Thursday September 29, 1988
The finger-pointing in the aftermath of Ben Johnson’s Olympic disqualification for steroid use was aimed at Oakland outfielder Jose Canseco during the A’s visit to the Dome.
Thomas Boswell, sports columnist for the Washington Post, called Canseco “the most conspicuous example of a player who made himself great on steroids.” Boswell made his comments to CBS newscaster Charlie Rose early Wednesday morning on the network’s “Newswatch.”
“It was an ignorant statement, and usually I don’t pay attention to ignorant statements,” Canseco said Thursday at the Dome after the A’s beat the Twins 6-2. “There was no background and no basis to it.
“He said I gained 50 pounds over a summer; that’s ridiculous. He’s not a very knowledgeable person. I have no idea where he got that stuff from. I was surprised as much as anybody else was.”
Canseco is the leading candidate for the American League MVP Award after becoming the first player in major league history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season. Canseco told reporters yesterday that he has seen a partial transcript of the program and plans to confer with his agent, Dennis Gilbert, to pursue possible legal action.
“It’s really ignorant, not true and very slanderous,” Canseco said. “If he thinks I got to the major leagues because I used steroids, he’s crazy, because I’ve never used the stuff.”
Officials of both the Twins and A’s said yesterday that they were aware of no major league disciplinary policy governing steroid use, but both teams routinely counsel players against using the drug.
-Dennis Brackin, Star Tribune 9/30/1988
Canseco went 2-for-4 in the game with a two RBI double in the sixth inning that represented the final scoring in the 6-2 Oakland victory.
Tom Herr went 3-for-5 for the Twins, continuing a stretch of 11 games in which he has hit .356/.431/.444, much closer to the numbers the Twins were looking for than his .256/.352/.320 season mark to this point. Herr was sitting at .241/.340/.301 after play on September 17, the game prior to the 11-game stretch referenced above. Overall, it has been a disappointing season for Herr, who will likely play elsewhere in 1989.
“The period of adjustment after the trade was hard on me,” he said. “It has been a year of starting over. I’ve started over four times: the start of the season; then the trade and I had to start over; I got hurt and had to start over; then I was out a week sick and had to start over… . It was one thing after another and I haven’t been able to adjust.”
Meanwhile, Herr has heard about the Phillies’ interest in him and how they are experimenting with Juan Samuel in center field to clear a spot for him at second next season. The only question seems to be whether the Phillies will acquire him via trade or wait to sign him as a free agent, thereby giving up a draft choice.
“The opportunity to go to Philadelphia probably would be the ideal situation,” Herr said. “I’d be 80 miles from home and able to be with my family. That’s important to me.”
What the Phillies are willing to offer in terms of salary is unknown. Herr realizes he hasn’t had his best season.
“I wasn’t able to show what I could do in the American League, where they hadn’t seen me play. People in the National League know,” he said. “The only thing that is really disturbing is that I haven’t driven in many runs. The last three years in St. Louis I’ve been an RBI man. But my role changed this year. I walked a lot and my on-base percentage was pretty good. I set the table for Puck and Hrbek.”
A crowd favorite with the Cardinals, Herr knows that many of the fans in Minnesota are ambivalent toward him.
“Generally speaking, they’ve been rather cool to me,” he said. “There is a small section that really never accepted me, and I still hear them yelling things. Another group has cheered me all the way. Most don’t know what to think.”
The Twins will wrap up the 1988 season with a three-game weekend series against the Angels in the Metrodome.
Player of the Game
Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA Oakland Athletics 159 102 57 0 .642 - 786 611 Minnesota Twins 159 88 71 0 .553 14.0 738 660 Kansas City Royals 158 83 75 0 .525 18.5 699 638 California Angels 159 75 84 0 .472 27.0 702 750 Chicago White Sox 158 69 89 0 .437 32.5 621 752 Texas Rangers 158 68 90 0 .430 33.5 616 723 Seattle Mariners 158 67 91 0 .424 34.5 652 723