Commenter Joe Corrao takes me to task in my last post
for cherry-picking a data point from the Mitchell Report that reflects badly upon my hated Boston Red Sox. He goads me into citing some Yankees named in the report who were part of the Bronx Bombers' torrid 1996-2000 teams. Sure, I mentioned both Clemens and Pettitte in the last post, but you know what, Joe? Fair enough. Behold, the horrible coda to one of the strangest psychological tales in baseball: the case of Chuck Knoblauch's wonky arm.
Every Yankee fan remembers the horror of Knoblauch. Knoblauch was a fantastic second basemen who, starting in 1999 and accelerating in 2000, lost the ability to throw to first base. Sure-fire outs sailed into the stands or into the home-team dugout. The conventional wisdom said it was a vicious circle of self-inflicted psychological pressure, as Knoblauch buckled under the freight of playing for the Yanks. Buster Olney devoted a whole chapter to Knoblauch in his book The Last Night of The Yankee Dynasty
It turns out that after Knoblauch's troubles sunk in, he turned to juicing -- very likely seeking a pharmacological solution for a psychological problem. According to Mitchell, Knoblauch bought human growth hormone (well, I guess juicing isn't the right word, given that Knobby used HGH, but still) from Yankee assistant strength coach Brian McNamee during 2001 spring training and the early part of the season, using Yankee pitcher Jason Grimsley as his cutout man. McNamee bought his HGH from the steroid-pusher-turned-Mitchell-snitch Kirk Radomski, who produced checks from Grimsley totaling $5,550.
If Knoblauch intended to use HGH to overcome his fielding troubles, he failed. During the 2001 season, Knoblauch was bounced around to the outfield and to the designated hitter's slot. He became a free agent after the '01 season, and played his last year in 2002 in Kansas City.
And with that, we end our diversion into the major leagues' muck.