Sunday, February 18, 2024

Leaders and Cheaters

     Well, the name sounded catchy, so why not? Today on Leaders and Cheaters, cards will be shown of three players who led their teams, either as a captain to something special or to a championship. It will also feature three cheaters, specifically steroid users (because I have the most cards of them). You may also learn a history lesson in the doing.

Let's start with the admirable, the Leaders.

    Buster Posey played an excellent career from 2009 through 2021, all with San Francisco's Giants. In that span, the catcher won an MVP, a Gold Glove, 5 Silver Sluggers, and was an All-Star seven times. But how was he a leader? Posey led the Giants to their first World Series Championship since 1954. In fact, Buster and Bochy led the team to three World Series Championships (2010, 2012, 2014). He holds a .302 career batting average and 1500 hits, and is probably heading to the Hall of Fame.

    Corey Seager is the leader of the Texas Rangers, who rode to their first World Series Championship in franchise history last season. Seager and Bochy defeated the Diamondbacks in five games to bring the trophy to Texas. Corey also won a World Series with the Dodgers. He owns two World Series rings and two WS MVP awards, so he's a pretty qualified leader.

    Rocco Baldelli played from 2003 through 2010 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Boston Red Sox. He wasn't bad, hitting to a career .278 batting average and .766 OPS, and was third in Rookie of the Year voting in '03. But now Baldelli holds the title of manager for the Minnesota Twins. In his five years of managing, Baldelli has won 53% of his games, including 101 in his first-ever season as a manager, for which he won the Manager of the Year award. He's obviously done a pretty good job, because he's been keeping the sketchy team over .500 since he's been managing them.

    And now for the cheaters. The criteria for these players are as follows: all they have to do in order to land a starting spot on the Cheaters list is break an MLB rule like using PEDs or something, and there must be good evidence that they did it.

    Sammy Sosa was a rightfielder who played from 1989-2007. Through the first four seasons of his career, Sosa had a .234/.282/.380 slash line. He never hit more than 15 home runs in that time. In the next three seasons, Sosa averaged about 31 home runs and a .274 batting average. In his next eight seasons, Sosa hit 40, 36, 66, 63, 50, 64, 49 and 40, which seems extremely suspicious. He won the MVP in '98, when he hit 66 homers, drove in 158, and scored 134. Though he always denied using PEDs, he allegedly tested positive for them in 2003, and the stats would suggest he was using them. 

    Mark McGwire was the player to beat the 1961 record set by Roger Maris for home runs in a season (61). The record was broken in 1998 when he mashed 70 homers. While it's insane to be hitting so many home runs, McGwire had been doing it his whole career, hitting 49 in just his second season (his first official one). He retired with 583 home runs, averaging 50 per 162 games throughout his career. However, McGwire did admit to using steroids, and never received more than 23.7% of the vote on the Hall of Fame ballot. 

    Jose Canseco played with Mark McGwire on the A's, and the pair was known as the 'Bash Brothers'. It seems that from the start of his career he was hitting bombs, and has a career home run average of 40 in 162 games (not as many as McGwire, but still impressive). He retired with 466 homers and a career .266/.353/.515 slash line. However, he admitted using steroids, telling his mother before she died, 'For you I'm gonna become the best player in the world.' He also wrote a book, Juiced, chock-full of steroid accusations on players, some of whom he didn't have evidence for. Rather than the 'Bash Brothers,' maybe they should be known as the 'Trouble Twins.' (Courtesy one of my brothers)

    This has been the first edition of Leaders and Cheaters. I will be coming out with more in time. 



  1. As an A's fan... I've hoarded way more cards of the Bash Brothers than I'd like to admit.

  2. I think it's safe to say that Jose broke a lot of fans hearts by turning out the way he did.