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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ross Newhan: That’s the Steroid Era Knocking on the Hall Door

“It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me.”

And where does that leave my philosophy regarding the Hall of Fame?

I respect the opinion of colleagues who contend that we are only guessing as to how level or non-level the playing field was during the height of the steroid era and, therefore, any player who has earned the Hall of Fame statistically, historically and never tested postive will receive their vote.

In contrast, I am more cynical and personally involved.

My son, David, played parts of eight years in the major leagues and almost six in all. He did not use PEDs, and I believe him on that, having seen him lose roster spots and salary to players who were proven to have used PEDs (or later admitted to it) while their union did nothing to protect the non-cheaters.

I recognize that the Hall is not comprised entirely of saints, but my criteria—born in full disclosure by that personal attachment and my long experience—is that where there is reasonable belief of PED use I will/would withhold my vote unless, in subsequent years, by some means, I could be convinced otherwise.

Repoz Posted: November 29, 2012 at 06:57 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: November 29, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4312152)
Mama, take this Hall from me
I can't vote for it any more
It's getting dark, too dark to see
I'm feelin' like I'm knocking on steroid's door
   2. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4312157)
Right. Because I'm sure that if my son decided to start using PEDs, he'd want me to be the first to know.
   3. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4312168)
David Newhan's OPS+, 2004-2008: 113, 58, 73, 51, 85. Should have kept training like he did in 2004.
   4. bobm Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4312170)
[2] With 0.5 WAR and a career 82 OPS+, if Newhan took PEDs, the drugs did not enhance his performance all that much.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4312175)
I'm pretty sure that in a world without PEDs David Newhan would have still been a journeyman with 4 partial seasons at best. This is just about the stupidest thing imaginable.
   6. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4312176)
I have a feeling that David is mortified by this post.
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4312177)
With 0.5 WAR and a career 82 OPS+, if Newhan took PEDs, the drugs did not enhance his performance all that much.


He has a higher WAR than Alex Sanchez.

I can't be too bothered by a father feeling like his son was treated unfairly. I would think that's a natural reaction.
   8. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 29, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4312198)
I can't be too bothered by a father feeling like his son was treated unfairly. I would think that's a natural reaction.


If he can't put his emotion on the shelf for a simple HOF vote, where the THIRD BEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL is on the ballot, then he deserves to be pilloried for it.
   9. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: November 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4312286)
"THIRD BEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL is on the ballot"

You think Shawn Green ranks that high?

   10. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4312290)
MOT is MOT, man.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4312315)
My son, David, played parts of eight years in the major leagues and almost six in all. He did not use PEDs, and I believe him on that, having seen him lose roster spots and salary to players who were proven to have used PEDs (or later admitted to it) while their union did nothing to protect the non-cheaters.


How does Newhan losing roster spots to proven PED users provide support for the claim that Newhan didn't use steroids?
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4312322)
In TFA, he doesn't seem to make an argument in defense of Sosa or Piazza, even though the only evidence against them is that they played major league baseball in the 1990s.
   13. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4312327)
If he can't put his emotion on the shelf for a simple HOF vote, where the THIRD BEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL is on the ballot, then he deserves to be pilloried for it.

A father basically never deserves to be pilloried for defending his son against arbitrary and unfair treatment. His son had dreams and goals that appear to have been thwarted by cheaters.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4312336)
David played most of his career in the post-testing era.
   15. bobm Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4312339)
His son had dreams and goals that appear to have been thwarted by cheaters major league pitching

FTFY
   16. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4312341)
Roided up major league pitching, in many instances.

   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4312348)
SugarBear, the idea that David Newhan got screwed over by steroids users is absurd. He just wasn't that good.
   18. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4312355)
Give me a f**king break.
   19. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4312366)
SugarBear, the idea that David Newhan got screwed over by steroids users is absurd. He just wasn't that good.

You don't know that, and can't know that.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4312376)
The burden is on the person making the claim to show support for the claim at least to a preponderance. You can't do that, no way, no how.

1. You can't show that David Newhan didn't take steroids.
2. You can't show that steroids have much of an impact on baseball performance.


   21. JJ1986 Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4312381)
1. You can't show that David Newhan didn't take steroids.
2. You can't show that steroids have much of an impact on baseball performance.


3. Newhan didn't get any better (after accounting for aging) after steroid testing began.
   22. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4312390)
Newhan had over 1000 ABs and earned $1.5 million. That's an excellent career for a 17th round pick.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4312401)
Newhan had over 1000 ABs and earned $1.5 million. That's an excellent career for a 17th round pick.


Yeah, I'm not sure what more was expected. And who can say that Newhan wasn't on steroids during his hot month in 2004 when he hit .430? After all, Melky Cabrera shows that steroids can magically improve one's BABIP. And that hot month allowed Newhan to secure a roster spot for 2005. From Baseball Prospectus 2005:

The Orioles rewarded Newhan`s hot month in 2004 with a nearly guaranteed roster spot for 2005. He did just about all he could to make them regret it. Newhan was one of the few Orioles who did not start the season hot-and he never got hot, ever-hitting .220 in his best month. That`s not a reasonable level for a utility infielder; that he was almost entirely playing in the outfield exacerbated matters.

There's no evidence that Newhan wasn't on steroids during his hot month in 2004, and if he was, then he potentially stole a non-user's roster spot in 2005.
   24. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4312407)
SugarBear, the idea that David Newhan got screwed over by steroids users is absurd. He just wasn't that good.


Every single clean player was screwed over by every single juicer. The best clean player in baseball? His numbers would have better if the playing field were natural because he would have had less competition. The shlub who lost an MLB roster spot to a juicer? Hugely damaged.

This is why we have drug testing and why we need to keep it sharp. Otherwise, there's immense pressure on clean players to juice to keep up, and unmitigated PED usage is harmful to one's long-term health and longevity.
   25. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4312466)
#24, Who was the best clean player in baseball? And what specifically would his numbers have been had no one else used steroids? Without specifics here, how can we know how much tar to apply and with what quantity of feathers to adorn?
   26. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4312471)

#24, Who was the best clean player in baseball? And what specifically would his numbers have been had no one else used steroids? Without specifics here, how can we know how much tar to apply and with what quantity of feathers to adorn?


I have no idea of who he was and neither do you. None of us do. Greg Maddux could have been clean, just like says. Same for Griffey or Jeter or even Clemens for that matter (he certainly acted the way a clean player with substantial resources accused of juicing might.) This is the price for the steroid era.

Do you dispute that PED usage is unfair to clean players? Or that PED usage has negative effects on the playing population of baseball and/or the game as a whole? I'd like an actual answer and not some red herring meant to absolve knowing, willful juicers.

There is a basic truth here: PED's are risky business and their usage creates unfair consequences to the rest of the playing population. Consequently, they ought to be tested for in order to have a cleaner ("clean" is impossible) game. BBTF, or at least a large contingent of the posting populace, seems to have lost sight of that fact.
   27. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4312479)
I have no doubt that PED usage is unfair to clean players. But since, as you say, you and I have no idea who used and who didn't and what the effects are, I think it's pretty darned disingenuous to sit here and talk about poor So and So being affected to Such and Such extent because of the boogeyman of steroids users.

I am glad that there is testing now for the reasons you point out, but it's pretty hard to sit here and point fingers about who's clean and who wasn't and who suffered and how much from the days when steroids were de facto allowed in baseball.
   28. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4312496)

I have no doubt that PED usage is unfair to clean players. But since, as you say, you and I have no idea who used and who didn't and what the effects are, I think it's pretty darned disingenuous to sit here and talk about poor So and So being affected to Such and Such extent because of the boogeyman of steroids users.

I am glad that there is testing now for the reasons you point out, but it's pretty hard to sit here and point fingers about who's clean and who wasn't and who suffered and how much from the days when steroids were de facto allowed in baseball.


Steroids were not de facto allowed in baseball. Amps were. One was institutionally promoted (loaded coffee in the clubhouses, etc.) whereas the other was simply allowed to fester through gross negligence.

So, if we agree that PED usage is bad and should be discouraged, why should we allow known PED users (players with bodies of evidence against them such as to form a non-analytical positive like, say, Barry Bonds) to be conferred the greatest honor in baseball? What is disingenuous about that position?

This standard would probably mean voting for players who juiced and got away with it, but it also sends a message that writers will, to the best of their ability, discourage PED usage by punishing those who have been caught.
   29. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4312511)
Steroids were not de facto allowed in baseball. Amps were. One was institutionally promoted (loaded coffee in the clubhouses, etc.) whereas the other was simply allowed to fester through gross negligence.


Perhaps this is a misunderstanding of terms on my part, but I do believe what you just described is something being "de facto allowed"

So, if we agree that PED usage is bad and should be discouraged, why should we allow known PED users (players with bodies of evidence against them such as to form a non-analytical positive like, say, Barry Bonds) to be conferred the greatest honor in baseball? What is disingenuous about that position?


That's a different discussion--one that has its place but not in this conversation. The position I am attempting to address is the one that is the subject of this article--viz. Mr. Newhan's invective against steroids users by claiming they cost his son a tangible, specific amount because of his son's cleanliness. I reject both aspects of that argument, and I'm not sure where you disagree, given that you agree that we have no way of knowing who did not use steroids nor to what extent steroids aids dirty players and suppresses clean players.
   30. Kurt Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4312515)
the other was simply allowed to fester through gross negligence

That sounds like another way of saying "de facto allowed".

Edit: Coke.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4312549)
Steroids were not de facto allowed in baseball. Amps were.


Huh? Steroids most certainly were de facto allowed.

One was institutionally promoted (loaded coffee in the clubhouses, etc.) whereas the other was simply allowed to fester through gross negligence.


Yes. That's the de facto part. Except that it wasn't mere "gross negligence," but was a case of teams actually looking the other way as the drug-dealing-trainers were allowed into clubhouses and even employed by the teams. McNamee and Radomski, for example, were both actually employed by the teams - not just by individual players.

So, if we agree that PED usage is bad and should be discouraged,


We don't.

why should we allow known PED users (players with bodies of evidence against them such as to form a non-analytical positive like, say, Barry Bonds) to be conferred the greatest honor in baseball? What is disingenuous about that position?


Because taking illegal drugs to enhance performance has never prevented players from being inducted before. Cite: amps.

Because "cheaters" - if that's what one thinks steroids players were - are already in the Hall of Fame. Cite: Gaylord Perry and all the amps users and Pud Galvin (elixir) and Babe Ruth (elixir and corked bat).

This standard would probably mean voting for players who juiced and got away with it, but it also sends a message that writers will, to the best of their ability, discourage PED usage by punishing those who have been caught.


And had they started by punishing amps users, they would have at least had the virtue of being logically consistent instead of intellectually dishonest. But they didn't, so they don't, so they have no soapbox to stand on now.
   32. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: November 30, 2012 at 06:29 AM (#4313139)
Newhan had over 1000 ABs and earned $1.5 million. That's an excellent career for a 17th round pick.

Only five players (out of 28) drafted in that round that year (1995) even made the majors. I'd say he did OK.
   33. BrianBrianson Posted: November 30, 2012 at 06:55 AM (#4313141)
3. Newhan didn't get any better (after accounting for aging) after steroid testing began.


Any reasonable person must take this as proof positive that Newhan was using steroids. Presumably supplied to him by his father, who, as a sportswriter, it must be assumed knew all the dealers.

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