In a phone interview with a San Francisco reporter in May 2005, one-time MLB pitcher Tom House, a left-handed reliever whose career spanned the 1970s, admitted to using steroids for “a couple of seasons” during his brief career.
He went on to say that he estimated six or seven pitchers in every clubhouse in baseball were, at that time, experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs.
It is the earliest account on record of steroid use in baseball, and 30 years later the controversy remains.
Alex Rodriguez did the right thing by representing himself in negotiations with the Yankees and signing the contract on the same day of the Mitchell Report's release. He did it just in the nick of time.
On Thursday the $275 million contract was finalized, and only a few hours later the Mitchell Report was released, which may prove to be more detrimental to baseball than the strike of 1994.
The scandal that has shadowed baseball’s recent past makes it hard to be a fan and support the game. Kevin Brown signed a $90 million contract while he was probably higher than a kitten shot out of a water balloon cannon.
But what does he care?
He is rolling in cash, having benefited from an age in sports when getting away with cheating was easier than ever before.
Names that we have already heard, but should be reminded about again, include: Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Tejada, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus and Jose Guillen.
They have all already admitted to or been somewhow linked to using performance-enhancing drugs. Most of them are still impact players today.
With these, and other big names already confirmed, we begin to speculate about others who may have been using steroids within baseball’s recent past.
As an Arizona sports fan (and for those of you in Los Angeles), Luis Gonzalez is the name I think about.
He is one of a number of players who, in the late 1990's and early 2000's, experienced career seasons after having put up mediocre numbers in every year previous.
If only George Mitchell’s report would have actually pointed some fingers, instead of bashing the Yankees because of Mitchell’s pro-Red-Sox affiliations, we could start bringing into question much of the “history” that baseball has so convincingly created.
Luis Gonzalez’s implication would bring into question the Arizona Diamondbacks' World Series Championship of 2001, because it was in that year that he had career highs with 57 homers, 142 RBIs, and 100 walks.
Sadly, the Mitchell Report had the potential to place an even bigger blemish upon the legacy of baseball. Worse than anything previous, including the strike of 1994.
But it's failure to reveal the new and continuing scandals taking place in locker rooms across the nation, will leave the shadow hanging over baseball for years to come.