The Steroids EraUnlike other MLB boldenone undecylenate test cypionate there is no defined start or end time to "the steroids era," though it is generally considered to have run from the late '80s through the late s. The lack of testing meant it was unlikely players using PEDs would steriids caught. During the history of steroids in mlb, Major League Baseball experienced an increase in offensive output that resulted in some unprecedented home run totals for history of steroids in mlb power hitters of the decade. While just three players reached the home run mark in any season between andmany sluggers would start to surpass that number in the mids. InMark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics led the majors with 52 home runs despite missing part of the season.
The Steroids Era - MLB Topics - ESPN
Unlike other MLB "eras," there is no defined start or end time to "the steroids era," though it is generally considered to have run from the late '80s through the late s. The lack of testing meant it was unlikely players using PEDs would get caught. During the s, Major League Baseball experienced an increase in offensive output that resulted in some unprecedented home run totals for the power hitters of the decade.
While just three players reached the home run mark in any season between and , many sluggers would start to surpass that number in the mids. In , Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics led the majors with 52 home runs despite missing part of the season.
Midway through the season, McGwire was traded to the St. The move set the stage for a memorable season when he and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs battled for the National League home run title, during a year in which 13 different major leaguers hit at least 40 home runs. Late in the season, it seemed inevitable that both Sosa and McGwire would break Maris' year-old record, and it was just a matter of who would get there first. In a series in early September against Sosa and the Cubs, McGwire hit his 61st and 62nd home runs of the season to surpass Maris' number.
By the final week of the season, Sosa had battled back to draw even with McGwire at 65 home runs. McGwire went on to finish with five home runs in his team's final series to reach 70 for the season. Sosa finished second in the NL in home runs with 66, 26 more than his previous season high.
The home run onslaught captured the attention of the country and helped to reclaim popularity for the league four years after a strike had shortened the season. Androstenedione was not illegal at that time in Major League Baseball, however, which had yet to institute a testing program for many substances.
McGwire's record stood for only three years, as Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit 73 home runs to top the majors in Bonds notched 73 homers despite failing to reach the home run plateau in any prior season. He also hit his th career home run that season, and reached the HR mark just a season later. The home run heroics of the and seasons were called into question as McGwire, Sosa and Bonds were among a group of major leaguers linked to the use of PEDs in the following years.
The home run club remains one of baseball's most prestigious groups, though the increased offensive totals of the s and s have taken some luster off membership. In , Eddie Murray became the 15th member of the home run club, and the first since Mike Schmidt in But it wouldn't be long until Murray had company. Between and , 10 more players reached career home runs, easily the largest increase in membership in baseball history.
Bonds testified that he took substances described to him as linseed oil and rubbing balm by his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, who was among the individuals indicted in the case. But since neither Giambi nor Bonds had tested positive by the league -- and since the players' testimonies were not reported publicly until a year or more after their grand jury appearances -- no punitive action was taken by Major League Baseball. While none of the players were charged with using PEDs, the BALCO case was one factor in spurring baseball to toughen its stance and institute a drug-testing program.
In , Bonds was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice relating to his statements to the grand jury. He would plead not guilty on five counts, and appeals related to the case delayed the start of the trial until During the course of the trial, one of the counts was dropped. However, four still went to jury deliberations. The jury was deadlocked on three of the counts, but found Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice.
He was sentenced to 30 days house arrest, two years probation and hours community service. The sentence has been stayed pending appeal. George Mitchell to head a panel to investigate steroids use by major league players. The league announcement indicated the investigation would focus on the period beginning with when the collective bargaining agreement was signed , but that Mitchell -- who also served as a director of the Boston Red Sox -- would be free to explore anything or any time that was relevant to understanding the problem of steroids in baseball.
During the next 20 months, Mitchell's team interviewed hundreds of people. Mitchell warned league owners that a lack of cooperation with his investigation would increase the chances of government involvement in the matter. He left it up to individuals whether to talk with the investigators, and most refused to cooperate. He concluded that the use of these illegal substances posed a serious threat to the integrity of the game and made 20 recommendations to strengthen the MLB drug policy, including an independent overseer, greater education and increased testing.
Though his report was inhibited by limited cooperation and the absence of subpoena power, Mitchell claimed that there was a "collective failure" to recognize the problem early on and criticized both the commissioner's office and the players' union for knowingly tolerating PEDs. The report's findings were based on testimony from former players, league and club representatives and other informants, along with more than , pages of seized documents.
Mitchell recommended that rather than disciplining the players listed in the report, the league should set up a stronger testing program. Selig praised Mitchell's work, yet noted that he would review each player's case and could be inclined to discipline them. Selig added that he intended to implement as many of Mitchell's recommendations as possible that did not need to be collectively bargained with the players' union.
Fehr maintained that the investigation was not a fair one, but he did report that the union would be willing to explore the possibility of adjusting testing procedures before the agreement expired in While steroids had been part of baseball's banned substance list since , testing for major league players did not begin until , when MLB conducted surveys to help gauge the extent of performance-enhancing drug PED use in the game.
The agreement with the league players' union MLBPA called for one random test per player per year, with no punishments that first year. If more than 5 percent of players tested positive in , tougher testing would be implemented with penalties ranging from counseling for a first offense, to a max one-year suspension for a fifth violation. If less than 2. In November , the league revealed that 5 to 7 percent of 1, tests returned positive results. The tests began during spring training and were conducted anonymously on members of each club's man roster.
Subsequently, of the same players were tested again without notice at some point during the regular season. With the results announced, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement that he was pleased to learn that there was not widespread steroids use in baseball.
He did add, however, that since the 5 percent threshold had been reached, mandatory testing for steroids use would begin in the spring of All major league players would be subject to two tests without prior notice during the season -- an initial test, and a follow-up test five to seven days later.
The drug testing program was administered by a Health Policy and Advisory Committee that included representatives for both the players' association and MLB. Under terms of the drug policy in the collective bargaining agreement, all anabolic steroids deemed illegal by the U. Food and Drug Administration were subject to testing. According to MLB's policy, any player testing positive would immediately enter a "clinical track" to be treated for steroids use.
If a player under treatment then failed another test, was convicted or pled guilty to the sale and or use of a prohibited substance, that player would immediately be moved to the "administrative track" and be subject to discipline. Senate committee in advised Selig that his policy on drugs and steroids was not strong enough, the league and its players' union announced a new policy in January The new drug-testing agreement called for year-round testing of banned substances, and suspensions ranging from 10 days for a first offense to the commissioner's discretion for a fifth offense.
According to the changes, a player who tested positive for the first time would be suspended for 10 days and his name would be released to the public. A day suspension without pay would be handed out for a second positive test, with 60 days given for a third offense and a one-year suspension for the fourth. Alex Sanchez of Tampa Bay was the first player suspended for steroids under the new testing program. In all, 12 major leaguers were suspended in , with each receiving game suspensions.
Early in the season, Selig proposed even stricter changes to the policy, and in November of that year MLB and the MLBPA agreed on a game ban for a first offense, games for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a player testing positive a third time.
Following recommendations made by U. George Mitchell in his investigative report examining steroids use in Major League Baseball, the league and its players' union again fortified the testing policy in Modifications to the league's Joint Drug Agreement included a disbanding of the advisory committee made up of management and union representatives that administered the program.
It was replaced by an Independent Program Administrator IPA responsible for publicly reporting key statistics related to the program and required to maintain records for longer periods than were defined for previous administrators. The new policy, expected to be in place through , expanded the list of banned substances, added tests per year bringing the total number to 3, , and increased the number of offseason tests that could be conducted per year up to Testing was also expanded to include the top prospects in the amateur draft.
Any prospects who tested positive would remain draft eligible, but teams would be notified of those results. In the new agreement the league vowed to help educate youths and families about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances. In exchange for those provisions, the league agreed not to discipline players implicated by Mitchell's investigation. The MLB and MLBPA also agreed to keep players' names private until discipline could be imposed and agreed to apprise players of any allegations and evidence against him before any investigatory interview.
Jose Canseco , a teammate of Mark McGwire on two Oakland A's teams that won the World Series, helped shed more light on the issue of steroids in baseball when his book -- "Juiced: In the autobiography, Canseco admitted experimenting with steroids and other drugs to build muscle and improve his power throughout a major league career in which he won Rookie of the Year and league MVP honors.
Canseco also claimed to know a number of major leaguers who had used steroids and other PEDs to enhance their game. A month after the book's release, the U. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform scheduled hearings on steroids use in Major League Baseball, inviting Canseco and a number of players mentioned in the book, along with other active players, to testify. Thomas made a statement by videoconference during the hearing, while the other players appeared in person to address the committee and face questioning.
While Sosa, Thomas and Palmeiro testified under oath that they had never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, the retired McGwire told the committee that he could not answer any questions about his past, including those related to his alleged involvement with PEDs. He and former teammate Canseco told the committee in their separate opening statements that their attorneys had advised them not to comment on alleged steroids use.
But Canseco went on to answer every question directed at him, noting beforehand that being denied immunity would compromise his answers. Although other players said they didn't see widespread steroids use in the game, Canseco reported that he did. He also claimed that baseball had turned its back on steroids problems because the resulting power increase helped the sport recover from the work stoppage that cut off the season.
While Selig stated his belief that the game didn't have a major steroids problem, lawmakers on the committee did not agree with league leadership's past policies on drug testing.
Henry Waxman, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, ended the hearings by telling Selig and Fehr that the league should consider scrapping the program to reassess its influence.
He also threatened federal legislation to govern drug testing in baseball. The hearings did have an affect on the league's policy, as Selig later proposed stricter rules regarding use of illegal substances. And in late the league and players' union agreed on harsher penalties for offenders. The Mitchell report included New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens on its list of major leaguers linked to the potential use of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.
Mitchell's investigation had based some results on statements by Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, who claimed that he had previously injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone HGH. Just days after the report was released in December , Clemens -- a multiple Cy Young Award winner -- issued a categorical denial of personal steroids use in a statement through his agent.
The following month, Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee which was later dismissed by a federal judge. Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who made allegations also noted in the Mitchell report.
Early in the congressional hearing, lawmakers read Clemens a sworn statement by Andy Pettitte that Clemens had told him in or that he had used HGH. Responding that Pettitte must have "misremembered" the conversation that occurred years earlier, Clemens went on to testify under oath that he had not used steroids or PEDs during his career.