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My friend and I created an "All Drug Team" on MicroLeague one summer. It was a pretty damned good team.
younger cards fans gripe about whitey Herzog as being a crank and a whiner but you cannot understate what he did to confront the drug problem when the general approach was to wish it away.
I don't really believe that drugs make anybody a better ballplayer. I do believe this: that the physical and emotional construct which creates a successful athlete must be understood in its entirety, and not discussed piecemeal. That, I think, is the reason that players who go on weight-training programs or health-food kicks, or players who are helped by hypnotism or other psychological counseling, or players who make a sudden leap forward after working with a batting instructor, will almost always relapse in the next seasons. True excellence in any field is supported by an incredibly complex structure of habits, skills, knowledge, intelligence, confidence, courage, experience, and diverse abilities which in athletics means diverse physical abilities. If a player's performance makes a sudden leap forward because of an improvement in one area, he reaches a level that the complete framework of the man will not support.
When a player has been using a chemical substance for years, I think that it often happens that a substance becomes a part of the fabric of his life - and thus, however evil it is by itself, it becomes part of the structure that supports his success. When it is removed, that fabric is torn, and it may be years before the tear can be stitched over.
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