Chicago White Sox

Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell says Tony La Russa cheated

Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Sox on July 14, 2018, in Chicago.
Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Sox on July 14, 2018, in Chicago.

He always spoke his mind as a player, and Jack McDowell hasn’t changed a bit in retirement.

In an interview with The Daily Herald in 2014, the former White Sox starting pitcher lashed out at the perception that many current – and potential – Hall of Fame candidates played the game clean.

“I just think it’s too bad that only the handful of guys take the brunt of it from everybody,” McDowell said. “Meanwhile, a ton of other guys were into it. You can’t fix the other part, the players who [Hall of Fame voters] say are clean. All of us who were around kind of smirk at each other. There are guys in [the HOF] already that everyone knows [weren’t clean].

“It’s part of the deal. Unless you’re going to use a lie detector on everybody, you’re never going to know who did and who didn’t.”

On Friday, McDowell unloaded on former Sox manager Tony La Russa when asked about the current Houston Astros cheating scandal.

McDowell pitched for the Sox from 1987 to '88 and 1990 to '94. In ’93, “Black Jack” went 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA and won the American League Cy Young Award. 

La Russa managed the Sox from 1979 to 1986.

“We had a system in the old Comiskey Park in the late 1980s, the Gatorade sign out in center had a light,” McDowell said on WFNZ-AM in Charlotte, North Carolina. “There was a toggle switch in the manager’s office and a camera zoomed in on the catcher. Tony La Russa is the one who put it in.

“He was also the head of the first team [Oakland A’s] where everyone was doing steroids. Yet, he’s still in the game making half a million, you know? No one is going to go after that.”

Why did McDowell, who was never managed by La Russa, call him out more than 30 years later?

“I’m gonna whistle-blow this now because I’m getting tired of this crap,” he said. 

“It’s just ... this stuff is getting old where they target certain guys and let other people off the hook.”

The 75-year-old La Russa managed 33 seasons with the Sox, Athletics and Cardinals and won the World Series three times.

In November, La Russa joined the Angels as a senior adviser.

McDowell is entering his second season as head baseball coach at Queens University of Charlotte.

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