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Saturday, December 01, 2012

CAPUTO: Steroid abuse should keep players out of Hall of Fame

Finally, a direct link between Craig Biggio and (When reporting a broken link, please provide url for the page where you found the link) steroids!

Bagwell and Biggio present more interesting cases. They get much more benefit of the doubt from writers, and not without some justification because their names haven’t shown up on lists or in a book.

But look at all their connections to the Astros of that era — Ken Caminiti, Clemens, Andy Pettitte.

Bagwell’s body had an incredible amount of muscle given his frame. It was like Barry Bonds’ head in 2001 — it just didn’t look normal.

Biggio is far less suspected because of his smaller frame, but he was on those teams, and reportedly close to those players, and his power numbers did suddenly and magically rise at one point of his career (not just home runs, but doubles), and before the Astros moved into a more hitter’s friendly ball park. Again, I am very skeptical about there being any “magic” involved.

I reserve the right to change my mind. I have 15 years to decide. Certainly, I will be more inclined to vote for Bagwell and Biggio at some point than the others, but to me neither is necessarily worthy of early Hall of Fame induction anyway, especially Biggio, whose career OPS was barely higher than that of Lou Whitaker, who didn’t even get the 5 percent necessary to stay on the ballot for more than a year.

Repoz Posted: December 01, 2012 at 07:26 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, steroids

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   1. Bob Tufts Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4314251)
Guilt by association!

Well, since the author is Italian, he must have knowledge of organized crime families and that drug crimes were committed.

So I must value his rumor mongering as if it were fact.
   2. John Northey Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4314261)
I do like that he is consistent - saying that he won't vote for any of those he suspects - and that he admits to being one of the many, many writers at fault in the late 90's who ignored the massive evidence of PED use (especially steroids). Those items I can respect, plus being the first writer I can recall who points out how silly it is to ignore Biggio when he played with, trained with, and spent lots of time with known users (Pettitte, Caminiti) and suspected ones (Clemens & Bagwell). Remember, PED use is high in sports where they don't look like Arnold - cycling, sprinting, etc.

In the end I disagree though, as PED were pretty much a staple of MLB for decades and use of the 'strong stuff' like steroids was known in the late 80's yet no one cared until the 2000's. I'm positive a few steroid/PED guys are already in (Puckett seems a very likely one for example) and more will get in as otherwise you have to leave out so many all-time greats it gets silly - Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod for example in addition to Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, Piazza, Bagwell, and now Biggio - after all, if you suspect they might have then you have to not vote for them.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4314269)
since the author is Italian, he must have knowledge of organized crime families and that drug crimes were committed.
Look, the BBWAA guys, they promised me a deal. So I made up a lot of stuff about Craig Biggio 'cause that's what they wanted. But it was all lies... everything. And they kept saying "Craig Biggio did this and Craig Biggio did that." So I said "yeah, sure, why not?"
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4314285)
but to me neither is necessarily worthy of early Hall of Fame induction anyway, especially Biggio, whose career OPS was barely higher than that of Lou Whitaker, who didn’t even get the 5 percent necessary to stay on the ballot for more than a year.

Just..just...ahhh the hell with it. Lost cause.
   5. phredbird Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4314311)
#3 primey.
   6. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: December 01, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4314373)
...and as your president, my first act will be to ban stupid people from voting for the Hall of Fame. Thank you!
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 02, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4314406)
Pettitte joined the Astros in 2004. That was Jeff Bagwell's last decent year and next-to-last year altogether. 2004 and 2005 (when Clemens joined) were Biggio's last two decent years. He was 38 when Pettitte joined and had been a solid but not specatcular player since 1998.

In short, that Pettitte, Clemens, Biggio and Bagwell were teammates is ZERO evidence that any of them did PEDs. I mean, sure, Caminiti came up at the same time as Biggio and was established by the time Bagwell arrived so, sure, it's plausible that he shared his knowledge and experience with the two B's. But we're to believe that B&B were seduced by P&C (or vice versa) at age 38 to try these things for the first time? The 33-year-old Dave Parker crossed paths with the 43-year-old Pete Rose so I can only assume that Parker introduced Rose to coke and Rose gave Parker a lifetime gambling problem.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: December 02, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4314407)
At least he mentioned Pettitte used, unlike most writers...
   9. base ball chick Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4314421)
clemens also joined the astros in 04

and bagwell was in serious pain all year from his bad shoulder - it was really his last year. to suggest that roger turned him onto drugs that year is beyond maroon deluxe.

caminiti didn't start shooting roids until AFTER he left the astros and baggy and biggio had already kind of stopped being close friends with him because of his out of control alcoholism. how this turned bagwell onto steroids 5 years earlier i do not know.

the whole thing is beyond stupid.

now it certainly is possible that bagwell or biggio or moises alou or raul chavez or roy oswalt or wade miller or shane reynolds or lance berkman or brad ausmus was shooting up. but i'd like a little PROOF besides - well, he knows drug user/suspected drug user X
   10. Dale Sams Posted: December 02, 2012 at 02:45 AM (#4314434)
but to me neither is necessarily worthy of early Hall of Fame induction anyway, especially Biggio, whose career OPS was barely higher than that of Lou Whitaker, who didn’t even get the 5 percent necessary to stay on the ballot for more than a year.

And Bagwell's OPS?

Sweet Lou's Baseball-ref page comment is hilarious though.

   11. DFA Posted: December 02, 2012 at 02:50 AM (#4314435)
I have a lot of sympathy for the voters in some respects. It is understandable to not want to water down the HOF with cheats - it merely diminishes the standing of players who didn't use PED by choice or by accident of birth. I really cannot believe anyone puts 73 on the same level as 61 or 60. Sure 73 belongs with 70 but both are artificial. End of the day, I would side with the views expressed by this writer, but the reality is that finding 100% consistency is pointless, unless of course you are a fan of anything goes.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: December 02, 2012 at 03:31 AM (#4314444)
Brandon Duckworth is happy to know he's in the clear.
   13. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 02, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4314505)
Didn't Barry get caught using amphetamines, but as it was his first offense, there was no punishment? What year was that?
   14. John Northey Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4314594)
To say if a player lasted most of their career without using PED's that they wouldn't consider it near the end seems foolish to me. Pro-athletes rarely quit while they have stuff in the tank. They tend to want to play forever - part of the competitive spirit that got them where they are. If you go up to a guy who is near the end and tell him if he tries this stuff it'll let him play another 5 years at the top levels, or at least make it possible, don't you think most pro's would try it?

Saying Biggio and Bagwell would've ignored how good Clemens was at an advanced age when they were in decline seems naive. Checking Biggio's stats I see 3 years out of 4 with sub-100 OPS+, then 2 years over it starting in 2004 when Clemens arrived with his 2 highest home run totals, then he was 1 shy of his 3rd highest HR total the next year. Could be a co-incidence. Bagwell, on the other hand, continued a steady decline in 2004 and 2005 before retiring. Looking at that one would think it wasn't Bagwell one should be suspicious of, but Biggio.

In the end all this PED hunting is going to get is a lot of people accused and still having people in the HOF who are 'cheats' - from spitballers to PED'ers.
   15. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4314603)
All these frickin Puritans. Selig was practically selling the stuff. No asterisks, no black lists let the stats speak. Anyone who calls these players out for cheating is lying to themselves. This was a culture, an era - if it was one or two superstars who had access due to their money and stature that would be one thing but we all know more than half the league was using PED's. Team doctors and trainers knew. Selig and the owners knew. And if they knew, it ain't cheating. These guys are nothing if not rabid competitors, you really expect Barry to watch McGwire assault record books being half the hitter he is?

Hey, don't chicks love the long ball? Who cares about Greg Maddux, right? One of the top 10 pitchers of all time - we want HR's!

McGwire had Andro visible in his locker, I remember they sold that stuff over the counter. Give me a break.

And that's my opinion on the Matter.

(And believe me, I'd love to see Yaz's career totals with a modern PED regiment)
   16. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4314608)
Biggio extra base hits per at bat. I'd like to know where the mysterious spike is. They moved to the juice box in 2000 and it dropped precipitously. He must've stopped roiding that year and started the next.

1988 12.30
1989 12.31
1990 18.50
1991 17.61
1992 14.95
1993 9.10
1994 7.95
1995 10.24
1996 14.07
1997 9.24
1998 8.85
1999 8.88
2000 14.50
2001 10.64
2002 10.69
2003 10.30
2004 8.92
2005 8.81
2006 10.15
2007 11.75
   17. The District Attorney Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4314610)
They moved to the juice box in 2000
They did?? Case closed, then.
   18. Bob Tufts Posted: December 02, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4314662)
They moved to the juice box in 2000

Actually, it was called Enron Field at that time. And we all know that the "juiced" financial statements at Enron and other companies that brought down the entire economy is a far more serious matter than guessing if someone used steroids and may someday gain access to the HOF.
   19. base ball chick Posted: December 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4314669)
john northey

bagwell had to stop lifting weights in, i think, 02 because his shoulder was already going bad. he could barely throw 3/4 of the way to 2nd base by 03. he had already lost size BEFORE they started drug testing. he tried changing his stance/swing before the 05 season and by then, his arms, shoulders were clearly smaller. he CERTAINLY wasn't using roids to increase his muscle size - and if he did, they sure as heck didn't do that.

makes NO sense that he would STOP using steroids in 02 then for some reason, start again AFTER roger clemens got there.

clemens was an obvious threat to biggio's emperor throne in the clubhouse and they weren't exactly friendly and i SERIOUSLY disbelieve that clemens would have suggested to biggio that biggio shoot up.

in case you disremember, gary gaetti was the new hitting coach in 04 - he got biggio to drop his leg kick and to pull EVERYTHING and so biggio got a LOT of doubles onto the LF corner and a LOT of el-cheapo homers into the crawford boxes. he wasn't going opposite field into the RF bullpen or hitting triples 430' onto the Hill.
   20. BDC Posted: December 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4314673)
Axiom of steroid discussions: it is impossible to infer from stat lines alone when a player started or stopped using PEDs. I mean, I say "axiom," in an oughta-be way, but it's clear that a lot of people (not here, but in the general discourse) either don't accept that as axiomatic – or believe its polar opposite.
   21. base ball chick Posted: December 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4314674)

who cares about a couple of lying execs faking stock statements? stock schmok.

we're talking about The Sacred Home Run Record here!!! the EVULLL guys who had their buttocks injected with big syringes BY OTHER MEN!!! and destroyed the formerly innocent pasttime which was free of drug use before!!!!!
   22. John Northey Posted: December 02, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4314692)
base ball chick: I know very little of the Astros of that time frame, but was just going by the stats and what I vaguely recalled. The idea being that if you are looking for smoking guns then a guy having career highs in HR right before the end of his career (Biggio) is a lot bigger warning sign than a guy who saw his stats drop steadily near the end (Bagwell). None-the-less, it is interesting to hear that Biggio wasn't a big booster of Clemens.

As to Bagwell overall, if he used then odds are he'd have used throughout his career. The only big spike I noticed was 1994 and that could've been one of those fluke career years all players get. Nothing like we see in Bonds (massive peak in late 30's) or Sosa (60+ HR from a guy viewed as mediocre before). If you are a writer who is on a witch hunt Bagwell doesn't jump out as a candidate to me, but Biggio with the late power surge raises an eyebrow. Still, if I voted I'd just ignore it all and vote for the best guys and put a slight downgrade if they were caught (Palmeiro for example). I'd probably vote a lot like WAR lists them with the exception for guys I go 'really?' to like Lofton (never thought of him as HOF good) and put Biggio on the ballot instead (Biggio ranks 11th in WAR among HOF candidates this year - now that is crazy deep).
   23. Suff Posted: December 02, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4314702)
This is fun...

I can cast plausible (by this writer's standards) suspicion on everyone inducted who retired in 1993 or later...

Barry Larkin: Huge power spike at age 32. And to me he looks like he put on a lot of muscle between here and here

Roberto Alomar: Developed power later in his career. Teammates with Rafael Palmeiro. Roid rage.

Andre Dawson: Huge, flukey power season at age 32. Suddenly able to stay on the field more from that season to age 37 than he had the previous three seasons.

Rickey Henderson: Do I even need to make a case? Stole 66 bases at age 39. Teammates with Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Developed power later in his career. Played until he was 44. Does this look natural?

Tony Gwynn: Skills never declined. Teammates with Ken Caminiti. Top two HR seasons the two years after Caminiti's MVP season, at ages 37 and 38.

Cal Ripken: Do you think he satyed healthy and recovered quickly with Wheaties? Don't be so naive. Teammates with Rafael Palmeiro.

Wade Boggs: Power surge at ages 36-37 seasons. When you Google "Wade Boggs body," you get this, so there must be some connection.

Ryne Sandberg: A 2B who suddenly leads the league in HR at age 30? Something smells fishy.

Dennis Eckersley: Suddenly becomes extraordinarily healthy and effective after joining the Tony LaRussa/Jose Canseco/Mark McGwire A's, all after age 33.

Paul Molitor: Much, much more healthy and effective and powerful after age 30 than before. Turned into an easy Hall of Famer because he was a great older player, even in his late 30's.

Eddie Murray: Maintained steady production throughout his 30s. Had a bounceback year (hitting .323 with a 129 OPS+) at age 39, while he was teammates with Albert Belle (who we all know was also a juicer... just look at him!). Also long-time teammate with Cal Ripken, who we have already established was probably a user.

Ozzie Smith: Suddenly learned to hit after age 30. Was still stealing 40+ bases in his late 30s.

Kirby Puckett: 4 HR in his first 1327 plate appearances, then suddenly 31 the next year and averaged 20+ HR per season after that. He was much scrawnier as a rookie than in his prime. His anger issues led to problems with the law.

Dave Winfield: Lost his age 37 year to injury and came back to resume his career norms into his 40s. 'Roids/HGH in the rehab?

Carlton Fisk: A known workout fanatic. Hit more HR from age 34-43 (203 HR) than he did from 24-33 (167), including 19 HR in just 253 AB at age 40 (155 OPS+).

George Brett: Intense competitor known to do anything to get an edge. Won a batting title at age 37. Teammates with Bo Jackson and Danny Tartabull... they had to use steroids to look like that, right?

Robin Yount: Teammates with (now) established PED user Paul Molitor, enjoying a "second prime" in his 30s about the same time Paul Molitor turned his career around...

Nolan Ryan: Had a remarkable run of success as a power pitcher in his mid-40s, under the tutelage of pitching coach--and admitted steroid user--Tom House, with whom he wrote a book about pitching training routines, no doubt leaving out the "secret ingredient."
   24. Repoz Posted: December 02, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4314709) there's a Primey!
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4314729)
Or a mighty fart in the wind.
   26. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: December 02, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4314744)
Boggs was teammates with Jose Canseco and Andy Pettitte--automatic roider!
   27. vivaelpujols Posted: December 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4314759)

Yeah I was thinking that this article almost sounds like a modest proposal type deal. If you take steroids suspicion to the extreme there is no one who you can say for sure didn't take steroids and there is little separating a guy like Bagwell and a guy like Jeter (Jeter had the second best season of his career at age 35). This might force writers to examine their processes and realize that you can either not have anyone from the steroids ERA make the hall or you can re-evaluate how you feel about steroids, or at the very least steroid suspicion without proof.
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4314783)
Hank Aaron:

career high SLG at 37
career high OPS at 37
career high HR at 37
2nd highest SLG at 39
2nd highest OPS at 39
   29. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4314784)
Willie Mays:

Career high HR at 34
Career high OPS+ at 34
   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4314785)
Ty Cobb:

Career high HR at 34 and 38
2nd highest SLG at 38
2nd highest OPS at 38
   31. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4314788)
Tris Speaker:

High HR at 35
2nd HR at 37
3rd HR at 34
High SLG at 35
2nd SLG at 34
3rd SLG at 37

I could do this #### all night.

   32. Dale Sams Posted: December 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4314832)
There are almost certainly steroid users actually in #23.
   33. McCoy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4314838)
So only if you abuse them then? Does having a beer qualify as abusing alcohol?
   34. McCoy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4314839)
There are almost certainly steroid users actually in #23.

If I had to guess I'd say Nolan Ryan and Carlton Fisk were the two most likely steroid users in that group.
   35. Dale Sams Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4314894)
If I had to pick two, it would be Ryan and Henderson.
   36. calhounite Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4314917)
Wouldn't think any particular reason to associate Biggio with steroids. Didn't need them for what he was trying to do.

Probably the most skewed stadium in mlb is Houston. Namely the Crawford boxes. It's like Fenway without the wall.

Biggio was real good at one thing. Most right handed hitters couldn't adapt without ruining their swing, but Biggio could. Popped a lot of flys into that box.

Heck, even Backe, a pitcher for Houston, called them the Biggio Boxes.
   37. smileyy Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4314920)
The headline had me hoping that CAPUTO was some sort of replacement or competitor for PECOTA.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4315379)
#36 ... for his career, Biggio hit more HR on the road than at home. In his last 3 seasons in the Dome, he hit 58 HR in 2231 PA (1 per 38 PA) while in his first 3 seasons in the new park he hit 43 HR in 1838 PA (1 per 43 PA) -- those are season totals, not H/R splits. It was only in his last 3 seasons when he had extreme splits (41/16).

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