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Does "Cheating" apply to pitchers also?

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  • Does "Cheating" apply to pitchers also?

    This forum has beaten up on Barry Bonds quite a bit lately. Whether or not use of PEDs was outlawed by the rules of baseball, most of us seem to be disturbed that Barry used these unfair and illegal means to appear better than he really was as a ballplayer.

    Do these "integrity" standards apply only to hitters, or does the same thinking apply to pitchers as well? Gaylord Perry was known for using illegal substances (Vasaline?) on the ball to give it special movement. (Or was it his brother Jim?)

    Tommy John was accused of cutting the ball with a sharp object, to get a similar movement on his pitch. These methods were against the rules of baseball at the time, but somehow these players "got away with it" and won a lot of games as a result.

    Do you oppose the admission of pitchers into the Hall of Fame if it is proven that they "habitually" used methods outlawed by baseball, to get special advantage over their peers?
    Last edited by Appling; 03-23-2006, 06:54 PM.
    Luke

  • #2
    Yes. I remember Joe Niekro got caught doctoring the ball once. Hitters who use steroids are more likley to do it over and over again. Pitchers who cheat, like doctoring the ball one night, that itself isnt so bad, but pitchers who do it continually, and are proven to have done so, should be out as well. That falls into the character issue on this board.

    Comment


    • #3
      Baseball has always had a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" kind of blind eye towards any kind of cheating. Players who cheat are irrascible, but not necessarily of poor character. One doesn't have to go far to find examples; baseball history is replete with them. Whitey Ford's ball scuffing, Gaylord Perry's spitball, Brett's pine tar incident, corked bats by Sammy Sosa and Albert Belle, Graig Nettles' "superballs," Mike Kelly's exploits on the basepaths, the "legally" grandfathered spitballers in the 1920's, Cobb's well-documented tactics on the base paths, the Orioles and Beaneater teams of the 1890's, etc.

      How are steroids different from any of these other forms of cheating? In every case, Baseball had rules, players tried to get around them in order to help their teams win. Some got caught, many didn't. Some were so successful at "bending" the rules, that the rules were changed. Prior to 2003, Major League Baseball didn't have an anti-steroid policy.

      In addition to the inconsistency of pointing out one kind of cheating as permissible and one kind as punishable, there is the great difficulty (nigh, impossibility) of trying to determine who did what and how much it affected their performance.

      The great problem with the Punish-the-Steroid-Users Crowd is that they aren't inconsistent about any of it and those who are have such draconian points of view that no practicable solution can be accomodated.

      Either apply the same standards of conduct to all players throughout history equally, or don't apply them at all. Just like every player from every era, he separated himself from the pack to the extent that he did through actions taken that were designed to perform better and win more. From an on-field standpoint, it's difficult to punish any of these people more than MLB did. If a guy cheated and got caught, baseball punished him. He lost playing time and, presumably cost his team a few wins with his absence. How much playing time have steroid users cost themselves? When there bodies do crash, how much steeper is the decline? It all balances out.

      People who want to "asterisk" the modern era are ignorant of the evolvement of the game and the ever changing standards of performance over time. These same people can't understand the concept behind park factors or era-adjustments.

      From a moral standpoint, sure the records of this generation of players has been "tainted" and, of course, their behavior is not praiseworthy, but honoring the greatest players of this generation carries the same responsibilities and difficulties that honoring the greatest players of any other era bring with it.

      Frankly...I'll look at what we know occurred on the field and make my decision based on how much better than performance was from the average hitter/pitcher of that era. May not be a perfect system, but at least it's consistent.
      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

      Comment


      • #4
        I fail to see how you can equate a scuffed ball to PED's?

        A ball is only going to be used for a few pitches and/or a pitcher plays only every third or fourth day.

        PEDs enhance strength for every swing, every throw, every running stride.

        I know cheating is cheating, but the level and intent needs to be considered, IMO.
        1968 and 1984, the greatest ever.

        Comment


        • #5
          How many wins would these pitchers have without cheating?
          Would they still be viable candidates for the Hall of Fame?
          Luke

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Appling
            How many wins would these pitchers have without cheating?
            Would they still be viable candidates for the Hall of Fame?
            They would probably have had less wins and would possibly not be in the Hall of Fame (those that are). That is not my issue with Bonds. I believe he was a hall of famer prior to the PED hub-bub and I believe he remains a HOFer. My issue is his rewriting the history books. The HOF is VOTED on by BBWA, there are players that get in that some feel do not belong and players left out that others feel do belong. there will always be debates about who belongs and who doesn't. Records however are not open to interpretation (or at least they shouldn't be) Either Hank Aaron hit more Home runs than Babe Ruth or he didn't. Sure there are arguments made that Aaron did it over a longer period or that he played more games in a season than Ruth, but no one will dispute that when it is all said and done Hank Aaron hit 755 HR and Babe Ruth hit 715. THEY hit them. By Bonds using steroids (as it seems he may have) you begin to question whether all of those home runs were simply him hitting thenm or how many would have been doubles off the top of the wall, or even fly ball outs. How many fewer would he have hit if he had to rely on his body to repair itself. Better question, how many more would Ruth and Aaron hit if they had used PED's?

            My issue with Bonds is not whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but whether he is worthy of the title "Homerun King". Back to the original question, I think if Neikro would have approached Cy Youngs 511 W's there would have been a lot made of his illegal pitches.
            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"

            Comment


            • #7
              If Bonds passes Aaron on the all-time list, he'll have earned the "home run king" monicker by virtue of the fact that he will have hit more home runs than Aaron.

              There's no way to know how many of Bonds' home runs were aided by steroids. There's no way to know how many of Aaron's were aided by the greenies he was probably taking in the 1960's and 1970's. So far as this goes, I don't view steroids any differently than I do any other "strength-training program." How many different substances have players put in their bodies, over the years, to "get them up for the game," to reduce fatigue, to dull pain, etc.?

              I would argue that the difference between steroids and other supplements is merely one of the degree to which they help a player's game, rather than how they help a player's game.

              A pitcher could scuff the ball (illegally) as often as he wanted. One who scuffed a ball, or threw an illegal pitch, didn't have to do it every pitch in order to be effective, either. Cheating is cheating. Frankly, I don't think steroids were "cheating" until baseball had a rule against their use.

              If someone wants to give Bonds' numbers a personal discount because of steroids, fine. I would just because the era he hit in was a hitters' era and Aaron's era was (largely) a pitcher's era. What Bonds is doing in no way diminishes the accomplishments of Hank Aaron. The "fact" that he has used steroids to help accomplish them does "taint" the numbers, but no amount of tinkering with the record books, or separating or asterisking the numbers is either proper or necessary to set them aside in the minds of fans.

              Those who know about how the game was played will simply understand that the context in which Bonds accomplished his 700 HRs was a different context than the one in which Aaron pursued the record.

              Steroids don't hit home runs. Players do.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chancellor
                Steroids don't hit home runs. Players do.
                Great post until you ended it with an over simplistic statement such as this.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, if Bonds hits 756 home runs he will have hit more home runs than Aaron. What an obvious statement; however, if he did indeed use steroids then I do not think you can say "earned" eveyone of them. Yes players hit home runs and steroids do not; however, steroids allow players to recover from injuries quicker and stronger allowing them to hit more home runs that they would "naturally". Steroids also allow players to increase thier strength, that is not to say that steroids increase the strength of player, but that it allows players to work out harder, longer and more often thereby increasing their strength beyond their natural abilities. That is not to say that homeruns are a bases of strength, but that the increased strength would allow the player to muscle balls out of the park that normal would be caught on the warning track or be a double off the top of the wall. On one last note, I would like to know what your basis is for saying Aaron probably used greenies? I have never heard any allegations like that and to me that is like saying any player in the last 10 years that had any success probably used steroids.
                  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"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Greenies were prevalent during Aaron's career. Therefore, there is a not-insignificant chance that Aaron used them to. (I doubt Aaron would ever admit to doing so, if that were the case.) I'm not saying he did use them, I'm just saying they were there for the using and that Aaron had the opportunity. I'd love if some reporter were to ask him about that, however.

                    I'm not arguing that steroids don't improve player performance, or add to the number of games a healthy player can participate in. I'm questioning whether something is "cheating" if it's not against the rules. Your post does nothing to distinguish steroids from any other kind of (permissible) supplement or work regimen. So far as I'm concerned, a player can do/take anything to help improve his chances of playing often and playing well. If baseball has a problem with it, they'll ban the substance/behavior. They have (since 2003) and there are punishments that accompany a "conviction" of guilt. Rafael Palmeiro suffered those consequences last year. Other players will in the future.

                    Steroid users should be ineligible for the Hall of Fame only if they are placed on baseball's ineligible list, in which case they failed three separate tests, ostensibly over a period of years. I don't believe any other forms of cheating are punishable by expulsion from the game, hence, "cheaters" - be they pitchers or hitters - shouldn't be banned from the Hall of Fame.
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      --I don't believe baseball should have to have its own rules against illegal behavior. There are some general prohibitions against players behaving in a reprehensable fashion that would have covered steroid users. MLB was very slow in testing for it, but to say it was okay before testing and specific penalties were introduced is a position I reject.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chancellor
                        If Bonds passes Aaron on the all-time list, he'll have earned the "home run king" monicker by virtue of the fact that he will have hit more home runs than Aaron.

                        There's no way to know how many of Bonds' home runs were aided by steroids. There's no way to know how many of Aaron's were aided by the greenies he was probably taking in the 1960's and 1970's. So far as this goes, I don't view steroids any differently than I do any other "strength-training program." How many different substances have players put in their bodies, over the years, to "get them up for the game," to reduce fatigue, to dull pain, etc.?

                        I would argue that the difference between steroids and other supplements is merely one of the degree to which they help a player's game, rather than how they help a player's game.

                        A pitcher could scuff the ball (illegally) as often as he wanted. One who scuffed a ball, or threw an illegal pitch, didn't have to do it every pitch in order to be effective, either. Cheating is cheating. Frankly, I don't think steroids were "cheating" until baseball had a rule against their use.

                        If someone wants to give Bonds' numbers a personal discount because of steroids, fine. I would just because the era he hit in was a hitters' era and Aaron's era was (largely) a pitcher's era. What Bonds is doing in no way diminishes the accomplishments of Hank Aaron. The "fact" that he has used steroids to help accomplish them does "taint" the numbers, but no amount of tinkering with the record books, or separating or asterisking the numbers is either proper or necessary to set them aside in the minds of fans.

                        Those who know about how the game was played will simply understand that the context in which Bonds accomplished his 700 HRs was a different context than the one in which Aaron pursued the record.

                        Steroids don't hit home runs. Players do.

                        I guess running out of the baseline is the same as steroids? Or how about swaying too far right to knock down the ss during a dp? Yeah, steriods dont help home run hitters.......lets ask Brady Andersen....

                        Cav
                        You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the $%#%! plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all. ~Earl Weaver

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cavalier1968
                          I guess running out of the baseline is the same as steroids? Or how about swaying too far right to knock down the ss during a dp? Yeah, steriods dont help home run hitters.......lets ask Brady Andersen....

                          Cav
                          That's a terrible arguement. There's about as much evidence that brady anderson took steroids as there is roger maris.
                          " NEVER underestimate the heart of a champion " ~ Rudy Tomjanovich

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Anyway, I think it's pretty obvious that pitchers tend to get a free pass when it comes to cheating, certainly more than hitters.

                            Stark wrote a good article about this once, here it is - http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0Je5rjMWy...y%3fid=1026088
                            " NEVER underestimate the heart of a champion " ~ Rudy Tomjanovich

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In "Ball Four" Jim Bouton talks about how Whitey Ford would doctor the ball and how Elston Howard would help by cutting the ball against his catcher guards before tossing it back to Ford.

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