The Mitchell Report


The summary of the report:

For more than a decade there has been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances by players in Major League Baseball, in violation of federal law and baseball policy. Club officials routinely have discussed the possibility of such substance use when evaluating players. Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. They include both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as diverse as those of all major league players.

The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective, but it gained momentum after the adoption of a mandatory random drug testing program in 2002. That program has been effective in that detectable steroid use appears to have declined. But the use of human growth hormone has risen because, unlike steroids, it is not detectable through urine testing.

This report, the product of an intensive investigation, describes how and why this
problem emerged. We identify some of the players who were caught up in the drive to gain a
competitive advantage through the illegal use of these substances. Other investigations will no
doubt turn up more names and fill in more details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the
description of baseball’s “steroids era,” as set forth in this report.
From hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents we learned enough to
accurately describe that era. While this investigation was prompted by revelations about the
involvement of players with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the evidence we uncovered
indicates that this has not been an isolated problem involving just a few players or a few clubs. It
has involved many players on many clubs. In fact, each of the thirty clubs has had players who
have been involved with performance enhancing substances at some time in their careers.
The illegal use of these substances was not limited to the players who are
identified in this report. There have been many estimates of use. In 2002, former National
League Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti estimated that “at least half” of major league players
were using anabolic steroids. Dave McKay, a longtime coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and the
Oakland Athletics, estimated that at one time 30% of players were using them. Within the past
week, the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Armstrong estimated that between 20% and 30%
of players in his era, 1988 to 1994, were using large doses of steroids while an even higher
percentage of players were using lower, maintenance doses of steroids. There have been other
estimates, a few higher, many lower, all impossible to verify.
However, it is a fact that between 5 and 7 percent of the major league players who
participated in anonymous survey testing in 2003 tested positive for performance enhancing
substances. Those figures almost certainly understated the actual level of use since players knew
they would be tested at some time during the year, the use of human growth hormone was not
detectable in the tests that were conducted, and, as many have observed, a negative test does not
necessarily mean that a player has not been using performance enhancing substances.
Mandatory random testing, formally started in 2004 after the survey testing
results, appears to have reduced the use of detectable steroids, but players switched to human
growth hormone precisely because it is not detectable. Players who use human growth hormone
apparently believe that it assists their ability to recover from injuries and fatigue during the long
baseball season; this also is a major reason why players used steroids. Human growth hormone
was the substance most frequently sold to players by Kirk Radomski, a former New York Mets
clubhouse employee who was a significant source of illegal performance enhancing substances
until late 2005. Separately, a number of players reportedly purchased human growth hormone
through “anti-aging” centers using dubious prescriptions written by physicians who never
examined, or even met, the customers for whom they were writing prescriptions.
At the beginning of this investigation, I said that I would conduct a “deliberate
and unbiased examination of the facts that will comport with basic American values of fairness.”
To honor that commitment, I invited each current or former player about whom allegations were
received of the illegal possession or use of performance enhancing substances to meet with me
so that I could inform him of the evidence supporting the allegations and give him a chance to
respond. The explanations provided by those players who we did interview were taken into
account and are reflected in this report.
Among current players I asked to interview were five who have spoken publicly
about the issue. When I did so, I made clear that there was no suggestion that any of the five had
used performance enhancing substances, and I repeat here that clarifying statement. Four of the
five declined. One of them, Frank Thomas of the Toronto Blue Jays, agreed. His comments
were informative and helpful.
Since 1986, drug testing has been subject to collective bargaining in Major
League Baseball. For many years, citing concerns for the privacy rights of players, the Players
Association opposed mandatory random drug testing of its members for steroids or other
substances. On the other side of the bargaining table, the owners and several Commissioners
proposed drug testing programs but gave the issue a much lower priority in bargaining than
economic issues. But when the opportunity was presented in 2002 to achieve agreement on a
system of mandatory random drug testing, the Commissioner pressed hard on the issue and the
Players Association agreed to the basic elements of the program that is in place today.
No drug testing program is perfect. The current drug testing program in Major
League Baseball is the product of the give and take inherent in collective bargaining. It appears
to have reduced the use of detectable steroids but by itself has not removed the cloud of
suspicion over the game. Even as this investigation was underway, developments in several
government investigations exposed the depth and breadth of the continuing illegal use of these
substances in baseball (and in other sports) and made clear that this problem continues, years
after mandatory random testing began and stringent penalties for failing those tests were adopted.
Plainly, baseball needs to do more to effectively address this problem. I have
never met or talked with Jeff Kent of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he appears to have
understood this when he said in September, as reported in several newspapers: “Major League
Baseball is trying to investigate the past so they can fix the future.”
That is the purpose of the recommendations that are set forth in detail in this
report. In summary, they fall into three categories: (1) Major League Baseball must
significantly increase its ability to investigate allegations of use outside of the testing program
and improve its procedures for keeping performance enhancing substances out of the clubhouse;
(2) there must be a more comprehensive and effective program of education for players and
others about the serious health risks incurred by users of performance enhancing substances; and
(3) when the club owners and the Players Association next engage in collective bargaining on the
joint drug program, I urge them to incorporate into the program the principles that characterize a
state-of-the-art program, as described in this report.
Although I sought and received a wide range of views, including the opinions of
many experts in the field, the conclusions and recommendations in this report are mine alone,
following close consultation and extensive discussions with the very talented members of the
staff I assembled to assist me in this effort.

20 comments… add one
  • Wow. Clemens getting needles in the ass loaded with anabolic steroids.
    Damned shame.
    Thought Pettitte is named, it shows he took HGH only a couple of times during a stint on the DL in 2002.

    Jay-YF December 13, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • *yawn*
    booooorrrrrr-iiinnnngggggggg…it just shows the players that were linked to those two dealers, what about all the other dealers they couldn’t talk to??? this is a joke, almost makes it worse than better.

    krueg December 13, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • i agree Kreug. we can name additional players who werent named in this thing.

    sam-YF December 13, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • Clemens is really bumming. He’s got the graphic “needles in the butt” and you know Gary Sheffield frowns on that.

    walein December 13, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • From Baltimore Sun:
    Synthetic testosterone was banned by Major League Baseball in 2003, and hGH was banned in January 2005.
    So Pettitte’s only transgression was obtaining it from a non-doctor person, I guess? Confusion….

    yankeemonkey December 13, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • It’s interesting how all the crazy “religious” pitchers seem to get drawn towards the “jesus juice.”

    walein December 13, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • Up to page 114 and I am susbtantially depressed. I haven’t even read the names yet, but the history lesson is enough to get you down. This is because I started paying attention to baseball in 1993, so all these accounts, these Lenny Dystra/Canseco stories are not just historical record, but in my memory. I remember seeing the pictures of Dykstra changing from a slightly stocky guy to a bulked up action figure in 1990..and i remember chuckling when he attributed his extra 30 lbs of muscle to “really good vitamins.”
    Bodies from Waiver Wire, National League Notebook, S.F. Chron., Apr. 7, 1990, at D3 (“Center fielder Len Dykstra, who was supposed to be trade bait last winter, came back 26 pounds heavier and proceeded to go 4-for-4 with a double Sunday in his first official game of the season. Reason: ‘I did a lot of lifting and free weights. And I took some very good vitamins.’ Uh-oh.”); Stan Hochman, Thomas: Blame Union, Not Phils, Phila. Daily News, Mar. 16, 1991, at 45
    (“Guys saying that if Lenny Dykstra hits .325 we’re not worried about what happens off the
    field. We are very concerned. But our hands are tied. We’re handcuffed by the union.”); Ross
    Newhan, In Your Face if Not Your Hair, L.A. Times, Mar. 20, 1994, at Sports 3.
    I remember that; I think I saw it on the news or during a game, and yet in the intervening time, I forgot.
    *turning to page 115*

    Carlos (YF) December 13, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • I don’t like this report, the tabs are indented about twice as much as they need to be. And clearly trying to pad the length with all this double spacing and random empty pages… I went to college, I know what you’re doing here, Mitchell. Nice try though.

    Jackie (SF) December 13, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • Interesting how some can view authoritative accusations about arguably the greatest pitcher of the past several generations are viewed by some as “boring.”

    Hudson December 13, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • hudson: it’s boring because it’s incomplete. how many others were involved with PED??? We’ll never know? not to mention none of this can ever be proven…

    krueg December 13, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • Proven? By a positive test you mean? From what I can tell, I think its safe to say that McNafee bought steroids from Radomski via the payment records.
    Now we have one person saying under oath that he injected Clemens with steroids multiple times over a couple of years while at the same time having independent evidence showing that they were close enough professionally and close enough physically that this could have happened.
    Its not a positive test but its either that or an outright betrayal of Clemens by a Yankee employee. McNaffee’s like would also be consistent over multiple interviews by both Mitchell and the District Attorney. It would aslo Perjury as he was under oath with the district attorney and against McNafee’s personal interest, as he was providing information that if ever found untruthful would cause him to be in jail a long time.
    I will say it is incomplete in that it doesn’t detail every one using steroids, but honestly it tells me enough to prove the larger point: the sport was at all levels inundated with players using steroids. It was accessible and used often enough by enough varied players that we can no longer believe it was exaggerated.
    Personally, I thought we knew all this; I don’t see why the specific names prove the point.

    Carlos (YF) December 13, 2007, 6:03 pm
  • and clemens issues his denial. Although i believe he prob. did take PEDs his lawyer does make some good points as far as the sources from which we are getting info on Clemens and his inability to defend himself. Separated from the particular case they are good points and illustrate the major problems with this report. Players shouldnt be tried in the court of public opinion but i guess thats the way it goes.

    sam-YF December 13, 2007, 6:27 pm
  • > Personally, I thought we knew all this; I don’t see why the specific names prove the point.
    I agree with your position for the most part, Carlos, but the fact that (by my count) 22 of the 87 names mentioned in the report for the Yankees at some point really drives it home.

    attackgerbil December 13, 2007, 6:31 pm
  • edit: in the report played for the

    attackgerbil December 13, 2007, 6:34 pm
  • as far as the sources from which we are getting info on Clemens and his inability to defend himself.
    George Mitchell requested that Roger Clemens sit down and discuss everything with him, but Roger denied. He had his chance to talk to him about it.
    Additionally, this isn’t a courtroom. All this report was was an investigation, with the goal of gaining more information. They aren’t charging anyone with anything–they were just getting a feel for how many steroid users are out there. Mitchell did not have to contact Roger if he didn’t want to.

    Atheose December 13, 2007, 7:08 pm
  • Good post, Atheose.
    The problem with the report is that it lacked the teeth, from the beginning, to be effective. Mitchell had no subpoena power. His star witness only talked to him because he was compelled to in return for the acceptance of a plea deal on his own criminal issues. It is likely that others would have been named had he been able to pressure other suppliers or compel player testimony. I suspect this will be the end of MLB’s official actions with regard to past steroid use. There is not much else to be gained other than a new list of players, which doesn’t especially do much. And, while steroid use was illegal long before MLB and the Union got around to acknowledging it with a ban, they can’t punish players for use prior to 2004 anyway.
    Make the testing as tough as it can be and hope you catch the next guy who thinks he can get away with it.

    VicSF December 13, 2007, 9:41 pm
  • “…the fact that (by my count) 22 of the 87 names mentioned in the report for the Yankees at some point…”
    that may be the most troubling point ag, yet it merely supports the fact that the investigation was limited in scope to a couple of whistle-blowers who associated with specific players on specific teams, almost assuring this outcome…mitchell both acknowledged the difficulty he had encouraging witnesses to speak to him, while asserting that the investigation was “thorough”…huh?
    “…They aren’t charging anyone with anything…”
    uh, actually they are atheose…by releasing the names and allowing all of us to speculate and draw our own conclusions based on heresay, and coerced testimony from reluctant witnesses, the names on the list will forever be linked to this scandal…we may never know if this is a fair treatment of those guys or not…

    dc December 13, 2007, 9:45 pm
  • //uh, actually they are atheose…//
    No, they’re not bringing anyone to court. There are no legal consequences, at least as far as I know.
    //we may never know if this is a fair treatment of those guys or not…//
    I think it’s unfair in that this is almost certainly an incomplete list, and these guys were just unlucky enough to get caught. But I highly doubt that Mitchell would include any names without having substantial evidence – something that would hold up in court, if you will. Not because he’s pressing charges, but because he needs to be prepared to defend himself in a libel suit.

    Jackie (SF) December 13, 2007, 9:52 pm
  • i realize that this was not a legal proceeding jackie, so the “allegations” aren’t legally a formal indictment, and don’t officially require anybody to do anything except maybe for the accused to either defend themselves or admit their guilt and move on, but they are charges or allegations nonetheless…damaging, so let’s hope they’re all guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt…to be fair i haven’t read the entire report…i’ve been getting it spoon fed to me by the media, folks here, and friends…i said earlier today that i’d really like to fully understand the process and methods of evidence gathering and verification used by the committee before i comment too much…at first blush though, i do want to express my disappointment at the apparent lack of scope, which is probably not mitchell’s fault…he received very little cooperation from anyone, and he used the low hanging fruit from concurrent legal investigations, using the FBI to muscle a couple of folks into testifying…feels a bit lazy to me, but i suppose he had no choice…

    dc December 13, 2007, 10:11 pm
  • They haven’t been charged in a court of law, but they HAVE been charged (and convicted) in the court of public opinion. And nothing anyone says or does from this point onward can undo this. Even if some of those allegations eventually turn out to be false (and why couldn’t they?), the reputation of these people is forever ruined.
    It’s unbelievable some people are stupid enough to think that this report and the list is the be-all, end-all and whoever didn’t get named is innocent. Lucky not to get busted is more like it. If only a couple of paths of inquiry turned up about 80 people, can you imagine what the actual number might be like? It’s disturbing to even contemplate…and what’s even more disturbing is that, for all we know, this might still be just as rampant – at least in terms of HGH use since it can’t be tested for.

    yankeemonkey December 13, 2007, 11:21 pm

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