Manny Ramirez could not have used performance-enhancing drugs, could he? Even though everyone else Jose Canseco named turned out to be guilty, A-Rod didn’t, right?
What in essence was our wishful thinking turned out to be wrong, and many of us felt cheated with Rodriguez’s admission and now the latest news about Manny Ramirez.
Now, we must ask, “Who are the good guys?” All 700 others not on the list of 104 who tested positive seem to be in doubt. Jose Canseco gauged it “90 percent” likely Manny Ramirez was on that list. Now we must wonder.
Here is my list of 10 players I HOPE have not taken performance-enhancing drugs
10. Curt Schilling
What if the bloody sock was bloodied by a mis-injected needle? One of the most recognizable power pitchers of the 1990s, Schilling helped lead three different teams to the World Series in his career: the 1993 Phillies, the 2001 Diamondbacks, and the 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox.
“Once every fifth day Schilling was a horse,” current Astros general manager Ed Wade is alleged to have said. “Every other day he was a horse’s ass.”
Let’s hope he was not asinine enough to take performance-enhancing drugs.
9. Jim Thome
Jim Thome is one of the nicest players ever to play baseball, a big teddy bear of sorts. As steroid scandals were breaking, Thome pointed out that his family was all big, and that he has never used steroids. Thome had the hearts of Cleveland, Philadelphia, and now Chicago.
His health has deteriorated since playing first base regularly for the Phillies, perhaps a testament to the fact that he did not rely on the use of banned substances to help his body recover. Clear of illegal substances, Thome’s home run total of 545 and counting will be recognized as worthy of the Hall of Fame.
8. Joe Carter
Joe Carter’s home run in Game Six of the 1993 World Series was one of the most memorable home runs in history, as it was a walk-off World Series win for the Blue Jays. Carter belted around 30 home runs annually in his prime, proving to be one of the most reliable right-handed sticks in the game.
It would be a shame if what could have been a flyout to Milt Thompson and a save for Mitch Williams had just a little extra oomph to carry over the wall.
7. David Ortiz
Big Papi was once non-tendered by the lowly Minnesota Twins, then went to the Boston Red Sox and emerged as one of the big-time power forces in the American League. What was the reason for his sudden transformation into stardom?
His coaches say the results were in the swing, but the unfortunate circumstances of this era make people doubt. His body is slowing down and breaking down like similarly-constructed Mo Vaughn’s did a decade ago.
6. Mike Piazza
There are rumors out there about some “backne” observed in the Mets’ locker room. A draft pick so late, in a round where people usually just guess who they are drafting, Piazza emerged as the premier offensive catcher in perhaps the history of baseball.
If Piazza is a user, then the Roger Clemens-Mike Piazza broken bat shard standoff will have all-new meaning.
5. Randy Johnson
Perhaps one of the tallest and scariest-looking pitchers of the last two decades, Randy Johnson still continues to pitch as the second-oldest pitcher in the major leagues. What could it be that keeps such a force going after all these years?
Let’s hope that the fierce lefty who once killed a bird with a 95 mile per hour fastball does not flip the fans the bird by having been a user of performance-enhancing drugs during what will surely be a Hall of Fame career.
4. Albert Pujols
One Philadelphia radio host recently called Pujols “the best pure hitter we will see in our lifetimes” when the Phillies hit St. Louis to play the Cardinals.
Pujols continues to play through injuries and continues to put up disgustingly good numbers year after year. Entering the league at 19 years old, Pujols has the chance to shatter many records, including the tainted home run record.
3. Derek Jeter
Hate or love the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter has been the consummate professional. Even now, in the midst of bitter rival Alex Rodriguez being exposed for steroid use, philandering, and even tipping pitches to opposing batters, Jeter always is the good guy, unwilling to throw anybody under the bus directly or indirectly.
Though many think he has lost a step or two in the field, Jeter has produced regularity throughout his career and has been the face of the Yankees franchise and will continue to be for many years. The last thing the Yankees need is for their face to be a cheater.
2. Cal Ripken, Jr.
Would steroids help somebody play 2,632 games in a row? Of course they would. This is why somebody accomplishing such a feat would be so special and outstanding. Ripken was no slouch of a player either, amassing 3,184 hits and 431 home runs before the steroid era and explosion of offense took place.
Ripken has become such a recognizable figure that Comcast even chooses to use him for commercials outside of the Baltimore area. A guilty Ripken would send shockwaves through the entire country.
1. Ken Griffey, Jr.
The consummate professional, “Junior” captured every baseball fan’s heart at the age of 19 when he debuted for the Seattle Mariners. Twenty years later, having felt the aches and pains of playing in the major leagues for 20 years, it would appear that his body did not have the aid of steroids to recover from all of the hard play over the years.
If Ken Griffey, Jr. ever was named as a user, and I really believe he is not, it would break my heart.