My father, the late Conrad L. Raiford, was a champion athlete; that was his stimulant. He did not earn a whopper of a salary to crack wood. He played Negro League Baseball during the Jim Crow era of the Great Depression for the New York Cuban Giants. Raiford also played for the Homestead Grays. Most players — including Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard — made no more than $80 per month. Even for the marquee players, it was a nonstop grind of primitive travel through a segregated land. Respect was hard to come by for men of color in the big leagues, even for the heroes. So keeping their noses clean was a no-brainer.
Paige, Gibson, Leonard and Raiford probably would have been proud to have spent their more virile years in the celebrity spotlight of Mannywood. Knowing my father, he would have frowned on the large number of baseball heavy hitters whose records are now blemished due to their consumption of banned substances. It matters not that Rameriz’ chemical of choice was a female fertility drug. The bottom line is that if an athlete tests positive for a banned substance, he faces suspension. Ramirez knows that. So do his peeps.
If my father were alive today, he’d likely ask,” Manny, what were you thinking?”