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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What happened to the Buck Weaver precedent: those with knowledge of wrong doing are also guilty?

Black Sox: some thoughts.  Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why don't we apply the commissioner Landis standard, which seems to be that of the U.S. military academy honor code:

"A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

Buck Weaver is referenced below as the player who "sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers".

August 3, (1921 commissioner Kenesaw Mountain) Landis issued a statement:

Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player that throws a ball game; no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ball game; no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing ball games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball. Of course, I don't know that any of these men will apply for reinstatement, but if they do, the above are at least a few of the rules that will be enforced. Just keep in mind that, regardless of the verdict of juries, baseball is competent to protect itself against crooks, both inside and outside the game.

Weaver was the eighth man out in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, the biggest in North American team sports history even though Weaver did not take money.

Cruel and unusual punishment: Bud Selig's death sentence of Alex Rodriguez.  Monday, January 19, 2015

Lifetime ban by the first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, of the seven Chicago White Sox players who took money from gamblers to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series: Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Chick Gandil, Happy Felsch, Lefty Williams, Swede Risberg, Fred McMullin; Buck Weaver was also banned because he knew of the conspiracy but did not report it.  Sort of like Derek Jeter and many others who did not report teammates who were using performance enhancing drugs (PED) because the enhanced performance of those teammates benefitted the entire team.  If the Buck Weaver precedent had been applied, then Selig would have had a much stricter PED policy but one with collateral damage Selig would not accept.  Selig had the same aversion to vacating wins of teams with PED users, another policy that would have made Seligs PED enforcement quite different...

The death penalty should only be invoked for the ultimate offense: throwing games, i.e., intentionally losing, and for associated acts such as gambling.  Whatever Alex Rodriguez did he did not deserve the death penalty, not even a suspension for a full season.

The fear of this precedent may have contributed to cleaning up baseball and driving out the influence of gamblers trying to fix games.  However, has it actually been applied to anyone other than Buck Weaver?  Even the fear that it might be applied has all but disappeared, especially during the steroid hysteria of the last 20 years.  Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) became pervasive but the only player who spoke up about it was Jose Canseco and that was when he was promoting a tell all book after his playing career was over.

But what if a player wanted to report PED use?  Suppose that player had Tony La Russa as his manager in Oakland or St. Louis?

Tony La Russa managed Mark McGwire (twice). So why is La Russa a Hall of Famer but not McGwire?  Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tony La Russa managed Mark McGwire in both Oakland and St. Louis.  McGwire was in disgrace over his admitted use of performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids, when La Russa hired McGwire to be his batting coach in St. Louis.  Perhaps an act of kindness, perhaps also an attempt to rehabilitate McGwire for his pending Hall of Fame candidacy and to inoculate La Russa himself as an enabler for the day when he too would be a Hall of Fame candidate as a manager.

La Russa's career as manager was enhanced by drugs, those used by his players.  How come La  Russa is not held accountable by the baseball writers who vote for the Hall of Fame?  ...

... in Oakland...  The top two were the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.  Canseco was Rookie of the Year (RoY) in 1986, MVP in 1988 leading the AL with 42 HR, 124 RBI, 170 OPS+.  McGwire was RoY in 1987, setting a rookie record  with 49 home runs (HR); 33 first half, 16 second half;  21 home, 28 road.  So unless you believe that McGwire was corrupted by Canseco in his first season, McGwire clearly had the ability to hit 60 HR even before his physique exceeded that of Superman and/or Hercules.  Maybe chemicals helped boost him to 70 in 1998 in St. Louis, playing again for La Russa, but even that is just conjecture.

La Russa's real bad boy was Canseco who broke open the steroid story by writing a book.  Certainly 99% of the baseball writers were too dumb and/or lazy to bother with that issue when it was actually happening.  It's only now many years later that they condemn not only the one big time slugger (McGwire) to admit his use of banned stuff and to make an act of contrition, but also those they merely suspect like Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell ...

... plausible that La Russa knew all along but certainly by 1998 when McGwire set the season HR record.  ...  Isn't La Russa also culpable and benefiting from the fruit of the poisonous tree?  ...

I have long advocated vacating wins and disqualifying teams from the tournament if the league insists on punishing players for PED use.  The hypocrisy of the BBWAA may peak when it votes on the Hall of Fame candidacy of the steroid era commissioner: Allan Huber "Bud" Selig.  It's pointless to hold only the players accountable.  The system is skewed toward using PED.  Increasing millions of dollars are being offered to players who would be fools to not at least consider breaking the rules.  The cost/benefit analysis is overwhelming.  It's too tempting to too many.

Buck Weaver, banished, May 6, 1927
by Chicago Daily News
via Wikimedia Commons 
What do you think?  If Buck Weaver were playing for Tony La Russa in those years and had personal knowledge of Canseco and/or McGwire using PED, would Weaver have reported that to La Russa?  And if Weaver did report it as required in the Landis ruling, what would have happened?

Allan Huber "Bud" Selig presided over the PED era and there is no indication that Selig did anything to encourage a player to "promptly tell his club about it" to quote from the Landis ruling.  If a player did report wrong doing of any kind, such as a pitcher intentionally hitting a batter, how would the reporting player be treated?  As a tattle tale, an informer, a rat?  There's a players union now and the issue is more complicated because of it but in recent years the union has caved in and has been giving away PED concessions while receiving nothing in return.  You would think in that environment it would be basic common sense to require players to divulge what they know.

It seems far more likely that Selig and the others in power did not really want to know, that they secretly want the players to do whatever is necessary to perform at the highest possible level.  It was the PED era, not the Selig era, that made the most money for owners and players alike.  It's in everyone's best financial interests to maintain that dynamic.

Landis v. Selig: honor code v. none.  Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No honest player wanted to meet the same fate as Buck Weaver ... After Landis' unforgiving treatment of the popular and basically honest Weaver ... once prospectively crooked players knew that honest players would no longer shield them, the scandals stopped.

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