Friday, December 14, 2007
Story of the Day-Baseball's Steroid Era
The question of steroid use in baseball has been an ongoing issue for Major League Baseball since the mid 1990s and into the 21st century. Steroids are performance-enhancing drugs which have been banned from baseball.
While rumors of drug use by players have persisted for decades, the controversy over steroids has grown considerably due to the drastic rise in home runs since 1995. During the decade that followed the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds each surpassed Roger Maris' home run record, which had stood largely unchallenged for over 30 years.
Players Linked to Steroids and Human Growth Hormone
Big names in the Mitchell baseball steroids probe
Mitchell to release drug report Thursday
George Mitchell is ready to reveal all. Thursday afternoon, he'll announce the results of his 20-month investigation into drug use in baseball.
But baseball commissioner Bud Selig does not plan to walk the few blocks to witness it. Instead, he'll hold his own news conference at 4:30 p.m., 2 1/2 hours after Mitchell.
Mitchell said Wednesday he will release his report at his news conference, and it will be posted online at MLB.com shortly after that.
He's expected by many in baseball to be critical of the sport for being slow to react to its drug problem in 1990s and beyond. What they will be looking to see in his report is how he parcels blame among Selig, club owners, general managers, other team employees, the players' association and players themselves.
The revelation of players who have not yet been publicly linked to drug use figures to be the most sensational part of the report. Media reports have linked an array of All-Stars and MVPs to performance-enhancers in recent years, among them Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Ken Caminiti, Juan Gonzalez and Mark McGwire.
Bonds, indicted last month for perjury and obstruction of justice over his 2003 testimony in the BALCO drug case, has denied knowingly using performance-enhancers, as have Gonzalez and McGwire.
Baseball reviewed a draft Tuesday at the Manhattan office of DLA Piper, the law firm that Mitchell chairs, a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Mitchell hasn't authorized any statements.
Baseball officials have said for several weeks that management would be able to examine the report on performance-enhancing drugs a few days before it is made public to make sure it does not contain confidential information that if released would violate the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.
The joint drug agreement, which has been part of the labor contract since September 2002, prohibits the commissioner's office, teams and consultants from disclosing player test results, treatment and other information except in very limited, specified circumstances.
Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader, is a director of the Boston Red Sox and served on one of Selig's economic study committees. Selig hired him in March 2006 to investigate drug use in the sport.
George John Mitchell, GBE (born August 20, 1933 in Waterville, Maine) is a former Democratic Party politician and United States Senator who currently serves as chairman of the worldwide law firm DLA Piper and also as the Chancellor of the Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was the U.S. Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and chairman of The Walt Disney Company from March 2004 until January 2007.
On August 10, 2007, ABC News reported that Senator Mitchell had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Mitchell talks about his Mitchell report
Who made the Mitchell Report?
Mitchell Report List
Here's a list of most of the names Major League Baseball players (AP) - listed in the Mitchell Report.
The following players were connected to steroids, either use or possession, in the report:
Paul Lo Duca
Exavier "Nook" Logan
The following players were cited under "Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball."
Gary Matthews Jr.
The following players were linked through BALCO:
TIMELINE: Steroids and Baseball
1998: A jar of androstenedione is discovered in the locker of St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire, who is neck and neck with Sammy Sosa in the great chase at Roger Maris' all-time record of 61 homers hit during the 1961 season. McGwire admits he uses the steroids precursor and goes on to hit a then record 70 homers. Using steroids, precursors or performance-enhancing drugs is not illegal at that point in Major League Baseball.
2001: MLB unilaterally implements its first random drug-testing program in the Minor Leagues. All players outside the 40-man roster of each Major League club are subject to random testing for steroid-based, performance enhancing drugs, plus drugs of abuse (marijuana, cocaine). The penalties are 15 games for a first positive test, 30 games for a second, 60 games for a third, and one year for a fourth. A fifth offense earns a ban from professional baseball for life.
June 18, 2002: At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John McCain (R-Ariz) tell Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players Association executive director Don Fehr that a strict drug testing program at the Major League level must be negotiated during collective bargaining for a new Basic Agreement, which is about to expire. Up to this point, no MLB player can be tested for drug use without probable cause. Fehr tells the committee that the Congress should enact laws to ban over-the-counter sales of performance-enhancing substances.
July 8, 2002: The Players Association meets in Chicago the day before the All-Star Game at Milwaukee. Fehr gives a lengthy dissertation to the media after the meeting about where the union stands on a number of issues, including privacy concerns regarding random drug testing.
August 30, 2002: MLB and the union unveil Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program as an addendum to the new Basic Agreement, which is bargained at the 11th hour just as the players are about to go out on strike. The new policy calls for "Survey Testing" in 2003 to gauge the use of steroids among players on the 40-man rosters of each club. The tests will be anonymous and no one will be punished.
Feb. 17, 2003: Steve Bechler, a Baltimore Orioles pitcher, collapses on the field in Florida during a Spring Training workout and dies from heat exhaustion. He is 23 years old. An autopsy showed that the over-the-counter, performance-enhancing drug, Ephedra, was found in his system and was considered by the medical examiner as the primary cause of Bechler's death. Subsequently, MLB places Ephedra on the list of banned drugs at the Minor League level and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans it from over-the-counter sales.
March 1, 2003: Drug testing begins in Major League Spring Training camps. Some teams, including the Chicago White Sox, consider balking at taking the tests to skew the results. A refusal to participate in the "Survey" phase is considered a positive test. That first year, all MLB players on the 40-man rosters are subject to be randomly tested once. In addition, MLB had the right to retest up to 240 players a second time by the end of the season. All players ultimately complied and took the tests.
Oct. 29, 2003: The FDA bans THG. The next day MLB places the designer drug on its testing list for the 2004 season, but is barred by its own agreement from retroactively re-testing the 2003 urine samples for THG traces.
Nov. 13, 2003: MLB announced that 5-to-7 percent of 1,438 tests were positive during the 2003 season, well above the threshold, setting in motion mandatory testing for performance-enhancing drugs with punishments for the first time in Major League history. The first positive test put a player on a medical track that includes treatment and further testing. Otherwise, there's no punitive for a first positive test.
December, 2003: Ten Major League players, including Barry Bonds of the Giants, and Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield of the Yankees, are called to testify in front of a San Francisco grand jury investigating the machinations of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), owned and operated by Victor Conte. None of the players are charged with using performance-enhancing drugs, although four men, including Conte and Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer and childhood friend, are indicted for tax evasion and selling steroids without prescriptions.
March 10, 2004: The Senate Commerce Committee holds another hearing. Selig and Fehr again appear to testify. They are told in no uncertain terms that MLB's current drug policy is not strong enough. McCain says: "Your failure to commit to addressing this issue straight on and immediately will motivate this committee to search for legislative remedies," thus setting the legislative process in motion.
April 8, 2004: The grand jury presiding over the BALCO case issues a subpoena to obtain the results of all the drug tests collected from Major League players during the 2003 season. After negotiations by the union, which argues that the subpoena is violating privacy rights afforded to the players in the Joint Drug Agreement, the drug tests are turned over.
May 11, 2004: MLB and the Players Association agree to move all of the collection of urine samples and drug testing for both the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) facilities in Montreal and Los Angeles.
June, 2004: MLB begins drug testing Major League players under the punitive phase of the Joint Drug Agreement.
Oct. 22, 2004: President Bush signs into law the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 that the U.S. Congress passed earlier in the month. The bill added hundreds of steroid-based drugs and precursors such as androstenedione to the list of anabolic steroids that are classified as Schedule III controlled substances, which are banned from over-the-counter sales without a prescription. By virtue of MLB's own agreement with the union, all of the drugs banned by Congress are now on baseball's own banned list.
November 2004: The San Francisco Chronicle prints portions of leaked grand jury testimony given the previous year by Bonds and Giambi. Giambi reportedly admits injecting himself with steroids and Bonds reportedly says he unwittingly may have allowed his former trainer, Anderson, to rub cream that had a steroid base on his legs.
Dec. 3, 2004: Commissioner Selig again publicly presses the union to accept stronger terms in MLB's current drug policy. Negotiations have been on going for since May, but have born no fruit. Citing the recent grand jury testimony revelations, Selig says for the first time he would welcome government intervention into the situation if the sides can't reach accord through collective bargaining.
Dec. 7, 2004: The Executive Board of the Players Association, meeting in Phoenix, authorizes its representatives to move forward "to attempt to conclude" a more stringent drug policy with the Commissioner's office, Fehr said.
Jan. 13, 2005: During a quarterly owners' meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., the owners vote unanimously to accept recently concluded negotiations between MLB and the union strengthening the drug program. The new punitive measures for Major Leaguers are a 10-day suspension for the first positive test, 30 days for the second, 60 days for the third, and one year for the fourth. All without pay. On the first positive, the players name is released to the public. The program is separated from the Basic Agreement, which expires on Dec. 19, 2006, and is extended until 2008.
Feb. 14, 2005: Jose Canseco's new "tell all" book about his life in baseball using steroids and sharing them with some of his former teammates, hits the stores. The revelations are widely played in the media and carried by CBS in two segments of "60 Minutes" during which the former Oakland A's slugger claims he helped inject teammates McGwire, Giambi Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez, among others. During the latter segment, Mike Wallace asks Sandy Alderson, then MLB's executive vice president, baseball operations, if baseball intended to investigate the allegations. After Alderson rejects that notion, members of Congress say they will investigate the matter for baseball.
March 2, 2005: Rob Manfred, MLB's vice president of labor relations and human resources, says that drug testing will begin at Spring Training camps under the auspices of the revised program even though it has yet to be ratified by the union.
March 5, 2005: Selig announces the results of the 2004 drug tests in Mesa, Ariz. Selig says he's "startled" by the drop in positive test results from 5-to-7 percent in 2003 to between 1-to-2 percent in 2004. The actual numbers were 12 positive tests in 1,183. No player tested positively twice, so under the rules of the old program, they were neither suspended nor had their names released.
March 8, 2005: The House Government Reform Committee calls a hearing in Washington to hear testimony from MLB executives, plus current and former players about steroid use in MLB. At first, the government sends out invitations, which are turned down by the various parties. The Committee then issues subpoenas, which are fought by MLB. In the end, all agree to attend, including Canseco, McGwire, Curt Schilling, Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, and Sosa, plus Selig, Fehr, Alderson and Padres general manager Kevin Towers.
March 17, 2005: At the 11-hour hearing that is sometimes contentious, Congressmen again tell MLB and union officials to beef up their drug program "or we we'll do it for you," said Henry Waxman, the committee's top Democrat. "And you don't want that." McGwire, almost in tears at times, tells the Committee that he has been advised by his attorneys not to discuss the issue. "My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family or myself. I intend to follow their advice," McGwire said, declining to delve into the past.
March 18, 2005: Various bills controlling the use and testing of drug use in professional sports begin to be formulated in several committees.
April 3, 2005: Tampa Bay's Alex Sanchez becomes the first big league player to test positively under the new Joint Drug Program. He is suspended for 10 days. By early May, five players on the 40-man rosters of various clubs have been suspended the requisite 10 days for testing positive.
April 4, 2005: MLB announces that 38 Minor Leaguers all tested positive for steroid use. Most of them were suspended for 15 games. By the end of the month, more than 50 Minor Leaguers have been suspended.
April 25, 2005: Selig sends a letter to Fehr stating that the recently strengthened drug policy needs to be strengthened some more with tougher penalties and more incidence of testing. Selig is now calling for a "three strikes and your out approach," to disciplining players who repetitively test positive for steroid use: 50-game suspensions for the first offense, 100 games for the second and third-time offenders to be banned permanently. Selig also says he will unilaterally institute these rules in the Minor Leagues next season.
May 2, 2005: Fehr responds to Selig by letter, saying the matter is open to discussion. After various meetings with MLB officials, Fehr says he must begin the long process of going club-to-club to gauge the sentiment of all the Major League players.
May 11, 2005: During a quarterly meeting in New York, the 30 owners vote unanimously to support Selig's drug proposal put forth in his April 25 letter.
May 13, 2005: A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee calls the Commissioners and union leaders from all five professional sports leagues to testify at two days of hearings to discuss a proposed bill that would regulate the testing of players for steroid and amphetamine use. Among the proposals under consideration are penalties that match international and Olympic rules: a two-year suspension for the first positive test and a lifetime ban for the second.
May 16, 2005: Selig says in an open letter to baseball fans that he would support government intervention and the Olympic rules if MLB can't collectively bargain an enhanced drug policy with the union.
May 18, 2005: Selig, the NHL's Gary Bettman, the NBA's David Stern and the MLS's Don Garber appear before the subcommittee, which again tells them that the government is ready to intervene and set standards for drug testing in all professional sports. "In a perfect world I'd rather this just be done in collective bargaining or voluntary acceptance by the players in respective sports," said Congressman Joe Barton (R-Tex.)."But obviously we don't live in a perfect world. And in this case we need federal intervention. I think we've gone too long."
May 24, 2005: The House Government Reform Committee floats a bill also supported in the Senate by McCain. The new bill also calls for Olympic-type penalties of a two-year suspension for a first positive drug test and a lifetime ban for a second.
May 25, 2005: The House Energy and Commerce Committee passes its bill out of the subcommittee.
Aug. 1, 2005: Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is suspended for 10 days by Major League Baseball for violating its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He denies any intentional use of steroids.
Aug. 2, 2005: Mariners pitcher Ryan Franklin receives a 10-day suspension for violation of the Major League Baseball Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Nov. 2, 2005: Yankees outfielder Matt Lawton receives a 10-day suspension for violation of the Major League Baseball Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Nov. 10, 2005: A Congressional subcommittee decided to not seek perjury charges against Rafael Palmeiro following its investigation of the player's Capitol Hill statement that he had not used steroids.
Nov. 15, 2005: Major League Baseball and the players association reached agreement on Tuesday on a plan that significantly strengthens penalties for steroid and other illegal drug use. Penalties for steroid use will be 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. The plan also includes testing and suspensions for amphetamine use.
Dec. 8, 2005: The players union formally approves by a unanimous vote the drug policy it agreed to with Major League Baseball in November.
March 7, 2006: A book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters and excerpted in Sports Illustrated alleged Barry Bonds began using steroids after the 1998 baseball season and came to rely on a wide variety of performance-enhancing drugs over the next several years.
March 30, 2006: Commissioner Bud Selig announced that former Senate majority leader George Mitchell would head an independent investigation into alleged steroid use by players associated with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). Selig emphasized that Mitchell has the authority to expand the scope of the probe if necessary.
April 28, 2006: Patrick Arnold, noted scientist in the sports nutritional supplement world, pleaded guilty to supplying the Bay Area Laboratory-Cooperative with the performance-enhancing drug known as "the clear."
June 6, 2006: Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley told federal investigators he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, according to court documents unsealed.
June 12, 2006: Pitcher Jason Grimsley was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball, less than a week after federal agents raided his home during an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs. Grimsley's suspension was never served because he asked for and received his release from the Diamondbacks and then retired.
June 19, 2006: David Segui, a 15-year major league baseball player who last was on an MLB roster in 2004, said he was one of the players whose names were redacted in the IRS affidavit that said Jason Grimsley received two kits of human growth hormone on April 19.
July 20, 2006: A federal grand jury seated in San Francisco expired without indicting Barry Bonds on perjury charges. A new one was immediately empanelled to review the case.
Sept. 21, 2006: San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who published excerpts from the BALCO transcripts in 2004, were sentenced to 18 months in prison for refusing to reveal their source to the grand jury.
Oct. 1, 2006: Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada were among the players that a former major league pitcher accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a federal agent's affidavit, the Los Angeles Times reported. Baltimore teammates Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons and Tejada also were implicated in the sworn statement, the Times said.
Nov. 1, 2006: Mets reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended for 50 games, becoming the third player penalized in 2006 for violating Major League Baseball's toughened drug policy.
Jan. 18, 2007: Former Senator George Mitchell, who had been heading up a nearly year-long investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball, told the owners that he needed more cooperation from them to complete his much-anticipated report.
Feb. 21, 2007: Troy Ellerman, former lawyer for BALCO president Victor Conte, admitted to being the source of the BALCO grand jury documents leaked to San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.
Feb. 22, 2007: Former Senator George Mitchell announced that investigators for his committee reviewing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball planned to visit Spring Training camps to conduct interviews.
Feb. 26, 2007: Barry Bonds and other players under suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs were asked by Major League Baseball's lead steroids investigator to turn over medical records and submit to interviews.
Feb. 26, 2007: The players' association would offer advice but said it's the choice of each individual whether to cooperate with former Senator George Mitchell's investigation into steroids use.
Feb. 27, 2007: An Orlando pharmacy was raided by a law enforcement task force, the climax of a large New York state grand jury investigation into Internet drug sales. Among the athletes reportedly on the customer list were Angels outfield Gary Mathews Jr. and boxer Evander Holyfield.
March 2, 2007: Texas Rangers utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. was named by a Sports Illustrated story as the recipient of a shipment of HGH from a New York pharmacy.
April 27, 2007: A former New York Mets clubhouse employee pleaded guilty to distributing steroids to Major League players and was cooperating with baseball's steroids investigation. Kirk Radomski, 37, pleaded guilty to felony charges of distributing steroids and laundering money, charges that carry sentences of up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
May 18, 2007: New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi said Major League Baseball should apologize to the public for its widespread performance-enhancing drug problem.
May 23, 2007: Jason Giambi met with Major League Baseball officials over remarks he made in an interview that implied former use of performance-enhancing drugs.
June 6, 2007: Commissioner Bud Selig said that he wanted Jason Giambi to meet with former Senator George Mitchell during the next two weeks before determining whether to discipline the Yankees first baseman regarding statements about his alleged steroid use, which Giambi made to a newspaper last month.
July 6, 2007: Tigers infielder Neifi Perez became the first player disciplined under Major League Baseball's testing program for banned stimulants, receiving a 25-game suspension for a second positive test.
July 14, 2007: Yankees 1B/DH Jason Giambi became the first active player to meet with former Senator George Mitchell in baseball's ongoing investigation into steroid use by major league players.
Aug. 3, 2007: The only player suspended under Major League Baseball's new drug testing program for stimulants was suspended again. Tigers infielder Neifi Perez received his second such sentence in a month, this one an 80-game suspension for another positive test.
Sept. 7, 2007: Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus was the second Major League Player implicated for the purchasing of performance-enhancing drugs via the Internet during the 2004 season, SI.com reported. The news came only hours after the New York Daily News reported that Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, citing records its reporters saw.
Sept. 9, 2007: SI.com reported that Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons had purchased performance-enhancing drugs through Orlando-based Signature Pharmacy from October 2003 to July 2005.
Sept. 13, 2007: Members of the committee headed by former Senator George Mitchell met with representatives of the Albany, N.Y., prosecutor's office as a two-year-old probe into the Internet sale of performance-enhancing drugs continued.
Sept. 19, 2007: Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons became the second of the four players who have reportedly been linked to the procurement of performance-enhancing drugs through pharmacies doing business on the Internet to meet with officials from Major League Baseball.
Oct. 2, 2007: Pitcher Scott Schoeneweis was reported to have purchased six shipments of steroids from Orlando-based Signature Pharmacy while playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004.
Oct. 21, 2007: Prior to Game 7 of the ALCS between the Indians and Red Sox, Cleveland pitcher Paul Byrd was cited in a San Francisco Chronicle report as having purchased human growth hormone in large quantities between August 2002 and January 2005.
Oct. 31, 2007: Padres outfielder Mike Cameron is suspended 25 games, effective the beginning of the 2008 season, for testing positive for a banned stimulant. Cameron became the second player to be suspended for a banned stimulant, following Neifi Perez.
Nov. 6, 2007: Former Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen and two former Major League players -- Matt Williams and Ismael Valdez -- bought performance-enhancing drugs from a Florida clinic, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Nov. 7, 2007: Gary Matthews Jr., the Angels outfielder whose name was the first to surface earlier this year in the probe by an Albany, N.Y., district attorney into the illegal sales of performance-enhancing drugs, met with attorneys for the Commissioner's Office, an MLB official confirmed.
Nov. 15, 2007: Barry Bonds was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, was ordered released from prison by a federal judge after being held in contempt for refusing to testify to a grand jury.
Nov. 27, 2007: Left-handed free-agent pitcher Dan Serafini received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He split '07 between Triple-A and the Rockies.
Dec. 6, 2007: Outfielders Jose Guillen, newly of the Kansas City Royals, and Jay Gibbons of the Baltimore Orioles were suspended 15 days each for violations of Major League Baseball's substance abuse policy.
Dec. 7, 2007: Barry Lamar Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader, pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in testimony given to a grand jury four years ago.
Mitchell Report hits Clemens, other stars hard
Bush says players, owners must take findings seriously
NEW YORK - A day after the Mitchell Report was released, the condemnations kept pouring in.
President Bush said in a press conference Friday that steroids have "sullied" baseball. He also said baseball players and owners must take the Mitchell Report on steroid use seriously, but it's important not to jump to conclusions about the individuals named.
And one of the greatest stars was taking the biggest hit.
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner, eighth on the all-time list with 354 victories, an MVP and All-Star himself and once a lock for the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
In all, Thursday’s 409-page report identified 85 names to differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his lawyer, Clemens was the symbol.
Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte also showed up in the game’s most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.
“If there are problems, I wanted them revealed,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “His report is a call to action, and I will act.”
Doping was widespread by stars as well as scrubs, the report said, putting a question mark if not an asterisk next to baseball records and threatening the integrity of the game itself.
Eric Gagne, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Paul Byrd, Jose Guillen, Brian Roberts, Paul Lo Duca and Rick Ankiel were among other current players in the report. Some were linked to Human Growth Hormone, others to steroids. Mitchell did not delve into stimulants.
“Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball of Hall of Fame,” Mitchell wrote. “They include both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as diverse as those of all major league players.”
No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.
At 45, Clemens has not said whether he wants to pitch next season.
The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. Although a few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal proceedings, many of the instances cited by Mitchell were before drug testing began in 2003.
Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come “swiftly” on a case-by-case basis.
“We have approached these cases by looking at the period of time during which the conduct occurred and what our policy looked like for that point in time,” said Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations.
Although the records will surely stand, several stars could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.
Mitchell said the problems didn’t develop overnight and there was plenty of blame to go around.
“Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades — commissioners, club officials, the players’ association and players — shares to some extent the responsibility for the Steroids Era,” Mitchell said. “There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on.”
Mitchell recommended that the drug-testing program be made independent, that a list of the substances players test positive for be listed periodically and that the timing of testing be more unpredictable.
“The illegal use of performance-enhancing substances poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game,” the report said. “Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records.”
Jose Canseco, whose book “Juice” was cited throughout, was mentioned the most often — 105 times. Bonds was next at 103.
A total of 20 Yankees, past and present, were identified. Players were linked to doping in various ways — some were identified as users, some as buyers and some by media reports and other investigations.
“According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens’ performance showed remarkable improvement,” the report said. “During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids ’had a pretty good effect’ on him.”
McNamee also told investigators that “during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin.”
“It is very unfair to include Roger’s name in this report,” said Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin. “He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.”
“There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today,” said Hardin, who called McNamee a “troubled man.”
Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski also provided information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids case.
“Former commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the problem of performance-enhancing substances may be the most serious challenge that baseball has faced since the 1919 Black Sox scandal,” Mitchell said.
Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids, was among the former players named. So were Kevin Brown, Benito Santiago, Lenny Dykstra, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn, Wally Joyner and Todd Hundley.
Mike Stanton, Scott Schoeneweis, Ron Villone and Jerry Hairston Jr. were among the other current players identified.
“We identify some of the players who were caught up in this drive to gain a competitive advantage,” the report said. “Other investigations will no doubt turn up more names and fill in more details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the description of baseball’s ‘steroids era’ as set forth in this report.”
One player mentioned but not expressly accused was McGwire. His use of Androstenedione during his 1998 home run race with Sammy Sosa set off baseball’s first concerns about steroids.
Testifying before Congress in 2005, McGwire refused to talk about his past, and refused as well to cooperate with Mitchell. The report recounts all that without making any accusations.
Sosa, who testified with McGwire and denied knowingly using steroids, also was spared by Mitchell.
The report took issue with assertions that steroids were not banned before the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.
They had been covered, it said, since management’s 1971 drug policy prohibited using any prescription medication without a valid prescription, and were expressly included in Vincent’s 1991 drug policy.
“Steroids have been listed as a prohibited substance under the Major League Baseball drug policy since then,” the report said, although no player was disciplined for them until the 2002 labor agreement provided for testing.
Mitchell questioned whether players were tipped off about testing. He said a former player, whom he didn’t identify, claimed he had been given two weeks’ notice of a drug test by Gene Orza, the union’s No. 2 official, in September 2004. Orza did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Mitchell is a director of the Boston Red Sox, and some questioned whether that created a conflict, especially because none of their prime players were in the report.
“Judge me by my work,” Mitchell said. “You will not find any evidence of bias, special treatment, for the Red Sox or anyone else. That had no effect on this investigation or this report, none whatsoever.”
Giambi, under threat of discipline from Selig, and Frank Thomas were the only current players known to have cooperated with the Mitchell investigation.
“The players’ union was largely uncooperative for reasons that I thought were largely understandable,” Mitchell said.
Union head Donald Fehr made “no apologies” for the way they represented players.
“Many players are named. Their reputations have been adversely affected, probably forever,” he said. “Even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been.”
Certainly a lot of people read the names. The report was downloaded 1.8 million times off MLB.com in the first three hours after it was posted.
About two hours after the report was released, two congressmen at the forefront of Capitol Hill’s involvement in the steroids issue asked Mitchell, Selig and Fehr to testify at a House committee hearing next Tuesday.
California Democrat Henry Waxman and Virginia Republican Tom Davis — the leaders of the panel that held the March 17, 2005, hearing at which McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa testified — want to know “whether the Mitchell Report’s recommendations will be adopted and whether additional measures are needed,” they said.
Also, a Congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing on Jan. 23 relating to steroid use in professional sports.
Baseball stars shamed by steroid abuse report
Some of United States baseball's most prominent stars, including legendary pitcher Roger Clemens, have been labelled drug users in a long-awaited report that reveals rampant steroids use in the sport.
Probe chief George Mitchell said there has been widespread anabolic steroid use for more than a decade and that all 30 Major League Baseball teams have one or more players using performance enhancing drugs.
"The evidence we uncovered indicates this is not an isolated problem involving a few players and clubs. Many players were involved," Mr Mitchell said.
The release of the findings of former US senator Mitchell ends 20 months of speculation about some of the players who used drugs to boost their performance on the field.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig has scheduled a news conference for later in the day. The player's union is expected to also hold a news conference.
"For more than a decade there has been widespread use of illegal substances in pro baseball," Mr Mitchell said. "I was asked to conduct this investigation and report as fairly as I could I have done so."
Mr Mitchell called for baseball's drug testing to be stepped up and made recommendations for change to prevent future abuse. He also called for an outside agency to administer the testing programme and more transparency.
Baseball officials had a chance to review the more than 400-page report before it became public. They said their biggest concern was making sure that releasing the contents of the report would not violate their contract with the union.
Mr Mitchell's report did not make any recommendations on what type of punishment those named should face, saying that is up to the commissioner.
But it did shed some light on why baseball ignored performance-enhancing drugs for years and the players' union's attempts to scuttle the probe.
Mr Mitchell's probe met fiery resistance from the player's union.
Because of the difficulties in interviewing current players who were refused to talk, Mr Mitchell said much of his report is based on information gathered from managers, general managers, former players, strength coaches and especially ex-New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.
Players that have been previously linked to performance-enhancing drugs include Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and the late Ken Caminiti.
The release of the Mitchell Report comes less than a month after Bonds, the sport's all-time home run king, was indicted on four counts of perjury and one for obstruction of justice.
Bonds pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Selig Mr hired Mitchell, a former US Senate majority leader, for the job in March 2006.
Steroid Report Cites ‘Collective Failure’
Former Senator George J. Mitchell released a blistering report Thursday that tied 89 Major League Baseball players, including Roger Clemens, to the use of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs. The report used informant testimony and supporting documents to provide a richly detailed portrait of what Mr. Mitchell described as “baseball’s steroids era.”
Mr. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, was the most prominent name on a list that included seven other former most valuable players as well as players from all 30 teams. The list included more than a dozen players who have had significant roles with the Yankees, and more than a dozen Mets, too. It also included 11 players alone from the 2000 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of all the active players tied to the use of steroids and human growth hormone, which are illegal without a prescription and banned by baseball, only Jason Giambi of the Yankees cooperated with Mitchell’s 20-month investigation. The Toronto Blue Jays’ Frank Thomas, widely known for his antisteroids stance, was the only other active player who agreed to talk with Mr. Mitchell’s investigators.
Mr. Mitchell’s report of about 400 pages was based on interviews with more than 700 people, including 60 former players, and 115,000 pages of documents, including receipts, canceled checks, telephone records and e-mail messages. The key evidence was provided by Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant, and Brian McNamee, a former trainer for Mr. Clemens and Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, who was also named in the report.
In the report, Mr. McNamee is quoted describing how he injected Mr. Clemens with illegal drugs at least 16 times from 1998 through 2001. Mr. Clemens, 45, adamantly denied the report’s accusations of his use of steroids and human growth hormone, his Houston lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said in a telephone interview Thursday night. Mr. Hardin said he had been told Mr. McNamee was pressured to give up names or face prosecution by the I.R.S. Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, who has led the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and Radomski investigations.
Mr. Hardin criticized Mr. Mitchell for naming players based on uncorroborated allegations. “He has thrown a skunk into the jury box, and we will never be able to remove that smell,” Mr. Hardin said. Mr. Pettitte’s agent declined to comment.
In his comments at a Midtown Manhattan hotel Thursday, Mr. Mitchell acknowledged that his report was inhibited by limited cooperation and the absence of subpoena power, and that there was still much about drug use in baseball he did not know. The report was critical of the commissioner’s office and the players’ union for knowingly tolerating performance-enhancing drugs. It cited many instances where club officials knew about particular steroid use among players and did not report it.
“There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on,” Mr. Mitchell said. He recommended that the players on the list not be disciplined, but instead said that baseball needed to “look ahead to the future” and establish stronger testing.
Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, praised Mr. Mitchell’s 20 recommendations, which included the adoption of a more independent drug-testing program with more public reporting of results, and the establishment of a unit in the commissioner’s office to investigate reports of steroid use by players who have not tested positive.
Despite Mr. Mitchell’s general recommendation that the players in the report not be punished, Mr. Selig said he would review each player’s case individually and was inclined to discipline them.
“His report is a call to action,” Mr. Selig said. “And I will act.”
Donald M. Fehr, the executive director of the Major League Players’ Association, said he did not think the investigation was fair.
“Many players are named,” Mr. Fehr said. “Their reputations have been adversely affected, probably forever, even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been.”
Mr. Mitchell said “baseball’s steroids era” started roughly in 1988. It took 15 more years for baseball to start random testing, Mr. Mitchell said. He noted that testing has reduced steroid usage, but players have switched to human growth hormone, which cannot be detected in urine tests, which baseball’s program administers. “Everybody in baseball — commissioners, club officials, the players’ association, players — shares responsibility,” Mr. Mitchell said.
The report revealed that baseball secretly suspended drug testing for part of the 2004 season, for fear of criminal prosecution, after federal authorities seized the 2003 drug results as part of the Balco case. The suspension, of unclear length, was kept secret by agreement of the commissioner’s office and the players’ association.
Mr. McNamee, who has also been employed as a trainer with the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, spoke to Mr. Mitchell’s investigators under pressure from federal prosecutors investigating the use of steroids in baseball. Mr. McNamee, who was linked with Mr. Radomski, provided evidence against Mr. Clemens, Mr. Pettitte and first baseman David Segui. Mr. McNamee agreed to cooperate with the United States Attorney’s Office under the terms that he would not be charged with a crime if he told Mr. Mitchell and investigators the truth.
The report was littered with vivid details, including Mr. Radomski telling investigators that he once found on his porch a wet delivery package filled with $8,000 in cash from Kevin Brown, the former Dodgers and Yankees pitcher.
Mitchell’s report described how David Justice denied using steroids to investigators while providing names of players that he suspected of using them. Justice, a former Yankees and Atlanta Braves outfielder, is among the players named in the report.
A Congressional committee that held a televised hearing on steroids in baseball in 2005 called another hearing for next Tuesday and summoned Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Selig and Mr. Fehr.
Mr. Radomski, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges for selling steroids from 1995 through 2005, cooperated with Mr. Mitchell as part of his plea bargain. He is to be sentenced next year on federal charges of steroid distribution.
Other evidence came from Mr. McNamee, and from an investigation led by the Albany County district attorney into Signature Pharmacy. “The players’ union was largely uncooperative for reasons which I think were understandable,” Mr. Mitchell said.
The report described case after case where players were caught with steroids but not pursued by club officials or the commissioner’s security office.
The report listed key members of the Yankees’ World Series teams in the Joe Torre era, including starting pitchers Clemens and the 35-year-old Pettitte, the left-handed and right-handed set-up men Mike Stanton and Jason Grimsley, right fielder Justice and second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.
Mr. Selig said baseball would immediately cease giving teams advance notice of when drug testers would be showing up. The testers had been calling clubs the day before testing to get parking passes at ballparks. That practice was revealed recently by The New York Times.
“For more than a decade, there has been widespread anabolic steroid use,” Mr. Mitchell said. He said the use of performance-enhancing substances “poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game.”
The other prominent names in the report were the Most Valuable Player award-winners Barry Bonds, Ken Caminiti, José Canseco, Giambi, Juan González, Mo Vaughn and Miguel Tejada.
Other players named included Gary Sheffield, Lenny Dykstra, Denny Neagle, Todd Hundley, Mike Stanton, Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagné.
Don Hooton, who became an outspoken critic of steroid use after his son Taylor committed suicide after using the drugs, attended the news conference Thursday and said of the report, “This is more than about asterisks and cheating; it’s about the lives and health of our kids.”
Mr. Selig noted that he had the authority to implement several of the recommendations, but that the majority — including any changes to the sport’s drug-testing policies — would first have to be agreed to by the players’ association under the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement. Mr. Fehr said the union would be willing to take a look at the possibility of adjusting the testing procedures before the agreement expires in 2011. Mr. Mitchell’s report did not address the use of amphetamines in sports, nor did it call for blood testing, the only way to detect human growth hormone.
“Former commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the problem of performance-enhancing substances may be the most serious challenge that baseball has faced since the 1919 Black Sox scandal,” Mr. Mitchell said in the report, referring to the Chicago White Sox’ throwing of the World Series.
Mr. Mitchell has conducted the reported $20 million investigation with the help of his law firm DLA Piper, where he is a partner. Mr. Mitchell has made few public statements throughout the investigation and many of the details have been guarded.
He serves as a director of the Red Sox, a post he refused to vacate despite accusations that his investigation might be biased toward the team.
Mr. Mitchell had a difficult time with the players’ union.
“The Players’ Association was largely uncooperative,” Mr. Mitchell wrote, discouraging every active baseball player from talking with him, rejecting all requests for documents, and permitting only one interview with Mr. Fehr.