Baseball has been around for several years and has produced some of the greatest players of all time. It’s also one of the well-loved games in the world and number one for the Americans. And yet like the other sports, its fun image is often eclipsed by doping allegations and confessions.
The use of dope in sports isn’t new. Even the ancient Greeks, who began the Olympics, used them. During World War II anecdotes claimed that Hitler and his soldiers used testosterone drugs to boost performance. Other soldiers followed suit. By the time the war was over, though, these soldiers attended colleges, joined sports teams, and carried on with the habit. In the 1950s branded anabolic steroids were introduced in the market, and more athletes had access to them.
Today doping is practiced in almost all levels, from high school to pro. Sometimes the trainers themselves provide the drugs, masking them as vitamins or supplements. Despite the tradition, though, the use of drugs for performance is considered not only unethical but also illegal.
Baseball Players and Doping
One of the first cases of doping in baseball happened in 1889. Pud Galvin wasn’t just a user but a strong supporter of performance-enhancing drugs. Certain literatures also claimed that even the popular Babe Ruth also depended on drugs made of testicles from sheep.
In 1985 baseball was rocked by a series of trials involving the players of Pittsburgh Pirates. It later became known as the Pittsburgh trials. During the investigation, Dale Berra admitted to the use of certain substances, some of which came from colleagues like Willie Stargell.
One of the greatest “shockers” in the history of baseball was the confession of Jose Canseco through his book entitled Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits, and Baseball Got Big. The title was a mouthful and revealed intimate details on the widespread use of dope in baseball. Even he himself admitted to using anabolic steroids, though he also implicated others.
In 2003, another fiasco erupted, and this time a company was put in hot water. BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative), along with Victor Conte, was accused of supplying a drug called The Clear to some of the biggest names in athletics including Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones, who both competed in track and field in their respective categories. Both also lost their titles after the investigation.
In the Balco scandal, MLB players like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi testified before the attorney district court. It was well covered, discussed, and notorious the story eventually hurt the careers of some of the top players such as Bonds, which later admitted to using the drugs but on the premise they were meant to relieve arthritis.
By 2006, the government through the U.S. Congress became more involved. George J. Mitchell led the investigation on baseball doping and released his findings, now known as the Mitchell Report. It is composed of more than 400 pages covering the harmful effects of the drug and over 80 names of baseball players who allegedly used anabolic steroids. However, Mitchell came under fire when some critics accused him of conflict of interest since most of the listed players were from the New York Yankees. Mitchell was “consultant” of Boston Red Sox.