Written by Jim Amato
Published: 28 June 2007
Back when Jim Bouton's classic book " Ball Four " came out it was " greenies " that were the rage. These speed pills made the players perform better, etc...There may be some truth to that but in a lot of those cases the players took the greenies to offset the effects of a terrible hangover.
I believe overall that today's players take a little bit better care of their bodies. Plus you have much better conditioning techniques. Drinking + ballplayers went hand and hand in the old days. Not all the players drank but quite a few of them is certain. I've read several stories on the antics of Whitey, Mick and Billy. Also stories on many other ballplayers. Knowing what we know today, the drinking surely didn't enhance their on field performances. How many " fat " pitches were swung and missed at because the blurry eyed batter saw more then one ball? Maybe his reflexes were dulled enough that his powerful swing was timed just a tad bit off and a potential home run became a futile missed swing. Maybe the speed pills just put them back on a level playing field. I'm not condoning their use but I've seen first hand how alcohol can destroy a fine athlete.
Steroids though are a far cry from " greenies ". Roids are not just a little pick me up. In reality it turned the users into physical monsters. The size, strength and speed of those who used steroids just put them in basically a different league then the other non using players. Fair ? Hardly... It would have been OK if they would have created a Steroid Major League. That way all the players using steroids could compete against each other on even terms. Mixing them with non users was hardly playing fair. In fact it was down right cheating. No I don't believe it makes sense to take their stats and records out of the books. That would alter the whole historical landscape of the game. It would not hurt my feelings one bit though if historians and record keepers put an asterisk by the names of all those players guilty of using steroids. They were cheaters and it should be duly noted for all time.