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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Worst Yankee behavior: Ruth, Ford or Rodriguez?

Babe Ruth

Whitey Ford

Alex Rodriguez

Those are your choices.  Figured out why?  Each violated the law and/or baseball rules and behaved unethically.  Ruth is the all time Yankee.  Ford is the all time Yankee pitcher.  Both are in the Hall of Fame, which uses character for about half its criteria.  Let's take a brief look at each.

Ruth: Where do we begin?  Ruth was suspended multiple times.  The first commissioner suspended Ruth the first seven weeks of the 1922 season for violating a barnstorming rule.  Ruth threw dirt on one umpire, threw a punch at another umpire.  Ruth went into the stands after a fan.  The Yankees also suspended Ruth because of Ruth's insubordination to manager Miller Huggins.

But to the matter that relates to the recent disciplinary suspensions for use of performance enhancing drugs (PED) by current commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig.

While he never failed a drug test Babe Ruth supposedly bought and consumed illegal intoxicating liquor.

The 18th amendment to the U.S. constitution introduced what was popularly called prohibition, i.e., a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol from 1920 to 1933.  In October 1919 Congress passed the Volstead Act, actually the National Prohibition Act, to implement the intent of the 18th amendment.  wikipedia:

It provided further that "no person shall manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, or furnish any intoxicating liquor except as authorized by this act." It did not specifically prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors. The act defined intoxicating liquor as any beverage containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume and superseded all existing prohibition laws in effect in states that had such legislation...  Prohibition came into force at midnight on January 17, 1920 … March of that year (1933), Congress passed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which legalized "3.2 beer"

The New York Yankees were owned from 1915 to 1939 by a Fifth Avenue beer baron and former Congressman, Jacob Ruppert, who sued over this legislation, a last ditch effort to kill the amendment before enactment.  The case was appealed directly to the US Supreme Court; Ruppert lost in a 5-4 decision.  Prohibition started eleven days after the decision.  Some people have the misconception that 3.2 beer was legal during prohibition but apparently it was not.

Ruth's first season playing for Ruppert's Yankees was covered by prohibition, which lasted until 1933.  Ruth's final season with the Yankees was 1934.  Almost all of Ruth's time with the Yankees was during prohibition.

While Ruth's consumption of intoxicating liquor may not have violated the law, he took a performance decreasing drug (PDD).

Ford:  Whitey scuffed and otherwise doctored the baseball while he was pitching, not for every pitch but often enough for it be an issue.  Ford also wore a ring, supposedly his wedding ring, which was sharp enough to cut the ball.  Ford was aided in violating baseball rules by Yankee catcher Elston Howard who would pretend to lose his balance when trying to return the ball to Ford and would grind the ball into the ground first.  Howard would also cut the ball against his sharpened shin guard buckles.

Ford also rubbed a substance supposedly used on horses on his arm: dimethyl sulfoxide.  This according to teammate Jim Bouton.

Ford violated baseball rules regarding actual play of the game on the field.

Rodriguez: A-Rod appears to have violated the law and also baseball rules by using PED.


Ruth: use of PDD; reduced on field effectiveness; many games missed both from suspensions and illness
Ford: violated rules of play; improved on field effectiveness; no games missed
Rodriguez: illegal use of PED; improved on field effectiveness; no games missed

OK, Yankee fans, which behavior offends you the most?  Why?

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