The Yankees have officially named Aroldis Chapman as the closer. When we acquired him in the trade, there was some talk about how it will reflect on the team. On the one hand, the combination of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Chapman makes our closing lineup a force to be reckoned with. On the other hand, there are the domestic violence allegations against him.
This is not the first time that the Yankees have taken on a player with a dark past. The organization as a whole seems to be all about giving talented players second chances. The allegations against Chapman state that he choked, and shoved his girlfriend before firing 8 round in his garage. No charges have been filed against him, but may face suspension by the MLB.
In the early 90's, Steve Howe wore the Yankees uniform. Howe started his baseball career in 1980 with the LA Dodgers. At 22, he saved 17 games, setting a new rookie record and earning him Rookie of the Year. He was a talented and promising pitcher. His life was also plagued with alcohol cocaine abuse. He first checked himself into rehab in 1983, but a relapse caused him to be suspended for the entire 1984 season.
During the course of his career, he would be suspended a total of 7 times for substance abuse. He was signed by the Yankees in 1991. In 1992, he was banned for life from baseball, but won his appeal and was re-signed by the Yankees. In 1994, he had a 15 saves season and a 1.8 ERA as the closer for the Yankees. He was eventually released in June of 1996.
Darryl Strawberry was one of the most feared hitters of his time. He had an impressive presence in the batters box, and a long, looping swing. He also had a serious substance abuse problem. In his 17 years with the MLB, Strawberry was suspended 3 times or substance abuse. Starting his career with the Mets in 1983, Strawberry had hit an impressive 280 home runs by the end of 1991. He saw a number or professional and personal problems and was suspended in 1995 for cocaine usage. When he came back, the Yankees signed him. In May of 1996, Strawberry attempted to rehabilitate while playing in the Northern League. The Yankees once again signed him in July of 1996. He went on to help the Yankees win the World Series in 1996, 98 and 99.
There is no doubt that what Chapman did was stupid. I could never, and will never rationalize away domestic abuse in any form. And shooting off a gun? Just plain dumb. If the MLB does decide to suspend him, I will be amongst the first to applaud the decision. I do not want to compare Howe and Strawberry to Chapman. They are not at all similar, and I understand that. My point is that this is not the first time the Yankees have signed someone of questionable character.
Look, it may be unpopular opinion around here but, I'm not entirely a fan of Chapman. And that has nothing to do with him as a ball player. As an athlete, I think he is incredibly talented. But, his character? Okay, maybe I do not know him personally to be able to comment on him as a person. What I do know is what I dislike. I dislike abusive people. Period. What he did was inexcusable. But, as a friend of mine always say, I root for the laundry. On the field, he has the capability to help carry this team to the World Series. Watching him in a Yankees uniform will certainly be a test to my morals. I do not want to like him, but I cannot root against him.
Having him in Yankees pinstripes will probably be a PR nightmare. Brian Cashman, and the rest of the organization knew this. They will be able to handle in such a way that it will not be distraction.
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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