Sunday, November 24, 2013

Drugs have always been in baseball

Twitter was quite alive last night first with the news of Brian McCann signing with the Yankees and shortly after with the news that, apparently, Jhonny Peralta is set to sign a big deal with the Cardinals. The latter provided much more irony and angst since Peralta got caught up in the Biogenesis scandal and lost fifty games of his season in 2013. Despite paying his penalty, the common comment was that PEDs work if you look at how rich Peralta just made himself. I do not get all the hysteria over this. After all drugs have been in baseball forever.

The thought for this article came to me while at watching an Adam LaRoche clip. It occurred to me that drugs were all over the sport. We have Phil Coke and Brett Pill and even the star of the World Series is called, "Big Poppy." So why are we hating on Jhonny Peralta? Heck, even one of his former teammates, Anibal(ic) Sanchez was named after a steroid. But the point is, these guys just follow a long list of drugs in the game.

For example, there have always been "bennies" in the game. It is stimulating to know that Bennie Tate played in the 1920s and 30s, Bennie Warren played in the 30s and 40s and Bennie Daniels played in the 50s and 60s. So bennies have always been around.

And who could forget Bob Greenwood back in the 1950s? Greenwood had a successful cup of coffee in 1954 and then got bombed out in one game in 1955 and never saw the Major Leagues again. He did pitch several more years in the minors. The 6'5" right-hander seemed to have a pitcher's build. His nickname was, "Greenie." If you want to know why, just look to the right at his picture. Look at those eyes!

Again, this goes way back. Heck, back in the 1880s and 90s, there was Ducky Hemp. The outfielder played two partial years and looked totally lost. Again, all you have to do is look at his picture on the left to know there was a problem.

Then, as soon as the century ended and we get into the early "nineteen-aughts," we find an infielder/outfielder named Frank LaPorte. Obviously, he had a traumatic upbringing being born with the nickname, "Breyfogle." I mean, what the heck is that? So it is understandable that his nickname is forever known as, "Pot." And if you click on his name that is linked and look at his page at his picture, you will certainly see that he was a stoner.

And speaking of stoners, a guy named Lil Stoner played in the 1920s and 30s and Tobi Stoner just played recently in the last decade. So you see, you'll never rid the game of this stuff.

And it hasn't just been weed and amphetamines that have been a problem. From 1905 to 1920, a guy named Fred Luderus played in the Majors. You don't think it a bit suspicious that his nickname was, "Ludy?" And during Ludy's playing days, Frank Ludes played in the minors.

And just so you don't think Phil Coke is alone, the 1950s and 60s saw a Jimmie Coker roaming Major League fields. And if that wasn't bad enough, a harder version exists too. And he is a catcher in the Hall of Fame! Chicago loved Ray Schalk even though his nickname was, "Cracker." You have another Hall of Fame player named Chief Bender.

And there were a lot of different drugs involved. There was Scat Metha and then there was Herb Hash, who had an appropriate first name. In the early days of the Pacific Coast League, there was a guy named Louis Smacker.

And there is another drug that people think is quite modern. But it goes way back. In fact, Molly Moore played in 1875 and soon after, there was Molly Craft.

How many players named Adam have there been? You cannot fool me. That was a slang term for Meth. And what about all the Reds? What about Angels? Is that not a nickname for PCP?

Charlie Grimm played for twenty years early in the 20th Century and then managed. His nickname was Jolly Cholly. We know what "cholly" is a nickname for, so it was no wonder, Charlie was jolly.

And what about one of my all time favorites, Dooley Womack? There have been five minor league players with the name, Downer. There historically has been seven minor league players named Dube and two named Dubee. So it is not just a Major League problem.

I think I have proven my point. PEDs may be the latest problem. But the game has always been full of drugs. Geez, there was a guy who played from 1913 until 1918 named, Hugh High. So this has always been there. Get over it already.

Disclaimer: Obviously, this is all a joke and there is no intention to indict any of these players for actual drug use.

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