Maury Brown has a list of all of the PED suspensions since the drug testing regime came into play. There have been sixteen major and minor league players suspended for drugs in 2010 (all but Volquez were minor leaguers actually). Of those, ten were pitchers. Indeed, since the advent of drug testing, the majority of drug suspensions have been pitchers.
Why then, do we continue to discount all of the offensive records that were set during the Steroids Era, and say so little about the pitching marks? Or, for that matter, why don’t we think of the offensive marks as greater, as opposed to lesser accomplishments, given that they were achieved against pitchers who were cheating at higher rates than hitter were?
My guess: people have a much greater sentimental attachment to the slugging records, the most significant of which were last set in the era of Maris, Mantle and Aaron (i.e. when the modern outraged sportswriter was a kid), so that it’s much more satisfying to assume that the new sluggers are the illegitimate ones, not the pitchers.
Going just by the numbers, however, it seems that the juiced hitters who have become the receptacle of our collective scorn were facing an awful lot of juiced pitchers.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.