|Sosa failed test in 2003|
Written by Bjoern Hartig (Contact & Archive) on June 17, 2009
And another leak from the 2003 tests: According to the New York Times, Sammy Sosa, then with the Cubs, tested positive for an unknown substance:
The 2003 test that ensnared Sosa was the first such test conducted by Major League Baseball. Under guidelines agreed upon with the players union, the test results were to remain anonymous but would lead to testing with penalties the next year if more than 5 percent of the results were positive.
That is indeed what occurred. But for reasons never made completely clear, the test results were not destroyed by the players union and the 104 positives were subsequently seized by federal agents on the West Coast investigating matters related to the distribution of drugs to athletes.
The lawyers who had knowledge of Sosa’s inclusion on the 2003 list did not know the substance for which Sosa tested positive. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified as discussing material that is sealed by a court order.
... he was fading as a player when he traveled to Washington in March 2005 to testify with Palmeiro and McGwire and others at a hearing called by a House committee to examine the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
At the hearing, Sosa testified that “everything” he had heard “about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are bad for you, even lethal” and that he “would never put anything dangerous like that” in his body.
“To be clear,” he added, “I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything.”
Frankly, I would be really surprised to learn that more than literally a handfull of players from the 90s and early 2000s did not use steroids. This is a multi-million dollar industry and if you did not play by the rules and juiced, you did not play. How many bankers could elude the dubious practices of their craft the last years? Pretty few, I would guess, because that is how the game was played. Eat or be eaten.
If you are looking for untainted heros of that decade, be careful to put too much faith in the precious few names who still appear to be clean. Would you really bet your fortune on Jim Thome or Ken Griffey Jr. not take anything? At least for a short time? A try? Not that I'm accusing them of anything, but seriously, how much would you wager?
We should instead recognize those talented minor leaguers that refused to take that final step that may have pushed them into the bigs and whose names therefore are long forgotten. They were the ones who are the real role models.