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.