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Thread: Aaron and Greenies

  1. #1
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    Aaron and Greenies

    Okay it has been a while since I posted in here, but I figure this is a good place to start. For the past year, especially recently with Bonds positive test, I have seen quite a few people on here make statements about Aaron's use of Greenies as if it is a commonly accepted fact that he used them on a regular basis. I wanted to start this thread seeking information on the topic. I know the argument that greenie use was rampant during Aaron's playing days, but this is far from clear evidence of his use as many indicate on here. For those that believe Aaron diduse greenies, can you please provide me with some facts about Aaron's greenie use?
    I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.~Bob Uecker


    "While he had a total of forty home runs in his first two big-league seasons, it is unlikely that Aaron will break any records in this department." ~ Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal and Constitution "journalist"

  2. #2
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    Due to the lack of response can i assume that no one can provide me the information I am looking for or is it just that no one in this forum cares to respond?
    I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.~Bob Uecker


    "While he had a total of forty home runs in his first two big-league seasons, it is unlikely that Aaron will break any records in this department." ~ Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal and Constitution "journalist"

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    I think that the only reason Aaron has been mentioned on this site in conjunction with greenies is to deflect criticism from Barry Bonds. The argument goes something like this:

    Aaron played in the 50's-70's.
    Many players in the 50's-70's used greenies.
    Therefore Aaron must have used greenies.
    If Aaron used greenies then his records are tainted.
    If Bonds surpasses Aaron, it's OK because one tainted player is replacing another.

    I don't have his autobiography but others on here state that in his autobiography, Aaron admits something to the effect that he tried greenies once, he didn't like them, and he never tried them again.

    When some of the accusations were brought up, I looked up every possible combination that I could think of on ProQuest to see if there were any contemporaneous accounts of Aaron being linked to amphetimines. I found zero.

    In my opinion there's no reason to dirty the good name of Hank Aaron to link him to greenies.
    "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

    Rogers Hornsby, 1961

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    "Actually the 1968 season wasn't the best time to present my case. It was the first time since my rookie year that I didn't drive in or scored 100 runs. I was so frustrated that at one point I tried using a pep pill-a greenie-that one of my teamates gave me. When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a stupid thing to do, and besides that, I shouldn't have been so concerned about my hitting in the first place. Nobody was hitting in 1968. That was the year of the pitcher - Drysdale's streak of scoreless innings and Bob Gibson's 1.12 earned run average."

    That is an excerpt from Lonnie Wheeler's, "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story"

    I used to have the exact citation with the page number and everything but I can't seem to find it right now. The number 168 is creeping into my mind, but I really have no idea.

    Aaron simply admitted to experimenting with a greenie. There was no admission of long term, regular use.
    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

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  5. #5
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    Hey, Jpenrod, time to change the tagline under your username, huh...
    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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    Quote Originally Posted by digglahhh
    Hey, Jpenrod, time to change the tagline under your username, huh...
    Ha Ha, yeah I guess you are right. I kind of forgot about it.

    In regards to your I had a hammer quote, I am very familiar with that section of the book (great read btw). and I have stated my opinion in other threads, that taking that quote along with other quotes I truly believe this was Aaron's only experimentation with Greenies.

    Bench 5, I understand your point but I am looking for some serious hard evidence not pure speculation. Like I said I am just wondering why people seem so convinced Aaron took Greenies outside of speculation and conjecture.
    I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.~Bob Uecker


    "While he had a total of forty home runs in his first two big-league seasons, it is unlikely that Aaron will break any records in this department." ~ Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal and Constitution "journalist"

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by digglahhh
    "Actually the 1968 season wasn't the best time to present my case. It was the first time since my rookie year that I didn't drive in or scored 100 runs. I was so frustrated that at one point I tried using a pep pill-a greenie-that one of my teamates gave me. When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a stupid thing to do, and besides that, I shouldn't have been so concerned about my hitting in the first place. Nobody was hitting in 1968. That was the year of the pitcher - Drysdale's streak of scoreless innings and Bob Gibson's 1.12 earned run average."

    That is an excerpt from Lonnie Wheeler's, "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story"

    I used to have the exact citation with the page number and everything but I can't seem to find it right now. The number 168 is creeping into my mind, but I really have no idea.

    Aaron simply admitted to experimenting with a greenie. There was no admission of long term, regular use.

    Look, he would have been HOF caliber even without the greenie, but you have to try to figure out how much of a hit his stats would have taken

    By the way, Sudafed tablets would have had the same effect-though they are banned today. Some Hockey players were known to pop an entire bubble pack of 24 sudafed tablets before games, though if you've never taken them, just 1 can give jitters, and increase BP and heart rate and keep you up for 12 hours-for some people.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jpenrod
    Ha Ha, yeah I guess you are right. I kind of forgot about it.

    In regards to your I had a hammer quote, I am very familiar with that section of the book (great read btw). and I have stated my opinion in other threads, that taking that quote along with other quotes I truly believe this was Aaron's only experimentation with Greenies.
    Jpen - I agree. After all, he did confess to it, so I don't have a reason not to believe he didn't use it more than once. But what was his reason for stopping? He didn't like them?

    I'm not calling Aaron a cheat - But he didn't stop because he felt guilty about trying to artificially enhance his performance, he stopped because it apparently didn't make him feel good.

    I think Aaron's intentions were pretty clear - He saw others using and benefitting from Greenies, so he tried to " join in " to keep up with his peers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skin & Bones
    Jpen - I agree. After all, he did confess to it, so I don't have a reason not to believe he didn't use it more than once. But what was his reason for stopping? He didn't like them?

    I'm not calling Aaron a cheat - But he didn't stop because he felt guilty about trying to artificially enhance his performance, he stopped because it apparently didn't make him feel good.

    I think Aaron's intentions were pretty clear - He saw others using and benefitting from Greenies, so he tried to " join in " to keep up with his peers.
    He stopped because "it almost gave him a heart attack". I think you're really grasping for straws if you claim Aaron is cheating in any way when he just decided to half heartedly try it to get out of a slump.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 538280
    He stopped because "it almost gave him a heart attack". I think you're really grasping for straws if you claim Aaron is cheating in any way when he just decided to half heartedly try it to get out of a slump.
    You apparently are missing the point.

    I never said he cheated, infact I've never seen anyone call him a cheater.

    However, there's pretty much no way to deny his intentions - He was in a slump, so he looked to artificially enhance his game - He didn't like it, so he stopped. That's not " owning up " to anything - It's like me stealing a piece of candy, eating it, and not liking it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skin & Bones
    You apparently are missing the point.

    I never said he cheated, infact I've never seen anyone call him a cheater.

    However, there's pretty much no way to deny his intentions - He was in a slump, so he looked to artificially enhance his game - He didn't like it, so he stopped. That's not " owning up " to anything - It's like me stealing a piece of candy, eating it, and not liking it.
    S&B, All I can say is Read "I Had a Hammer". You are partially correct about his motives and his intentions, but he did admit that the whole thing was stupid and wrong. I can try and difg up some quotes from the book if you want, but I think if you read the entire book you would not question his "owning up" as you call it.

    As far as accusing people of missing the point I could say the same to you. People on this site suggest and imply quite often that Aaron was a hibitual user of Greenies and that the record is tainted already because of it. To use your ownexample it would be like me accusing you of being a career criminal and someone who could not be trusted simply because you stole a candy bar one time and then decided you would never do it again regardless of your motives.
    I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn't have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.~Bob Uecker


    "While he had a total of forty home runs in his first two big-league seasons, it is unlikely that Aaron will break any records in this department." ~ Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal and Constitution "journalist"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jpenrod
    As far as accusing people of missing the point I could say the same to you. People on this site suggest and imply quite often that Aaron was a hibitual user of Greenies and that the record is tainted already because of it. To use your ownexample it would be like me accusing you of being a career criminal and someone who could not be trusted simply because you stole a candy bar one time and then decided you would never do it again regardless of your motives.

    I agree. I've never seen someone call Aaron a habitual user of Amphetamines, but if you have, I agree they are wrong.

    Wally Joyner is an admitted steroids user, but I wouldn't call him an " abuser " like I would Canseco because he only admits to using them for a short period in 1997.

    I don't see how I'm missing the point though, since I already said that I agree Aaron's admisson to using Greenies once isn't proof that he used it frequently.

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    Also its important to remember that Amphetamines were not a govermentally controlled substance until 1970 and that many in the military were given these drugs during their service to combat fatigue. There was not anywhere near as much negative conotations behind their use at the time.

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    S&B's point, and a valid one, is what if Aaron went 4 for 4 that day with three dingers?

    Would he have then developed a different perspective about the greenies? Would he have stopped?

    A renouncing of PEDs on the basis of physical condition or lack of effect is the not the same as a TRUE renouncement based upon ethics. I'm sure ethics did play a part in Aaron's decision to cease experimenting, but crediting physical uneasiness for he decision is not as admirable, or pure, as crediting an ethical awakening. I'm not bashing Aaron, I have tremendous respect for him as a man and as a player, but I think this small point is important.

    In that respect, intention is a legitimate question. However, intent has no bearing on the status of the record as "tainted" or "pure."

    The intention to cheat IS the action- the outcome is irrelevant. So, on that day Hank Aaron was a cheater. It is completely unjustified to sully his reputation at large because of one gaffe, though.
    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

  15. #15
    In my opinion there is not a single former drug user who gave up any kind of stuff because of ethics. The reasons that make them stop are either health, law, lack of money or personal catastrophies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digglahhh
    S&B's point, and a valid one, is what if Aaron went 4 for 4 that day with three dingers?
    That's an interesting question, but one that is pointless imo, because he couldn't have done that well that day. Not just a matter of chance either. Some people cannot function properly while on them. They are not beneficial to everyone in the same way and can even be harmful to performance depending on the individual. It appears as if Henry was one of those guys. Just wasn't for him. I think if he had the physiological and mental makeup to use those things, he probably would have done it when needed. They were viewed as nothing more than a glorified cup of coffee. Pete Rose had some interesting things to say on the greenies vs. streroids issue; basically laughed at the comparison. Besides, hitting is about being relaxed. Feeling jittery with your heart pounding and mind racing 100 mph isn't beneficial for most.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan_1895-1948
    That's an interesting question, but one that is pointless imo, because he couldn't have done that well that day. Not just a matter of chance either. Some people cannot function properly while on them. They are not beneficial to everyone in the same way and can even be harmful to performance depending on the individual. It appears as if Henry was one of those guys. Just wasn't for him. I think if he had the physiological and mental makeup to use those things, he probably would have done it when needed. They were viewed as nothing more than a glorified cup of coffee. Pete Rose had some interesting things to say on the greenies vs. streroids issue; basically laughed at the comparison. Besides, hitting is about being relaxed. Feeling jittery with your heart pounding and mind racing 100 mph isn't beneficial for most.
    Geez, Pete Rose laughed at the comparison? There must be no comparison then.

    Wait, what does Gary Wadler have to say?

    Gary Wadler, a board member of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a professor of medicine at New York University, has argued that amphetamines may be more performance-enhancing than steroids,
    But what does he know - After all, his life revolves around PED'S in sports, but because Rose laughed at the comparison, Wadler is clearly moronic for making one.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basebal...than_steroids/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan_1895-1948
    he couldn't have done that well that day. Not just a matter of chance either.
    It's obvious by their widespread usage that amphetamines serve some purpose for athletes, even ballplayers. A cursory dismissal of that possibility is reckless. In fact, speed usage has a long history among competitors.

    Granted individuals react differently to a drug but when one shows potential, athletes and people in general will flock to it.

    I believe Aaron's assertion about his limited usage but, on the face of it, it does sound convenient and contrived as most autobiographical recollections tend to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skin & Bones
    Geez, Pete Rose laughed at the comparison? There must be no comparison then.
    Wasn't mentioning Pete as any "proof" of anything. It was interesting to see hear his comments on it given that he was a ballplayer during the time they were rampant, and he is very candid about stuff like that.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna
    It's obvious by their widespread usage that amphetamines serve some purpose for athletes, even ballplayers. A cursory dismissal of that possibility is reckless.
    Of course they can serve a purpose depending on the athlete. Who said otherwise? If you're dragging they help get you up. My point was only that they do not affect everyone the same. One person may be able to function focus and muscle coordination wise on them, and another person my feel very uncomfortable. I believe Aaron when he says he tried them and didn't like them. A cursory dismissal of that possibility is reckless as well.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan_1895-1948
    My point was only that they do not affect everyone the same.
    Sorry - I didn't get that. The italicized couldn't led me astray. But now that you italicized can I see your point more clearly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna
    Sorry - I didn't get that. The italicized couldn't led me astray. But now that you italicized can I see your point more clearly.
    I think they can serve a purpose (for those who can handle them) but on that particular day (since I believe Aaron didn't like the experience) he couldn't have had a day like that (three bombs). Un- ?
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  23. #23
    My question is, is it such a big deal?

    "Greenies" have similar effects that caffeine and nicotine have... are we going to start hawking players who down 8 cups of coffee before a hot summer game because he feels like he needs the energy? Where do you cut the line? Amphetamines weren't banned from baseball until last year, anyway (which I thought was a pointless rule to begin with). As with Bonds, I think the "story" is a story just because he is Bonds... testing positive for Amphemtamines wouldn't be a big deal if anyone else did it... I literally laughed when I first read about it on ESPN.com... my reaction was "so"? Doing speed in baseball is equavalant to a speeding ticket or something...

  24. #24
    Well some people think Bonds had such a ridiculous stretch that he was among the most abusive of steroids ever, while even if he did do something very strong, he probably had a bad reaction as well and stopped. I doubt, in the worst case, he didn't scale back after 1999's injury and wasn't roiding like a corrupt bodybuilder.

    While Aaron didn't if we believe him (no reason not to, I'm just saying. I've told a half-truth and felt some relief with some "honesty"), guys were taking the "leaded" coffee regularly. Canseco didn't found the routine of supplementing, just made it more unsavory.

    If the greats didn't take anything banned today, more power to them. Give them a little adjustment to separation from league, even.
    Last edited by plask_stirlac; 01-17-2007 at 09:55 PM.
    (fantasy football)
    JM: Only did that for a couple of years and then we had a conspiracy so it kind of turned me sour. Our league's commissioner, Lew Ford(notes) at the time, was doing some shady things that ... I'd rather not talk about [laughs].
    DB: Isn't he in Japan right now?
    JM: I don't know where Lou is right now. He's probably fleeing the authorities [laughs].

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    For those who aren't sick and tired about reading about this subject, here's a piece from Love Me, Hate Me.

    =====================

    In the shadow of the injury-ravaged '99 season, Bonds rejoined the Giants in 2000 looking happy, healthy, and even larger thatn he did a year earlier. The bulging muscles of the previous spring remained enormous, but what stood out this time was Bonds's head, which had expanded to the size of a large Halloween pumpkin. Back in his first few years with the Giants, Bonds's skull was no visually different in size than Will Clark's or Darren Lewis's or any normal Homo sapiens. Now it rivaled Gheorghe Muresan's. Once upon a time Bonds cut a dashing figure, handsome enough to be included among People magazine's Most Beautiful list for 1992 ("Bonds's most appealing attribute is that stadium-illuminating smile he flashes in moments of triumph.") Now he looked bizarre, almost freakish.

    Although Bonds maintains that the dimensions of his head are unchanged, seeing is believing. Two side-by-side photographs, one from 1993, the other from 2000, provide a revealing juxtaposition: small head, huge head. According to a longtime Giants employee, at least twice in the late 1990s and early 2000s the team had to increase the hat size ordered for Bonds. When Bonds played with Pittsburgh , he had a substantial amount of hair on his head. Now he shaves his scalp bald. If his head had not grown, surely he would presently require a smaller cap.

    After one's teenage years, there are only two ways an adult human head can expand. The first is from acromegaly, a disorder in which the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone. Diagnosed in approximately 60 out of every million people, acromegaly derives its name from the Greek words for "extremities" (acro) and "great" (megaly). One of the most common symptoms of the disorder is abnormal growth of the hands and feet. Although Bonds often dismisses questions about breaking baseball's records by noting, "Anything is possible," it is not possible that he suffers from acromegaly. Unlike the late wrestling star Andre Roussimoff (aka "Andre the Giant"), the most famous bearer of the disorder, Bonds's extremities are normal. He does not suffer from any of the symptoms, which include enlarged sinuses, visual problems, bone overgrowth, and thick skin.

    The second way an adult human's head can grow - and the only available explanation of Bonds's cranial expansion - is with the use of human growth hormone (HGH), a dangerous, illegal polypeptide that regulates multiple metabolic and growth functions. Used by a mounting number of professional athletes to gain an edge, HGH is highly effective, obtainable, and - best of all for cheating ballplayers - not listed among the banned substances Major League Baseball screens for. (Besides, tests for HGH are expensive and inconsistent.) "There is good scientific data showing that HGH increases muscle size, bulk, strength, and performance," says Peter Sonksen, a professor of endocrinology at St. Thomas Hospital in London and one of the world's leading HGH experts. "Potentially it's more anabolic than testosterone. But the problems are the side effects. With enough usage you can get enlargement of the jaw and the separation of teeth. The sinuses above the eyes also grow. It's not a good thing."

    Among baseball's advance scouts, an unofficial system emerged to spot athletes who likely abused HGHs. Nearly all players fit comfortably into batting helmets, which are designed to smoothly slide over a capped skull with room to spare. Every so often, however, someone would stand in the dugout frustratingly trying to hammer on his helmet before advancing toward the on-deck circle. Among others, Bonds partook in this ritual.

    Prior to the season, Bonds had gone to Cashman Field in Las Vegas to partake in a charity home run derby. Tampa Bay Devil Rays slugger Jose Cansecon wowed Bonds with a staggering 28 homers and the body of a Greek God. "Dude," Bonds asked, "where did you get all that muscle?" Shortly thereafter, an inspired Bonds began using another steroid, Deca-Durabolin, as well as large doses of growth hormones. Though Bonds was by no means the only Giant taking performance-enhancing drugs, he was one of the few using HGH. First, it's expensive. A sufficient dose of HGH can cost nearly $200 per day on the underground market. Second, it wasn't as available as your run-of-the-mill anabolic steroids, which could be had in any Gold's Gym or Dominican pharmacy. Third, the side effects were relatively unknown but potentially frightening. Though baseball players weren't thrilled by acne-covered backs or marble-size testicles, an expanding skull was in a different league.

    "HGH's biggest benefit is it makes you ridiculously able to train," says Jim Warren, Bonds's former personal trainer. "You can get up in the morning, run, lift, go home and have a sandwich, take a nap, and hit 300 balls. Then go back and hit later. You're never sore. You have the body of an 18-year-old, and tomorrow it's a 17-year-old. You're essentially getting younger every day. And you feel wonderful. It's not like steroids, when you feel like you want to rape, maim, and pillage. You're on an even keel."
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

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