Dan Duquette On Clemens, Steroids, And Juiced Balls
Dan Duquette made a lot of smart draft choices and player acquisitions during his run as an MLB General Manager, but many point to his boo boos in Boston as his legacy. Even though he acquired many of the players that helped the Red Sox get their rings in ‘04, many point and laugh because Duquette let go one of the best pitchers of all time. In ‘96, Duquette felt Roger Clemens had reached the end of his career after four years where ‘The Rocket’ went 40-39. Duquette wrote him off and allowed him to go to Toronto where he won back-to-back Cy Young Awards.
I can’t blame Duquette though –
Clemens would not have had those amazing seasons in Boston, he needed motivation – and Duquette provided it with his send-off quotes. He had wore out his welcome in Beantown, just as he did in only two seasons with the Jays. Clemens signed a four-year deal with Toronto but needed something else to give him that drive, so he demanded a trade and got sent to the team that loves taking on volatile personalities – the Yankees. During those couple years with Toronto, one of the nicest men in baseball, Cito Gaston, despised Clemens, calling him a “complete ahole.” If Cito says it, it’s gospel. Duquette joined WEEI to discuss whether or not Clemens took steroids, keeping up with the chemists, and he confirms juiced balls were used.
On the challenges teams faced before drug testing:
“Specifically, what evidence did you have that a player was utilizing? You had physical evidence, if their body composition changed significantly or in the case of Brady Anderson where he hit 51 home runs, that was pretty clear. But beyond that, within the collective bargaining agreement, what tools did the clubs have? I don’t think the clubs had effective tools to deal with it.”
On Roger Clemens:
“I was just disappointed that we couldn’t get the same results from him here, that’s all. I’ve been through that many times and all we were trying to do was help Roger make a transition at that stage of his life, to show him that he needed to condition himself more. Obviously, he did it, but the disappointing thing was that he didn’t do it here.”
Was he ever suspicious of Clemens after leaving Boston?
“I’ll have more to say about that in another forum.”
Is Duquette writing a book?
“I’ll have more to say about that in another forum and I’ll be happy to talk to you about it later.”
On keeping up with the chemists:
“That’s the big challenge. Right now there isn’t an effective test for HGH. The Olympics can say they have one but they didn’t come up with anybody that came up positive in the last games, so to me that’s the same as not having a good test. It’s a big challenge and I don’t know the answer to that right now. I think they tried to do something about it in the negotiations when they got a collective bargaining agreement after the ’94 strike. They tried to implement a testing program in the Major Leagues and the players resisted it. I think after that, the owners knew it was important for the industry to get back on its feet and to play ball and that labor peace became more important than any other issue… Along the way, it took a while to get a collectively bargained joint drug policy with the Player’s Association.”
On the 1999 Home Run Derby in Boston:
“That was something when (Mark) McGwire was hitting them out; they were going up over the light tower. I’m gonna tell you for a fact, those balls were juiced. We’ve got juiced balls for the Home Run Derby, I bet you didn’t know that… Rawlings [juiced the balls]. It added to the entertainment value.”
Listen to Dan Duquette on WEEI in Boston with The Big Show