The Steroid Era is a huge mark on the history of professional baseball. Since the late 1990s, tons of records and career milestones have been achieved by players who were using performance enhancing drugs. The major debate going on now is whether or not these players should be allowed into the Pro-Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters for the HOF have been of the opinion that these players do not belong.
Players’ steroid use has been made public through a number of different forums. In 2001 White Sox slugger Frank Thomas began to lead a charge to ban performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The International Olympic Committee and the NFL had already taken huge steps to rid their competitions of players who were using drugs in order to better their play. The first report to oust steroid using players came in the form of the Bay Area Labortory Co-Operative (BALCO) Reports. This was followed by Jose Canseco’s best-selling book “Juiced”, which was written in 2005 and listed a vast number of players who were using steroids. In 2007, the Mitchell Report was made public and many players were suspended for using performance enhancing drugs such as Human Growth Hormone.
Many players have come out and admitted they used steroids while playing professional baseball. Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have taken a strong stance against these substances and continue to suspend players who use them.
A list of accomplishments done by players under the influence of performance enhancing drugs has never been compiled. After researching many career milestones of players listed in these reports, we have made a top ten list of the ones that will mar the record books for many years to come.
10. Gary Sheffield Becomes the Newest Member of the 500 Home Run Club
Gary Sheffield played from 1988 to 2009 with eight different teams. On April 17, 2009 he became the most recent player to hit 500 home runs. He was wearing a Mets’ jersey at the time he joined the club. Throughout his career, Sheffield launched 509 balls over the fences. He was listed as one of the players accused of steroid use in the Mitchell Reports in 2009. It is believed his use of performing enhancement drugs goes back as far as 2001.
9. Ivan Rodriguez Becomes the Best Defensive Catcher of All Time
Ivan Rodriguez was one of the big name players mentioned in Jose Canseco’s book “Juiced”. Rodriguez was in the league from 1991 to 2011, spending most of his years as a Texas Ranger. He has thirteen Gold Gloves, which is the most ever by a catcher. He also holds the record for the best Caught Stealing Average. Over half the base runners who tried to steal on Rodriguez were called out. He was also a very good hitter. He batted .296, hit 311 home runs, and collected 2,844 hits throughout his 20-year span in the Major Leagues.
8. Manny Ramirez Joins the 500 Home Run Club
Manny Ramirez was the 24th member of the 500 Home Run Club. He achieved this accomplishment on May 31, 2008. The next season he was suspended for fifty games for testing positive for Human Growth Hormone. Since his 500th home run, Ramirez has only hit 55 dingers. He spent time with the Dodgers and White Sox, before retiring with the Tampa Bay Rays after only having a .058 batting average. Since then, he has been reinstated in the minors in the Athletics’ and Rays’ farm clubs.
7. Slammin’ Sammy Joins the 600 Home Run Club
Sammy Sosa began his 18-year professional baseball career in 1989. He is a member of the exclusive 600 Home Runs Club. His 609 career homers are the most by any foreign born player in MLB history. In 1998, he became a household name when he hit 66 home runs in a race with Mark McGwire to set the single season record. Prior to this season, he never hit more than 40 in a single year. Sosa tested positive for an unnamed performance enhancing drug in 2003. From the 1998 season to the time he test positive, Sosa hit 332 home runs.
6. Rafael Palmeiro’s 500 Home Runs and 3,000 Hits
Rafael Palmeiro is one of only four players to finish his career with over 500 home runs and over 3,000 hits. Palmeiro retired with 569 homers and 3,020 hits, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only ones to accomplish this feat. He was first mentioned as a player who was using steroids in Canseco’s “Juiced”. This was confirmed after Palmeiro’s 3,000th hit when he tested positive for Winstol, a substance which is banned by Major League Baseball.
5. Roger Clemens’ Third Most Career Strike Outs
Roger Clemens is the lone pitchers on the list. Do not let this lead you to believe most players accused of steroid use are hitters. Over 40 percent of all players suspended for using performance enhancing drugs have been pitchers. The Rocket is the face of pitchers who have been accused for this. He played from 1984 to 2007. His 4,672 strike outs are the third most in history behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. Clemens is also one of just a handful of pitchers to have over 300 wins. He was originally listed in the Mitchell Report. In 2008, Clemens appeared in front of a grand jury being charged with six counts of federal perjury for lying about his steroid allegations in court. He was found not guilty on all six counts.
4. A-Rod Becomes Youngest Player to Reach 600 Home Runs
Alex Rodriguez is the face of steroid use in professional sports today. On August 4, 2010, A-Rod became the youngest player to ever hit 600 home runs. He was 35 years and eight days old when he did this. Rodriguez beat Babe Ruth, the previous record holder, by 1 year and 188 days. He joined Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Sammy Sosa as one of the men who have reached this impressive milestone. He was also the youngest player to ever hit 500 home runs. His 600th came exactly three years to the day after his 500th. A-Rod is going to serve a season-long suspension in 2014 for using performance enhancing drugs.
3. Barry Bonds Sets Single Season Home Run Record
It was only a matter of time before Barry Bonds came up on this list. In 2001, Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single season home run record. Three short seasons after McGwire hit 70 homers, Bonds topped him by smacking 73 out of the park. It is a little known fact, but he also broke Babe Ruth’s record for the highest single season slugging percentage that year. The Giants’ slugger first appeared in connection to steroid use in 2003 when the BALCO (Bay Area Labortory Co-Operative) Report was released.
2. Mark McGwire Breaks Roger Maris’ Record
In 1998, Mark McGwire shattered Roger Maris’ record for the most home runs in a single season. The year before, McGwire was battling Ken Griffey Jr. for the most home runs in 1997. Both players finished the year with over 50. McGwire appeared as the most likely candidate to top Maris’ 61 home runs. McGwire hit 70 dingers in only 144 games; much shorter than the 154 game schedule Maris played. On January 10, 2010, McGwire admitted to using the performance enhancing drug, Androstenedoine. The substance was not banned by Major League Baseball until 2004, however it was banned at the time of Big Mac’s record-breaking year by the World Anti-Doping Federation, the International Olympic Committee, and the NFL.
1. Barry Bonds is Crowned All-Time Home Run King
On August 7th, 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. The bomb in to the San Francisco Bay broke Hank Aaron’s record which had stood for 33 years. Bonds retired from the league with 762 career home runs. Marc Ecko won the record breaking ball in an auction for $752,467. Ecko then went to the internet to see what baseball fans believed should be done with the ball. He ended up doing what the fans wanted and branded a big gold asterisk on the baseball and donated it to the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
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