The 103 Names: Why They Need to be Revealed

Bob MilesCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13:  A page mentioning All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens is seen in the report released by former Senator George J. Mitchell, the lead investigator in Major League Baseball's steroid scandal, December 13, 2007 in New York City. Mitchell was expected to name dozens of players linked to performance-enhancing substances.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Looking back on my days as a recruiter that specialized in placing candidates in the accounting field I will always remember one candidate’s quote that “the numbers tell a story” and regardless of what you are being told the “numbers do not lie”. 


With that said,

  • 47 players were named in the Mitchell Report
  • 16 players admitting to use of steroids and/or HGH
  • 32 players have been implicated for the use of steroids
  • 25 players(and counting) have been suspended by Major League Baseball

The numbers pertaining to the oft discussed “Steroid Era” are staggering but none cast more of a black cloud over the game right now more than the number not listed above and that number is 104.


104 players tested positive for steroids and/or other banned performance enhancing drugs in 2003, a test that guaranteed the anonymity of all who tested positive. 


If you were to browse the internet you would find countless articles calling for action on behalf of Major League Baseball to release the names of all 104 players that tested positive for steroids in 2003. 

Each has their own agenda, some are purists that do not like to see longstanding records broken by “cheaters”, some believe a player on their favorite team’s arch rival may be guilty, and others simply want to see all “cheaters” exposed as frauds.


I agree that it is time for the names to be revealed and have only one agenda for believing so.  It would be good for baseball!!


To date only one player of the 104, Alex Rodriguez has been made public.  This is a huge problem.  It is not a problem because I am a fan of Alex because I am not. 

It is a problem for Major League Baseball, the players who didn’t cheat themselves and are guilty by association, and the for fans who truly want to move past this dark era and enjoy the game they love so much. 


Looking at a time-line of steroid related event in MLB baseball you can trace it all the way back to June 7, 1991 when MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent issued a memo regarding steroid use which read: 

"The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players or personnel is strictly prohibited ... This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs ... including steroids." The seven-page document didn't include a testing plan
that had to be bargained with the unionbut it did outline treatment and penalties.”


A memo such as this would not have been issued had there not been a strong case to do so and here we are 18 years later with the steroid discussion stronger than ever. 

Each and every time a player has been identified we hear the clichés about wanting to move past the steroid talk and the repeated accusations of those who have not yet been confirmed. 


It is safe to assume that along with 103 players worried that their name is the next to go public there are countless reporters, bloggers, and investigative journalists doing everything in their power to break the next story. 

In doing so they believe that they are providing themselves the glory of the next great headline and their own 15 minutes of fame.  


When only 1 of 104 players that tested positive has been released it is impossible to move on.  It is impossible to move on because this pattern of one player being identified periodically will continue for many years, possibly even after an identified player has already hung up the spikes or is managing.


If you were to continue to follow the current pattern with Alex Rodriguez being exposed in February 2009 and Manny Ramirez subsequently exposed in May 2009, reporters and bloggers would continue to chase the story well beyond 20 years from now hoping to expose the name that puts their story on the front page.


Going back to the quote I had heard a few years ago, “the numbers tell a story” and regardless of what you are being told the “numbers do not lie”.  


In this case the numbers are telling us that 103 names need to be revealed before Major League Baseball can move on and before the fans can once again enjoy the game without it constantly being overshadowed by steroid accusations and reluctant admissions.