Greenwell: He took an award from me
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Greenwell was runner-up in the American League MVP voting in 1988 and wants everyone to know why that happened: Jose Canseco, who won the award, cheated.
In his book released this week, Canseco discussed his steroid use and accused other players of using the illegal substance. His tainted success, Greenwell said Thursday, deprived other players of recognition and honors.
Greenwell spent his entire career as a Red Sox outfielder from 1985 through 1996 and hit .303. He was teammates with Canseco for his last two seasons.
"I would have never said a word, but now that Jose's admitted he was using steroids during the time he beat me (for) the MVP, then I have a problem with that because, obviously, I wasn't playing on an even playing field," Greenwell said.
"He reaped a lot of rewards and a lot of benefits for being on an illegal drug and probably took something away from me that I never got to feel. So does it bother me? Absolutely."
He said he doesn't care about having the MVP award given to him but "I just want it acknowledged that as far as I'm concerned, he cheated while he won it."
Greenwell is a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Riverdale High School, just outside Fort Myers. He attended North Fort Myers High School.
On Thursday, he showed up at the Red Sox spring training complex for a television interview and was surrounded by reporters.
Greenwell said that "halfway through my career I considered using steroids." Later, he may have had a chance to get help from Canseco when they were teammates.
"One day he hits a mammoth home run at Fenway Park and I said to him, 'Jose, I'd do anything to have your power. It's unbelievable,"' Greenwell said. "I actually got up and got a drink of Gatorade and sat back down and gave him a minute to think and he said, 'well, why don't you come on down to Miami and I can give you the power.'
"Whether he was serious or not, I don't know, and my comment back to that was, 'I'm too old for that stuff.'"
Greenwell said he knew Canseco was talking about steroids even though that word wasn't mentioned.
In 1988, Canseco hit .307 with 42 homers, 124 RBI and 40 stolen bases for Oakland, which lost the World Series in five games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Greenwell hit .325 with 22 homers and 119 RBI.
"Jose is actually a good guy," Greenwell said. "I consider him a friend" but hasn't spoken with him in about two years.
He also said Canseco's book might help address the steroid problem by drawing attention to it.
Two other MVPs also have said they used steroids. Jason Giambi admitted to a federal grand jury in 2003 that he used Steroids, according to reports by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Ken Caminiti, who died last Oct. 10, said he used them when he won the award in 1996.
"There are guys that maybe ended their career too soon because they couldn't compete at the level (of) these guys," Greenwell said.
Maybe guys like himself.
"He's telling on so many people then he should suffer some consequences, as well," Greenwell said. Canseco should "know that maybe you did something cheating that you didn't think about, and that's taking an award from me."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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