Yankees Prominently Mentioned in Report
Friday, December 14, 2007
On the night of Oct. 26, 2000, the New York Yankees enjoyed the last moment of a dynasty that defined the 20th century in baseball. Their big-game left-hander from Louisiana, Andy Pettitte, threw seven stellar innings against the New York Mets. They turned to their left-handed specialist, Mike Stanton, to work a perfect eighth inning. When they scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, Stanton was credited with the win in Game 5 of the World Series, granting the storied franchise the most recent of its 26 championships.
In the celebratory pile at Shea Stadium, however, were an inordinate number of players whose names appeared in the report of former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell on the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Perhaps the most prominent name of all -- legendary right-hander Roger Clemens -- famously threw a broken bat at Mets catcher Mike Piazza earlier in the Series, and the report details claims by a former conditioning coach who said he injected Clemens with steroids. Pettitte, also a client of the coach, Brian McNamee, is named as well. The report links Stanton to Kirk J. Radomski, the former clubhouse attendant of the New York Mets who cooperated with federal investigators, as well as those from Mitchell's team, in naming players. Other Yankees -- pitchers Denny Neagle and Jason Grimsley, outfielders David Justice and Jose Canseco, second baseman Chuck Knoblauch -- dotted the report.
Indeed, as Mitchell's report was released yesterday, those around baseball reacted not just to the number of names it contained -- more than 90 -- but the prominence of them and the stages on which they played. No fewer than nine players who played for the Yankees in 2000 appeared in the report, with 16 current or former Yankees mentioned at some point.
"When the names come out, it's one of those things where a lot of people will talk about that, about the names," New York Mets catcher Brian Schneider said. "Now, there's no more wondering about who would be in it."
But officials from most major league clubs said they were still wondering what to make of the report, and many, including the Yankees, declined to comment yesterday.
"I'm holding it right now," said Larry Lucchino, president of the Boston Red Sox. "I'm going to take it home and read it. There's a lot to go through."
Of the players mentioned in the report, only Barry Bonds, the career home run king, appears more often than Clemens, and most of Bonds's appearances come from previous media reports. The San Francisco Giants, Bonds's former club, was one of the few teams to address the substance of the Mitchell commission's work.
"The report clearly demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem," Giants President and Managing General Partner Peter A. Magowan said in a statement. "The Giants accept our fair share of responsibility."
Clemens, however, refuted his involvement yesterday.
"He just emphatically denies everything in there," his attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a telephone interview.
The report, though, offers the testimony of McNamee, a former conditioning coach for the Toronto Blue Jays who later became a personal trainer for Clemens and Pettitte. McNamee told Mitchell's investigators that, in the summer of 1998 following a road trip to Florida and a party at the home of former major league slugger Jose Canseco, Clemens asked McNamee to inject him with Winstrol, a common name for the steroid stanozolol that is derived from testosterone.