Category Archives: ADDERALL USE IN BASEBALL

A ONE OF A KIND GAME

This week, former Major League pitcher Ken Johnson passed away, at age 82. Johnson pitched 13 years in the Major Leagues, from his debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1958 until1970 when he ended his career with the Montreal Expos, his seventh team.

As a right handed starting pitcher, he had a mediocre career, winning 91 and losing 106 and compiling a career 3.46 ERA. Not exactly the stuff legends are made of but he did accomplish one thing that no other pitcher in baseball history has ever done. He pitched a nine inning no-hitter and lost the game, 1-0.

On April 23, 1964, he started on the mound for the Houston Astros against one of his old teams, the Cincinnati Reds, in Colts Stadium. In the first inning, after striking out Pete Rose for the first out of the game, he walked Vada Pinson but got out of the inning with no scoring. In the bottom of the first, former Chicago White Sox second baseman and future Hall of Famer, Nellie Fox, finishing his career with the Astros, doubled for Houston but was thrown out trying to steal third.

In the second and third innings both Johnson and the Reds’ Joe Nuxhall got the sides in order. In the bottom of the fourth, Astros first baseman Pete Runnels singled to center but center fielder Johnny Weekly hit into a double play to end that threat. In the top of the fifth, Johnson walked the Reds left fielder Bob Skinner for his second walk of the game but got out of the inning with no scoring.

The Astros threatened in the last of the seventh when Fox singled, Runnels reached on an error but Weekly hit into another double play to end that rally. In the eighth the Astros wasted a lead off double by center fielder Jim Wynn and left him stranded on second.

The game went to the ninth, 0-0, with Johnson still throwing a no hitter. He got Nuxhall, who, surprisingly, hit for himself, to ground to third. Rose then hit a ground ball back to Johnson who threw wild to first allowing Rose to reach second with one out. Third baseman Chico Ruiz then grounded out with Rose going to third. Center fielder, Vada Pinson, then hit a grounder to second which Fox misplayed and Rose scored the game’s only run. Johnson then got another future Hall of Famer, right fielder and cleanup hitter, Frank Robinson, for the last out of the top half and the game went to the last of the ninth with the Reds up 1-0 but Johnson’s no-hitter still intact.

In the last of the ninth, Nuxhall, who had given up just five hits, got shortstop Eddie Kasko on strikes and got Fox to ground to short for the second out. Runnels then reached on an error by first baseman Deron Johnson but Nuxhall struck out Weekly for the third out and the Reds had won a game without a hit and Ken Johnson had become the only pitcher in baseball history to lose while throwing a complete game no-hitter.

Only 5,426 fans were on hand for the game which lasted just one hour and 56 minutes. Johnson walked just two batters and had nine strikeouts en route to his no-hit loss. The two teams, between them, had just one less error than hits in the entire game as they both committed two miscues, Houston’s two in the ninth costing Johnson the game.

The Astros finished in ninth place that year, with a record of 66-96 and the Reds finished in third at 92-70. Johnson’s opponent Joe Nuxhall, who pitched a complete game, five hit shutout, finished the season at 9-8.

Johnson won 11 and lost 16 in 35 starts that year with a 3.63 ERA. He was traded from the Houston Astros to the Milwaukee Braves on May 23 of the 1965 season and had his best year in the Majors going 16-10 between the two teams with a 3.21 ERA in 37 starts.

Ken Johnson may not have been one of the greatest pitcher to play the game but his performance that day and the lack of support from his teammates combined to make it a one of a kind game, a distinction I am sure he would rather not have had.

CHRIS DAVIS OKAYED FOR ADDERALL USE

I wrote a blog in September, when the Orioles slugging first baseman had been suspended for testing positive for Adderall. Who knows what would have happened in the Playoffs if the Orioles had had his bat in the lineup? Now, I read in an article by David Wilson on MLB.com, that Davis has supposedly been granted a Therapeutic Exemption for the use of Adderall.

I reprint the article from September below to emphasize the ineffective and hypocritical manner in which the use of this drug has been handled by Major League Baseball. Hopefully, our new Commissioner will take steps to see that the organization deals with its problems more effectively and efficiently than this one has been.

DAVIS SUSPENDED FOR ADDERALL USE

The Baltimore Orioles have clinched the American League East Division Championship, for the first time since 1997, and are headed for the playoffs. They ran away with the division and, as of this writing, have the second best win loss record in all of major league baseball.

Buck Showalter has done a great job with a team that has been missing two of its most important players for a large portion of the season. Matt Wieters, their All Star Catcher, has been out after Tommy John surgery and Manny Machado, last year’s All Star third baseman had his second season ending knee injury in two years.

Now they have lost their slugging first baseman, Chris Davis, another 2013 All Star, to a 25 game suspension for testing positive for the drug Adderall. He will be lost to his team for the first two rounds of the playoffs and possibly for part of next season.

Adderall is a drug used to treat Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. This disorder, which causes, according to WEBMD, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating and failure to complete work within time limits, is present, again according to WEBMD, in four percent of the adult population.

Adderall, an amphetemine, is a banned substance according to major league baseball’s drug policy. For persons suffering from ADHD, the major leagues can grant, upon request and proof of need, a Therapeutic Use Exemption, allowing a player to use Adderall to combat the symptoms of the disease.

Davis previously had been granted an Exemption but did not apply for one this year. Under the policy, if a player tests positive for the use of the drug, without an exemption, that player is subject to random urine testing six times in the next twelve months. Davis had had one positive test so the positive finding this time resulted in an automatic suspension for 25 games.

Amphetamines, known as ‘greenies’, have been used for years by players to improve their performance over the gruelling 162 game season. There apparently is no evidence to prove that the use of amphetamines has a significant effect upon a player’s ability. Jeff Passan, writing for Yahoo Sports about Davis’ suspension recently said ‘ Whether or not the extra focus Adderall delivers translates definitively to a baseball field never will be clear.’

I find it hard to believe that many people suffering from the symptom of this disease would be able to develop their skills to the level it takes to compete in the major leagues, never mind hit 53 home runs and drive in 138 runs as Davis did last year. 119 of the 1200 players on major league rosters have been granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions. While 4% of the general population suffer from the disease, the major leagues have granted exemptions to almost 10% of these finely tuned athletes.

Baseball has to, sometime soon, get its act together when dealing with the use of any type of drugs. The fact that the number of athletes supposedly being treated for ADHD is 2 ½ the number in the general population is just another example of the way in which this issue has been bungled.