June 30, 2011

Ricky Vaughn Did Steroids: Baseball's steroid scandal has claimed another great from the 1980s. Pitcher Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn was on performance enhancing drugs when he won the one-game playoff against the New York Yankees in the 1989 film Major League, Charlie Sheen told SI. "Let's just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids," he said. "I did it for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don't give a f---. My fastball went from 79 to like 85. ... I think it led to my arm problems because it doesn't enhance the strength of the tendons and ligaments, it just makes the muscles bigger."

posted by rcade to baseball at 12:37 PM - 16 comments

I yield to Sheen's considerable expertise on drugs, but would taking steroids during the brief duration of a movie shoot have any impact at all?

posted by rcade at 01:44 PM on June 30

Not something I'd consider a big deal. It doesn't affect my enjoyment of the movie, it doesn't tarnish any records, and it's far from the most stupid or dangerous thing Sheen has done to himself. I do wonder if we'd look at this differently if it was someone other than Sheen.

posted by TheQatarian at 01:48 PM on June 30

Say it ain't so Wild Thing. You made my heart sing.

I do wonder if we'd look at this differently if it was someone other than Sheen.

You tell me.

posted by BornIcon at 02:09 PM on June 30

1989 would have made him a pioneer in steroid use in baseball. Amphetamines would have been more believable.

I had to throw 150 pitches in a night and turn it around the next day. I was like, "Guys, do you know why they have a five-man rotation? So you can heal!" They said, "Look, we've only got the stadium for four nights with the fans." I would stop at the doctor's on the way to work for cortisone shots and anti-inflammatories.

Oh, but it's the steroids that gave him arm problems. This whole story is such a very Charlie Sheen thing to say. He tips us off a little farther down:

It's all entertainment, man.

posted by tron7 at 04:30 PM on June 30

I don't believe for a minute that his fastball was ever 79 mph, let alone 85. I don't care if Roger Clemens himself shot him in the ass.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:31 PM on June 30

While I look at anything Sheen says with a bit of skepticisim, I could believe he was able to throw a 80 MPH fastball, especially if control isn't an issue. Most the kids on my son's high school team throw at least that much heat.

posted by dviking at 11:16 PM on June 30

I don't believe for a minute that his fastball was ever 79 mph, let alone 85.

I could see approaching 80. No way 85.

posted by justgary at 11:42 PM on June 30

I think all things considered, steroids were the only drug he ever took that may have had a positive efffect in his life.

posted by Debo270 at 11:48 PM on June 30

Ken Rizzo, the president of Mickey Owen Baseball School (which Sheen attended for four summers), described Sheen's baseball pedigree to ESPN.com in 2004: "He did have post-high school abilities. There's no doubt he could have played in college. Maybe even at a lower level Division 1 school. He had baseball skills. But he wasn't going to be playing at Arizona State, or Stanford, or UCLA."

Found here, though they don't link to the ESPN story. Anyway, it seems plausible he could throw 85.

posted by tron7 at 10:09 AM on July 01

add me to one who doesn't believe the story. Not that he may throw in the mid-80s (that doesn't seem so extraordinary to me..wasn't he a high-school pitcher?), but I just don't believe steroids adds speed to a fastball. I'm no expert, but as I understood it, pitchers use it because it aids in recovery not for speed increases. After a 5 day rest while "juicing" their arm probably feels like it's had 10-day's rest, and that would be the benefit. I just can't picture strength having that much affect on pitching speed, which is more dependent on motion/delivery than anything (which is why the fastest a pitcher can throw today with all the fitness enhancements we've seen is pretty much exactly the same as the fastest a pitcher could throw 100 years ago).

posted by bdaddy at 10:13 AM on July 01

wasn't he a high-school pitcher?

sorry tron7, you beat me to it :-)

posted by bdaddy at 10:14 AM on July 01

Maybe it's me but this is starting to seem like he's got a sad addiction to the spotlight and is desperate for any to be had.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:53 AM on July 01

I don't feel like reading the article again, but I don't remember it saying that he pitched. I thought he played an infield position of some sort. Either way, I'm skeptical. Maybe it's easier than I think it is to throw 80 mph.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:05 PM on July 01

I yield to Sheen's considerable expertise on drugs, but would taking steroids during the brief duration of a movie shoot have any impact at all?

Absolutely. Steroids allow you to work out harder and longer, which is why people get big. That's what people seem to forget about them; it's not like you inject and puff up like Popeye, what it does is allow people with a propensity for training to go longer and achieve faster results.

If Sheen was in the gym three hours a day, he'd be able to do more and get ripped quicker.

And, as a note, I played baseball until college (my arm popped in my last year of high school, otherwise I'd have gone longer) and I was only 5'11 and I could hit 75 on the gun. A couple of people in our league were in the low 80's, so I totally believe that an adult with a little muscle mass and some training could do it.

posted by dfleming at 01:58 PM on July 01

Seriously, the 79 to 85 MPH issue isn't that big of deal, especially if we're not overly concerned with how much control one has to have.

After reading this, I asked my son to use the radar gun at his lacrosse practice today. (select baseball teams teams at the same facility). He hit 82 and 83 on his third and fourth throws. He is a decent sized 18 year old, but he hasn't pitched in many years. Clearly, if Sheen had any skills at all, with some practice he'd be able to hit that mark, at least occassionally.

On a side note, is he still "Winning"? Haven't much from him lately, hard to keep score.

posted by dviking at 02:20 PM on July 01

Sheen's undefeated.

posted by rcade at 02:22 PM on July 01

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