Ryan Braun PED Controversy: 10 MLB Players Who Broke Our Hearts

Alex OttContributor IDecember 12, 2011

Ryan Braun PED Controversy: 10 MLB Players Who Broke Our Hearts

0 of 10

    America's pastime, baseball, has given its fans some of the most exciting and disappointing moments in sports history.  With rumors surfacing of Ryan Braun failing an October drug test for performance enhancing drugs, baseball could be receiving another black eye to its battered recent history. 

    The 2011 NL MVP, Braun is a five-tool player who carried the Brewers out of the NL Central cellar and into a division championship. 

    However, his new scandal, combined with the previous controversies surrounding Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Jose Canseco, have fans questioning the integrity of the game and making many Americans switch to football as their primary source for athletic entertainment.

    As more dark clouds continue to hover over the sport, we take a look back at the 10 MLB players who broke our hearts over the history of baseball.

Jose Canseco

1 of 10

    Canseco, the former American League Rookie of the Year and MVP, is much more known for his actions off the field than on it.  An admitted steroid user, Canseco wrote his own book, "Juiced" in 2005 which revealed the names of dozens of baseball players that Canseco believed used performance enhancing drugs.

    As one of the select few members of the 40 home run-40 stolen bases club, it was sad enough for fans to see one of the best players of the the '80s and '90s be labeled as a cheater.  However, the most disappointing thing for fans is the witch hunt that Canseco created with his accusations.

    Although baseball became a cleaner game after Canseco's tell-all memoir, he tarnished the game's reputation and created a media frenzy that the MLB has still not fully recovered from.

Lou Gehrig

2 of 10

    Unlike the other members of this list that broke fans' hearts due to their dishonesty and steroid usage, Lou Gehrig's tragic tale could bring a tear to any man's eye.

    A Hall of Famer and member of the historic 1927 Murderers' Row, Gehrig was voted the starting first baseman on the MLB's All-Century team. 

    Over the course of 15 seasons, he appeared in 2,130 consecutive games (a feat only surpassed by Cal Ripken Jr.), but his streak was tragically snapped not by injury, but by illness.

    Diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, Gehrig was forced to retire at the young age of 34 due to his sickness. 

    Despite all his accomplishments on the playing field, the most memorable moment of his career came when he announced his illness publicly and declared himself "The luckiest man on the face of the Earth," despite the tragic events happening to him.

    Gehrig died at the age of 37, but not before leaving a permanent impact on anyone who has ever loved the game of baseball.

Pete Rose

3 of 10

    Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader, would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer had it not been for his managerial career.

    As a man who loved the game of baseball and played with an unmatched intensity, 'Charlie Hustle's' admiration for the sport grew deeper when he became manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  However, his reputation was ruined after it was revealed that Rose had bet on baseball, specifically his own team.

    Although he never gambled against his own team, a professional manager gambling on a game he directly influenced was a major violation according to MLB officials.  In 1989, he was permanently banned from baseball, including coaching and eligibility to enter the Hall of Fame.

Ryan Braun

4 of 10

    Ryan Braun, if found guilty of steroid use, would be the latest member of an elite class of ballplayers whose performances were enhanced by banned substances. 

    The 2011 National League MVP, Braun revitalized baseball in Milwaukee and recently signed an enormous contract to keep him there for the next eight seasons.

    However, Braun likely faces a 50-game suspension if convicted, a major blow to the Brewers order.  On a larger scale, Braun's positive test would be a devastating blow for fans looking for renewed purity in players. 

    The 'Steroid Era' had supposedly come and gone, but Braun's affiliation with the juice will likely cause fans to wonder who else is using the illegal drugs. 

    After an MLB hearing, Braun could also be the first player to ever forfeit a major award.  More importantly, baseball's reputation took another serious blow that will take years to recover from.

Roberto Clemente

5 of 10

    Like Gehrig, Roberto Clemente was another tremendously talented ballplayer whose life was taken away too soon.  A Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clemente won an astonishing 12 Gold Glove awards and one MVP award.

    However, his greatest accomplishments came in the community.  A charitable man, Clemente frequently made trips to his homeland of Puerto Rico to help those less fortunate than him. 

    On New Year's Eve of 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to reach Nicaragua to assist victims of the recent earthquake.

    The crash resulted in Clemente losing the final few years of his incredible baseball career, but the biggest loss was to the fans everywhere.  Losing Clemente meant losing a hero, both as a man and an athlete.

Aaron Boone

6 of 10

    Without a World Series title to their name since 1918's curse of the Bambino, Red Sox fans were subjected to some of the most heartbreaking defeats in Major League history.

    Ranging from Bucky Dent's home run over the Green Monster to Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series, Boston lost in every painful way imaginable.

    But for Red Sox Nation, 2003 seemed like a different year.  The Sox made it to Game 7 of the ALCS and even managed extra innings against the 'Evil Empire.' 

    However, Aaron Boone, the relatively insignificant former third baseman of the New York Yankees, ripped the heart straight out of Boston and brought up painful memories of the city's losing past.

    His walk-off home run off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was a crushing blow to the Red Sox and fans of the underdog everywhere.  Demoralized by baseball's superpower, the Red Sox continued their winless tradition until 2004, when the curse was finally broken.

Rafael Palmeiro

7 of 10

    With over 500 career home runs and 3,000 hits in his career, Cuban native Rafael Palmeiro was blessed with one of the sweetest swings in baseball history. However, his career took a turn for the worse after former teammate Canseco identified him as one of the users of performance enhancing drugs.

    Similar to Canseco, the biggest disappointment from Palmeiro was not the use of steroids, but how he handled the situation.  When testifying before Congress, Palmeiro waved his finger at the panel, adamantly declaring that he never took steroids and never would.

    Only weeks later, Palmeiro tested positive for PEDs, and his reputation as a great ballplayer and honest man was ruined. His career ended later that season, and despite his incredible statistics, is still on the outside of Cooperstown's doors.

'Shoeless' Joe Jackson

8 of 10

    Like Rose, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's reputation was disgraced when he was banned from baseball for life for his supposed role in fixing the 1919 World Series.

    A lifetime .356 hitter, the third-highest career batting average of all time, Jackson hit an impressive .375 during the World Series and had a perfect fielding percentage. 

    However, he did accept a $5,000 payment from the men attempting to to bribe the so-called 'Black Sox,' thus raising suspicion about his involvement.

    Despite his probable innocence (his case is pleaded by Kevin Costner throughout legendary baseball film "Field Of Dreams"), Jackson is still on the MLB ineligible list, meaning he cannot gain entrance to the Hall of Fame.

Mark McGwire

9 of 10

    Mark McGwire, the centerpiece of the great summer of '98 home run chase, is yet another ballplayer whose reputation was ruined by affiliation to performance enhancing drugs.

    During the 1998 campaign that saw McGwire hit 70 home runs, baseball fans were checking box scores every day to keep track of the epic home run race between 'Big Mac' and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs.

    Although providing fans with one of the most memorable summers in MLB history, baseball enthusiasts resent McGwire because the magic synonymous with 70 long balls is tarnished by the use of steroids.

    Now serving as hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his road back to acceptance is on the right track, but is still far from complete.

Dwight 'Doc' Gooden

10 of 10

    Doc, who made his Major League debut at the young age of 19, was a Rookie of the Year winner and three-time World Series champion.  Although those statistics are impressive, Gooden never fully realized his potential because of a cocaine addiction.

    After a tremendous first few seasons, Gooden suffered from numerous injuries and turned to drugs as a solution.  Although he played in the Majors until 2000, he was suspended numerous times, including for an entire season in 1995. 

    In 1985, he had one of the most dominating seasons in baseball history, compiling 24 wins and having a near-invisible 1.58 ERA.  However, Gooden's reputation will always be a young kid that could not handle the fame and success and turned to drugs as a remedy.