As you may have read before, I was supposed to write up a little story about Manny Ramirez. But, since the weather was beautiful all weekend, I was rarely around a computer. Also, Weller summed it up pretty well with his post: Manny was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. That substance was a female fertility drug, which caused all the message boards to light up with some pretty funny jokes.
So, instead of talking about Manny’s suspension and what it means to the Dodgers, I’m going to try and take a different route. ESPN has covered just about every other possible angle on this anyway. So here goes:
What does Manny’s suspension mean for all the other hitters in the Steroid Era?
I’ve heard people say that they weren’t surprised when Manny was suspended. I’ve heard people say they were shocked when word came down. I fall into the latter category. I’ve never met Manny and I probably never will, but from his on field antics I never gathered that he would care enough to actually try and cheat. I mean, the guy has his own highlight real of idiotic plays. He had been talked about as one of the greatest hitters of all time. He didn’t need them. That’s the thought process behind writing this post.
Most of us remember Rafael Palmeiro’s big lie in front of Congress:
“I have never used steroids. Period,” he said as he wagged his finger at the Congressmen.
As I watched, I kind of wondered why Palmeiro was there. Of all the people in baseball, I knew better than to think he’d done steroids. Obviously, I was wrong. It was at the point that I realized that I really could never be 100% sure about anyone. Just in case I had forgotten, Manny reassured me that was the case. Now I’m starting to question the sure-fire Hall of Famers a little closer than I was before. Let’s try and take a look at a few of those players who are currently active.
Chipper Jones – This one is a little close to my heart, since I’m a Braves fan. I feel like Chipper is a pretty easy selection to the HoF. He sports at .310 career average with 411 homers and 2300+ hits. He won an MVP in 1999 and has been one of those most feared hitters in baseball throughout his career. The power numbers have decreased at a rate which you would expect, also.
Jones has been pretty outspoken about the whole steroid controversy. When Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th homer, Jones said that Jose Canseco deserved some credit for this steroid knowledge and that A-Rod would be hounded by steroid questions throughout his career. He then boycotted the New York media after they blew the comments out of proportion.
I don’t believe Chipper did steroids. Let’s move on.
Ken Griffey Jr. – Junior is an even easier HoF call. I don’t need to make his case, but I’ll point out some of the vital stats anyway: 613 homers, Gold Gloves from 1990-99, 50 homers twice. I’ll quit, you get the idea.
Jason Whitlock wrote this article just three days ago. Whitlock calls him the last great steroid-fee player. Even though Griffey played through the middle of the Steroid Era, even though 2/3 of the three-headed attack of Griffey, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire have been outed for steroids, Griffey has remained above it. I’m not sure why he gets a pass on this and isn’t scrutinized more, but I don’t want to be the one to do it. I love Griffey. I don’t think he did steroids. Whitlock doesn’t think he did steroids. That’s good enough for me.
Albert Pujols – It may be a little bit early to declare Pujols a Hall of Famer, but I’m going to do it anyway. In 9 seasons, his average 162 line looks like this: .334/42/129. That’s eye-popping.
When the dreaded Mitchell Report was coming out, Pujols’ name was incorrectly leaked as being one of the names. He was understandably not amused by this. Some of the people in the comment section of that article don’t agree with me, but then again, they’re probably Cubs fans. There have been no real dips in his production and nothing that would indicate to me that he took steroids. I think he’s just that good of a hitter.
As my friend who is a Cardinals’ fan recently told me, “I don’t know what I’d do if Pujols took steroids. Probably quit watching baseball.”
I was going to do five players, but I’m tired and I want to go to bed. Maybe I’ll go back and take a more in-depth look at players like Carlos Beltran, Vlad Guerrero and David Ortiz. I don’t know if they’re all sure-fire HoFs, (Guerrero is, Beltran could be, and Ortiz is not) they’d probably be more intersting careers to look at, namely Ortiz.
I’ll leave you with this video of Manny Ramirez. Skip ahead to 0:55 and watch from there.