Jeff Pearlman

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Jeff Bagwell and why I disagree with Joe Posnanski

I was recently directed to this SI.com column, which was penned by Joe Posnanski.

Joe is one of the finest sports writers out there and—from my limited exposure—a genuinely good guy. His passion for baseball blows mine away. Joe clearly lives for digging into statistics and historical comparisons, which is why his work is of such a high quality. Whether he’s writing about the Snuggie or Albert Pujols or the Royals, you know Joe is going to give 100 percent. If he’s taken an article off, well, I’ve never noticed it.

That said, I strongly disagree with Joe’s take on baseball players, the Hall of Fame and PED. I’d like to elaborate.

First, here is a passage from Joe’s aforementioned column:

Jeff Bagwell — though he never tested positive for steroids, never was implicated in any public way, was not named in the Mitchell Report or by anyone on the record as a suspected user, and is not even on this rather comprehensive list of players linked to steroids or HGH — seems to have become in some voter’s minds a player who used performance enhancing drugs.

I can’t even begin to describe my disgust … it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. This is PRECISELY what I was talking about when I said how much I hate the character clause in the Hall of Fame voting. I think it encourages people to believe their own nonsense, to stand up on high and be judge and jury. It’s something my friend Bill James calls the “I see it in his eyes” tripe. Bill has finished a book on crime — it is, he says, actually about crime books as much as crime — and one thing he kept running into in his research was people who claimed that they could pinpoint the murderer because “it was in their eyes.” Well, as Bill says, that’s a whole lot of garbage. Eyes are eyes. Some people look guilty when they’re innocent, and some people look innocent when they’re guilty, and most people don’t look innocent OR guilty except when we want to see that something in their eyes. Oh, but we love to believe we know. It’s one of the flaws of humanity. And the Hall of Fame character clause gives voters carte blanche to judge the eyes and hearts and souls of players.

I think my e-migo Craig Calcaterra has made this point on Twitter, but I’d like to also make it as strongly as I can: I’d rather a hundred steroid users were mistakenly voted into the Hall of Fame over keeping one non-user out. I don’t know if Jeff Bagwell used or didn’t use steroids. But there was no testing. There is no convincing evidence that he used (or, as far as I know, even unconvincing evidence). So what separates him from EVERY OTHER PLAYER on the ballot? Were his numbers too good? That’s why you suspect him?

Bagwell has written (or spoken) a story defending himself from the steroid charges. This is the takeaway: “I’m so sick and tired of all the steroids crap, it’s messed up my whole thinking on the subject. … If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, ‘He took steroids,’ then it’s not even worth it to me.”

I would say this to those people who would not vote for Jeff Bagwell because they simply believe he used steroids, based on how he looked or some whispers they heard. I have a better idea: Let’s just burn him at the stake. If he survives, you will know you were right.

•••

Again, Joe’s terrific. And I can understand his take in this area. But here’s the thing: Because Major League Baseball—and especially Major League Baseball’s players—did such an awful, pathetic, inane, horrific job of policing the game when it mattered, we are left with this mess. Joe blames some of us (and I’m among the us) for speculating that Jeff Bagwell cheating by using PED? Well, what the hell are we supposed to think? A. Have you seen the photographs of a young Jeff Bagwell, first as a prospect in the Boston system, then with the Astros as a pup? He looks, perhaps not coincidentally, like a young Jason Giambi; like a young Barry Bonds; like a young Sammy Sosa; like a young Bret Boone. I know … I know—people gain weight as they get older. And, hey, he lifted! And used natural, over-the-counter supplements! And … enough. I’ve heard enough. Seriously, look at the guy as an in-his-prime Astro. Dude looks like Randy (Macho Man) Savage. And while I can already hear the “Just because he had muscles atop muscles doesn’t mean anything” argument brewing, well, it does—in the context of a sport overrun by cheaters—mean something. In fact, it means a lot.

But, alas, Joe’s still right—perhaps Jeff Bagwell never used. Perhaps, as dozens upon dozens of his teammates turned to steroids and HGH throughout the 1990s and early 2000s (Reality: No two teams in baseball had more PED connections than the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros), Bagwell looked the other way and continued to pop his GNC-supplied Vitamin C tablets. Maybe, just maybe, that happened. But, as the game was being ruined in his very clubhouse, where was Bagwell’s voice of protest? Where was Jeff Bagwell, one of the best players in baseball, when someone inside the game needed to speak out and demand accountability? Answer: Like nearly all of his peers, he was nowhere. He never uttered a word, never lifted a finger (Now, once he retired, he was more than willing to defend himself and speak up for the sport. Once he was retired).

This, to me, is why we are allowed to suspect Jeff Bagwell and, if we so choose, not vote for him. The baseball players have cast this curse upon themselves—A. By cheating (And the usage of PED was, factually cheating. I don’t care how often you say, ‘It wasn’t outlawed by baseball’ blah blag blah blah. In the United States, the obtaining and usage of HGH and steroids without a proper perscription is illegal. And ‘proper perscription’ does not merely mean one given by a doctor. It means one rightly given by a doctor for a necessary medical condition); B. By not standing up against cheating and doing everything to assure a clean product.

If he did use, Jeff Bagwell deliberately sought an advantage over other players—an illegal advantage.

If he didn’t use, Jeff Bagwell, stood by and watched his sport morph into WWE nonsense.

So, again, Joe’s right: Statistically, Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer. And, on a personal note, he was always an approachable and nice guy. But, dammit, thanks to baseball’s meekness (for lack of a better word), Hall of Fame voters (I’m not one, for the record) have the right to suspect anyone and everyone from the past era. They have the right to view muscles suspiciously; to question a guy putting up six-straight 100-plus RBI seasons in the heat of PED Madness; to wonder why—when, oh, 75 percent of players were using–one extremely succesful, extemely large, extremely muscular man wouldn’t.

Did Jeff Bagwell use PED?

I don’t know.

Do I have the right to hold his era against him?

Damn right I do.

  • DG

    So you’re not going to vote in anyone from the modern era? Shouldn’t we just vote them in and then say “they played in an era that was highly suspect?” And by the way, Joe’s fantastic.

  • Ben

    steroids? Who cares? We’ve elected speed users. Cokegeads. Wife beaters. Etc. And do we really think steroids began in 1989??

  • Ryan

    It’s going to look might fishy when you don’t vote for Greg Maddux because he didn’t stand up for the integrity of his sport. Logic, however flawed, should at least be applied consistently.

  • Tucker

    Good call Jeff. Bagwell’s muscle growth is further proof of his PED use. So what if home run hitters throughout the history of baseball almost always grew bigger in time? HE PLAYED FOR THE ASTROS AND NEVER SAID HE DIDNT TAKE STEROIDS.

    Anyway, now that the sarcasm is over, you’re an idiot if you think those three things alone are enough to convict Bagwell of PED use and deliberately not voting for him.

  • Norm

    Jim Thome
    http://badwax.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/1991-ud-final-jim-thome.jpg

    Skinny. On same team as Manny. Guilty.

  • then exclude alomar too

    Here is picture of a young Roberto Alomar
    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/5908/fcwz.jpg

    Here is a picture of an older Roberto Alomar
    http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/1984/12111q.jpg

    If you are going to insist on judging steroid usage by looking at photos of ballplayers when they were young and when they were old, then you have to take Alomar off your ballot.

  • Nate

    There’s a difference between “illegal” and “cheating”. The fact that it’s illegal is not the reason it’s cheating; what makes it cheating?
    Also, it was NOT Bagwell’s job or responsibility to sound a bell on his fellow players if they happened to be using. Sure that’d be ideal, but not necessary for entry into the hall of fame.

  • Wade

    While I don’t completely agree with your reasoning in essentially excluding an entire era of players based on suspicion of PED usage, I offer the following as evidence of Bagwell’s possible (probable?) steroid use.
    - Bagwell hit a mere six (yes, 6!) home runs in over 900 plate appearances during his two minor league seasons
    - Following his trade to the Astros organization, Bagwell immediately began hitting homers at a far higher rate (15 as a rookie in 1991, increasing to 39 in the strike-shortened 1994 season)
    - Bagwell was a contact-hitting 3rd baseman with the Red Sox organization, but moved to 1st with the Astros. The reason for the switch? Houston had noted ‘roider Ken Caminiti ensconced at the hot corner. Coincidence?
    - This home run binge as a young player occurred while Houston was playing at the pitcher-friendly Astrodome

    Mind you, I was (and still am) a big fan of Bagwell, since I lived in Houston for many years and am a native New Englander, just like Bagwell. I believe he should be in the HOF regardless of any suspicions. But to definitively state that Bagwell was not a PED user just b/c he wasn’t listed in the MLB reports seems naive. There is too much circumstantial evidence to the contrary.

  • Johnson

    Congrats on a thorough, well-reasoned, fantastic post! It’s about time someone just laid it all on the line like this!

    It’ll be interesting to see how the other writers react when you continually submit blank ballots year after year, since you’d clearly have to to make this post mean anything. Good for you!

    Also, you might want to have a word with your web designer, since the photos at the top around the JeffPearlman.com title are of 3 steroid cheats, and a 4th who was a coke head and alcoholic who played during the steroid era, so he’s under suspicion, too!

  • AV

    If you’re going to take such a hardline stance against PEDs then you had better start working to get Pud Galvin removed from the Hall, Jeff.

  • Kirk

    While I find it hard to refute both sides on the Bagwell debate, I find the slippery slope involved to be even more outrageous than the claims leveled against him. Just because a player played during the era doesn’t mean they should automatically be guilty of the suspicions. Likewise, I find the “Why didn’t he speak out against it?” argument to be equally ridiculous. As has been mentioned here and elsewhere, if it was so rampant, why didn’t others speak up? Owners? Writers? Clubhouse workers? Why didn’t anyone speak up? Just like you shouldn’t assume everyone is guilty, to presume guilt on some based on ‘doing nothing’ and not others is hypocritical.

    I know it doesn’t make it right, but to assume guilt on everyone just makes it all a mess. And sadly it will probably be at least another 20 or so years before this debate starts dying down.

  • Mark

    Jeff, if a lack of ‘speaking out and demanding accountability’ is cause for guilt by association, Frank Thomas is going to be the only person elected to the hall for the next 20 years. And if the physique of active, trained athletes is going to be a reasonable cause of suspicion for PED usage, no one might get in.

    You simply can’t use a player’s non-action or their appearance as evidence of guilt, or the HOF election becomes a Salem witch trial where any player can potentially be accused, and there’s no way for them to prove otherwise.

    For example, one could easily make the following (passive-aggressive and borderline conspiracy theorist) argument:

    “Gosh, it sure is remarkable how durable Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken are/were; I’m not ACCUSING them of having ‘outside help,’ but can they prove otherwise? Did they have themselves voluntarily tested to prove their innocence? I think you’ll find they did not. Golly, that sure is INTERESTING that two of the most durable and celebrated shortstops in the history of baseball played in that era. Really makes you think.”

    My point is, some discretion is necessary. Suspicion only leaves you with disenfranchisement and a barren Hall. You’re welcome to vote against PROVEN steroid users, if you weigh the integrity/character portion of the voting standards very heavily (and believe steroid usage is an unforgivable affront, which again I won’t get into here). You’re also welcome to REWARD Frank Thomas et al. for their efforts that went above and beyond the call of duty. But you shouldn’t punish (or accuse) the remainder who don’t fall into either camp. I don’t think it’s healthy :)

  • Drew

    I thought you might like to know that there is a truly epic snarkfest evolving over at BTF concerning this article. You might want to check it out – you might recognize some holes in your logic.

  • Michael

    Gotta side with Joe. And If they changed the amount of HOF voters to just 1 and appointed Joe, I would not object.

    Voting someone into the HOF is SERIOUS. Not life and death serious, but it is serious for your profession, for MLB, and for sports and sports fans.

    Voting no on a 1st ballot HOF’er because of SUSPICION of cheating due to evidence of nothing other than he grew tremendously over years is disrespectful.

    The guy has earned the HOF and has never been mentioned on any reports or been tied to any use whatsoever. It should be innocent until proving that there is actual evidence of guilt (atleast).

  • http://www.theastrosdugout.com lisa gray

    1 – do you believe that carlton fisk and mickey tettleton, both of whom supposedly “only” lifted weights late in their career were secret steroid users? Do you plan to use them as obvious examples of baseball players who put on muscle late in their career who therefore MUST be “Cheaters”?

    2 – is it your position that ANY baseball player who played between 1993 and 2004 who did not publically demand steroid testing or who was a union man must also be declared a steroid user? say, Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine, who both played a suspisciously long time injury free?

    3 – is it your position that it is virtually impossible for any young adult male athlete who never lifted weights to gain, say, 20 pounds of muscle in 6 months ONLY by lifting weights? Do you have any scientific evidence to support this contention?

    4 – now who exactly were all these steroid users on the Astros baseball team in 93-95, the years immediately prior to Bagwell confessing that he started lifting weights? If you are thinking of Caminiti, might could I remind you that he was traded after the 94 season AND he did not start shooting up until 96 AND he and Bagwell were no longer friends of buddies bcause of Cammy’s horrific alcoholism.

    Actually, come to think of it, who WERE all those supposed steroid users on the Astros prior to 2003? (The guy you hate most next to Barry Lamar Bonds didn’t arrive until 04, remember? and that was AFTER testing started.)

    5 – do you believe that any baseball player who did not hit many home runs or did not gain more than 10 lbs during his playing career, if he played between 93-03 is therefore innocent of steroid use?

    Have you joined the bandwagon which has, for some unknown reason, declared that Jim Thome, Junior Griffey and Greg Maddux MUST be innocent of steroid use, even though thre is absolutely zero evidence to support this position any more than there is evidence to support their guilt?

    Do you believe that Curt Schilling MUST be innocent of steroid use, even though he more than obviously put on more than 30 lbs of muscle since his debut in the major leagues and suddenly, miraculously improved as a pitcher after “talking to” the second most evil man in the world and somehow managed to keep himself in elite shape into his late 30s? Or do you consider his finger wagging and blogging to the public proof enough of his obvious innocence?

    —-

    you know, jeff, i can’t figure out why on earth you are a sportswriter, i really can’t. next to buzz bizzinger, i’ve never seen a writer so full of anger and hate at pretty much everything and everyone he has chosen to write about.

    you remind me of this guy i saw in some 60s movie who is a photographer who has made his life’s work taking pictures of dog doo-doo. he goes into central park but everything to him is a blur but the piles of dog doo-doo he’s focused on.

    athletes are just people – people obsessed with the performance of their bodies and the obsession of having to be better at that than anyone else. it’s what pro athletes ARE, it’s why they COMPETE. by now you can’t possibly hold that fantasy that there is some perfect person out there who is “pure” in spirit.

    they are ALL dog doo-doo to you. and maybe it is time to take pictures of the beauty of central park instead of deliberately ignoring everything but the poop.

  • http://ondeckproject.wordpress.com Matt

    I’m going to defend Jeff Bagwell. In particular, I’ll try to address Wade’s points.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bagweje01.shtml

    First off, in regards to the 6 homers he hit as a minor leaguer, I’d point out the fact that he also hit 48 doubles in 710 at-bats (not 900) and walked more than he struck out (99 vs. 82). That’s not bad for a 21-year-old, and you know they say those doubles usually turn into home runs down the line. Furthermore, I just looked up the park factors for New Britain, Bagwell’s AA team, and I found that particular yard tends to depress home run totals. Someone can correct me if I’d interpreted that incorrectly, but it seems as if he did pretty well given the environment.

    I’d then ask you to compare the numbers Bagwell compiled while Houston still played at the Astrodome, from his rookie year in 1991 through 1999, to the numbers he put up once they moved into Minute Maid Park in 2000. As you can see, there’s a period of clear improvement leading up to his MVP year in 1994. “Immediately” is too strong a word, Wade, I think, since he went from 15 to 18 to 20 and then to 39 in the strike year. (Sidenote/fun fact: Barry Bonds went from 16 HR his rookie season to 33 in his 5th year!) He had his peak right around when you’d expect, at age 27.

    I don’t know how much you know about stats like OPS+, but it’s important to note he averaged 159 in the Astrodome years and saw that average slip to 134 from 2000 to his last healthy season, 2004. 134 is really good, but 159 is great.

    Furthermore, his strikeout rate increased upon moving to Minute Maid, going from an average of 101 in his Astrodome years to 126. His on-base percentage also declined from .416 to .395. Thirdly, he stopped stealing bases after stealing at least 30 twice.

    I’d note that he was 31 years old when the Astros moved into Minute Maid, so while he continued to compile some impressive counting stats, there’s a distinct decline right when you’d expect it and those numbers probably had more to do with the Crawford Boxes (315 feet to the left field pole!) than any potential PEDs.

    Like anything else, it’s all in how you look at it.

  • http://www.dingersblog.com Dingers

    Jeff,

    This is hilarious, great use of irony. This is precisely the thinking that sports writers of today with a Hall of Fame vote seem to share: you’re the judge, jury and executioner of who does and does not get into the Hall of Fame and you can exclude players based solely on circumstancial evidence.

    Well done.

    A+

  • Lewis

    This is a flawed argument on so many levels.

    1. You should be voting for someone based on their ability to play baseball well. You state yourself that he was “one of the best players in baseball” (in your argument to keep him out). You have no evidence that he used steroids. There’s barely any circumstantial evidence that he used steroids – saying that he played on the same minor league team as a roider (as a previous commenter did) is an absurdly low standard. I would think that every major leaguer in baseball played on a minor league team with a roider. Saying he played in the same era as steroids and leaving it at that…

    2. From your argument, it sounds like you’re accusing any good player from the modern era of using steroids. Your accusation of steroids is based on him having six-straight 100-rbi seasons. Your accusation is that he was good at baseball. It’s nuts.

    3. No one stood up to steroids. No one. That’s an unfair standard. You’re accurate in saying he’s no hero. He didn’t singlehandedly stop the steroid era. But neither did Barry Larkin. Or Jack Morris. Or Bert Blyleven. Or Tony Gwynn. Or Tom Glavine. Or Albert Pujols. Why are you singling out Bagwell as the guy who should have said something? Palmeiro said something, and it turns out he was using. Taking a stand against steroids means nothing.

    I don’t think you thought your ideas through, and that’s disappointing to me as a sports fan.

  • David

    There’s also the fact that Bagwell spoke out against the use of smokeless tobacco when he became worried about the dangers of it. Certainly sounds like a guy who would inject hormones into his body!

    Just out of curiosity, who the hell are you going to vote for from the steroid era? Given your witch hunt logic, who is above suspicion? Is this why you hacks keep pushing the Morris is a HoF story on us?

  • Eric Johnson

    Nothing new to add here but I agree with most of the commenters here. It’s not a good sign when the comment section features more logical and convincing arguments that the piece in question.

  • gary

    Greg Maddux played with Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, David Justice, Ken Caminiti, Mike Stanton, Kent Mercker, John Rocker, Gary Sheffield, and Denny Neagle. He must have been a user too.

  • Nick

    By Pearlman’s logic, you could say anyone who works in an industry is guilty by association of any infraction that ails said industry. Since journalism has been rife with plagiarism since the advent of the internet and Jeff is a prolific writer, I think its fair to say Jeff is a plagiarist until he can definitively prove otherwise.

  • Doug

    Looking forward to your no-vote on Greg Maddux and every other great player who played between 1990 and 2010.

    Wait, no I’m not. I’m looking forward to you (and the majority of the baseball establishment) continuing to be massive, massive hypocrites. Seriously. There are already many cheaters in the Hall of Fame (Pud Galvin as mentioned already – the man drank monkey testosterone because he thought it would give him an edge, for God’s sake). And I have no hope that you will apply the standards you used for Bagwell to the vast majority of players from the era – what about Randy Johnson? What about Ken Griffey Jr.? You are, pure and simple, a hypocrite. And Joe is right.

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  • Kevin

    So Pearlman is ripping Jeff for not speaking out about steroids…yet did not speak out against steroids when he was reporting about MLB the entire time.

    This just doesn’t compute.

  • Andrew

    You’re a HOF pawn that believes in your own importance above actual players. No wonder Bagwell could care less if you don’t vote him in.

  • Ian

    So, what you’re saying is, that the HOF voters should punish players for not doing something that should have been handled by Major League Baseball. Awesome logic. You get paid to write about baseball still?

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  • Kevin

    Jeez, give it up you sanctimonious prick.

  • Not an Idiot

    Jeff,

    I’m curious where you think the players in your site header belong? Will you hold the two of them whose names are attached to steroids accountable for their era?

  • Seth

    All of these comments are ridiculous. There is no way that Jeff actually thinks this – it’s an irrational viewpoint that can’t really be defended by anything approaching logic. It’d be like accusing someone of murder because they didn’t speak out against a murder, which is just stupid. Clearly, he meant it as a joke to get people riled up. I find it pretty hilarious.

  • Jason

    This is a joke right? If not this is the dumbest thin I have ever heard. I am firmly in the camp of if you have taken steroids you should be banned, but not voting based on a non-rumor? Seriously? This must be a joke.

  • Ryne

    Mr. Pearlman,

    The biggest hypocrisy you need to address is why Jeff Bagwell is not electable due to suspicions caused by his era and his complacency yet Roberto Alomar, of the same exact era, exactly as complacent and of much more questionable character, is not held to that same standard. It would seem the very definition of unfair. It is exactly the unfairness Posnanski, coming from a more enlightened viewpoint on the issue, addresses very well.

    The Mitchell Report serves to highlight at least one important fact: it was not just the beefy slugger using steroids. Lenny Dykstra, Rondell White, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Lansing, Fernando Vina, Wally Joyner all were named, and there is no great difference between their power and Alomar’s. There were also numerous relief pitchers and journeymen named. Knoblauch in particular is the most relevant as he and Alomar were similar players (table setters and good defensemen) in the mid 1990s that show no “obvious” signs of usage in their statistical lines.

    If we were all trusting our guts, I myself would be much more likely to suspect Alomar than Bagwell. You, Bagwell more than Alomar. But the obvious point is that both of us don’t know, and may never know, and that we should not be making the judgments you have decided to make in this article that smear candidacies and tarnish reputations. PED-concerned journalists should exhibit the same integrity and character they wish to see embodied in the Hall, not sling allegations and hold double standards and contribute to the WWE nonsense.

  • Steve

    God you’re an idiot…please stop writing such accusitory junk. Thank god you don’t have a hall of fame vote, your head would swell to where we could see it from the Hubble. No one should have the power to judge people like you are judging Bagwell.

    Oh and Edgar Martinez played with Bret Boone…he is obviously a user.

  • Matt

    But of course, I’m sure you don’t object to all of the writers who covered the era being put in the Hall or given awards. They missed the biggest story of the decade in their sport either through incompetence or deliberately looking the other way. Do everyone a favor and just surrender your HOF vote to someone who deserves it and isn’t a complete hack.

  • Cary

    Jeff, you have created quite the conundrum by claiming the following logic:

    1. Obtaining HGH was illegal and players knew it.

    2. Players used the illegal drugs during the season (or the off-season), therefore they exempt themselves from the Hall of Fame and their career numbers are thus in doubt.

    Here’s the flaw, and it’s one that nullifies your entire article and moral stance: How do you know that any current Hall of Famers haven’t used steroids?

    Furthermore, how many Hall of Fame members abused speed and other illegally obtained drugs including cocaine?

    Judging on the Hall of Famer’s silence on the matter, does this not indict every single ball player ever to play the game based on your logic? You’re entitled to your opinion, but it is broken in half by logic that just doesn’t add up.

    Please, respond to me either on these forums or by email. I’m frustrated that voices like yours are allowed to shape public opinion, but debate is generally ignored based on auspices of “personal attack.”

  • jookyhc

    Here’s two teams with worse PED records than the Astros and Rangers – the Yankees and the As.

    Here’s two more – how about the Dodgers and the Orioles?

    In fact, in regards to the Astros anyway, how about every team that has ever had a major leaguer serve a PED suspension? That’s something the Astros have never had. Setting aside the fact that they signed various AL East crooks, the Astros PED rap sheet is actually pretty clean.

  • Hyatt Lazear

    I remember reading that people were arrested and sent to the gulags for praying against Stalin. Your stance is ridiculous. I wholeheartedly disagree with your position. Please renounce your BBWAA membership if you are going to not vote because a player was a power hitter in an era of cheats.

  • James

    I seem to recall Bagwell acknowledging using andro back in the late 90s. I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but I believe it was spotted in someone’s locker by a reporter (I believe McGwire’s), and Bagwell later commented on using it himself. Google it up… At that time, andro wasn’t widely considered a steroid, more like an alternative to creatine.

  • sam

    I love the logic:
    Player plays a long time = Steroid Use.

    Player has great stats for long time = Steroid Use

    Player has many teammates from playing a long time, some of who used steroids = Steroid Use

    To make the HOF, player must play long time, have great stats, and not be around any steroid users.

    We might as well shut down the doors to the Hall of Fame right now.

  • Bob

    Here’s one picture:

    http://johnbatchelorshow.com/images/AAHG191_8x10~Babe-Ruth-Red-Sox-Posters.jpg

    And here’s another, several years later:

    http://bronxbrasstacks.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/babe-ruth-at-bat.jpg

    GUILTY! That wasn’t hotdogs, that was the juice! Kick him out of the Hall!

  • snafu

    I don’t understand why steroid users are banned from the HoF to begin with. The Hall is littered with substance abusers from every era.

    Major League Baseball didn’t police steroid use, so it shouldn’t retroactively be held against these players from the nineties and early thousands. I would bet my life that there was steroid use in baseball in the 70′s and 80′s, not to mention amphetamines and all sorts of other drugs.

    It’s so stupid knowing all the best players of my childhood aren’t going to be voted into the Hall of Fame because of some notion of ridiculous and hypocritical notion of baseball purity.

  • Jason

    Did any of you jagoffs notice that Pearlman clearly states he is not a Hall of Fame voter? Or were you all too angry to read all the way through the column?

  • MJ

    Great points Jeff, couldn’t agree more. If anyone saw him while he was coaching last year you would wonder why was he wearing his dad’s jersey! He was a Roid use, just look at the rate of homers once he got past 30 years old! Anyone who doesn’t believe this guy did Roids is just an apologist like Gammons for another “Boston” guy.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      amen.

  • Jonathan

    So what do we do about all the sportswriters and other members of the media who stood by during the steroid era and didn’t say anything? How are they any less complicit? Should they all be inelligible for the sportswriters wing of the HOF?

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Jonathan, good point. My reply:
      A. There’s a difference between being complicit and not being able to report something. I just don’t think the info was yet there in the late 90s.
      B. You can’t compare the journalists and the ballplayers, as far as who is to blame. I mean, one failed to report. The other, ahem, used.

  • http://sportsfellas.com Jake

    Simply put:

    No, no you do not have that right.

    If you had a vote the argument for or against getting into the Hall of Fame is two-fold:

    1) Was he a worthy player based on his performance throughout his career?

    You pointed out in your link statistically yes (and any form of baseball analysis he is, including the old-fashioned, “was he one of the best all-time” argument)

    2) Does he pass the character clause

    Even in your own writing you say so.

    What am I missing while reading this article that doesn’t prove your OWN POINT a complete joke?

  • cc

    Jeff,

    Respectfully, “not being able to report” just doesn’t cut it. The 90′s were rife with steroid rumors that could have and should have been investigated. I remember ’98 very well and the consensus then was that Sosa and McGwire were innocent until proven guilty and those accusing them of steroid use should just shut up until they could find proof. You were right with the second point–you failed to report it.

    As for the logical leap that Bagwell was somehow complicit because he didn’t say anything, are you willing to say the same thing about Derek Jeter?

  • bob

    has anyone looked at a picture of themselves when they were 19 and side by side when they were 35.i bet the picture’s aren’t even close.

  • Brad

    A very significant assumption of your article is that if he did report something, something would have been done to remove steroid use from baseball. I still don’t believe steroids have been removed from baseball as we turn to 2011, and that’s after all stakeholders knew of steroid use for nearly a decade. You obviously have the right to vote upon whatever criteria you choose, but I think your analysis wreaks of laziness or downright McCarthyism. You choose to take the easy way out, similar to the steroid users your rallying against. Thome, Bagwell, Pujols, Frank Thomas. All monstrous physical specimens. All much leaner in their youth. All guilty by your method. I believe that’s inappropriate.

  • http://baseballthinkfactory Evan

    Jeff,

    I enjoy your articles and don’t understand why people have to resort to making this a personal issue. The inability of people to have a civil disagreement in this society just further illustrates why our political system is so screwed up.

    More startling though is the ardor with which some of Bagwell’s supporters defend him. I’ve always believed him (and Biggio for that matter – what would you do when he comes up?) to be a flagrant user. And, yes, I have no proof other than my eyes. Those same eyes that watched Lenny Dykstra inflate overnight. Same as with the Giles brothers; though their inflation started in the minors. Rafael Nadal in tennis is another athlete that doesn’t pass the sniff test. If it looks like a duck………….

    Not sure why some argue that Bagwell is beyond suspicion. His name was been bandied about for many years. Pujols has been as well. Maybe that’s not suspicion to some, but to act like these accusations are somehow a new thing are foolish.

    Since I ardently believe that the overwhelming population of players used (and still uses) PED’s, I’m inclined to believe that there was a level playing field for the last 25 years. I further believe that there was greater overall benefit to hitters over pitchers. Not that there wasn’t a surplus of middle relievers who could throw 95, but the hitters still had an edge.

    For this reason, I regrettably believe that the suspicions should be dismissed from the equation of HoF eligibility. As a fan, I won’t feel the same about the HoF regardless.

    You’ve stated very clearly that the Union created the dynamic where the assumption of guilt, for lack of a better description, is their own doing. The result is, “you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

    I didn’t follow all the links, but SI had an interesting article on Kenny Rogers years ago and his take on steroids. (I apologize of this was mentioned elsewhere.) It’s a great read.

    Finally, with respect to your relationship with Fusano, I used to be good friends with a MLB player who swore that he never used PED’s. We used to work out together. He never really got much bigger throughout his career (maybe a little fatter) and never considered himself an overly talented player. Yet his numbers ended up being pretty good. Several years later I became friends with another former MLB player who ironically was taken by the same team in the same draft and he told me that my friend was “roided up” comimg out of college.

    Bottom line, I have no idea who is innocent and who is not.

  • hypocricy detector

    Did Jeff Pearlman plagiarize and fabricate stories in the early 2000s, like many other journalists did?

    I don’t know.

    Do I have the right to hold his era against him?

    Damn right I do.

  • Zach

    You are one of the reasons the sport is so tainted, not just the people that use. If you assume everyone used then there should be no hall of famers between 1990 and 2003, if you played you cant get in. If not, there should be some form of someone saying something. Maybe if you would read the article that Bagwell put out on ESPN.com you could see why he bulked up. If this is not good enough for you dont vote for him, but turn in your vote and abstain because you do not deserve to vote while players from this era are on the ballot.

  • Pablo

    Jeff, I’m a big fan and have read all your books… but this is awful and borderline retarded.

  • Rory

    So Helen Keller was a pro-life supporter of Jim Crow laws? Flawless logic

  • Geoffrey

    Does this mean you will not be voting for Griffey Jr when he becomes eligible? For Jeter?
    I have no proof whatsoever that they took steroids, but I can have unfounded doubts because they are 100% credible, right?

    By your logic no player form the 90′s, and 00′s should be voted into the Hall of Fame because no player can calim to have really stood up against cheating and done everything to ensure a clean product.

  • EMcB

    Jeff,

    Either you are a moron or a genius.

    You are a moron if you believe what you wrote.

    You are a genius if this was all a ploy to generate publicity and traffic to your website.

    Either way you are contemptible.

    EM

  • Neal
  • Greg in H-Town

    When I was 24, I was a rail-thin 155 pounds. By the time I was 26, I’d reached 180 pounds of mostly muscle (no six-pack abs, though).

    My wife thinks it was the 3X/week weightlifting sessions with our personal trainer.

    What a fool she is, huh Jeff?

  • Pablo

    Guilty until proven innocent. Awesome. We’ve come a long way baby. So you’ll elect no one from his era? BS.

  • Cary

    Jeff, you’re cherry-picking your arguments here. If you’re not willing to answer to your critics, write another column and list every HOF’er. Then write what drugs they may or may not have imbibed during their playing days.

    You’ll be surprised at the list.

    And I agree with Bob, the idea that one doesn’t bloat or change shape from the lean mean 20′s to the 30-5 year old range is ridiculous. Just because someone gets bigger or smaller does not immediately mean that drugs are involved.

    Unless we’re talking about Eckstein, of course. Obvious Dexy Midnight Runner.

  • Pablo

    Oh wow, and I missed this:

    JP says: “You can’t compare the journalists and the ballplayers, as far as who is to blame. I mean, one failed to report. The other, ahem, used.”

    And yet, AHEM, *specifically* mention that you hold Bagwell’s failure to report against him.

    You’re grasping at straws, dude.

  • Kevin

    It does mean something, Jeff. It means alot. It means that you are a complete moron. Your damn right it does.

  • R

    Dude, that is ridiculous. Bagwell is not even big in that picture that you showed as “evidence.” This is the problem. Little pipsqueaks, like I’m sure Jeff Pearlman is, that have never lifted a weight in their life, speculate on whether or not someone used steroids. You have no idea what it is to lift weights and what it takes or what it feels like to gain muscle mass.

    People work out and people get big because of working out, you idiot. But there are a lot of people that are MUCH bigger than Jeff Bagwell and got like that because of hard work and working out. Guy says he looks like Randy Savage. Are you kidding me? He’s not even big in that pic. What an idiot.

    Now Jeff Bagwell may very well have used steroids. I don’t know nor do I care but that evidence you provided is really weak.

  • Aaron

    Howie Long for Vice President!

  • Gary

    Mr. Pearlman: Senator Joe McCarthy would agree with your reasoning. Especially the failure to tattle on any suspicious activity as a taint, or at least a sympathizer.

  • stu

    This is among the biggest piles of crap I’ve ever read. Where were YOU when all this was happening, Jeff? Speaking out? I don’t think so. You were looking for crumbs from players to help fill our your pathetic columns.

    I don’t care about Bagwell one way or the other, but I know that convicting him based on circumstance and suspicion would make you very effective judge at a Nazi “trial.”

  • Tonus

    I think that if we’re going to exclude players who chose not to speak up about what was going on, the only guys eligible for the HOF will be Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco and Frank Thomas. And maybe David Wells, depending on whether or not you deduct points for his “I was misquoted” retraction.

    I can understand the notion that MLB must sleep in the bed it made. But I don’t think that the best way to deal with it is to bury players whose only potential link to steroids is a burly and muscular physique. Who looks like the steroid user– Don Baylor, or Alex Rodriguez? Without even a weak circumstantial case against Bagwell, it seems wrong to deny him his due.

    I don’t think that we’ll ever know the depth of steroid use in baseball because people who know won’t talk, and the people who talk often do so for self-serving reasons. And MLB will have to live with that stain, and deservedly so. I just think that, lacking enough reason to suspect Bagwell of steroid use, we risk doing him and the sport a huge disservice by denying him entry into the Hall because he had big forearms.

  • fatherton

    You’re precisely the guy Joe Posnanski was referring to in his article: one of those sportswriters who is so full of himself; feeling the POWER of his Hall of Fame vote.

    Slender-built people like yourself don’t understand the curse of the larger humans. A persons size is mostly dictated by his bone structure, and even in the early picture of Bagwell, to which you were kind enough to supply a link, you can clearly see that this guys arms were, even then, bigger than my thighs, and I’m one of those guys who can gain thirty pounds by having beer and pizza on any given Friday night.

    This man was destined to be a large man. He is to be commended for being able to control it and hold it together the way he did, because I can speak from experience. For those of us who tend to grow easily, it can get out of hand fast.

    So, come on. Are you really saying that everyone with the tendency to become a large person should be suspected of taking steroids?

    Seriously?

  • BooneFJM

    Everything that needs to be said has been said here. But seriously Pearlman, your Exhibit A and Exhibit B before and after pictures are a joke. You wanna know why? See, when you enter a Major League organization, you’re going to get bigger, faster and stronger, otherwise it isn’t doing it’s job – therefore, Jeff, and virtually everyone else, got bigger, more muscular, etc. The reason he looks like a kid in his rookie photo is because, oh, I don’t know, HE WAS ONE. This isn’t as case of a skinny dude at age 32 all of a sudden looking like Big Mac at 34. Bagwell looks exactly like a guy who progressed from a young, in-shape guy (look at that rookie photo again – his arms ain’t small) to a matured gym rat. If that’s all you got against him, well, that’s shoddy. And pathetic.

  • BooneFJM

    Oh, and oddly enough, his physical progression correlates quite well to the normal numbers progression of a Hall of Famer, pre-steroids era. If you want a progression to judge one’s steroid use, or non-use in Bagwell’s case, (other than, you know, actual evidence), you might take a gander at his career stats arc.

  • Ross Hansen

    Jeff-

    You are a genius…because you agree exactly with how I feel! He either did it or watched it and both are reasons to question him for the HOF. And the photos…the PHOTOS…my God, how could anyone think he got that big, that strong, that Popeye-ish by taking supplements and working out in the midst of 162 game seasons, promotional appearances..it just isn’t credible.

    Keep writing!

    Ross Hansen
    Rochester, NY

  • DavidinNY

    Great article, Jeff.

    Finally someone had the guts to say what needed to be said.

    I do not like the current trend/flavor as pushed by Posnanski and the huge mass of people who blindly follow him and aggressively try to sell his arguments as gospel, that cheating and steroid usage is OK.

    Common sense says that Bagwell is a prime suspect for PEDs.

    People who claim contrary to this are willfully blind or maybe just too wrapped up in the ferver of defending Posnanski’s (Neyer’s, etc., etc.) podium.

    Nothing says that you have to vote for any candidate you have misgivings on.

    The Hall is a great and hallowed honor. Not a right, especially for any of these musclebound cheaters who cheapened the homerun and power numbers and the game.

  • Doug

    This is ridiculous. You admit that no one has ever even alleged that Bagwell used steroids, yet because he had muscles and incredible numbers, you assume he must have been cheating. Pathetic. Why vote for anybody, then? Pitchers and weak-hitting infielders are just as likely to have tested positive for steroids as bulky power hitters, after all. Your prejudices blind you. If you can’t vote for Bagwell, you shouldn’t vote for anyone. And your voting privileges should be taken away and given to someone who isn’t paralyzed by the existence of steroids in the 1990′s.

  • Dodger300

    Please just resign from the BBWA and turn your vote over to someone who is not a sanctimonious chracter assassinating idiot.

  • subtle

    Do we suspect Babe Ruth was using PEDS, too? I mean, look at how small he was early in his career:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/photogallery/mlb_mountain/ruth/page_01.jsp

  • http://platoonadvantage.com Bill

    If you find yourself disagreeing with Joe Posnanski on something, you should really take a big step back and a nice deep breath before voicing your disagreement. Because there’s a good chance — certainly not always, just usually — if you open your mouth about it you’re going to be totally, embarrassingly wrong and spout a bunch of complete nonsense.

    So let Mr. Pearlman serve as a lesson to everyone on that point.

  • TC

    Jeff Pearlman, have read many comments here, am just wondering how many articles you wrote in the ’90s or ’00s noting the possibility that some baseball players were using steroids? Or were you quite happy with players using steroids?

  • Matt

    I can’t believe you get paid to write about baseball for a living or that I read what you wrote. I will not make that mistake again.

  • ABW

    Mr. JP,
    Thanks for making Joe’s criticisms about the character clause stronger by providing an example of how it can be misused.

  • Brian

    I believe you’ve been taken to the woodshed, Mr. Pearlman:

    http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2010/12/31/the-problem-with-believing-everything-our-eyes-see/

    Love your writing, but this piece was a mistake.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      brian, why a mistake? because people disagree?

  • Chris

    As a former national league clubhouse guy(not in Houston) I’m disgusted by this article. I’m not going to elaborate other than to say this writer(im the son of another BBWAA writer) is so far off base it makes me want to vomit. I know ‘Baggy’ personally, and while he did greenies, and may have drank 2 much, to be looped in, ubsubstantially to ped’s is sickening. This guy(baggy) worked harder than anyone else in the game, with a wrecked shoulder…. and some douchebag who never left the pressbox thinks he get’s too call him out makes me sick. if I ever met this writer, i would punch him in the face!!!

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Wow, amazing guts. you call me a douchebag writer, threaten to punch me in the face—and don’t even use your name. I’m. Right. Here.

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  • Clay Landon

    Jeff,

    Let’s try to keep this simple.

    There is no specific evidence that Bagwell used. There have been no specific allegations that Bagwell used. Additionally, keeping him out of the HOF because he didn’t tell on his teammates is kind of like my saying you should never be allowed to vote forthe HOF because you may have been one of the reporters who covered up for your ballplayer’s steroid use (I don’t have any evidence you did this but smoke, fire… you get the idea).

    I say this with all due respect–and that’s my real name up there–but the idea of punishing someone without evidence is abhorrent to me. Why isn’t it abhorrent to you? What am I not getting here?

  • Drew Munson – Minneapolis 6th & Nicollet, noon on weekdays

    Jeff Pearlman, I want to punch you in the face.

  • Jonathan

    Jeff,

    If you aren’t voting for Bagwell because of what you claim is evidence, why did you say Robbie Alomar is a “must”?

    Alomar has more evidence pointing to steroids than Bagwell.

    Explain yourself.

  • the public

    I hope you read the comments… everything I want to say has already been said. Your work is painful to read – you’re an idiot.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      once again … no name, no guts. easy to write this stuff without a name and e-mail address.

  • Tom

    Jeff, what are your thoughts with regards to the many well reasoned arguments that some posters have made. I would be interested to read your responses.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      I’d say my si.com column answers best for me, Tom. If you give me specific points, I’ll do my darndest … :)

  • Jonathan

    Proof of Roberto Alomar’s steroids:

    1) His name appeared on an unconfirmed 2003 list:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1896618/2003_steroid_list_potentially_leaked_pg2.html?cat=14

    2) Pictures:
    The all conclusive picture evidence:
    Rookie year -
    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/5908/fcwz.jpg

    During the Steroid Era –
    http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/1984/12111q.jpg

    3) Roid Rage:
    We all remember the spitting incident. Could it have been roid rage? Given your logic with Bagwell, I think we have to assume it was.

    4)Who he played with:
    As you mention with Bagwell, everyone player on the two Texas teams were on the juice. Alomar played with the likes of Palmeiro (known juicer), Mo Vaughn (known juicer), Manny Ramirez (known juicer), Brady Anderson (c’mon…I know you think he juiced), etc. etc.

    ——

    All of this evidence points of Roberto Alomar being a juicer. There’s more evidence here than there is for Jeff Bagwell. Face it Pearlman, you closed your eyes and voted him in even though it was clear he juiced.

    ——
    Does this sound stupid to you? It should, because it is. Just like your “case” against Bagwell is stupid.

  • Jonathan

    Jeff, this is a belated response to your reply to my earlier comments. While there is clearly a difference between players who used and reporters who didn’t report, that doesn’t apply to your comments about Bagwell. You are calling him complicit for not speaking out and suggest that is a valid basis to not vote him into the HOF. That’s exactly what the media did (or didn’t do). And, as far as not having sufficient information, how about a little good old fashioned investigative journalism. Baseball is no different than most other industries – the people who work in it are less likely to come out against it, and risk losing their livelihoods, than those on the outside.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Jonathan—I say this out of frustration, and nothing personal whatsoever. But the ol’ ‘How about a little good old fashioned investigative journalism.” Like it’s so easy, and therefore the media is to blame as much as the players who used.

      That said, I hear your Bagwell point. I do.

  • http://itsaboutthemoney.net Jason @ IIATMS

    I noticed a link to my website was posted at #82.

    For the record, Jeff and I have spoken before. In fact, I interviewed him for my site. Our kids even went to preschool together. I have nothing, and I mean nothing, but the utmost respect for Jeff and his opinions.

    What makes this medium great is that we, all of us, can make our opinions heard and reasonable minds are free to disagree.

    My intention wasn’t to take Jeff “to the woodshed”. Rather it was about dispelling the “he looks guilty” sentiment because the root of that line of logic troubles me. I don’t believe in punishing or labeling people merely for the way they look.

    Lastly, thank you, Jeff, for putting yourself out like this in the comments. Most will write and disappear.

    Kickass.

  • Neal

    I think in the end it comes down to this.

    If writers like you are the protectors of the game and the Hall of Fame now, where were you when it was actually happening? That is when it would have meant something for a group of writers to take a stand and try to protect the integrity of the game.

    To do it now, is no more than overcompensating for your own complicity in what happened back then. It is disingenuous at best. Reminds me of a line from the South Park Movie, ‘We must pretend to cause a fuss before somebody thinks of blaming us’

  • Rick

    I find it funny that Jeff only responded after someone who backed him up at #45. Where was your defense of the previous posters, say #6 and #15?

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Rick, with all due respect, I have a job, a book deadline, two kids and a gym membership. Am I supposed to spend all day on my blog?

  • Rick

    Nope, I just thought those were valid points. We’re all busy I’m pretty sure. It’s a tough argument to say the least. You seem to spend a lot of time writing the blog, just found it funny that you didn’t respond until someone backed you up, that’s all.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Rick, remind me of the points I ignored and I’ll respond in my next post. Not being sarcastic …

  • HS22 – Bob

    Wow, I didn’t think it was true when I heard it second hand, but you really are a self-righteous ass.

  • Rick

    Why do you alkow comments on your blog? You obviously read mine.
    Cal played with Brady….and Brady is the poster boy, right?
    Roberto got twice as big….
    Where do greenies fit in here?
    Looks like we need a clean slate.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Rick, I allow comments because I like the give and take. But sometimes I miss stuff, sometimes I get lazy, sometimes I’m just not up for it. To be honest, I actually think the Hall should make up its mind here: Tell the writers what to do. Either ignore any PED suspicions and vote everyone based on stats/performance, or have everyone take a polygraph, or … something. When the Hall acts, it’ll make a huge difference.

      As for greenies, it’s my belief they weren’t nearly as impactful as modern PED. But is that flawed thinking? Probably.

      The answer? There is no real answer.

  • Rick

    Agreed. I like that the Hall doesn’t just let everyone in; just becomes to weird when someone like Blyleven takes so long, when writers leave Ryan off of ballots, etc. It becomes political and personal, not about the on field play. Unfortunately this part of baseball existed and we all have to deal with it. Will Pujols be questioned when his time comes? Mcguire is his hitting coach…

  • Jeff

    I read your CNN article about people going nuts on you behind their perceived wall of anonymity. While you are right there is no excuse for that behavior, your article here is about as dumb as clicking on an unknown Internet link with a 7 year old in the room. Most people with a blog would know how the Internet works a little better, but I don’t want to unfairly lump you in with other people. Speaking of which did you say if you were just going to submit a blank ballot or if you are just going to guess at who is guilty and who is not for your HOF votes? You are either too stubborn to admit you are wrong or too uneducated to understand why. I fully get that you have a right to an opinion on Bagwell’s innocence and I get MLB’s horrible drug testing policies from the era, but it makes no logical sense to hold the era against Bagwell. Unless you submitted a blank form in protest, I hope your HOF voting rights are rescinded.

  • Byron

    This was an outstanding article. Well done, Senator McCarthy!

  • Josh

    I wouldn’t start talking crap on a guy that was an outstanding pro. Just because you couldn’t make it to the pros, doesn’t mean you can talk Behind this guys back about if he did steroids or not? Just go ask the guy for yourself like a man, and conduct an interview.

  • Mike

    Jeff, recently a few sportswriters have been accused of plagiarism. You are also a sportswriter. Therefore I believe you are guilty of plagiarism.

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  • http://ondeckcircle.wordpress.com Bill Miller

    So Jeff, I guess we are all guilty until proven innocent, right? So let’s just keep an entire generation of players out of the HOF because we don’t know which ones used PEDS. And the bigger the player, the guiltier he must be. What nonsense.
    And keeping Bagwell out of The Hall because he didn’t speak up about the issue is ridiculous. Now he is not guilty of suspicion (unfounded) about his possible use of steroids, but he is also guilty of being too quiet about a subject that we are also assuming he knew a lot about.
    Years from now, a future generation of fans are going to wonder why Americans lost their collective minds in the early 21st century, sort of like we wonder why the McCarthy Hearings and the Salem Witch Trials got so out of hand. But I guess it’s easier, and more satisfying, to wag fingers in fear than it is to use reason and logic.
    Welcome to the wrong side of history, Jeff.

  • Ryan

    Why person does get bigger when they are in their late 20′s compared to when they are 19? Naturally, your metabolism begins to slow down in your early 20′s.

    So, in addition to a slow-down of his metabolism for Bagwell, he also had access to the best nutritionists and physical training coaches in the world who specialize in ADDING BULK. Players in the olden days didn’t have access to trainers or nutritionists since they barely even existed at the time which is why many of them didn’t look to be ripped. Not to mention, the uniforms back then were much bigger.

    Keep in mind, unlike Bonds (6’2), McGwire (6’5), and Giambi (6’3), Bagwell was listed as only 6’0 which most likely means he is really 5’11. There isn’t a lot of space in his body for that extra bulk to go so of course he will look big but when compared to other guys of the era, Bagwell looks like a shrimp.

    In 1991, Jeff Bagwell was listed as 195 lbs. When he retired, Bags was listed at 215 at the age of 37. Most of which we only gained 20 lbs of weight from the time we graduated high school.

    Jeff Bagwell also had a pretty gradual progression. In 91 he had 15 homers, 18 in 92, 20 in 93, then he jumped up to 39 in 94, then back down to 21 in 95, 31 in 96, 43 in 97, and then for the rest of his career he hit 30+ homerun in every season but his last. He never had a huge jump in production out of no where (Bonds) or a dip followed by a huge late career resurgence. Typically, steroid users will begin to experience durability issues after years of use (McGwire) as well and that was not the case for Bagwell who was one of the most durable players of the era.

    Bagwell is condemned as guilty yet how in anyway can he prove his innocence? With most steroid users, you either heard murmurs of steroid use well before it came out they were using. With Bagwell, there was never that. Plus, in 2003 when baseball began testing there was never a failed test by Bagwell who also put up numbers of 39HR/100RBI/109R/11SB/278BA.

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life