Carlton Fisk rips Mark McGwire, calls his defense of his home run totals ‘a crock’ – ESPN Boston

by Scott Smith

Updated: January 20, 2010, 6:18 PM ET

Fisk has harsh words for Mac, Clemens

Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk became the latest former player to level criticism at admitted steroids user Mark McGwire. And in the same interview with the Chicago Tribune, Fisk also had strong words for Roger Clemens.

Fisk Try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years. Do you think you feel good when you go out there? [McGwire] had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me.

— Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk

Fisk, who caught 2,226 games spanning 24 seasons for the Boston Red Sox and then the Chicago White Sox, said McGwire’s insistence that steroids did not help him total 583 career home runs is “a crock.”

“[McGwire] says, ‘Well, it doesn’t help eye-and-hand coordination.’ Well, of course it does,” Fisk told the Tribune for Wednesday’s editions. “It allows you more acuity physically and mentally and optically. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better.

“Some of these numbers that are out there are really warped. Should they be considered? You saw how McGwire was viewed in the Hall of Fame voting. If you take the length of time that [steroid users] use that stuff and subtract 15 or 20 home runs a year for those guys, where are their numbers then?”

As part of his admission to using steroids throughout the 1990s, McGwire said last week he believes steroids did not inflate his home run totals and that he took them to heal faster from injuries, which allowed him to remain in the lineup.

“That’s a crock,” Fisk told the Tribune. “There’s a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That’s what it does — performance enhancement. You can be good, but it’s going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average. Some guys who went that route got their five-year, $35 million contracts and now are off into the sunset somewhere. Because once they can’t use [steroids] anymore, they can’t play anymore.”

“Try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years,” Fisk added. “Do you think you feel good when you go out there? [McGwire] had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me.”

Fisk’s outrage wasn’t aimed solely at McGwire. He also was critical of seven-time Cy Young winner Clemens, who has been accused of using PEDs. The former trainer of the 353-game winner has said he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH over a period of several years, a claim Clemens has vehemently denied.

“The reason he got let go from the Red Sox [after the 1996 season] was because he was starting to break down,” Fisk told the Tribune. “His last couple of years in Boston just weren’t very productive, a la ‘The Rocket.’ Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and he wants to show somebody something. Then he gets two consecutive Cy Young Awards [in ’97 and ’98]. Come on, give me a bucket.

“It’s obvious to players. You notice that stuff. You know how hard it is to play the game. You know how hard it is to be productive at any age, but especially at an older age. You see guys who are as productive later on as they were early [in their careers]. It offends guys that stayed clean.”

  • therealacevenom
    January 20, 2010, 10:51 AM ET

    Roger Maris did it without steroids. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. The steroid users do not. They should be banned for life and their records permanently fixed with asterisks.
  • FL Danny Noonan
    January 20, 2010, 10:46 AM ET

    It’s pretty obvious who was taking steroids and who wasn’t. Clemens would have been out of baseball without them. Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, and all the rest should be banned from the game, and records stricken. No asterisks – removed. Because we have a spineless wimp for a commissioner, this is what is left. They ruined baseball. Throw them all out for good. Fisk is dead on correct.
  • dpaye1
    dpaye1 says:
    January 20, 2010, 10:40 AM ET

    You cannot compare greenies with steroids. They were taken for different reasons. Greenies were so players could stay awake, not to enhance their performance. Ironically, they made a players performance worse, not better. That’s something Bouton talks about in “Ball Four”.
  • joedayan
    joedayan says:
    January 20, 2010, 10:28 AM ET

    Remember, just prior to the steroid era was the greenie era. MLB popped speed like it was going out of style.

    If you are a fan and just pay attention to the accomplishment of your “team” the game can still be enjoyable. But make no mistake, the game hasn’t been “pure” since the 1950’s.

I can care less about sports these days, but I always listen to Fisk. He’s preaching the truth.

Posted via web from S. MacKay Smith’s Notes