Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk became the latest former player to level criticism at admitted steroids user Mark McGwire. And in the same interview with the Chicago Tribune, Fisk also had strong words for Roger Clemens.
Fisk, who caught 2,226 games spanning 24 seasons for the Boston Red Sox and then the Chicago White Sox, said McGwire's insistence that steroids did not help him total 583 career home runs is "a crock."
"[McGwire] says, 'Well, it doesn't help eye-and-hand coordination.' Well, of course it does," Fisk told the Tribune for Wednesday's editions. "It allows you more acuity physically and mentally and optically. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better.
"Some of these numbers that are out there are really warped. Should they be considered? You saw how McGwire was viewed in the Hall of Fame voting. If you take the length of time that [steroid users] use that stuff and subtract 15 or 20 home runs a year for those guys, where are their numbers then?"
As part of his admission to using steroids throughout the 1990s, McGwire said last week he believes steroids did not inflate his home run totals and that he took them to heal faster from injuries, which allowed him to remain in the lineup.
"That's a crock," Fisk told the Tribune. "There's a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That's what it does -- performance enhancement. You can be good, but it's going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average. Some guys who went that route got their five-year, $35 million contracts and now are off into the sunset somewhere. Because once they can't use [steroids] anymore, they can't play anymore."
"Try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years," Fisk added. "Do you think you feel good when you go out there? [McGwire] had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me."
Fisk's outrage wasn't aimed solely at McGwire. He also was critical of seven-time Cy Young winner Clemens, who has been accused of using PEDs. The former trainer of the 353-game winner has said he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH over a period of several years, a claim Clemens has vehemently denied.
"The reason he got let go from the Red Sox [after the 1996 season] was because he was starting to break down," Fisk told the Tribune. "His last couple of years in Boston just weren't very productive, a la 'The Rocket.' Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and he wants to show somebody something. Then he gets two consecutive Cy Young Awards [in '97 and '98]. Come on, give me a bucket.
"It's obvious to players. You notice that stuff. You know how hard it is to play the game. You know how hard it is to be productive at any age, but especially at an older age. You see guys who are as productive later on as they were early [in their careers]. It offends guys that stayed clean."