In an interview, Towers discussed his guilt about doing nothing to stop the abuse. He hedged on some things and threw qualifiers, but his words were a clear indictment of baseball insiders’ complicity when ballplayers came back from the devastating 1994 strike all muscled up and dying to please:
“We all realized that there were things going on within the game that were affecting the integrity of the game. I think we all knew it, but we didn’t say anything about it.”
At another point, he added, “I hate to be the one voice for the other 29 GMs, but I’d have to imagine that all of them, at one point or other, had reason to think that a player on their ballclub was probably using ... “
Within days, Selig called Towers for a clarification and got one. The Padres GM, an MLB spokesman said, “assured us that he didn’t know. He said he suspected.”
Now it’s up to Mitchell to separate facts from rumors. Fans have believed all along players of this era were juiced. Although it’s anybody’s guess how many names the panel will hand over, there’s every reason to think Mitchell will deliver a credible number on how many.
It will embarrass baseball for eternity, but that’s what the suits in charge and the counterfeiters in uniforms deserve. We need context to decide how honestly to rank any achievement. Blacks and Latins were excluded from baseball when Babe Ruth set the home run mark that Bonds is ingloriously about to blow by, and rumors of widespread use of amphetamines were around when Hank Aaron set his.
Bonds’ overreaching ambition to be recognized as the best player ever won’t be realized, precisely because of the era he played in.
HBT: Angel Pagan hit the first inside-the-park walk-off home run in nearly nine years to lift the Giants to a 6-5 win over the Rockies.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.