10 Most Surprising Performance-Enhancing Drug Offenders Ever
Major League Baseball ran into quite a conundrum in 2005 when Congress began openly investigating performance-enhancing drug usage among its players.
Ever since, some of the games' biggest names have seen their careers torn apart or, even worse, they've been publicly humiliated in the court of law.
Guys like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa aren't on this list.
For one, their usage of PEDs isn't or wouldn't be surprising. More importantly, however, is the fact that whether or not they were users has never been confirmed. They have been implicated, of course, but it's not fair for me to include them on this list out of pure assumption, no matter how obvious it may be.
The 10 players who made the cut here are verified PED users. One way or another, it has been confirmed that they used drugs to enhance their game.
Here are the "10 Most Surprising PED Offenders Ever."
10. John Rocker: Admitted PED User
For some reason I was never able to tie John Rocker's arrogance and inappropriateness to his apparent steroid usage.
The definition of 'roid rage is "an acute psychotic response resulting in uncontrolled outbursts of anger, frustration or combativeness." I guess that pretty much sums up Rocker's career.
Back in 2008—long after the reliever was booed out of baseball—Rocker was quoted as saying a doctor from the Major League Baseball Players Union instructed him on how to properly use steroids. He made the most of his brief moment in the spotlight by throwing former Rangers teammate Alex Rodriguez into the mix with him.
9. Miguel Tejada: Admitted PED User
As far as I was concerned, it had always been obvious that Miguel Tejada used PEDs throughout his career. While his body size makeover didn't come at the level of Barry Bonds', he still noticeably increased in size leading up to his MVP-season of 2002.
Tejada lied to Congress about purchasing steroids but later plead guilty to perjury, admitting he bought Human Growth Hormone while with the Oakland Athletics. He did claim, however, that he second-guessed his decision to purchase them and threw them away without ever using them.
I call BS.
8. Edinson Volquez: 50-Game Suspension
Edinson Volquez won 17 games while making his first All-Star appearance during the 2008 season. His 2009 season ended rather abruptly, however, when the young hurler needed Tommy John surgery.
Volquez made it back for the beginning of the 2010 season—with the help of PEDs, of course. He tested positive for a male fertility dug in April and was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball.
Mirroring Manny Ramirez, Volquez claimed he was taking them to help his chances of starting a family. Either way, he hasn't been the same pitcher since returning from his suspension.
7. Andy Pettitte: Admitted PED User
Though Andy Pettitte claims he used only Human Growth Hormone, on only two occasions and only to help him recover quicker from an elbow injury, it was still surprising when his name showed up in the Mitchell Report.
We'll probably never know whether or not he used PEDs more frequently throughout his career.
Regardless, he does deserve credit for being one of the few players mentioned in the Mitchell Report to come forward and admit his mistake. Doing so allowed him to regain the respect of fans while finishing his career on a positive note.
6. Manny Ramirez: 50-Game Suspension
Both for his exuberant personality and his beautiful swing, I've always been a huge fan of Manny Ramirez.
In 2009, Manny became the most famous player in baseball history to be suspended for PED usage when he tested positive for a female fertility drug. He was suspended for 50 games.
Ramirez claimed that the drug was prescribed to him by his doctor for a "personal health issue," though the substance is commonly taken after ending a cycle of steroids.
5. Mark McGwire: Admitted PED User
Mark McGwire was great right from the get-go—slugging 49 home runs as rookie for the Oakland A's in 1987.
After lying to Congress and to the public for years, McGwire finally came clean and admitted to using PEDs throughout his career.
There was perhaps no more of an iconic player during the late-90s than McGwire; he was loved by fans and respected by just about everyone. As much as we all knew he was juiced, none of us really wanted to believe it.
4. David Ortiz: Tested Positive in 2003
First of all, take a look at these before and after pictures of David Ortiz. In hindsight it seems quite obvious that he was using PEDs of some kind, though most of us had always assumed he was just pleasantly plump.
In this video from early 2009, Big Papi told the world he believed that any player who tests positive for PEDs should be suspended by Major League Baseball for an entire season. A few short months later his name was revealed to be on the list of 104 players to test positive in 2003.
The new "hindsight" for Ortiz is that he looks like a complete moron. If I was a betting man, I'd bet that Papi being vocal with his "one-year suspension" idea fueled an investigative reporter to prove the slugger used PEDs.
3. Rafael Palmeiro: 10-Day Suspension
In arguably the most famous—or infamous, rather—denial of PED usage, Rafael Palmeiro looked congress in the eye and proclaimed he "never used steroids. Period!"
Palmeiro later tested positive for a banned substance and was subsequently suspended for 10 games.
The funny thing is, I honestly believed him. Call me naive all you want, but the tone of his voice alone had me convinced he had always been clean. We had no reason to doubt him, really.
As it stands now, Palmeiro may be the first member of the 3,000-hit and 500-home run club's not to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
2. Alex Rodriguez: Admitted PED User
While many people may have assumed Alex Rodriguez was using PEDs all along, just as many people were in denial. The kid had so much talent coming up with the Seattle Mariners, why on earth would we believe his numbers weren't au naturel?
Regardless of his confession to PED usage, I still consider A-Rod to be one of the greatest players in baseball history.
What ticks me off, however, is how he blatantly lied to Katie Couric and to the world. I completely understand him not wanting to admit it, but I'd much rather have seen him take the "cold shoulder" route and refuse talk about it all together.
On a side note: it is very unfair that A-Rod's name was leaked in the first place. Doesn't much matter at this point, though.
1. Manny Ramirez: 100-Game Suspension
George W. Bush—the greatest President in the history of the United States of America—once declared "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me."
As surprising as it was to see Manny Ramirez suspended for PED usage in 2009, it comes as no comparison to the 100-game suspension that effectively ended his career in April of 2011.
It was a true shame to see one of the greatest swings baseball has ever known go down in flames, though I remain hopeful he comes back next season to end his career on a higher note.
In the end, just as with all PED users, Manny has no one to blame but himself.
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