02/10/09 8:18 PM EST
Oswalt would erase A-Rod's numbers
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
That includes Alex Rodriguez, who on Monday admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs after a Sports Illustrated report revealed he had failed a drug test in 2003.
Rodriguez has 553 home runs, 1,606 RBIs and is widely recognized at the best player in the game. But Oswalt says A-Rod is simply one of many whose numbers should be stricken from the record.
"A-Rod's numbers shouldn't count for anything," Oswalt said in a phone interview with MLB.com. "I feel like he cheated me out of the game."
Oswalt said he feels that way about a lot of players who have been proven steroid users. He still gives former teammate Roger Clemens the benefit of the doubt, calling the allegations against him "suspicion," but if Clemens is indeed proven to have used performance-enhancing drugs, then his numbers, and all seven Cy Young Awards, need to be erased, according to Oswalt.
Oswalt also said he is bothered by the blanket of suspicion that has covered all players from his era because of the actions of those who have tested positive. Oswalt broke into the big leagues in 2001, won 19 games in 2002 and 20 in both 2004 and '05. He says he did so without the help of PEDs, and that he resents anyone who chose to cheat.
"It does bother me," Oswalt said. "Especially for the guys that went out there and did it on talent. We're always going to have a cloud on us, and that's not fair at all.
"The ones that have come out and admitted it, and are proven guilty, [their numbers] should not count. I've been cheated out of the game," Oswalt continued. "This is my ninth year, and I've done nothing to enhance my performance, other than work my butt off to get guys out. These guys [who took PEDs] have all the talent in the world. All-Star talent. And they put times two on it.
"I'm going out there with the ability God gave me. They have that ability, too, and they're putting something on top of it."
Oswalt said he considers Henry Aaron to be the all-time home run leader, despite Barry Bonds' official place at the top of the record books in that category.
Rodriguez admitted in an ESPN interview on Monday that he took performance-enhancing drugs during his three years with the Rangers from 2001-03. That irks Oswalt even more, he said, because the Astros faced him a handful of times during that period when the Astros played the Rangers during Interleague Play.
As a Ranger, Rodriguez was 3-for-5 vs. Oswalt with two doubles, one home run, three RBIs and two walks. Last year, as a Yankee, Rodriguez was hitless in two at-bats against Oswalt.
"The few times we played them, when he got hits, it could have cost me a game," Oswalt said. "It could have cost me money in my contract. He cheated me out of the game and I take it personally, because I've never done [PEDs], haven't done it, and they're cheating me out of the game."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.