Jimmie Foxx & Other Alcoholics

     Foxx was a great ballplayer; he was a 3-time AL MVP, in 1932, 1933 & 1938 ("Jimmie Foxx - BR Bullpen," n.d.) and “is generally considered the best first baseman of all time other than Lou Gehrig ("Jimmie Foxx - BR Bullpen," n.d.).”
     Outside of his great achievements on the field of play he “was a degenerate drunk who often went to bat with a flask in his pocket
(Chafets, 2009, pg. 61).”

     “The roster of Hall of Famers who were also hall of fame-quality boozers is long and distinguished (Chafets, 2009, pg. 61).”  One such player, King Kelly (Appendix A) drank during games (Chafets, 2009, pg. 61) and Paul Waner (Appendix C) was praised by his manager at the time, Casey Stengel (Appendix A), for being a graceful baseball player because “he could slide without breaking the bottle on his hip (Chafets, 2009, pg. 61).”

Rabbit Maranville (Appendix A) was beloved by baseball writers for his drunken antics… Harry Heilmann (Appendix A)… once drove a small automobile directly down the stairs of a speakeasy as a joke… Manager Joe McCarthy (Appendix C) drank himself out of a job… John McGraw was arrested for assault as a result of a drunken brawl during Prohibition (Chafets, 2009, pg. 62).

 

     Even the baseball writers thought that these antics were a joke, “Chicago columnist Mike Royko once suggested moving Hack Wilson (Appendix A) to first base so that he ‘wouldn’t have so far to stagger to the dugout’ (Chafets, 2009, pg. 62).”

     For a sport based on “high morals and character (Chafets, 2009, pg. 62)” there seems to be many players in the Hall of Fame that did not live up to the Rule 5 Character Clause because of alcoholism.

     “(David) Wells (Appendix A) also admits he was ‘half-drunk' and had a ‘raging, skull-rattling hangover' when he pitched his perfect game against Minnesota in May 1998 ("Wells' book," n.d.).”  When that was revealed in his book he was fined $100,000 (Curry, 2003) and Commissioner Bud Selig (Appendix C) said he “did not attempt to discipline Wells because he was comfortable with the way the Yankees were handling the situation (Curry, 2003).”

     Wells concedes that he was “ready to pitch. I certainly wasn't drunk… anyone who knows me understands that I only intended to write the book in the spirit of fun. I am sorry that the book hasn't been taken in that vein (Curry, 2003).”

     With the exception of Wells, the aforementioned players received no punishment or fine, even the ones that drank during a game, yet they are in the Hall of Fame.