Greenwell makes case for '88 MVP

Updated: February 17, 2005, 9:54 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Greenwell, 1988 American League MVP?

The former Boston Red Sox outfielder said Jose Canseco's admission that he took steroids raises questions about the legitimacy of the award that season.

Jose Canseco
Canseco

Mike Greenwell
Greenwell

"Where's my MVP?" Greenwell told the Fort Myers News-Press. "[Canseco's] an admitted steroid user. I was clean. If they're going to start putting asterisks by things, let's put one by the MVP."

Canseco hit .307 with 42 home runs, 124 RBI and 40 stolen bases for the Oakland A's in 1988 and was unanimously voted the league's MVP. Greenwell, who hit .325 with 22 home runs, 119 RBI and 16 stolen bases that season, finished second in the balloting.

"I do have a problem with losing the MVP to an admitted steroids user," Greenwell told the News-Press, adding that not winning the award likely cost him millions of dollars.

"Every time you renegotiate a contract, if you're an MVP, you have a different level of bargaining power," Greenwell was quoted as saying. "But in honesty, I don't care about the money."

According to the News-Press, Greenwell now works as a Fort Myers real estate developer and a volunteer assistant coach for the Riverdale High School baseball team. Greenwell graduated from North Fort Myers High in 1982.

Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big," was released Monday.

Greenwell and Canseco were teammates in Boston from 1995-96. Greenwell told the newspaper he never took steroids.

Gorden Edes, a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and a reporter for the Boston Globe, told the newspaper he does not foresee the organization stripping admitted steroid users of their awards.

Ken Caminiti, an admitted steroid user who died last year, won the 1996 National League MVP ahead of Mike Piazza. Jason Giambi, who won the 2000 AL MVP over runner-up Frank Thomas, reportedly told a grand jury last year that he used steroids.

"That's inconceivable to me," Edes told the News-Press. "Like it or not, steroids were not a banned substance at that time in Major League Baseball. That would be like rewriting the rulebook after something happened. But I do think it could impact judgment when it comes down to Hall of Fame voting."

Greenwell said he considers Canseco a friend.

"We all make bad decisions in life, and that's his bad decision," Greenwell told the News-Press. "If you are going to go out and bring other people down, you better be willing to face the consequences.

"I respect what Jose did in the game. I don't respect that [he used steroids], but I do understand how these guys get caught up in it. There is so much pressure to perform that guys are willing to do anything to stay on top."

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