In the Daily Herald Barry Rvvner quotes new HOFer Whitey Herzog on steroid and PED use in baseball. Herzog discusses the attendance factor, the envy factor, and the cheat the old timers factor (assuming they were clean.
Back in the early '90s, it was always amusing when the Athletics got off their team bus in spring training and walked past the Cubs' dugout.
Inevitably, at least one Cubs player would say, "There goes the Oakland Raiders again."
That's how big the Mark McGwire/Jose Canseco Athletics were, and it wasn't just the big boppers.
It was a monstrous team, one that didn't go unnoticed by Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog, who had his own take on steroids this past weekend and remembered when several NFL and MLB teams inhabited the same facilities.
"I think you have to look at the baseball teams that shared stadiums with the football teams," Herzog said, while not specifically naming the Athletics, since the Raiders were in L.A. from 1982 to 1996. "There's a lot of cities where they worked together in the training rooms. The football players were going from 250 to 335 and they got faster.
"Baseball players watched that and next thing you know they had something going.
"I was fortunate I didn't have to manage during the steroid era. I managed during the drug era. I had players with problems. Everybody knows that.
"I often wonder how many games we lost as managers in the '80s because of drugs. But by the same token I wonder how many victories managers got in the '90s because of steroids."
Herzog pointed to the work stoppages of 1990 and 1994 as another factor in the performance-enhancing explosion.
"Baseball was down after the strike and McGwire gets all those home runs (in 1998) and it brought baseball back," Herzog said. "Everybody goes back to the ballparks. So maybe that's where the mistake was made.
"If they stopped it then, maybe we wouldn't have the situation we got. I don't know the answer to that.
"Baseball looked the other way because they didn't want attendance to fall. I don't think it was right, and I don't like that a lot of records were broken. It's hurt a lot of retired players trying to get here (to Cooperstown), and I think it's just plain wrong.''