Of all the names in the Mitchell Report, two of the bigger stars named have remained fairly silent. Until today, no one had heard neither hide nor hair from Paul LoDuca or Chuck Knoblauch. But that changed when Knoblauch spokes to a Times reporter at his home in Houston.
The interview and Knoblauch’s words are more interesting for what he has to say about baseball than the Mitchell Report. To get the steroids stuff out of the way, Knoblauch, as Thayer Evans relates, called the report “interesting” and “crazy.” That about sums up this whole farce. “I have nothing to defend,” Knoblauch said. “I have nothing to hide at the same time.”
So that’s that. Believe what you want about Knoblauch.
More compelling are the indications that baseball still haunts. Chuck Knoblauch’s story in baseball had a sad ending. An offensive lynch pin on the Yankees for two seasons, he was seemingly destined for 3000 hits when in 2000, his third year in the Bronx but his second with throwing problems, he simply lost it. Suffering a meltdown that Rick Ankiel would imitate in 2001, Knoblauch simply could not throw the ball from second base to first base.
The Yankees tried to keep him around. He tried left field for a bit in 2001 and still managed to rack up 600 plate appearances. But his offensive production that season was abysmal. A 1-for-18 showing in the 2001 World Series punched his ticket out of New York. He would try to latch on with the Royals in 2002 and was out of baseball the following year. A promising career had been derailed by mental demons.
“I’ve got nothing to do with any of that, I mean, any baseball. And I don’t want anything to do with baseball,” he said to Evans.
Knoblauch doesn’t want a job in baseball; he doesn’t want a spot in the Hall of Fame; and as he asked the reporter not to tell anyone where he lives, he doesn’t want to be bothered. It’s sad really to see someone who was among the tops at his position fall so hard and so far so quickly.