This is the season it all came together for the Fenway Frauds: the team’s first World Series championship since 1918, as all the PED use finally paid off for the Boston Red Sox. The pieces took some time to assemble—both honest ones and lying ones, of course—but overall, the ends justified the means for the Red Sox in their desperation to match the New York Yankees’ modern-day success.
This roster was an interesting one, as you see below. The connective threads and tissue of PED use are pretty evident, too. The coincidences are just too much to ignore … remember, this is a team that already had Manny Ramírez and David Ortiz on it, two confirmed cheats. Throw in the rest of these tools, and it was a perfect storm of PEDs.
Exhibit A: Mark Bellhorn
This mediocre utility infielder spent many years with many different teams before coming to Boston in 2004 at age 29: the Oakland Athletics (1997-1998, 2000-2001), Chicago Cubs (2002-2003), and the Colorado Rockies (2003). While he had a breakout season with the Cubs in 2002, that can be attributed perhaps to Wrigley Field—or the influence of cheatin’ Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker. You decide.
Either way, with the Rockies in 2003 at Coors Field, the not-so-mighty Bellhorn managed just a .632 OPS in 48 games. We are always curious how someone cannot hit in Colorado—but then finds unique form with a PED-using organization thereafter. He came to Boston in 2004, and surrounded by PED users, Bellhorn somehow managed a career-high 82 RBI and an .817 OPS.
He never came close to those numbers again going forward, as his career declined rapidly, and Bellhorn was out of baseball by the time Boston won another World Series in 2007. Sometimes, things just come together for mediocre-to-average players when they’re surrounded by talent like Ortiz and Ramírez.
Exhibit B: Johnny Damon
Yes, it is odd to see his name here, but here’s the rub: For all the blather and hype, his first two seasons in Boston (2002, 2003) produced very average OPS marks (.799 and .750, respectively). So, in 2004, with the added influence of Ortiz and someone below, Damon—at age 30—produced an .857 OPS, a number he hadn’t come near since he was 26 years old and playing for the Kansas City Royals.
He also notched a then-best 20 HRs and an eventual-best 94 RBI. Plus, after hitting a combined .271 in the prior three seasons, Damon recovered to hit .304 overall, another threshold he hadn’t approached in years. How did he go from two mediocre seasons in Fenway Park to this sort of production at an age when his prior three seasons signaled early decline from an early peak? Good question.
Damon kept it up for a few more years, too: At age 31, he put up an .805 OPS, which earned him a 4-year, $52M contract that took him through his age-35 season. He also earned an additional $14.5M from age 36 to age 38, as he still posted an .854 OPS at age 35 while playing alongside confirmed PED users Robinson Canó and Álex Rodríguez with the Yankees.
He was somewhat washed up at age 29 with an undeserved reputation, but somehow Damon saved his career while making a lot of money in the process. The coincidences are too many to ignore.
Exhibit C: Curt Leskanic
Again, you don’t have to be a star to be a PED user. A mediocre reliever with a career 4.36 ERA, Leskanic was out of the majors entirely by age 34 in 2002. But he came back in 2003 at age 35 with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Royals to post a 2.22 ERA over 53 combined appearances. This earned him another deal with K.C., although he quickly floundered there in 2004 with an 8.04 ERA in 19 games.
The Royals released him in June 2004, and it took Boston just four days to sign him. With the Red Sox, in his last 32 MLB appearances, Leskanic surprisingly posted a 3.58 ERA and 2 saves at age 36 to help Boston down the stretch and into the postseason. Who was the real Curt Leskanic? The 2003 version? The 2004 Kansas City incarnation? The 2004 Red Sox model? Good question.
We say the real Leskanic was the chump who pitched his away out of the majors prior to the 2002 season. The guy who came back from the dead was something else altogether, and the fact he ended his career in Boston on a relatively high note is too suspicious for us, all things considered.
Conclusion: The team that launched a thousand cheats
There are more players to discuss here, but we already took on Doug Mirabelli in a prior edition. And what about Gabe Kapler, the current manager of the San Francisco Giants? He was on this team, struggling to keep his career going after being in major decline from his Texas and Colorado days.
Ironically, Kapler stunk so much in Boston that he was out of the majors entirely in 2007—before coming back in 2008 at age 32 with the Brewers to post a career-high .838 OPS while playing next to … drumroll, please … Ryan Braun, a confirmed PED cheat.
Toss Curt Schilling into this mix, too: We know Schilling later claimed the Red Sox offered him PEDs, so who is to say he wasn’t already using them by the time he joined the club that originally drafted him? Schilling had a surprise rebirth at age 34 when he joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, and he maintained that reinvigorated performance level through this 2004 season with Boston. Hmmmm.
It’s pretty disgusting and sad what you can discover if you just look. We continue to wonder why the mainstream media does not do this, other than the fact they don’t want to bite the (financial) hand that feeds them. Corruption is everywhere, folks … truly.
It’s mind-boggling how Bonds, McGwire, and AFraud are denied HOF status, but Ortiz will probably get in first ballot and Piazza and Bagwell got in as well. End the insanity! MLB acting like a handful of guys were juicing is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.