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Could Gooden have been stopped, & an earlier baseball "war on drugs" in general

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  • Could Gooden have been stopped, & an earlier baseball "war on drugs" in general

    Sadly, I think the answer to the question is "no," but on vacation in Florida I read one Tampa columnist's column about how this was th4e year Gooden was supposed to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and make it with room to spare, in his first try. Instead he was headed to prison. (THe writer doesn't add that Gooden could still have been pitching at age 41 today.)

    So, would an early baseball "war on drugs" have helped keep him clean, and maybe made him, if not the next Koufax or Seaver, at least another Jim Palmer?

    He seems the type who, as the columnist notes, couldn't say "no" to anyone, so it would take a lot to keep him clean. Included in that would be knowledge of much stiffer penalties, of course (and maybe being shifted away from new York to a less partying city?), but what would make MLB do that? And would the players rebel anyway?

    Suppose baseball implemented a really tough policy against drugs - looking at the history of suspensions, Bowie Kuhn handed down some tough ones, then backed off. So, the commissioner at that time was thinking about trying, anyway. Would pushing for mandatory testing in the 1981 CBA have helped?

    And what would it take to awaken baseball, in an era when some estimate a sizeable minority took drugs in the late 1970s/early 1980s? Was that number exaggerated?

    I remember the death of Len Bias - it was a huge shock, but not as much as it could have been because he wasn't a pro, "only" a top draft pick. I had alaways avoided drugs (as well as drinking, but that's another story) and anyone involved in them like the plague, so maybe I thought more of the story than lots of people did, but what if a Dave Parker or Keith Hernandez had died of an overdose after the 1980 season?

    Admittedly, it might not have saved Gooden - the NFL and NBA, very tough drug policies, still have their problems with certain players. A tough stance alone isn't enough, and even consistent anti-drug education isn't going to save everyone.

    And, given the extent some, at least, say the problem was by 1980, maybe it would have taken the death of a marquee player, and the resulting investigation. (I can just see a Mike Schmidt Triple Crown coming in 1981 as the event that "saves baseball," much like Ripken breaking the record did in 1995 - albeit his Triple Crown might not come in 162 games, but about 100, people would still cheer it like crazy.)
    Last edited by DTF955; 04-09-2006, 04:10 PM.
    If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

    "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

  • #2
    Whenever I think of Drugs in baseball one name always comes to mind Steve Howe 5-6 time loser.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DTF955
      He seems the type who, as the columnist notes, couldn't say "no" to anyone, so it would take a lot to keep him clean. Included in that would be knowledge of much stiffer penalties, of course (and maybe being shifted away from new York to a less partying city?), but what would make MLB do that? And would the players rebel anyway?
      I don't know if going to a less partying city would have done it. Cocaine seemed to have a very prevalent presence in baseball during the 1980s, irrespective of the city. During the cocaine scandal, there were players incriminated from Pittsburgh (Dave Parker), St. Louis (Keith Hernandez), and Tim Raines (Montreal). Pittsburgh was at the very center of the scandal, and if a player couldn't escape that culture in Pittsburgh, I don't know where the could have in the Majors.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by julusnc
        Whenever I think of Drugs in baseball one name always comes to mind Steve Howe 5-6 time loser.
        Hi
        I actually won a dinner on this one. One guy would not believe that Howe had actually reached 7 -- and was still in baseball!

        SEVEN!

        Called a local TV station, asked for Sports Anchor, put the guy on the phone ... and ordered Lobster the next night!

        Have not bought a ticket to an MLB game since 1989 because (at the time) could not figure out why they had banned a gambler but did nothing about all the illegal drugs in MLB.
        Actually, STILL fuming at the way MLB has been so slack on the illegal drug use ( & have yet to buy a ticket again).

        Pasquel "Wrong Way" Perez & Otis Nixon were others. Again & again... didn't matter what city. Think "Wrong Way" was a Brave at one point when they weren't a dynasty yet.

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