Jim Parque isn’t and wasn’t a big time superstar. He didn’t smash home runs. He didn’t fire the ball 100 MPH. He was a scrawny, persistent fifth starter just trying to survive in MLB. He pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1998 to 2002, starting more than twenty games three times during his tenure there. His best season came in 2000 when he was 13-6 with a 4.28 ERA. Other than that season, his ERA was always above five. He didn’t dominate batters. He was a fourth-to-fifth starter who just sucked up innings and tried his best to keep his team in ballgames.
Then he hurt his shoulder and just like that, his career was in grave jeopardy. He signed with Tampa Bay in 2003 and started five games for them, but of those five games, he made it out of the third inning just twice and ended up with an 11.94 ERA. His career was finished as quick as it had started. Parque was done.
Now six years later, Parque is doing the unprecedented. He’s admitting using HGH with absolutely no pressure and no reason to do so. Few people even know who Jim Parque is. No one is going to care that he used HGH six times while with the Rays to try to stay alive in the league. Yet, this courageous action should be glorified by MLB. It should be put on a pedestal and shown to the world.
Parque’s stats are nothing special. He was a bad MLB player, but a MLBplayer nonetheless. His admittance won’t be treated with any hostility or anger. Much of that comes from the fact that no one cares or knows about him. Some of it comes from the fact that he wasn’t good for HGH to make a difference. No former MLB hitter is going to get mad at a pitcher for using HGH if he had hit a home run off him. That’s not to mention the fact that Parque didn’t use HGH to get ahead. He didn’t use steroids and wasn’t trying to get an advantage on the rest of the league. He was trying to heal from an injury. He was trying to just stay alive in the league. He was a sub-par player trying to make a living and he chose PEDs, because that was his only option.
I, like many, always wonder why players like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Roger Clemens turn to steroids even though they are on top of their sports. Why do any of those guys need steroids? With Parque, I don’t have that question. I understand his situation and his decision.
That also makes it easy for him to come out about his HGH use. He knows that it won’t be a big story and that people are going to sympathize with him. Even with that, former steroid users must see that he is not being shot down. They need to realize that public sympathy can extend further than just a fifth starter. They need to realize that public interest for steroids is gone. No one really cares anymore unless you are a GIANT of the game, a future first-ballot hall of famer. Other than that, follow Jim Parque’s confession and allow MLB to heal from this wretched era.
Read Parque’s full confession here. It’s worth reading.