11:44AM

Steroids, Greenies and Willie Mays

Rate: 16 Flag
 This can also be read at:
 
 http://www.opednews.com/articles/Steroids-Greenies-and-Wil-by-kenneth-sibbett-130110-566.html
 
 
 
 mays4   
 
Willie Mays, in my humble opinion, the greatest player to ever put on a set of cleats, had a liquid form of amphetamines in his locker when he played for the New York Mets. It's a given that  he was at the end of a Hall of Fame career, but if he was treated as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and even Mike Piazza, then he would be ineligible for the Hall Of Fame. Willie Mays and many players in that era played in the "Decade of the Greenies", and many used  little pills they ate by the handful before and after games to enhance their play and rehabilitate their bodies.
 
A greenie was nothing but amphetamines, or speed to us hippies, that is mostly made of caffeine and other chemicals. This would not be a problem if Willie was drinking a 1000 cups of coffee before every game, but I doubt he could play much having to piss all the time. Say what you will, but every era has cheated in some form or another to get ahead in every known sport. Sports are only great when you win and winning is everything. As Reggie Jackson once said, "Fans don't boo nobodies",  and that only go's to show that to make the big dough and have girls in the stands throwing bras at you, you do what it takes.
 
There is probably no sport that I can find in my trusty little computer, that is immune from drugs. Greenies were first written about by Jim Brosnan in his book "The Long Season" and was followed by a great book from a former pitcher for the NY Yankee's and other teams , Jim Bouton, called "Ball Four."  Bouton not only talked about amphetamines, but said Mantle, Marris and others on the team were smoking pot. Dock Ellis, of the Pittsburgh Pirates once pitched a no-hitter while doing LSD, yet his name is still in the Hall of Fame. 
 
Hank Aaron played during the era of the Greenies. Did he use amphetamines while playing or after the game to aid in his recovery? Who knows, but baseball writer Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe said in today's paper about Mike Piazza, "I think on what happened in the recent past, we are allowed to assume guilt before innocence. I think it would be naive to think that anyone in baseball wasn't doing something during that time." That's a ridiculous statement coming from someone who should know better. If you go by his qualifications, Hank Aaron and dozens of others do not get in the Hall of Fame. 
 
I for one think it was a travesty for the Bonds, McGuire's and Clemens of the world to soil the game like this. But Bonds and Clemens were proven in a court of law to be innocent. Clemens, twice. If they are not innocent, they are at least not guilty and should be put in the Hall of Fame. They, like Roger Marris beating Babe Ruth's record and having a * beside his names for decades, could also have a * denoting they played during the steroid era. We have no idea how many players did these drugs. Will no one from this era be picked?
 
 Chuck Dobson, who played off and on for the Oakland A's during their incredible World Series years, said this when Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was contemplating banning Greenies from the clubhouse and baseball altogether. " When you've got the flu and you've got to pitch, what are you going to do? I'd like to see him put on a uniform for 162 games in 180 days and then see what he says." John Milner, who played with Willie Mays on the Mets team said, "Amphetamines were so pervasive during this era that when he went into the clubhouse, there were "greenies" waiting for him in his locker.
 
I love baseball. I always have and always will. It taught me respect when I played the game and showed me men of pride and courage in all the years I've watched. Yes, there are some clowns like Jose Conseco who put a black stain on the game and yes, there are others. But every era had their particular way to get ahead, and win. As Leo Derocher, the tobacco chewing, tough talking Hall of Fame coach once famously said, "Nice guys finish last" and Winning is Everything". I only hope that in the next 14 years some of these guys are eligible and some of these writers will realize that most of these guys were Hall of Famers with or without steroids. Especially Bonds and Clemens. I am now prepared to be flogged, at your pleasure. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
I didn't know that about Mays and greenies--say it ain't so, Scan!

I take a libertarian approach; end the war on baseball drugs. However, being not guilty in a court of law doesn't mean you're innocent. The Scots have a third verdict--"not proven"--which I think applies here. Anyway, a private organization such as the HOF and BWAA can adopt whatever standards they want.
It's so Con. I remember when it was a big thing. I've done enough speed to run around the world , twice, and believe me, it does enhance performance. Reflexes are the name of the game in baseball and a greenie could give you that 100/th of a second you need. That's all a pro needs to hit a strike out of hit one out in McCovey's Cove.
not certain i agree tho this is tht-provoking r.
My former pro-baseball player son and I have been in a mild disagreement about this -- he agrees 100% with you, Scanner. I'm going to send this post to him.

If what you're saying is true-- that every era has encouraged players to cheat to get ahead-- then professional sports is no better or less sleazy than any other corporation we accuse of leeching consumers. Sportsmanship is just another myth we teach our kids, like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. That's sad.

Lezlie
Who cares about the Hall of Fame. A bunch of sportswriters pick 'em. Big deal. We remember the deeds, and if an athlete is willing to risk shortening his life or watching his testicles shrink so he can get better numbers in his game, that should be his call.
I’ll grant that if you start barring some Hall of Fame candidates for one type of cheating, but allow other types, that there is a compelling slippery slope argument. (Gaylord Perry is in the HoF and he bragged about cheating.) If HoF voters decide to enshrine guys like Bonds and Clemens, it won’t matter to me either way. But comparing players using greenies to steroid users is like comparing arithmetic on an abacus to doing it on a computer. The amphetamines gave the players a little temporary extra energy to get through the second game of a doubleheader or a day game after a night game. Steroids built muscle mass that allowed players to swing the bat faster and hit the ball farther every at bat, every day. It’s doubtful that greenies played more than a tiny part, if any, in Roger Maris hitting 61 HRs in 1961. Steroids, on the other hand, were the major reason that guys like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa broke his record. (And please don’t argue that Bonds and Clemens are “innocent” because a court of law didn’t convict them. That’s like arguing that O.J. was innocent.)
I forgot about the greenies, if painkillers have always had some wondering.
Some Strongest Man in the world guy once said, "If you aren't using drugs, you aren't trying hard enough to win."
He also died kind of young, 32 or something, if he got to be like Ricky Bobby of Talledaga Nights: if you ain't first, your last.
Jon, I hate it. I am a baseball purist, and love the game. But cheating has gone on in every era. I just remembered, once, one team had a guy in the scoreboard with binoculars, who would steal the catcher's sign and quickly relay them to the batter so he knew what was coming. That is cheating, but I guess that's just like fibbing and lying.
L., your son is right. Cheating, just a little, is the difference between riding a bus and eating hot dogs for breakfast and flying to games in a luxury jet and eating steak. But, it's their conscious, right?
It is sad that winning has gone beyond the field, or the ring, or the peloton. I guess I feel all is fair within those confines, but it becomes something else when you bring stuff from the outside world in.

I had an opportunity to train with the Olympic cycling team briefly. I "lost" a spot on the team and only "learned" later. Silly me. I would still choose to lose that way. Clean.
Also, to counter Con’s “libertarian” view on baseball drugs: bad idea. I have a libertarian view on drugs in general – what you do to your body in the privacy of your home is none of my business. But when an athlete takes performance-enhancing drugs, he is trying to take food out of another athlete’s mouth. There was a fascinating article a year or two ago in Sports Illustrated about a former player who had a modest major-league career as a relief pitcher, and he knew that the only reason he’d made the bigs was because he took PEDs. The story profiled two of his minor-league teammates, players who were at least as talented but never made the majors because they refused to take steroids. The player realized that the considerable amount of money he had made was at the expense of the other people, and he felt guilty about it in retrospect. (If I remember correctly, he became born-again and became a minister.) And this is the problem with allowing athletes to take whatever performance-enhancers they want – it may force young athletes to risk their health in order to have a career, and may inspire teams to compel their players to cheat or take a hike. That is not an atmosphere I wish to support.
Why i studied history - vs. his story. What is cheating? Beads for islands or slaves from Africa? The Game is apple pie and tricks are for kids. The rule has always been not to get caught, as in Bush 1, banging his secretary for almost ever, and Clinton getting almost tossed for a stain on a dress.
The "Say Hey Kid" was my hero too Scanman, and I will not judge him poorly for his drug use - hell I think the government was handing them out to GIs back then - still giving them to pilots I think - not that the US government should be cited for ever having held moral high ground.
So should we rip JFK's, and LBJ's photos off the walls because they cheated in Texas and Chicago? Hell, George Washington "stole" land from his men, and Jefferson had a child with a slave . All this on land stolen from murdered natives...
I say let them in...and tell the story as true as it can be told.
It's impressive that Mays could say, "Say, Hey" while grinding his teeth.

It seems that a line should be drawn somewhere, if not for the sake of "fair play," then for the sake of the long-term health of the players. Any drug that has a potential side-effect of testicular shrinkage seems like a good place to start.

Even if MLB didn't ban steroids at first, steroids were and are a controlled substance. I doubt Bonds, Clemens or the old East German women's swim team ever got a prescription.
Steve said eventually Barry will go into the Hall of Fame and Pete Rose has his own reality show. If it isn't one then it is the other and I agree with you 100%
I like the 'not proven' theory.
HUGGGGGGGGGGG
Unfortunately, it is all about money. I blame the culture; after all, again, it is all about money! R
after the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike, baseball higher-ups — administrative and ownership— turned a blind eye to PED's, as superhuman performances brought fans back into the ballparks. Before the steroid era, greenies, speed, alcohol, LSD, tobacco and tighter jockstraps made the rounds... now Major League Baseball is going to stat testing for HGH, it ought to be interesting.
Hadn't heard about the greenies. Am a baseball fan through osmosis. My father and brothers were fanatics...my brothers still are. I still remember one home run I hit in grade school. Can't imagine the pressure there would be for a pro. Nice piece, Scanner.
The baseball business probably felt they had to draw the line with steroids because they make such a dramatic performance improvement. And the players look really bulky. I saw a picture of Bonds, Sosa and Clemens together, and they ain't lookin' too natural. More like bloated Neandertals. You have to wonder what would happen if steroids were legal and ball clubs encouraged the players to take them. If theydidn't take them they would lose their jobs to players who did take them.

Java and speed made them perform better for the day but didn't change them. Of course too much of that stuff isn't supposed to be healthy either. And I have to applaud anyone who can actually still play baseball after smoking weed or dropping acid!
I find myself torn on the issue for now about induction for these guys, but do feel sorry for Craig Biggio - 3,000 plus hits should have gotten him in, especially when there have been no allegations of him having juiced (unlike the ones mentioned above and others like Piazza and Bagwell).

I do, however, find it curious that you singled out Jose Canseco as somehow being worse than the others. The only difference between he and McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, etc, as best as I can tell, is that he admitted using steroids voluntarily - for a buck, maybe, but voluntarily.
I find myself torn on the issue for now about induction for these guys, but do feel sorry for Craig Biggio - 3,000 plus hits should have gotten him in, especially when there have been no allegations of him having juiced (unlike the ones mentioned above and others like Piazza and Bagwell).

I do, however, find it curious that you singled out Jose Canseco as somehow being worse than the others. The only difference between he and McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, etc, as best as I can tell, is that he admitted using steroids voluntarily - for a buck, maybe, but voluntarily.
I find myself torn on the issue for now about induction for these guys, but do feel sorry for Craig Biggio - 3,000 plus hits should have gotten him in, especially when there have been no allegations of him having juiced (unlike the ones mentioned above and others like Piazza and Bagwell).

I do, however, find it curious that you singled out Jose Canseco as somehow being worse than the others. The only difference between he and McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, etc, as best as I can tell, is that he admitted using steroids voluntarily - for a buck, maybe, but voluntarily.
Emily, I admire athletes like you who play by the rules. Losing to cheaters isn't fun but life after competitive sports is better. There is no drug-induced harm to your body. And a person is in a better place psychologically.
I don’t care what Francesca says. These sports writers are clowns. You had to hear Madden today on his show talking about he wasn’t ready to think about voting for Piazza. Madden is nothing but a doddering imbecile who could never put together an as factual piece as you just have here. Nice work Scanner. This belongs in the sports section of one of the major newspapers!
Scanner, I think the basic form of the "X cheated and got away with it, ergo when Y cheats he should too" is awfully weak. If it's cheating then we should try to catch it and punish it whenever we can.

On the facts of the cases, as cranky points out greenies are relatively benign compared to steroids. The latter put you and materially increased risk of later health problems and it isn't fair to players who do not run that risk.

I haven't followed all the legal ins and outs but I thought there were still some pending cases against both Bonds and Clemens. It's clear the former took something. How else would he be the first human to grow two inches in height in his 30s. Look at pics of Bonds in his early 20s and late 30s. Especially the size of his head. And if memory serves, the guy who claims he gave HGH to Clemens also made the same claim about Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, both of whom confessed.
Always thought I'd be a pro. Frustrating that after awhile I'd inevitably get the bunt sign. Aparicio-like I was good for second base. Oh yeah cloud of dust--wild throw and I'm on third. Wonder what mom did with those old spikes...bunt, wide lead, steal, slide--SAFE as a magic summer's day.

applause, cheering, wild whistling. you know, Glory Days, those taverns where the sleeping dogs l.i.e. l.a.y. l.y.e. have l.a.i.n l.a.z.e

Scanner, I thought this was about knee surgery and PETA; wasn't it Nietzsche who first spoke of superman?
J.P., I knew we had something in common. I used to bring you guys in with the long ball. Also pitched awhile but threw-out my arm playing softball. But I always loved the game and still do.