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MLB All-Time Steroid Team: Position by position, with a Few Backups

The Juice Squad
Publish Date: 01/28/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Hey, I figured that since these guys will never make the Hall of Fame, I know a couple have, and they shouldn’t; maybe we should honour them for at least bringing baseball back to national prominence in the mid to late 90s. The player strike of 1994 still leaves people wondering what would have happened if the 1994 season had been played. You got to admit it was fun watching Sosa and McGwire hit towering home runs. But, in retrospect, it was not worth it. Baseball is a game of records and accomplishments, and how these guys got the records was unsportsmanlike. The Anabolic Energy did work, but in the end, it left a black mark on sports history.

Criteria

Number one, of course, would be admitting it, number two would be getting caught, and number three would be by massive evidence that’s hard to deny. I usually put the stats under each player that is in a top ten list, but with this one, there is no way to know what the player’s true stats would have been without steroids.

Catcher, Ivan Rodriguez

It has never been proven Rodriguez has used it, but looking at his body from year to year leads me to the conclusion that he did. Plus, he hit over 20 home runs, just five times in his entire career. Guess which five seasons those were? Not surprisingly, they all came in consecutive seasons with the Rangers after playing three years with Mr Steroid himself, Jose Canseco.

His 35-homer, 113-RBI MVP season is a clear outlier as Canseco claimed to have personally taught Rodriguez about steroid use. He never topped 30 home runs or 100 RBIs in any other season. Yes as I write this he has been elected to the Hall of Fame, I agree with all of this may be just circumstantial evidence, but if you ask me it all adds up to one simple conclusion.

Video: The Steroid Era - Most Exciting Time In MLB History

The Steroid Era – Most Exciting Time In MLB History

First Base, Mark McGwire

The shame of the McGwire situation is that Major League Baseball has still let him work as a coach. McGwire and Sosa went on the great home run chase of 1998, which, from all reports, made Barry Bonds jealous and led him to bulk up also. McGwire did admit to using steroids off and on during the entire decade of the 90s. He also said that he didn’t need steroids help to hit home runs. I know he didn’t need them to hit home runs, but he needed them to hit over 60 in a season, then yes those steroifs made a difference.

Mark McGwire first admitted using steroids during the 1989 season when he and Jose Canseco led Oakland A’s to three straight World Series. Most significantly he used PEDs during the 1998 season when he demolished Roger Maris’ HR record with 70 homers before following up that season with 65 HRs the following year.  McGwire would like us all to believe his juice was used for health purposes rather than power. Is Mark McGwire one of the Top Ten First Basemen of all time?

Video: The Fall of Mark McGwire: A Tragedy in 3 Acts

The Fall of Mark McGwire: A Tragedy in 3 Acts

Second Base, Brett Boone

Bret Boone stands as an example of how steroids can impact player performance. Before 1998, Boone never hit more than 15 HRs. But from 1998-2004, he averaged 26 HRs annually and beefed up considerably; all his All-Star appearances, Gold Gloves, and Silver Sluggers occurred during that same timeframe. All this occurred under everyone’s noses until Jose Canseco called out Boone as an obvious user in his book  Juiced because of his small frame but enormous arms.

Jose also commented on Bret’s newly acquired girth, which prompted him to say he said something, to which Boone replied with, “Shh, don’t tell anyone.” Boone has denied these allegations while gradually dissipating into obscurity over time.

Video: What Was It Like To Play In The Steroid Era? Bret Boone Explains!

What Was It Like To Play In The Steroid Era? Bret Boone Explains!

Shortstop, Miguel Tejada

Tejada was an outstanding five-tool player – possessing speed, defense, power, hit for average and had a rocket arm. When with Oakland he spearheaded the new wave of Latin stars while at one time serving as its best shortstop in baseball. Everything seemed legitimate until Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, and Jason Grimsley began to spread rumours that the B-12 shot Tejada gave him was contaminated.

Palmeiro alleges this resulted in him failing a drug test due to having taken it. Canseco noted Miguel Tejada in his book as someone he suspected used steroids after they discussed it and Jose observed his strength increase the next season. Tejada initially denied any involvement with the Palmeiro incident and claimed he never took steroids himself or knew any players who did, yet in 2007, when his name surfaced in Mitchell Report along with evidence of purchasing PEDs, everything changed dramatically.

Video: Tejada in Tears As He Apologizes to US, MLB

Tejada in Tears As He Apologizes to US, MLB

Third Base, Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez was once considered among the five best players ever, if not dead or alive, before admitting his use of steroids. He hit for average, power, speed and defense alike – nearly the second coming! In 1998, as a Mariners member, he entered the 40/40 club. But all came tumbling down when Jose Canseco mentioned him in his second book, Vindicated; Canseco wrote that Rodriguez was taking performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids.

Rodriguez denied this until 2009 when it emerged he tested positive in 2003 while with Texas; at that point Alex finally admitted using these substances between 2001-2003 in order to fulfill record contract terms with Texas Rangers.

Video: Alex Rodriguez Opens Up About Steroid Use | Club 30 |

Alex Rodriguez Opens Up About Steroid Use | Club 30 |

Right Field, Sammy Sosa

Between 1989 and 1992, he averaged only nine homers annually, but by 1993, it all changed. From that year forward, his home run average soared to 41 a season from 1993-2007, and he quickly established himself as one of the league’s premier players. It is evident when he started taking anabolic steroids. “Slammin’ Sammy” of the Cubs became their inaugural 30/30 player in 1993,

Together with Mark McGwire, Sammy helped save baseball from its debilitating 1994 strike. At first, Sosa was seen as an endearing figure who played hard. That changed during a 2005 Congressional hearing on PEDs in Major League Baseball. Sosa found himself suddenly struggling with speaking English, opting instead to have his attorney speak on his behalf during questioning by Congress members. Later, The New York Times published an article detailing that Sosa was among 104 players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Video: Sammy Sosa losing grip on reality

Sammy Sosa losing grip on reality

Center Field, Barry Bonds

For all those who think he is innocent because he was never caught and never admitted he did it, you are wrong. Bonds admitted in court to using “the cream” and “the clear.” The sad thing about Bonds is he was a Hall of Famer before steroid use, but most people will believe he was a Hall of Famer because of steroids.

At 37, Bonds became the oldest player to win a batting title and repeated that achievement at 39 – most likely because every pitcher feared facing him and preferred walking him instead of pitching to him. While most players hit their mid-30s before becoming productive again, Bonds continued hitting 40 HRs annually, breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time HR record on August 7 2007.

Video: Barry Bonds, A BROKEN Legacy

Barry Bonds, A BROKEN Legacy

Left Field, Manny Ramirez

No doubt Ramirez used steroids. He failed the test not once but twice. So, I guess you could say he is a cheater and stupid.

Ramirez propelled the Indians teams to two World Series appearances while helping Boston break an 86-year drought with two championship wins, often being called one of baseball’s greatest hitters during that era. That all changed in 2009 when Ramirez tested positive for unusually high testosterone levels and was suspended 50 games from playing as part of the Dodgers. Ramirez quickly blamed it on women fertility drugs prescribed to him by doctors–something commonly taken off-cycle when coming off of steroid cycles.

Video: Baseball's Most Notorious Drug Dealer

Baseball’s Most Notorious Drug Dealer

Starting Pitcher, Roger Clemens

Clemens denied ever using steroids. The problem is we don’t even know how long Clemens may have used steroids. He went from being considered maybe the greatest pitcher in baseball history to being the biggest cheater. Clemens was an all-time top-ten pitcher of the 1980s. Was he clean then?

After 2003 season, Clemens found himself signing 1-year deals with various organizations. Following that season – after going 17-9 with a 3.91 ERA and appearing in the World Series – he retired at 40 from playing baseball before returning a year later when Andy Pettitte signed the Houston Astros. Clemens signed a one-year, $5 million deal with Houston and made history that year, becoming the oldest player ever to win seven Cy Young awards – another record!

Clemens signed another 1-year deal worth $18 Million, making him the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history for the 2005 season. Even when Canseco mentioned him as an expert on steroids earlier that year in his book, he still delivered as promised; at this point, most weren’t taking Jose seriously enough as an opponent anymore. Roger Clemens posted a 1.87 ERA, his best ever and lowest since 1995 (Greg Maddux), helping the Astros advance to the World Series for the first time.

Based on that performance, they offered him a one-year/$22 million contract in 2006 to continue playing until he wasn’t as effective and retired again later that season – only to later return via signing another one-year/$18 million deal with the Yankees.

Video: Enshrine or Decline: Roger Clemens' case for the Hall of Fame | Outside the Lines

Enshrine or Decline: Roger Clemens’ case for the Hall of Fame | Outside the Lines

Relief Pitcher, Eric Gagne

From 2002-2004, Gagne was on track to take Marino Rivera’s place as the best reliever in baseball. Over those three seasons, he saved 52, 55, and 47 games, respectively; between August 26, 2002, and July 5, 2004, he saved 84 consecutive games, an MLB record. When “Game Over” flashed on the scoreboard he came roaring out of the Dodger bullpen with goggles on and sweat-soaked brim to “Welcome to the Jungle” music to dominate until Tommy John surgery stopped him at last in 2005, which resulted in Tommy John surgery.

That surgery changed him significantly and led directly into 2007, when the Mitchell Report revealed more details.

Video: Eric Gagne Book Reveals Steroids on Dodgers

Eric Gagne Book Reveals Steroids on Dodgers

Designated Hitter, David Ortiz

David Ortiz was another figure who inspired great trust among the Red Sox Nation as he helped end their “Curse of the Bambino.” Before being recognized in Boston, Ortiz spent six seasons raking for the Minnesota Twins; during those times, he averaged 10 HRs annually despite their struggles. With the Red Sox, Ortiz became one of the greatest DHs ever.

Averaging 34 homers annually over 10 seasons for Boston, his clutch hitting made a lasting, impactful statement about him and Manny Ramirez as they led Boston to two championships together. Ortiz was among 104 players who tested positive in 2003 and was taken aback when first informed of his positive test by a reporter in 2009. Following further inquiry by himself and others, Ortiz held his press conference where he confirmed he did indeed test positive but had never taken steroids intentionally.

Video: Let's Take an In-Depth Look at the Steroid Era Crisis in Major League Baseball

Let’s Take an In-Depth Look at the Steroid Era Crisis in Major League Baseball

Bench

Backup First Baseman Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro quietly averaged 33 HRs and was considered one of the greatest fielding first basemen over his twenty-year career until Canseco claimed that he injected Palmeiro with steroids, prompting Congressional hearings on PEDs in 2005 in which Rafael lied to Congress and millions of viewers by declaring, while pointing, “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period.” Later that year he tested positive for Stanozolo and was suspended.

Second Base Brian Roberts

No matter how often he did it, he still made this list. As featured in the Mitchell Report and having admitted to using drugs himself.

Backup Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra

Pictures of him flexing on the cover of Sports Illustrated while with the Red Sox made clear his change from when he first started out as a skinny young player to when his body began breaking down like an abandoned vehicle was telling.

Backup Right Field Gary Sheffield

Sheff’s intimidating batting stance gave opposing pitchers cause for great alarm over many years. Gary was initially unnoticed as one of Barry Bond’s go-to men due to his modest statistics and nondescript appearance. Unfortunately for Gary, though, this cover was soon blown when his name appeared in the Mitchell Report as being linked with the BALCO scandal.

Gary claims: “Barry (said), ‘Trust me. Do what I say’.” Barry’s trainer, Greg Anderson, then applied an anabolic cream laced with steroids directly to Sheff’s surgically repaired knee, yet Sheffield denies this decision ever having helped his career. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson and Alex Rodriguez are the only players with 500 HRs, 2,500 hits, 1,500 RBIs and 200 stolen bases; Sheff joined them all.

 

Note: This was done simply for fun and was not intended to cast official judgment on anyone.

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