By: Mike McShane (special reprint from Frat House Sports)
Since the end of August I’ve been cohosting a three-day per week sports-talk Internet based radio show, Fan Junkies Radio. We’ve been fortunate to have some interesting guests. We’ve had sports media types like Kenny Albert; former NBA player Chucky Brown; former NHL players Dan Hinote and Adam Graves; and former Phils MLB player Eric Valent.
As part of a planned “MLB Preseason Week” we concluded the week on Friday, February 8 with former 8-team MLB catcher, Kelly Stinnett who played from 1994 to 2007 including a 7-game “cup-of-coffee” with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003.
The interview began pedestrian enough where Jonathan Ragus and I queried Kelly on his career; his hopes for coaching or managing in the future in the big leagues; his work with youth baseball in Arizona through his non-profit organization; and, his anticipation for the major teams this coming season.
It got really interesting however near the conclusion when I asked Stinnett about the recent allegations of PED usage in MLB coming out of the Florida clinic; what it was like to play during the height of the “steroid era”; and, what he’s doing to educate young athletes.
Stinnett responded by citing Melky Cabrera:
“Melky got that big deal from Toronto. That’s a joke really, in my mind. He got busted, and now he’s got 17 million dollars for having one good year. To some of the guys that’s busting their butt every day and done it the right way that’s not fair because he’s taking money out of somebody else’s pocket that did it the right way . . . as a fan of the game why let this guy keep going?”
A few minutes later Stinnett addressed those that used PED’s during his era:
“You look back at all the catchers that have done it, it irritates me as well because I know these guys took money out of my pocket during my playing days, but you live with it, you deal with it, and you keep plugging along.”
I asked him how that should affect Hall of Fame statuses, particularly in light of the current classes coming-up where many former “steroid era” names appear:
“Anybody with any type of tainted playing career, or associated, or verbally said ‘I did them’, keep them out. It’s a cut and dry thing. Just ‘No.’ You did it. You don’t go to the Hall of Fame. . . Don’t even put their names on the ballot anymore. There’s a trickle down affect. Let’s not even put their names on their anymore and that way the voters can focus on the guys that did it the right way.”
It was truly refreshing to hear a former player speak on this topic without fear and as unencumbered by what might be politically correct in this era of PED-controversy tainted sports. I send many thanks and a stadium-filled “hats off” to Kelly Stinnett for speaking as a “fan of the game.”
(All of Kelly Stinnett’s comments about PED usage in MLB have been isolated from his much longer interview, and can be heard in their original audio form by clicking the YouTube video below.)