Welch weighs in on baseball investigation

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(Host) Congress has held its first in a pair of expected hearings on the use of steroids in baseball.

And Vermont’s Congressman voiced what has been on a lot of people’s minds – what should be done with players who got caught.

VPR’s Todd Zwillich has this report.

(Zwillich) More than 90 current and former big league players are named in former Sen. George Mitchell’s report on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Many of them are stars…but the biggest name…has to be San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

This past season Bonds broke the all time record for home runs. He did so under a cloud of suspicion that Bonds had used banned substances.

Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch sits on the House Investigations Committee. He asked Mitchell the question that many have been thinking about since the report was issued last month.

(Welch) "Do you believe that a Major League baseball player who did use performance enhancing drugs, and is the holder of a Major League baseball record – most homeruns, most batters struck out, most stolen bases – should be stripped of that record?"

(Zwillich) Another player who fits that category: former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens. Clemens was named in Mitchell’s report as a past drug user – and has since gone on television to deny the charges.

Mitchell, who represented Maine for 14 years in the Senate, declined to say whether Clemens, Bonds or any other accused player should be stripped of his record.

(Mitchell) "It really is not my responsibility, nor do I have any special knowledge or insight that entitles me to my opinion to greater weight than yours or any other fan on the subject you expressed. That’s the responsibility of other officials. That’s where it should rest.

(Zwillich) That decision will ultimately be up to Major League baseball.

Clemens and several other accused players have been called to testify in front of the committee next month.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Todd Zwillich on Capitol Hill.


AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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