As the Steroid Era has evolved in Major League Baseball, many have tried to find a common thread among the cheats in order to identify those that have yet to be revealed. This little hobby has picked up momentum this season as The New York Times continues to disclose the names of those that tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs during MLB’s testing in 2003. What seems to be the most widely accepted red flag, significant statistical improvement by players in the later years of their career, may not actually be the only tie that binds these cheaters. Instead, according to a list published by DominicanosHoy.com which the newspaper believes to be the actual roll call of those that tested positive in 2003, it is more likely that the Disabled List of each Major League squad holds the answers.
A common opinion among baseball fans is that players who have a hard time staying on the field because of injury woes are probably not using performance enhancing drugs. “How could they?” goes the theory, “they’re always hurt.” Yankees hurler Andy Pettitte was among a few players who gave credibility to the idea when he claimed that he used the drugs only to hasten his recovery from various injuries. As it turns out, however, the PED’s may have been the cause of his physical problems and not the solution.
Over the course of the last few seasons, strained obliques and torn labrums; injuries that didn’t seem all that common during my lifetime of following baseball, have become all the rage, sending players to the DL for up to a month at a time. Is that to say that every problem with an oblique or labrum is a confirmation of steroid use? Absolutely not. Chase Utley had a labrum repaired in his hip last winter and is not listed. However, there are a number of men on the list who have suffered these maladies, Carlos Delgado and Alex Rodriguez among them. Maybe we should start categorizing certain physical problems as “Steroid Injuries”.
In perusing the list, it is impossible not to immediately notice how many have been unable to stay in the lineup. If these are actually the players that tested positive, and that has yet to be confirmed, the injuries suffered range from chronic to requiring surgery and continue all the way up to career threatening. A microcosm of these is located at numbers seventy-four through seventy-seven, where the starting rotation of the 2003 Chicago Cubs is found. Carlos Zambrano has made numerous trips to the DL, Kerry Wood’s physical woes sent him to the bullpen while both Mark Prior and Matt Clement were forced out of baseball by their injuries. Players like Moises Alou, Eric Chavez and Richie Sexson spent most of their final seasons injured before deciding to retire while others, like Mike Hampton, Freddy Garcia, Troy Glaus and Jason Schmidt have lost multiple seasons to the Disabled List.
One other little nugget to be gleaned from the list is, if accurate, it blows up the credibility of the Mitchell Report. Its author, John Mitchell, was criticized at the time of its release because, while a part-owner of the Red Sox, he found no evidence of steroid use among Boston players. The first eight names on the list, as well as last year’s arrest of two Sox clubhouse attendants that were distributing steroids, make Mitchell’s claims laughable and bring us back to the most incredible fact of this whole era. Through all of the denials, cover-ups and outright lies, there has been but one truthful voice; that of Jose Canseco. How about that?
The Alleged List of 103 As Published in Dominicanoshoy.com :
16. Aaron Boone
85.Valerio de los Santos
94.Paul Lo Duca