Steroid users stole our money: Rob Butler

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Rob Butler has had enough.

The former Blue Jays outfielder is tired of reading about Alex Rodriguez in Sports Illustrated, tired of he and his brother Rich watching from the sidelines as another steroid user lands another huge contract.

"All the money and potential earnings we lost rubs us the wrong way," he said. "What good has it done my brother and I to play the game clean? It's like we were cheated out of four or five years of major-league money."

The late Bobby Prentice signed the Butler brothers in 1990. Rob was promoted to the Jays in 1993 earning a World Series ring. He appeared in 109 games with the Phillies and the Jays before retiring in 1999 at age 29.

"I had a bad back, arthritis in my one thumb and have had two shoulder surgeries," Butler said. "I would have been the perfect guy to use it to get healthy and enhance my career. I had the opportunity to use steroids in 1999.

"I said: 'No, I'm leaving the game, I can't play at this level any more, see you in the papers boys.'"

Brother Rich played seven games with the Jays in 1997 and parts of two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devils Rays.

"Rich went to spring training with the Texas Rangers in 2000 and was sent out (triple-A Oklahoma City)," Rob said. "Now, it looks like he was competing against a lot of guys on steroids."

Rich was also at double-A New Haven and triple-A Tacoma in the Seattle Mariners system before retiring at age 27.

The East York brothers now run the Home Run Academy in Ajax, an indoor hitting facility, and the Ontario Prospects elite program.

Rob asks the question: "Was the union protecting guys on steroids? It almost looks that way."

He said players with three or less years of service had zero say in any of the meetings.

"It has to be to the point where more guys are saying this is bull, we were cheated out of an opportunity," Rob said. "I didn't get on the juice because I didn't want to hurt my body.

"I could have been a guy who hit .300 with 15 homers. Coming through the minors, my numbers were similar to a lot of guys.

"Another guy goes on the juice, plays nine years and earns millions."

Rob said Jose Canseco's initial projection that 80% of players used steroids was "accurate."

The solution?

"Anyone caught, his numbers are totally irrelevant -- like Ben Johnson in the Olympics," Rob said. "Their numbers mean zero.

"If Barry Bonds is found guilty? Zero home runs. Doesn't matter if he only cheated one year.

"These players have their money, you can't take that away, but their numbers are what that they are going to be judged by years from now, so take the numbers away."


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