Few expected Ryan Braun’s positive test for performance-enhancing drugs this month. The National League MVP has always had quite the positive vibe around him. The test shook our beliefs that the steroid era is all but forgotten.
Ryan Braun isn’t the only player who surprised the baseball world with a positive test. Regardless of the final outcome and ramifications of these results, Braun’s MVP award is now tarnished. Other players have similar experiences regarding a positive PED test.
While we may have expected positive tests from some of the following, their responses both to their own tests and performance-enhancing drugs as a whole are what really had us talking.
These are eight of those tests (or the aftermaths) that left us speechless.
David Ortiz was off to a relatively mediocre start in the big leagues, setting a career high of 20 home runs in 2002. What happened after that season certainly raised eyebrows.
While it’s true players tend to enter the prime of their careers in their late 20’s, Ortiz took that belief and ran. In 2003 he hit 31 home runs, followed by 41, 47 and 54 in the next three seasons.
That huge improvement was met with steroid rumors and questions but Ortiz continually denied anything, even demanding a year-long suspension for players found using PEDs. Five months later, Ortiz tested positive. He then denied any usage, vowing to get to the bottom of the results.
While he’s been looking for answers, he’s still on the field, recently re-signing with the Boston Red Sox and continuing his role as a fan favorite.
David Ortiz’s then-teammate Manny Ramirez was on that same list of players who had tested positive. Ramirez was a bit more surprising than Ortiz because of his long career of dominant hitting.
He was eventually named to the like of players who failed the PED test in 2003. He wasn’t really one of those players who particularly needed a performance-enhancing drug to succeed, but later failed tests in 2009 and 2011 forever tarnished Ramirez’s stats.
Roger Clemens was one of the best pitchers in the majors. Besides a rough spot, Clemens dominated throughout his entire career.
Many thought his skill was a result of his intense workout regimen, which certainly was a huge contributor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only factor, as Clemens was turned in by a former teammate.
Alex Rodriguez was not like many of the players using performance-enhancing drugs. For a majority of those using PEDs, their stats went from mediocre or average to amazing.
Like Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens, A-Rod already was great. He had a batting title at the age of 20 and continued his success before he even began using. He later said he was using it as a way to help him meet the expectations of his contract.
Rodriguez didn’t get the stigma typically associated with players using PEDs. He was already talented, so even when he stopped using them, he has been successful up until 2011.
Time will tell if he picks it back up next season.
“I have never used steroids. Period.”
Rafael Palmeiro seemed so sure when he said that in court. He was a likeable player who had just reached career hit No. 3000. After being named as a user in Jose Canseco’s tell-all book, Palmeiro came under scrutiny.
Despite his serious dismissal of the performance-enhancing drugs claim, Palmeiro tested positive for PEDs in August 2005.
It wasn’t particularly Ken Caminiti’s use of PEDs that was surprising, but his honesty when it came to coming clean. His stats skyrocketed after he began using, which led to two division titles for the San Diego Padres from 1996 to 1998.
There are two main reactions players have after being ousted as users. One would be Jose Canseco, who broke unspoken clubhouse rules by releasing a book naming multiple players—like the aforementioned Rafael Palmeiro—also linked to PEDs.
The other choice tends to be one of a deer caught in headlights, where the player swears he didn’t know, was given PEDs by someone else, or only tried it once.
Caminiti did neither.
After being caught, he was honest and up front about his usage while avoiding namedropping. In a time where most played the victim, Caminiti’s openness about using in order to stay in the league and make money was somewhat refreshing and quite unexpected.
Andy Pettitte was not your typical user of performance-enhancing drugs. His pitching strategy wasn’t focused around speed or strength. He used many different types of pitches that exemplified his control and movement.
His demeanor, combined with the way he played, led to much confusion over his name being on that Mitchell Report.
He was able to keep face and stay in a positive light when he publicly admitted to using PEDs. That decision helped Pettitte retain his fans and continue playing in MLB without the shadow many others dealt with after the debacle.
Ryan Braun is one of, if not the poster boy for the Milwaukee Brewers. His excellent season earned him the award of National League MVP.
Less than a month after the title was given to him, though, it was made public that Braun had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
News is still coming out about the test and nothing is certain yet, except that Braun’s honor of most valuable player is now in question.