There's been a new, and maybe startling, wrinkle on Rafael Palmiero's innocence in his steroid scandal.
On December 23rd Nick Cafardo, a well respected Boston beat writer, in his Sunday column. wrote the following as part of the discussion about PED use and the Hall of Fame vote.
http://bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/12/2 ... story.html
My Hall of Fame ballot in last week’s Sunday notes triggered some angry and nasty responses since I selected Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell, who were at the very least suspected of using steroids, as well as Craig Biggio, Tim Raines, Jack Morris, and Alan Trammell.
I am among a growing number of voters who have stopped trying to sort through the players who were caught vs. those who weren’t. Those in my camp feel that many players dabbled in steroids or other PEDs during this time.
Was it wrong? Of course. Would these players have been Hall of Famers had they been 100 percent clean? I’m projecting that Bonds and Clemens, who were named in the Mitchell Report, would have been. If you don’t think they were Hall of Fame performers, that’s just crazy.
My policy used to be that steroid users didn’t get my vote, but that changed as I began to realize the playing field, in my opinion, was fair. So, do I wipe out an entire generation of players and never vote for them, or do I understand the era and what, in my opinion, was more the norm, and accept that it happened?
What I will not do is vote for anyone who tested positive after the steroid policy was put in place in 2003.
Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro won’t get my vote unless there’s a compelling reason why they were taking PEDs when the rules indicated they couldn’t and when 99 percent of the players against had negative tests.
I also get the argument that steroids were illegal, that there didn’t need to be a policy. But amphetamines were also taken illegally by players in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. As one Hall of Famer told me, “They handed them out in the clubhouse in big bowls. Take as many as you want. Don’t think some of the players could have performed without them.”
Amphetamines are now on the list of banned substances, so evidently they had some effect on performance.
Should we kick all those players out of the Hall? Should we kick out all of those massive offensive and defensive linemen who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who took steroids in the 1970s, ’80s, and beyond?
Tom Glavine, a 300-game winner who surely will reach Cooperstown on the first ballot in 2014, said, “It’ll be a tough call for the voters and I’m glad I’m not making that call.”
I then posted this in response to another member's post.
I don't think we should try to make that distinction. First, if Palmiero would have retired after the previous season so that he never tested positive, he would be an easy choice. Second, the stuff he tested positive for was so crude that there wasn't an attempt to mask it. While Palmiero came out of the Texas clubhouse where everyone was using it's well documented that what they were using was sophisticated and was pretty easy to mask with the quality of the testing ay the time. Remember, this was several YEARS after the 103 (?) players tested positive in 2003 and users had adjusted to the test then in use.
Palmiero claimed that Miguel Tejada, a subsequently identified user, had given him a B12 shot just before the positive test, so I have always questioned what REALLY happened there. Regardless, IMO Palmiero's career is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Then I saw this posted in Hard Ball Talk today. Sure makes you wonder if the baseball community hasn't been a little unfair to Rafael Palmiero.
Wait, someone has evidence that Rafael Palmeiro really was clean and is unwilling to do anything about it?
Craig Calcaterra Jan 3, 2013, 8:25 AM EST
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has a Hall of Fame vote and has published a Hall of Fame column, and boy howdy does it have an interesting passage in it regarding Rafael Palmeiro, for whom he is voting:
Rafael Palmeiro: An extremely reliable source—with no ties to Palmeiro—told me an off-the-record story at the Winter Meetings that convinced me that Palmeiro was indeed a clean player and was tricked into using the steroid when he thought he was taking a shot of vitamin B-12 that led to his suspension and end of his career in 2005. Unfortunately, there would be too many legal ramifications to make the story public.
“Legal ramifications?” That’s … interesting. Normally I’d dismiss such stuff out of hand because it’s all so he-said, she-said sounding. But it is probably worth noting that, in Maryland, where Palmeiro was playing at the time of his positive PED test, there is no statute of limitations for felonies so, yes, someone may very well be worried about legal ramifications for assault or whatever you could think to classify drugging someone without their knowledge or consent.
Not that I’m prepared to actually buy this. After all, are we truly to believe that Rafael Palmeiro possesses convincing evidence that one of his teammates (or trainers or whoever) doped him, ending his career, ruining his legacy and putting him at risk of criminal prosecution for lying to Congress and yet Palmeiro is unwilling to say anything about it publicly? The man has became a disgrace and a laughingstock as a result of that positive test. The poster boy for lying cheaters, thanks to that finger-wag while under oath. Is it reasonable, then, to assume that he has no incentive to clear his name with the convincing story Perrotto was told? He’s worried about someone getting in some relatively minor criminal trouble and is willing to wear the goat horns the rest of his life because of it?
Or I suppose maybe he doesn’t know. In that case, there is apparently someone working in baseball — the guy was at the Winter Meetings after all — with evidence that would clear Palmeiro’s name, yet rather than bring it to anyone’s attention who could do something about it, is simply telling to baseball writers, off the record, over drinks at the lobby bar in the Opryland Hotel. What kind of a person is that?
I don’t know. It all sounds like far-fetched bar talk. I can say this much, though: if there is any truth to this, it brings us back to the old dynamic of the PED story in baseball: people, including writers, knowing what’s really going on, yet no one being all that interested in exposing it. How very shameful. And, in some ways, how very appropriate.
Makes you think, doesn't it?