Willie Mays, in my humble opinion, the greatest player to ever put on a set of cleats, h ad a liquid form of amphetamines in his locker when he played for the New York Mets.
It's a given that he was at the end of a Hall of Fame career, but if he was treated as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and even Mike Piazza, then he would be ineligible for the Hall Of Fame. Willie Mays and many players in that era played in the "Decade of the greenies", and many used little pills they ate by the handful before and after games to enhance their play and rehabilitate their bodies.
A greenie was nothing but amphetamines, or speed to us hippies, that is mostly made of caffeine and other chemicals. This would not be a problem if Willie was drinking 1000 cups of coffee before every game, but I doubt he could play much having to piss all the time. Say what you will, but every era has cheated in some form or another to get ahead in every known sport. Sports are only great when you win and winning is everything. As Reggie Jackson once said, "Fans don't boo nobodies"
, and that only goes to show that to make the big dough and have girls in the stands throwing bras at you, you do what it takes.
There is probably no sport that I can find in my trusty little computer that is immune to drugs. Greenies were first written about by Jim Brosnan in his book "The Long Season"
and was followed by a great book from a former pitcher for the NY Yankee's and other teams, Jim Bouton, called "Ball Four." Bouton not only talked about amphetamines, but said Mantle, Marris, and others on the team were smoking pot. Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates once pitched a no-hitter while doing LSD, yet his name is still in the Hall of Fame.
I for one think it was a travesty for the Bonds, McGuires, and Clemens of the world to soil the game like this. But Bonds and Clemens were proven in a court of law to be innocent. Clemens, twice
. If they are not innocent, they are at least not guilty and should be put in the Hall of Fame. They, like Roger Marris beating Babe Ruth's record and having a * beside his names for decades, could also have a * denoting they played during the steroid era. We have no idea how many players did these drugs. Will no one from this era be picked?
I love baseball. I always have and always will. It taught me respect when I played the game and showed me men of pride and courage in all the years I've watched. Yes, there are some clowns like Jose Conseco who put a black stain on the game and yes, there are others. But every era had their particular way to get ahead and win. As Leo Derocher, the tobacco chewing, tough-talking Hall of Fame coach once famously said, "Nice guys finish last" and "Winning is Everything"
. I only hope that in the next 14 years some of these guys are eligible and some of these writers will realize that most of these guys were Hall of Famers with or without steroids. Especially Bonds and Clemens. I am now prepared to be flogged, at your pleasure.
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