Sports

Baseball's Black Thursday: Some of sport's biggest names outed in 409-page report on use of steroids

NEW YORK -- Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars -- one for every position -- and that still wasn't the worst of it for the long-awaited Mitchell Report.

That infamy belonged to Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his era. The Steroids Era.

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner, eighth on the all-time list with 354 victories, an MVP and All-Star himself and once a lock for the Hall of Fame, Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In all, Thursday's 409-page report identified 85 names to differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his lawyer, Clemens was the symbol.

Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte also showed up in the game's most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.

"If there are problems, I wanted them revealed," commissioner Bud Selig said. "His report is a call to action, and I will act."

Doping was widespread by stars as well as scrubs, the report said, putting a question mark if not an asterisk next to baseball records and threatening the integrity of the game itself.

"Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball of Hall of Fame," Mitchell wrote. "They include both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as diverse as those of all major league players."

No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.

At 45, Clemens has not said whether he hopes to pitch next season.

The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. While a few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal proceedings, many of the instances cited by Mitchell were before drug testing began in 2003.

Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come "swiftly" on a case-by-case basis.

"We have approached these cases by looking at the period of time during which the conduct occurred and what our policy looked like for that point in time," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations.

While the records will surely stand, several stars could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.

"Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades -- commissioners, club officials, the players' association and players -- shares to some extent the responsibility for the Steroids Era," Mitchell said. "There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on."

Mitchell recommended that the drug-testing program be made independent, that a list of the substances players test positive for be listed periodically and that the timing of testing be more unpredictable.

Eric Gagne, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Paul Byrd, Jose Guillen, Brian Roberts, Paul Lo Duca and Rick Ankiel were among other current players in the report.

Some were linked to Human Growth Hormone, others to steroids.

Mitchell did not delve into stimulants.

"The illegal use of performance-enhancing substances poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game," the report said.

"Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records."

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