For instance, there was a player, a really good player, who had never hit more than 26 home runs in a season. He was a good hitter but he was just not a 30-home run guy. And he was also a catcher, which meant that it was likely his body had taken a terrible beating and had worn down.
But this is the point I want to make: When you talk about the three greatest power hitting catchers of all time — Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, right? Well, there’s Josh Gibson, of course, but we don’t have his numbers. When the three power catchers (Piazza, Bench and Berra) were 37 years old, how many home runs do you think they averaged? The three greatest power-hitting catchers of all time averaged 11 home runs at age 37. How many do you think our guy hit? He hit 37!
Of course, our guy is Carlton Fisk. And I am not suggesting that he did anything illegal — I am in fact entirely convinced that he did not do anything illegal and never would. But he had never hit more than 26 homers in his career. And he was a 37-year-old catcher — no 37-year old catcher had ever even hit 20 homers before. And at 37, he hit 37 home runs because, well, baseball isn’t always easy to reduce to a few indignant words.
See, there’s a lot that goes into baseball. Stuff usually isn’t black or white, up or down, left or right. It’s complicated. Carlton Fisk, of all people, should know that. If it makes people feel better to shout “fraud” in a crowded theater, hey, it’s a free country. But it seems to me there’s already enough noise out there.