David Cone was considered one of the classiest players in the game in his day, and I see the same is true in retirement. I had the pleasure of watching Cone pitch for the Red Sox in 2001, his second-to-last year in the majors. I was at his famous duel with Mike Mussina, in which Moose was perfect for eight and two-thirds innings, before giving up a garbage hit to Crazy Carl Everett. I remember feeling very disoriented to have actually been rooting for a Yankee pitcher in a game against my beloved Red Sox, but how many perfect games does a girl get to see in her lifetime? Anyway, often forgotten is that David Cone turned in a vintage, virtuoso performance in that game as well. He scattered 6 hits over 8 and a third innings, allowing only one unearned run (the Red Sox made three errors behind him).
Anywho, it was a great—and eerie—game to watch, and it left me with a perennial soft spot for Cone. So I was pleased today to see him take some responsibility for the steroid era:
The former pitcher was on the union’s negotiating team during the 1994-95 strike, when management proposed drug testing and the players’ association successfully fought it off.
“Certainly in retrospect, I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. Certainly I share some of that blame as being involved with the players’ association at that time,” Cone said Wednesday. “It’s something I’m not proud of. It’s humbling. It’s embarrassing.”
Cone walked a careful line, talking about former teammates and Mitchell Report goats Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens but not criticizing them. Did Roger or Clemens ever tempt him to train with them?
“I was afraid of the weight room,” Cone said. “I think they knew better. I made my position very well known. I was an old-school guy, I was a couple-beers-after-the-game kind of guy.”