Written by At Home Plate Staff
Published: 14 June 2009
There are so many books about the steroid era in baseball that it’s hard to determine what is true, what are lies, and even what really happened. That in many cases make Radomski’s book a little bit unique. Here is the story of steroids told by an insider, the one most often blamed as the central figure involved in bringing steroids to the game.
Hudson Street Press - 246 pages
While it is definitely a self serving, not to mention self promoting book, Radomski does manage to give us a peek inside the heads and locker rooms of baseball during this time, as well as caution us that the steroid era in baseball is far from over. In doing so it takes us from the very beginning of his days as a clubhouse boy for the New York Mets up through his arrest and subsequent use as a informer for the FBI and his connection with the Mitchell Report - the black eye baseball inadvertently gave itself by opening a probe it fully expected to go nowhere.
Radomski tries hard to shed his image of a sleazy back alley drug dealer who corrupted the game by telling us the truth of how things happened from his perspective, including how he protected many players, often big name players, from themselves, by teaching them to use steroids responsibly and dodge those which might have been even more dangerous. He goes so far as to claim, possibly truthfully, that he never really made much in the way of money for his efforts, but mainly did it out of a sense of kinship for several players, many of who referred him to their friends.
If you are reading this expecting to find bombshells in the story you’ll likely be disappointed, plenty of names are bandied about, but few if any are new names. However there are some chunks of the book which are in fact pretty interesting including the how Radomski turned out to be the poster child for Mitchell Report and why so much of it focuses on details provided by him and Brian McNamee.
Radomski himself comes off as a very disillusioned individual who never got all caught on by the love of the game and learned all to soon that these “idols” of millions were men riddled with flaws, ambition and insecurity who’d do what they had to earn their millions or in rare less mercenary cases just to have another season or two playing the game they love. Through it all Radomski portrays himself as a friend and confidant to players all over baseball - many of whom have done their best to wash their hands of association with him since he was arrested.
Yet, clearly quite a few of them knew him, had association with him, and did business with him as shown by the cancelled checks and shipping receipts he provided to Senator Mitchell during his probe of the game. That may be the thing which gives Radomski the most credibility in the telling of his story. It’s not particularly compelling, nor is Radomski particularly likable (although he tries hard to cast himself that way) but it might well be the most honest book written about the inside details of the steroid era available.
He ends the book with a few important notes - that the steroid era is really far from over in the game and that the testing policy (as I’ve stated a number of times here on this site) is really a joke. Players dodge it, and the use of PEDs is still fairly rampant in the game today, and that is especially true of HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
Interestingly enough during the investigation, the Mitchell Report and this book, Radomski has never stopped being an advocate of HGH as a safe and useful drug for just about everyone.
The book is worth a read, but is hardly one of the best baseball books you can read - but give it two of four balls because it tells a story from the inside like no other book on baseball and steroids has been able to do.