Clemens, Bonds, Tejada named in Mitchell Report
Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte also showed up Thursday in the game’s most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.
The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.
Seven MVPs showed up and in all, 80-some players were fingered, enough to put an All-Star at every position.
No one was hit harder than Clemens. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on Clemens came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.
“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.”
While 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.
“If there are problems, I wanted them revealed,” Selig said. “His report is a call to action, and I will act.”
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.
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 named in the report – in fact, there’s an All-Star at every position. Some were linked to Human Growth Hormone, others to steroids.
Only Bonds was mentioned more than Clemens, 103 times, most of it recounting previous reports.
More than a dozen 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.”
Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski also provided information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids case. Jose Canseco’s book “Juiced” also was cited.
Mitchell urged Selig to hold off on punishing players in the report “except in those cases where he determines that the conduct is so serious that discipline is necessary to maintain the integrity of the game.”
Selig said discipline will be determined in case by case basis, and actions will be taken “swiftly.”
“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 in the 409-page report.
“The illegal use of anabolic steroids and similar substances, in Vincent’s view, is ’cheating of the worst sort.’ He believes that it is imperative for Major League Baseball to ’capture the moral high ground’ on the issue and, by words and deeds, make it clear that baseball will not tolerate the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.”
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 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.”
“The illegal use in baseball of these substances also victimize the majority of players who don’t use them. We heard from many former players who believe it was grossly unfair that the users were gaining an advantage,” Mitchell said.
The report took issue with assertions that steroids were not banned before the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.
They had been covered, it said, since the 1971 drug policy prohibited using any prescription medication without a valid prescription, and were expressly included in the drug policy in 1991.
“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 is a director of the Boston Red Sox, and some questioned whether that created a conflict, especially because none of their 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, was the only current player known to have cooperated with the Mitchell investigation.
“The players’ union was largely uncooperative for reasons that I thought were largely understandable,” Mitchell said.
AP Sports Writers Rachel Cohen and Bill Konigsberg contributed to this report.