On Wednesday, Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Manny Ramirez was notified of a 50 game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. With that in mind, COED takes a look at the best performance-enhanced players at each position in baseball history (well…that we know of at least).
1B: Rafael Palmeiro: While playing from 1986-2005, Palmeiro became only the fourth player ever to reach both the career 500 home run and 3,000 hit plateaus. Palmeiro also accounted for 1.835 RBIs—over 400 more than fellow disgraced first baseman Mark McGwire. After former teammate Jose Canseco identified Palmeiro as a steroid user in his 2005 book Juiced, Palmeiro testified before congress that he had “never used steroids, period.” Nearly five months later, Palmeiro was suspended by MLB for ten days after testing positive for stanozolol.
2B: Brian Roberts: In nine seasons, the Orioles’ leadoff hitter has a career batting average of .284, including two All-Star Game appearances. But after being named in the 2006 Mitchell Report, Roberts came clean when he stated he took “one shot of steroids” back in 2003.
3B: Alex Rodriguez: Twelve-time All-Star. Three-time AL MVP. The youngest player ever to hit 500 career home runs. But this last year has brought troubled times for A-Rod. His marriage to his wife Cynthia ended in divorce. Torn cartilage in hip required surgery this offseason. And then he admitted to ESPN’s Peter Gammons that he took banned substances from 2001-2003. Even more embarrassing for Rodriguez –he allegedly had an affair with this actress from “Swept Away”.
SS. Miguel Tejada: The 2002 AL MVP certainly does not have a problem at the plate while amassing over 1100 RBIs—including 150 in the 2004 season. Tejada (if that’s really his last name) does have a problem with telling the truth. This February, Tejada pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to Congress in 2005 about his connections to Palmeiro and steroids. And just last year, ESPN obtained Tejada’s birth certificate that showed he was two years older than he claimed to be on his MLB contract, and that his surname is spelled Tejeda, rather than “Tejada.”
LF: Barry Bonds: Unlike fellow left fielder Manny Ramirez, Bonds never was punished by baseball for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. The all-time MLB leader in home runs (762) and MVP awards (six) brought “the clear” and “the cream” into our vernacular, stating that he received the substance from his personal trainer for treatment of “arthritis”. Yeah, and my friends all smoke pot to um…treat their glaucoma.
RF: Gary Sheffield: The nephew of Dwight Gooden, Sheff, now a member of the New York Mets, has played on nine All-Star teams, and hit his 500thcareer home run this April. Like many on our list, Sheffield was named in the infamous Mitchell Report, and admitted to using “the cream” while working out with Barry Bonds in 2001.
CF: Gary Matthews, Jr: Like Bonds, Matthews, Jr. throughout his career has been an excellent outfielder, often robbing opponents of home runs while patrolling center. But in 2007, Matthews, Jr. was connected to an investigation of a steroid ring, in which evidence showed he purchased testosterone and steroids. While Matthews, Jr. denied using PEDs, he did admit to occasionally using crack cocaine. Professional sports: the only job you can admit to using crack and still get paid. Well, that and mayor of D.C.
DH: Jason Giambi: A five-time All-Star with 397 career home runs, Giambi has had a most successful run in the majors between his time in Oakland and in the Bronx, albeit performance enhanced. Jason and his brother Jeremy were included in the Mitchell Report, and both admitted their wrongdoings, with Jason stating “I was wrong for doing that stuff.”
C: Ivan Rodriguez: Pudge has denied using PEDs, but according to Jose Canseco’s book, Rodriguez was a beneficiary of Canseco’s habitual acquisitions of steroids, along with former teammates Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez. The 13-time gold-glove winning catcher topped out at 35 home runs in 1999, but his rocket arm always kept runners weary on the basepaths. So with Pudge, Raffe, Juan Gone, A-Rod, and Ken Caminiti ‘roiding it up, the 2001 Texas locker room was akin to the Ozzy Osbourne/Mötley Crüe 1984 Tour bus, except none of the Rangers faced positve tests for snorting ants.
SP: Roger Clemens: A member of both the 300 career wins and 4,000 career strikeout clubs, Clemens was always known for his freakish workout routines, which perhaps were aided by the use of steroids. His name was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report where he was accused of using anabolic steroids, an allegation he has repeatedly denied. For a guy who made a cameo in “Anger Management”, Clemens sure does have some anger issues. He was once called a “headhunter” by Lou Pinella for his tendencies to brush back batters. And during the 2000 World Series, well, this happened (2:27). In a totally unrelated matter, increased aggressiveness is often claimed to occur with anabolic steroid use.