15 Baseball Players Caught Juicing
Major League Baseball is not the only professional sport that has to deal with drugs and performance enhancers being used by it players. However MLB does have the most cases of players being caught using illegal substances. In January 2004, Major League Baseball announced a new drug policy which included random, off season testing and 10-day suspensions for first-time offenders, 30-days for second-time offenders, 60-days for third-time offenders, and one year for fourth-time offenders, all without pay. This was an attempt to stop the rapid use of illegal performance enhancers in the league. In the following year tougher penalties were put in place; a 50-game suspension for a first offense, a 100-game suspension for a second, and a lifetime ban for a third. Still players take their chances with steroids and other drugs. Here are 15 baseball players who’s careers are tarnished due to their drug use.
Jose Conseco is probably the most famous former MLB player who used steroids. He admitted he used illegal performance enhancers and in 2005 he revealed that a majority of the players in the MLB use them too, sharing the names of specific players. This infuriated players and put them under serious heat. His 462 career home runs rank him 32nd on the MLB all-time list. He also received the Silver Slugger award four times. Though he was a great player it has been overshadowed by his steroid controversy.
Alex Rodriguez was once the golden child in the Major Baseball League. He was once the highest paid player in the league signing a $275 million contract with the New York Yankees. A-Rod was one of the names of fellow steroid users that Jose Conseco revealed in his tell all book. Rodriguez has denied using any illegal substance since that. After fighting a suspension that he felt was unjust, A-Rod finally confessed to juicing. He admitted that he bought the performance enhancing drugs from Biogenesis of America. He paid approximately $12,000 a month for about two years to fake doctor, Anthony Bosch. The confession was behind closed doors and he narrowly escaped prosecution. Rodriguez was reinstated to the Yankees after the 2014 World Series.
Mark McGwire peaked in the MLB when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals. He led the majors with 58 home runs in 1997. In the 1998 season McGwire joined the race to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record along with Ken Griffy Jr. and Sammy Sosa. He broke the record while playing the Cubs, gaining his 62nd home run of the season. In the same year McGwire admitted to using an over the counter muscle enhancement product that was already banned by the league. In 2010 he revealed he used steroid on and off for a decade. He says that he only used them for health reasons not to gain an advantaged.
In 2009 Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy by taking human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a women’s fertility drug. HCG is often used to restart natural testosterone production after a steroid cycle increasing a persons strength. In the spring of 2011, Ramirez was informed by MLB of another violation to its drug policy, which could result in a 100-game suspension. Ramirez decided to retire, rather than face a 100-game suspension. In 2011 he was reinstated and agreed to a 50 game suspension instead of the original 100. He was signed with the Oakland Athletics and was eligible to play on May 2012 he was released in June.
Rafael Palmeiro was drafted in the 1st round of the 1985 MLB draft. In his 20 year career he had 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. Palmeiro is one of 4 players in history to be a member of both the 3,000 hits and 500 home run clubs. He was one of the best hitters in the MLB. Unfortunately he was also another player that Conseco mentioned used performance enhancers. On March 17, 2005 Palmeiro denied using enhancement drugs at a Congressional hearing while under oath. On August 1st 2005 he was suspended for 10 games by MLB for testing positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol. At the end of the month Palmeiro was done with baseball for good.
Barry Bonds is considered one of the best major league baseball players ever to play. He held the record for most career home runs with 762. Bonds was voted to 14 All-Star games, has 7 MVP awards, and 8 Gold Glove Awards. All of those accolades are tarnished by his role in the BALCO scandal. In 2003 Bonds became part of a steroid scandal when Greg Anderson of BALCO was indicted by the federal grand jury and charged with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes. Bonds has claimed he was innocent besides all of the evidence against him. In 2007 Bonds was indicted by the federal government on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. He became a free agent and struggled to get picked up by any team due to his legal battles.
Also included in the BALCO scandal along with Berry Bonds amongst others, was Jason Giambi. Giambi debuted with the Oakland A’s during the same time period that Jose Conseco and Mark McGwire were there. Conseco shared in his book that Giambi was one of the players he personally injected with steroids. Giambi admitted to using several different steroids during the off season from 2001 to 2003. The testimony was behind closed doors but was later leaked to the public by a lawyer who was present. Giambi moved around to a couple of teams and suffered some injuries, but he is still actively playing with the Cleveland Indians.
Ivan Rodriguez played with six different teams in the MLB throughout his 20 year career. Rodríguez was awarded the American League MVP award in 1999. Rodríguez won the World Series with the Marlins in 2003, and also played in the 2006 World Series with the Tigers. Jose Conseco shared that he personally injected Rodriguez, during their time in Texas with the Rangers. Rodríguez denied the allegations and said he was “in shock” over Canseco’s claims. The claims were swept under the rug and Ivan Rodriguez went to play on until he retired in 2012.
Aside from receiving many awards like 3 time all-star and 2 time American League MVP, Juan Gonzalez is known for being a primary suspect in the Mitchell report, regarding a 2001 incident in which a piece of team luggage belonging either to González or his personal trainer was found to contain then legal, but now illegal enhancement drugs. Gonzalez and his trainer put the blame on each other. Gonzalez immediately cut ties with his trainer following the incident. Gonzalez was also mentioned by Jose Conseco to be a user of performance enhancement drugs.
Armando Rios played in Major League Baseball from 1998 through 2003. He first reached the majors in 1998 with the San Francisco Giants, spending four seasons with them before moving to the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 2001–2002 season then going to Chicago White Sox in 2003. Rios is one of the players that was listed on the Mitchell Report. He admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, testifying in the BALCO case after surgeries on his knee, elbow and shoulder. Rios now plays baseball in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Gary Sheffield was listed as a right out fielder, but he also played left field, third base, shortstop, and a handful of games at first base. He was one of the most versatile players in the league. Sheffield is apart of the 500 home run club. In 2001, while working out with Berry Bonds, a trainer rubbed cream on his knee that contained steroids. Sheffield claimed that he knew nothing about the cream in question. In 2007, Sheffield was added to the list of names mentioned in the Mitchell Report, accused of obtaining and using illegal enhancement drugs.
Randy Velarde was one of several former Yankee players named on the Mitchell Report, that was released on December 13, 2007. Velarde, via his lawyer, admitted that he had used “the cream” and “the clear”, both of which were supplied to him by Greg Anderson. He later testified in the Barry Bonds perjury case, stating that he purchased performance-enhancing drugs from and was injected with HGH by Anderson, who was Bonds’ personal trainer at the time.
Picked in the 11th round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft, Gary Benett played on the Phillies minor league team. He was called up in 1995 to play for the Phillies. He was released as a free agent and then signed with the Boston Red Sox but in 1997 was back in the minor league circuit. In 1998 he played a full major league season with the New York Mets. He never went back to the minors. Bennett’s name was also on the list of the Mitchell Report for using illegal performance enhancement drugs. After signing with the Dodgers, Bennett admitted he used illegal enhancement drugs, stating, “As far as the report is concerned to me, it’s accurate. Obviously, it was a stupid decision. It was a mistake.”
Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999, Larry Bigbie ended up with the Rockies in 2005 and went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007. He was yet another player that was involved in the Mitchell Report. He admitted to purchasing and using a variety of performance enhancing substances from Kirk Radomski from 2001 to 2005. The substances include human growth hormone, Deca-Durabolin, Sustanon, testosterone, and anti-estrogen drugs. In December 2007, it was announced that he had agreed to a deal to play for the Yokohama Bay Stars in the Japanese Central League even after the Mitchell Report incident.
Howie Clark made his Major League Baseball debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 2002 and has played at the major league level in parts of six seasons with the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Minnesota Twins. Kirk Radomski claimed he sold Clark four or five kits of human growth hormone and provided two money orders showing a $1,200 total transaction for one of the purchases. His name was on the Mitchell Report, but he was later acquitted when it was discovered his growth hormones was bunk because he bought it from a false Mexican source.