Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It Was Greenies

“You wonder where he got all that energy. Well, it wasn’t pure energy all the time. It was greenies, which is about the only thing guys took back then.”
– Team-mate Jim O’Toole

“He was thirty-eight years old. Basically it was a whole lot of strain on a thirty-eight-year-old body.”
– Dr. Patrick Mazza, explaining the Player's 'prescription'

“I might have taken a greenie last week. I mean, if you want to call it a greenie…Yeah, I’d do it. I’ve done it.”
– The Player talks to Playboy
It takes speed to leg out 746 doubles. The lithe and lean might do so with ease. But for a stocky player it takes a certain amount of, how shall we put it? Hustle.

Pete Rose had plenty of hustle, and plenty of help. The Cincinnati great downed a pharmacy full of performance enhancement from his first days at Crosley Field.

Under the new penalties agreed to by MLB and the Players’ Association, Charlie Hustle would likely have been banned for life before the end of his first season.

Today’s efforts to ‘clean-up’ the game of baseball are neither the first, nor the most radical. The 1901 establishment of the American League as an alternative to the “rowdy” National League is the granddaddy of reform movements.

Like that earlier effort, the selective attacks on performance enhancing drugs are likely to prove misguided. In the two decades after its crack-down on drunkenness and umpire mistreatment, Ban Johnson’s league gave the game Ty Cobb and the scandal of 1919. Umpire bashing seems tame by comparison. What dark days lie ahead for baseball, now that Selig has caved to the depraved instincts of Congress?

Coming tomorrow: Using a hammer to kill a fly: What's wrong with the drug plan.


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