Frank Robinson, Hypocrite?
Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson believes that Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro, who recently served a ten-day suspension after testing positive for a banned steroid, should have his statistics wiped from the record books.
I've written about this before; senator Jim Bunning, a former Major League pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 who is widely believed to have cheated on the mound, said the same thing while grandstanding at congressional steroid hearings earlier this year. (Yes, steroids in professional sports are more important, apparently, then getting to the bottom of why we're torturing political prisoners or why our president lied to get us into an oil war.)
But Frank Robinson saying this stuff opens up an even gooier can of worms. Robinson, a Hall of Fame outfielder who hit 586 home runs in a 21-year career, was a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 1966 through 1971 and played on World Series winners in '66 and '70.
Robinson was one of the toughest players of his day, a black man who admirably stood up for himself. He was also a "take no prisoners" baserunner and a true team leader.
He also played on a team that used amphetamines as if they were Life Savers.
In Jim Bouton's baseball diary of the 1969 season, Ball Four, Seattle first baseman Don Mincher (teammate of pitcher John O'Donoghue, who got greenies from his former teammates in Baltimore for the Seattle club) said, "Just about the whole Baltimore club takes them."
For some reason, nobody's been asking Frank Robinson about whether he'd return his World Series rings or allow his statistics to be wiped from the records because his teammates took greenies. (And certainly no reporter covering the Nats has had the temerity to actually ask Robinson if he used illegal drugs while he was playing to give himself an extra edge.)
So I'll do it now, even though I know Robinson will never see this article. Frank, did you take illegal drugs while you were playing? Come on, big guy. Let's hear it.