I see what you are saying, but I don't think he is lying in anyway, he is presented the situation and making assumptions based on the facts.
If in fact what this guy says is true, it may open up a really big can of worms for the Twins and Puckett. To bad Puck was not around to defend himself or to hear his side of the story. I really hope nothing about this story is true.
Last night I was reading The Bill James Gold Mine 2008, enjoying the section on Atypical Seasons, which of course talked in great detail about Norm Cash (1961) and Darin Erstad (2000), who overachieved more than anyone relative to their career numbers. The essay also discussed classic cases of under-achievement and cited Ozzie SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 1979 season, when he managed to get on base 49 fewer times than his lifetime average.
The piece was also filled with engrossing tidbits about other ultra-aberrants, including Miguel Dilone, George Brett, Luis Gonzalez, Brady Anderson and (of course) Barry Lamar Bonds, whose entire career was basically atypical.
James, to his credit, largely demurred about Bonds.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“EverythingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been said about Barry Bonds, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just going to skip that. Other things you might want to know about the study:
#8) The greatest under-achievement in OPS which wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Bonds or the early 1890s was Mark McGwire in 1991 (-157 bases).
#10) The greatest home run over-production in a season that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Bonds was Gonzalez the same season (+33), followed by Brady Anderson, (Roger) Maris, Davey Johnson, Hack Wilson in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ30, Tilly Walker in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ22, Adrian Beltre in 2004, Sammy Sosa in 2001, Hank Greenberg in 1938, Jay Bell in 1999, and Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And finally, item 12, which concludes the essay about Atypical Seasons: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Two of the greatest home run under-producers of all time were teammates: Kirby Puckett and Gary Gaetti in 1984. Puckett hit no home runs (-16), Gaetti hit only 5 (-19). Suggesting the possibility that the TwinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ two World Championships may have been aided by their team being among the first to discoverÃ¢â‚¬Â¦well, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d better not go there. Nor will I point out that Gaetti was bald and had acne and Puckett died young.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maybe IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been on Mars, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never heard PuckettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name mentioned in the conversation about performance-enhancing drugs.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s become an easy target after his death, especially in light of the unflattering revelations about his personal life, e.g., he was arrested for groping a woman in the ladiesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ room of a Minnesota restaurant, but was acquitted at trial. Puckett might have had his cheerful veneer pulled back after his playing days were over, but saying a guy died early because he was using PEDs? I mean, this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ken Caminiti, who was an admitted steroid user. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kirby Puckett, a Hall of Famer. Who else does James think is in Cooperstown via the aid of performance-enhancing drugs? (Bolivian marching powder doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t count, so Molitor gets a pass.)
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one thing to have personal opinions which never see the light of day, but publishing these things about Gaetti and Puckett Ã¢â‚¬â€ without concrete evidence, i.e., more than the citation of statistical anomalies Ã¢â‚¬â€ is irresponsible, especially since Puckett canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rise to his own defense (unless heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hanging out with Ted Williams; in that case, he might be able to rise in about 50 years).
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always enjoyed JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s writing because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s willing to hazard guesses (usually about statistics, not causes of death) and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s man enough to admit when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrong Ã¢â‚¬â€ as he does in every Bill James Handbook, when he revisits his projections from the previous year. But intimating Ã¢â‚¬â€ nay, flat out saying Ã¢â‚¬â€ that Kirby PuckettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stroke was the result of PED use, not the weight gain/hypertension cited by doctors after his death, is incendiary stuff.
Meanwhile, his jab at Gaetti is based onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦baldness and acne? Sure, GaettiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s home-run total in 1984 (5) was 19 below his lifetime average. But 1984 wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t his rookie year (like it was for Puckett). Gaetti came up in 1982 and hit 25 home runs that year, followed by 21 in 1983. After his one-year power shortage in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ84, he hit 20, 34, 32, 28, 19, 16, 18, 12, 14, 12, 35, 23, 17, 19, 9 and then 0. So what happened? Did Gaetti decide to stop doing Ã¢â‚¬Ëœroids for the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ84 season, and then, unhappy with the results, decide to resume use in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ85? Who knows, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not getting into that guessing game, and James shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have either. If he was wise enough to not talk ad nauseum about Barry Bonds, he should have been wise enough to not throw out flimsy statements about Kirby Puckett, Gary Gaetti and the TwinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 1987 and 1991 World Championships. Baseless, prejudiced statements are my bag, Bill. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re better than that.