Somewhere, Dan Duquette Is Smiling

The biggest name in George Mitchell’s report was probably the least surprising, but it was also the one with the best evidence — first-hand accounts by his personal trainer of injecting Roger Clemens with steroids in 1998 and 2001.

A lot of discussion to be had on this subject, assuming the allegations are true (and I think that’s a safe assumption at this point):

  • Was Dan Duquette right after all? I still believe 1996 was actually Clemens’ first full season on steroids — his K rate improved markedly, and his ERA+ was better. The Sox’ poor season affected his record terribly, but he had a good year after a poor 1993 and injury-plagued 1994-95. It’s my contention all those groin pulls those years might not have been, um, "natural."
  • What’s Clemens’ Hall of Fame status? It seems the bulk of his accomplishments occurred before any documented steroid use — from 1986-1992. The general opinion with Barry bonds seems to be that he was a Hall of Famer before 1999, when he allegedly began using. But that gives Bonds a peak from 1986-1998 — 12-years of top performance. Clemens also came into his own in 1986, but his last great season in Boston was 1992. Are six fantastic years enough for the HOF under the logic used for inducting Bonds? Should this even matter? Hey, Ty Cobb was no "peach" himself, and he’s in the Hall.

[Ed Note: Just to be clear, the phrase “I think that’s a safe assumption at this point,” is Paul’s opinion, and not necessarily that of other authors here, or YFSF as a whole.]

29 comments… add one
  • A safe assumption? I too believe Roger was using steroids, but I don’t pretend to assume this safely.
    And Clemens is still a HoFer, no question, but it isn’t because the “bulk” (was that a pun?) of his accomplishments happened ’86-’92. Unless you’re just completely writing off the CYs and the, ahem, championships because he was on the PEDs.
    And obviously, peachiness is no prerequisite for enshrinement. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel obligated to defend Bonds and Clemens. Because they’re asses.

    FenSheaParkway December 14, 2007, 12:00 pm
  • I’m with FSP here. I don’t think it’s a safe assumption that Clemens used based on what’s in the Mitchell Report.

    Nick-YF December 14, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • Wow, where elsewhere you guys have been very measured in your analysis, I’m disappointed here.
    The “evidence” on Clemens is not close to the “best evidence”. There are no packages nor treatment reports nor pharmacy records nor even a blood test, as there are with other named players. There is only the word of one fellow – someone who was looking to get reduced jail time for his cooperation.
    As for when his steroids “use” began, that’s all speculation. If you want to look at jumps in stats, there are plenty of players, including prominent Sox, that have suspicious numbers during the “Steroid Era”.
    I’m sorry, but drawing any conclusions for the majority of players “named” is the report is no more informative than it was yesterday at 1pm with a dubious list circulating.

    Mike YF December 14, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • Before this thread gets going, I want to remind everyone of the truth regarding the “twilight of his career” quote.
    Here is the actual quote:
    “The Red Sox and our fans were fortunate to see Roger Clemens play in his prime and we had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career.”

    LocklandSF December 14, 2007, 12:09 pm
  • And I’d like to add what he said following the actual quote you just quoted:
    “In other words, Roger Clemens is done! Finito. Washed-up. Old as George Burns. By the way, can you believe that George Burns still uses a cigar!? The Rocket has landed. It’s safe to say there is no more “fuel” he can use to rescusitate (sp?) a dead career. Good luck on your slow march to death, Roger!”

    Nick-YF December 14, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • I have no doubt that some prominent Sox have used PEDs and that there may be public accusations or even some proof at some point. But those of you defending Clemens since there is no real “proof” on his use – do you feel the same way about Bonds?

    rootbeerfloat December 14, 2007, 12:20 pm
  • I don’t want to accuse anyone specific of having their head buried in the sand, but man, some peoples’ heads are buried in the sand.

    SF December 14, 2007, 12:20 pm
  • I’ve long suspected Clemens to have used the stuff — his stats and body type were long superficial indicators, though obviously not enough to go around making accusations.
    So the report simply went a long way to confirming my suspicions. I don’t think you need a positive test to be sure in your own mind that someone did something untoward. The trainer’s testimony is highly detailed, and to my mind is credible simply because he had a lot to gain from telling the truth and a lot to lose by lying. I understand others may consider it not to be so, but that’s the way it is for me. Based on the report, I feel safe in assuming Clemens used steroids. The rest is speculation, of course, but I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable.

    Paul SF December 14, 2007, 12:24 pm
  • I don’t think my saying that I don’t think it’s safe to assume that Clemens was a user based on this report means that I’m defending him. Or that I have my head buried in the sand. I guess I don’t find the evidence although that substantive. I mean I assumed (not safely) that Clemens was a user before this report, mostly because he threw a splintered bat at another player. This report doesn’t really buttress that assumption or weaken it.

    Nick-YF December 14, 2007, 12:29 pm
  • Could Murray Chass jr @ Lohud and that angry little man at NoMaas cry more of a river.. HEY CHUBBY NUTS didn’t Mitchell ask everyone one of them to comment on every allegation???? WHY DOESNT “THE TEXAS CONMAN” file a lawsuit today for defamation?????

    Buffalohead December 14, 2007, 12:31 pm
  • great post buffalohead, that adds lots to this discussion

    sam-YF December 14, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • Duquette was wrong. Regardless of how Clemens came to return to dominance, he returned, and Boston certainly would have been better off with several more years of Clemens. Regarding the HOF, Clemens will probably get the McGwire treatment for a year or two, but he would still get my vote first ballot, and I do include his “post-allegation” numbers, which is the same way I feel about Bonds. And McGwire, Sammy, Palmeiro…
    Since reading the report, my opinion about baseball during the yet-to-be numerically defined “PED” era — and I did spend quite some time with the report — has not changed: don’t care. Now? Keep testing. Get better testing. If somehow, miraculously, the commish becomes the ex-commish, that would be a great get, but for me that’s not about what he did or didn’t do about the juice. Other than that, my old exes (those yet-to-be-defined by somebody else seasons of baseball) and I had a great time together over those years and even though she was a rocker in the sack, I just found out she was sleeping around the whole time. Oh wait, already knew. Nothing to do now but move on. Oh wait, already did.
    There is a large contingent of writers that will feed off of the alleged crimes and personal mistakes made by the openly suspect and candidly suspect; many will have their legacy severely tarnished and future earning potential likewise diminished. Some may really deserve it. Quite a few probably don’t. With the information at my disposal right now, I am in no position to offer any opinion on specifically who deserves what kind of public humiliation, but I have no doubt there are plenty of axes being sharpened to take care of the task, and by the time they are done, I am equally certain that task will have been done to death.

    attackgerbil December 14, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • A “long” way? They exclusively relied on hearsay. And there’s nothing else to the Clemens “evidence”. Same deal for Brian Roberts and Gagne and many, many other players “named”.
    And correction: The trainer had a lot to gain but *nothing* to lose. Really, the only thing he has to lose is what he gained – Reduced jail time! What do you think he had to lose?
    P.s. There are many, many players, including Sox, who’s “stats and body type were long superficial indicators”. If that’s your standard, then we just have to wait for Canseco’s next book to confirm our suspicions.
    P.p.s. I hope Clemens does file a defamation lawsuit. From everything I’ve read, they’re very tough to get in front of a jury, but if he can, I have a hard time believing a NY or TEX jury would rule against him but for a convicted drug dealer.
    P.p.p.s. I’m not saying Clemens is innocent, but I know better than to trust the evidence presented in this report or the assumptions made here. Many Sox fans also have a long axe to grind with Clemens. The problem is that the “evidence” presented is flimsy and is equivalent to what Jose Canseco says. If he’s your type of confirming evidence, I’m going to reserve judgment.
    P.p.p.p.s. Please check your blog email.

    Mike YF December 14, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • P.p.p.p.p.s.
    This post could have just as easily been about Mo Vaughn. After all, the suddenly wise Dan Duquette let him go too. And now he’s a “proven” steroids user.
    Yesterday you claimed a measured approach. But based on the name, you’ve thrown that out the window.

    Mike YF December 14, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • Boston certainly would have been better off with several more years of Clemens.
    These are the exercises that I have a hard time participating in. Had the Sox re-signed Clemens they very likely would not have gone after Pedro, and had they not had Pedro I wouldn’t have been able to see Pedro pitch for the Red Sox for several years, which would have been one of the great losses of my entire baseball rooting life. So, in my life as a baseball fan, the Sox were far better off with Clemens gone, at least in the terms I describe above.

    SF December 14, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • but they could have had Clemens and Pavano!

    Nick-YF December 14, 2007, 1:36 pm
  • but they could have had Clemens and Pavano!
    NOW you’ve convinced me!

    SF December 14, 2007, 1:39 pm
  • > These are the exercises that I have a hard time participating in
    Agreed, it’s really rather pointless chasing those hypothetical things, and I should have said so. I guess I was merely imagining facing the 1998 Sox with Clemens instead of, say a Steve Avery or Mark Portugal.

    attackgerbil December 14, 2007, 2:00 pm
  • If you want some real entertainment, go over to NYYFans and give it a quick read.
    90% of the Yankee fans on that board are 100% convinced this was all a conspiracy against the Yankees.
    I find that odd, since for the most part that place is a lot more rational than LoHud or NoMaas.

    LocklandSF December 14, 2007, 2:01 pm
  • This post could have just as easily been about Mo Vaughn.
    Hmm, yes. Except Mo Vaughn didn’t go on to win four MVPs and wasn’t a shoo-in Hall of Famer. So Duquette was vindicated by that move roughly one year after it was made.
    So in fact this post could not at all have been written about Vaughn.
    SF stole my point re: Clemens and Pedro. I’m glad it worked out the way it did.

    Paul SF December 14, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • “(and I think that’s a safe assumption at this point)”
    I really don’t feel comfortable with that statement on a website with my name on it. At all.

    YF December 14, 2007, 2:29 pm
  • This will be unpopular, but here goes.
    That’s the word that should be used to describe anyone who thinks the players named in the report didn’t use because the evidence was gathered under duress.
    All baseball players should be ashamed of what they and others have done to their sport. And I hope it shames they so much that this particular brand of cheating never comes back.
    But then again, maybe I am being naive to believe that it will. The Black Sox certainly didn’t stop Pete Rose.
    It’s a sad day to be a fan of the game

    rz-yf December 14, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • I don’t really think Dan Duquette is smiling. I’m not smiling this morning and I don’t even like Roger Clemens. I had a long hard conversation with my 7 year old son last night about what makes a good baseball player and why anyone would take steroids. This is a kid that takes his baseball mitt to bed with him most nights and only does his homework so that he can play catch afterwards. Since we live near San Francisco, he idolizes Barry Bonds and I’ve tried really hard to make him understand how bad steroids are without making Bonds into a villain. While I do believe Bonds – and Clemens – used steroids, I still believe there is a lot in both players for a 7 year old to admire and to emulate. As difficult as it is to tell my son that he should PLAY like these guys but not necessarily LIVE like them, I’d rather do it this way than pretend that all these guys are heroes and turn a blind eye to something that would kill me if my son did.
    No, I don’t believe Duquette is smiling, not if he is a fan of baseball.

    rootbeerfloat December 14, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • well said, RBF

    SF December 14, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • Before crowning Duquette, answer this question honestly:
    If Dan Duquette knew then everything he knows now – meaning both that Clemens would be a dominant multiple-Cy-Young-Award-winning pitcher for so many years after Boston got rid of him AND that Clemens would be using PEDs to achieve this AND that he would get found out like this, would Duquette still have let him go when he did?
    I don’t think he would have. I think he would have gone for the performance and kept him up until 2005/2006, when his performance dropped and right before he would be found out. It’s what they all (i.e. owners and GMs) were doing throughout this era.
    This is not an anti-Sox POV – I think Cashman would have too.

    IronHorse (yf) December 14, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • IH – I’m not sure, knowing all of that, there was a GM anywhere in baseball who would have let him go. I agree with everyone who is glad that he did, mostly because I got to watch Pedro. But I think it’s clear that most if not all of the GMs were well aware of the PED issue and that their main concern was not the guys who were taking them and doing well but those that were taking them and coming up with all kinds of odd injuries.

    rootbeerfloat December 14, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • rbf, I think you are right on. And this is why the whole system is rotten.
    As for those who are dismissive of the report, I can hardly think of a better way to instigate much-needed debate about this issue given the total intransigence – in particular – of the players union. We will see if the recommendations in the report are taken up and that will be yet another indication of whether the issuance of the report was constructive, but I think it already has been.

    IronHorse (yf) December 14, 2007, 3:48 pm
  • I have a hard time believe this report ‘confirms’ or ‘denies’ anything. If you had suspicions about Clemens before, well there you go, your suspicions are supported. But don’t think in any way they are confirmed.
    Take David Justice for example. The report says he bought and used HGH in 2001. Justice came out and said that while his trainer put the needles in his locker, he didn’t take them. He says he hates needles.
    So who, then, should we believe, if you solely have the word of one man against another man?
    The Mitchell Report, on the individual level, is disgraceful in its ineptitude.
    However, if the media, the fans, Bud Selig, and Congress allows it, it can be a positive force for change. Mitchell said players shouldn’t be punished for a couple reasons: reason 1 is that he knows his ‘evidence’ would never, ever hold up under real scrutiny, and MLB would likely come off as extremely foolish. Reason 2 is because individual punishments take away from the larger, much, much more important reason for the report to exist. Baseball, if it cares about stemming the usage of illegal performance enhancements, needs to change now. Focusing on individual punishments, many of which are literally no more than he-said/she-said (well, /he-said), focuses on the exact wrong thing.
    But boy, Bud Selig needs to go. The man who ignored the mess for years should not be the man who is trusted to fix the same mess.

    AndrewYF December 14, 2007, 4:14 pm
  • The Sheriff (Andrews) December 14, 2007, 4:43 pm

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