Mark McGwire finally came clean with the truth.
The “Bic Mac” was not different to former performance-enhancing drugs users Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz.
In the long run, they have to admit it–they were cheaters.
At least, McGwire called it the most “regrettable mistake” in his life.
The question nowadays is “who’s next?”
Next should be Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa.
Both have yet to divulge their personal transgressions.
For years both former sluggers had been named in multiple reports for their steroid use. They know they were not clean, and they know we know it.
Palmeiro and Sosa should know this is their time. It is. Both they know they have to clean their images to have the chance to be immortalized someday in Cooperstown.
Palmeiro quietly built numbers over a 20-year career that can be compared with Latino greats Roberto Clemente and Rod Carew.
The Cuban-born first baseman was a four-time All-Star; three-time Gold Glover, and two-time Silver Slugger.
He ended his career as member of the exclusive 500-home run and 3,000-hit club and is only one of four players in history to be member of both.
However, Palmeiro has never been forgotten for his actions at a Congressional hearing in 2005; while under oath, he pointed his finger, stating “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Same with Sosa.
Most fans probably have forgotten that he was the biggest player ever after Ernie Banks in a Cub uniform. He was the “Bambino Latino” from the Dominican Republic that electrified fans for many seasons Wrigley Field.
He and McGwire were the men who gave us that magical 1998 season.
Sosa and McGwire were back-to-back in the pursuit of Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61. McGwire wound up with 70 and Sosa with 66.
No doubt his final career numbers are bound for the Hall of Fame.
However, what many fans remember is Sosa with an interpreter telling Congress after many years in the States he did not speak English and he should be excused.
As with McGwire, both Palmeiro and Sosa were liars in the infamous 2005 Congressional hearing on baseball and steroids.
Please, no more lies.
According to substantial media reports, Palmeiro and Sosa are not the only Latinos that should step forward for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Juan Gonzalez, a two-time American League MVP and two-time American League home run champion, had been mentioned often to have used steroids and human growth hormone mainly during his glory days as a Texas Ranger.
Gonzalez is eligible next year in the Hall of Fame ballot, and it should be his time to speak up too.
Other active Latino players highly mentioned by media reports are Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Magglio Ordoñez, and José Guillén.
It has been reported that, in Latin America, the reaction of the McGwire news was muted and taken with little fuss.
Probably very true.
South of the border, baseball-loving fans want their heroes to have the courage to come clean on the use of controlled substances.
They want that Palmeiro, Sosa, and many others to at least make the attempt to help close the chapter of the so-called steroid era in Major League Baseball.
Let’s hope they make it soon.
Every fan knows them. They are cheer. Some times not.
Albert Pujols is known as “El Hombre” in St. Louis and possibly could win his third career National League MVP award.
Felix Hernandez is known as “El Rey” in Seattle and possibly could win his first career Cy Young award.
Elvis Andrus is regarded the next best shortstop in the model of Omar Vizquel in the majors. Fans of the Texas Rangers are waiting to see if he will be this season’s American League Rookie of the Year.
Fans know many more of them and have high regards of them.
Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins is this season’s National League batting champion; superstar New York Yankees Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada; Carlos Lee in Houston and Miguel Cabrera in Detroit.
Of course, there is always in Dodger Blue Manny being Manny in Los Angeles and new names to follow in the other side of Los Angeles’ Angels, Kendry Morales.
All of them Latinos.
They all come from the passionate countries of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Venezuela.
We know them today but through history all this countries have supplied the best of the best to the majors.
As of the end of the 2009 season, these are the top Latinos by country:
Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 10,472
Dominican Republic: Sammy Sosa, 8,813
Panama: Rod Carew, 9,315
Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 9,454
Venezuela: Luis Aparicio, 10,230
Cuba: Tony Oliva, .304
Dominican Republic: Albert Pujols, .334
Panama: Rod Carew, .328
Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente, .317
Venezuela: Magglio Ordoñez, .312
Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 3,020
Dominican Republic: Julio Franco, 2,586
Panama: Rod Carew, 3,053
Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 3,000
Venezuela: Omar Vizquel, 2,704
Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 585
Dominican Republic: Manny Ramirez, 531
Panama: Rod Carew, 445
Puerto Rico: Ivan Rodriguez, 547
Venezuela: Bobby Abreu, 483
Cuba: Tony Taylor, 86
Dominican Republic: Juan Samuel, 102
Panama: Rod Carew, 112
Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 166
Venezuela: Luis Aparicio, 92
Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 569
Dominican Republic: Sammy Sosa, 609
Panama: Carlos Lee, 307
Puerto Rico: Carlos Delgado, 473
Venezuela: Andres Galarraga, 399
Runs Batted In
Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 1,835
Dominican Republic: Manny Ramirez, 1,788
Panama: Carlos Lee, 1,103
Puerto Rico: Carlos Delgado, 1,512
Venezuela: Andres Galarraga, 1,425
Cuba: Luis Tiant, 229
Dominican Republic: Juan Marichal, 243
Puerto Rico: John Candelaria, 177
Venezuela: Johan Santana, 122
All-Time Latino Wins Leader is Nicaragua’s Dennis Martinez, 245
Cuba: Mike Cuellar, 3.14
Dominican Republic: Juan Marichal, 2.89
Puerto Rico: John Candelaria, 3.13
Venezuela: Johan Santana, 3.13
All-Time Latino ERA Leader is Panama’s Mariano Rivera, 2.25
Cuba: Danys Baez, 114
Dominican Republic: Jose Mesa, 321
Puerto Rico: Roberto Hernandez, 326
Venezuela: Francisco Rodriguez, 243
All-Time Latino ERA Leader is Panama’s Mariano Rivera, 526
Once upon a time Puerto Ricans used to chat about just two boricuas Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda being in baseball Hall of Fame. If dream comes true like a fairy tale story this same time around next year we can be praising two more.
That fantasy could be reality next December when members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will receive ballots that list candidates eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
With historical and stats records furnished to them and with their own perception of greatness to back up their judgement, there should be great hope in Puerto Rico the writers wii consider our own Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez.
In my opinion, their career records should assure them of gaining acceptance and earning plaques in Cooperstown and why not in their first year of eligibility.
Roberto Alomar was one of the biggest stars and arguably the best second baseman in the history of the game. He was a 12-time All-Star, 11 consecutive seasons from 1991-2001, in 17 major league seasons. In the same career time he won 10 Gold Gloves, the most by a second baseman ever. In his prime he was doing everything right at second base a la Ozzie Smith did at shortstop or Brooks Robinson at third base.
Going strictly by his offense, his numbers are hall of fame too. He finished his career with a .300 batting average and among hall-of-fame comparisons he had more career hits and RBI than two other Hall-of-Fame second basemen Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg. Not enough ? In Alomar’s case, the most basic statistics should serve. Among all second basemen, Alomar ranks sixth in hits, seventh in runs scored, 10th in RBIs and fourth in steals. When he called it quits he was just 276 hits shy of 3,000 hits.
Among his hardware let’s not forget he was an American League Championship Series MVP (1992); All Star Game MVP (1998), two-time World Series member (1992,1993) and a four-time Silver Slugger Award. A three-time Toronto’ Player of the Year, franchise that inducted him into their Blue Jays Level of Excellence group last year and a two-time Cleveland Indians’ Player of the Year.
On the other hand, Edgar Martinez accolades are very,very long. To start, when as soon Martinez retired Major League Baseball recognized him as the greatest designated hitter of all time and renamed its yearly Designated Hitter Award as the Edgar Martinez Award. And its qualifications are his own numbers.
The 18-season veteran is only one of six in all history to have finished its career to have a batting average of .300 or more, on-base percentage of .400 or more, a slugging percentage of .500 or more, 2000 hits, 300 home runs, 500 doubles, and 1000 walks.
He is the Mariners’ all-time leader in hits (2,247), doubles (514), walks (1,283), and games played (2,055). He is also among the top 10 in other categories including at-bats (7,213), runs (1,219), home runs (309), RBI (1,261), total bases (3,718) and extra base hits (838).
He was among many recognitions a 7-time All Star, 5-time Silver Slugger, 2-time American League batting champion (1992, 1995) and won the Roberto Clemente Award (2004). He was also a two-time Mariners Player of the Year.
By the way, let’s not forget Edgar is “Señor Mariner”” not only in Seattle but in the whole Pacific Northwest. He was so cherished the Mariners waived the waiting period so they could induct him into the team hall of fame after his 2004 retirement and on the south side of Safeco Field named a street after him. Moreover, the Mariners have not issued Martínez’ #11 jersey since he retired.
Hope December arrives soon.