NEW YORK (WFAN) — With all the talk of performance enhancing drug allegations hindering the credentials of players up for Baseball Hall of Fame consideration, former major league manager Bobby Valentine dropped a bit of a bombshell on Thursday.
Speaking to WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, Valentine, the former manager of the Texas Rangers, Mets and Boston Red Sox, said he was told to back off investigating his own PED suspicions nearly 30 years ago.
When asked if he knew of any players using PEDs during his years as a major league manager, Valentine first said “I don’t think so,” but then segued to a specific incident during his time in Texas.
“My first thought, inkling, was back in the mid-1980s when Ruben Sierra came to my spring training and he had gained 30 pounds over the winter and I didn’t think he was a big weight-lifter. So, I tried to figure it out, investigate it, and then people told me it wasn’t some place I should be, so I never even looked again. If it was ever brought up, to tell you the truth, I said, please, bring it up in my presence.”
When asked by Roberts who, specifically, told him to back off, the organization or Sierra’s people, Valentine responded, “Whomever, it was a long time ago.”
Sierra, who played for nine teams during his 20-year career, played under Valentine in Texas from 1986-92. There is no proof beyond whispers that the former slugging outfielder has ever been linked to PEDs.
The issue of PEDs was back in the public eye on Wednesday when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America released the voting for the Hall of Fame’s 2014 class.
Controversy over how to evaluate stars tainted by the Steroids Era continued to impact the vote totals of players with stellar statistics. In their second appearances on the ballot, Roger Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4, Barry Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sammy Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2.
Appearing for the eighth time, Mark McGwire fell from 16.9 to 11.0. Rafael Palmeiro will be dropped from future ballots after falling to 25 votes and 4.4 percent — below the 5 percent threshold necessary to remain eligible for next year’s vote.
In his second appearance on the ballot, former Mets great Mike Piazza finished with 62.2 percent of the vote, despite being thought of by many as the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the game. His candidacy has likely been hurt by the Steroids Era as well, even though the case against him has consisted of little more than whispers, speculation and apparent bacne. Last year, former Mets general manager Steve Phillips called his snubbing “a travesty.”
Piazza has denied using banned steroids.
“I just don’t understand what part of ‘no’ people don’t understand,” Piazza told WFAN radio last February. “I guess it’s just something that, unfortunately, is a black mark on the game. And I hate the fact that it happened in the game because I’ll always love the game. It’s given me everything.”
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