Murray Chass Isn’t Quite Finished With Metal Mike

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Medical Science at 8:26 pm by

“Last week™s column on Mike Piazza has drawn more reader e-mail than any of the 97 columns that have appeared on this site,” boasts former NY Times baseball scribe Murray Chass, loathe to credit any portion of the blogosphere for this remarkable upturn in traffic. Instead, under the guise of giving one of Piazza’s defenders a chance to respond, Chass scoffs at the (former) New York Catcher‘s early feats of strength, asking “if Piazza was such a good, strong hitter, why wasn™t he drafted before the 62nd and last round?”

Darrell Sparkman, a teammate and roommate of Piazza’s at the University Of Miami,  said it was tasteless to write about Piazza™s acne-covered back and argued that Piazza œhas long been known for his tape measure shots.

œWe used to call him the best Six o™clock hitter in the nation, batting practice was at six, Sparkman wrote. œMike was in the cages hitting every chance he got. When he was at home he was working out or hitting the tire in our backyard. He had a batting cage at his parent™s home. He would tell us of the hours spent in the batting cage over Christmas Break. He was a hard worker and a great hitter with tremendous power.

œPeople have made comments about Mike for years, he continued. œIs he gay? Hell no. Steroids? Absolutely not. He didn™t have some major physical transformation. He was a big strong guy and grew in to his body.

In addition, Sparkman said, Piazza œhas had back acne for years, adding, œHe wasn™t taking steroids when we were at Miami, I can tell you that as can our other roommates. As painful as it probably was, his back acne was a source of humiliation back then.

Sparkman™s e-mail raised some questions. Just because Piazza didn™t use steroids as a college player, what did that have to do with the possibility that he used them as a professional player?

œMike wasn™t drafted because he could not play a lick of defense, Sparkman said in his second e-mail. œHe alternated between third and first, and was very slow. When you are projected as a DH coming of college, your chances aren™t that great. Mike couldn™t hit the breaking ball or off speed pitches when he was younger. Through hard work he learned how to do it.

The problem with that explanation is baseball organizations will always find a way to take a good hitter who has no position and work with him on his inadequacies. If Piazza was as good a power hitter as Sparkman said he was, someone, certainly the Dodgers, would have taken him before the final round.

10 responses to “Murray Chass Isn’t Quite Finished With Metal Mike”

  1. David R. says:

    The problem with Chass (regarding this cross-eyed crusade — other folks more versed in his wiley ways can wrestle w/ his other foibles) is that he can’t conceive of a world where baseball organizations make a mistake re: evaluating talent. I guess all those years being within needle-jabbing distance of the Yankees’ & Mets’ envious successes on the farm spoiled him. (Pretend I’m aware that my sarcasm could be taken @ face value.)

  2. Darrell Sparkman says:

    Unbelievable…..I only have two points to make and I am done with you.

    One, you base your accusation of steroid use on back acne. I tell you that he had back acne in college and wasn’t using steroids then. Kinda wipes out that theory now doesn’t it?

    Two, I guess you believe that every good baseball player was drafted.

    To comment any further would just be a waste of time. I would only ask that you be more responsible with the truth.

  3. GC says:


    At the risk of pointing out the incredibly obvious, I’ve made no accusations regarding Mike Piazza’s back acne or the source of such. The person who has done so is Murray Chass and it would seem you’ve already spoken to him.

    Indeed, if every quality baseball played had already been identified and drafted early by big league teams, there’d be no need for anything beyond the early rounds (nor any independent leagues). But I believe Mr. Raposa made this same point earlier.

  4. Darrell Sparkman says:

    My mistake, thought this was going to Murray Chass. My apologies.

  5. Can’t believe..

    I would just say a simple thing your accusation of steriods used on back pain..i have a friend who used to have this but never used any steriods..


  6. CMG says:

    Some mistakes Chass made. Piazza never attended the U but he did go to Miami-Dade CC while not athletic resume as the U was/is considered a JUCO powerhouse.

    JUCO kids are normally not taken high and normally pretty late, Mike was probably planning on signing with a college team on transfer but the Dodgers given the LaSorda connection took a flyer.

    Also all I have heard from three accusers (Sherman, Chass, and Pearlman) has been back acne and how it was disgusting and noticeable. Not much proof and Pearlman interviewing players who never played with him saying he did it on top of reporters (I wonder if it was the other two clowns) saying Piazza told him he did it but off-the-record therefore no smoking gun(?). What?

    BTW, it would not shock me if he did it, in fact Piazza has publicly stated he took ephredra when that Orioles minor leaguer died due to a potent dose in ST, so he may have taken stuff that was legal then but illegal now. Bottom line there are no rogue trainers, teammates, GMs, managers, coaches, needles, or old notes/shipments with his name with X steroid. If the scribes really thought it is as much a problem as now they should have done deeper investigations like now.

    It seems this is happening while Piazza is working on a memoir, maybe he does have something to say about it.

  7. Darrell Sparkman says:

    I would like to bet you everything I own and will ever make in the future, that Mike Piazza attended the U of Miami from September 1986 to May 1987. Try googling Mike and see how many articles come up about him at Miami. He’s still in the U of Miami program guides. Don’t make statements that you don’t know to be accurate, especially to his freakin’ roommate.

  8. Bob Hernandez says:

    I lived with Mike Piazza, not Darrell. Get your story straight.

  9. Michelle Souther says:

    OMG that is hilarious Bob! lies, lies, lies. Funny how some people live in a fantasy world

  10. Darrell Sparkman says:

    Michelle, you are sick. Bob Hernandez didn’t post this, Bob lived with Jim, Mike, and myself. Ask anyone at Miami you delusional bitch. You want to talk lies, how about your Fybromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that you lie about to collect Disability and say you can’t work. Don’t even start talking about lies.

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