The Earliest Accounts of Steroids and hGH in Baseball
1971-1978 – Tom House
House said that he used steroids during his eight-year Major League career, though he wasn’t specific about which years. House estimated that “six or seven pitchers on every staff were fiddling with steroids or hGH” while he was playing.
Tom House also says that steroids were rampant in the 1960’s. This comment represents the earliest date that steroids were implicated in baseball. While this time-frame seems reasonable, House was still in the minor leagues at that time.
1985 – Jose Canseco
Canseco, in his book, Juiced, says he began using testosterone and Deca-Durabolin during workouts in 1985 while he was in Double-A. He experimented on himself with various combinations of drugs, and started using heavily in preparation for the 1986 season.
1986 – Larry Starr & Pete Rose
Trainer Larry Starr said a player asked his advice about whether or not to start taking steroids in 1986. Starr advised against it, but the player reported to spring training thirty pounds heavier without a legitimate explanation. Starr also said that “Pete had been tempted to take a shot himself, especially in 1985 and 1986 when he was losing bat speed. But he told [Tommy] Gioiosa it was too late to try something new.”
1990-1991 – Scott Bradley
In what seems to be the first large scale media implication of steroid use in Major League Baseball, Jeff Bradley, in a April 2000 article for ESPN magazine, described how a teammate had suggested his brother Scott try using steroids. The unnamed player said “There are things available now that weren’t available when I played. With all the money at stake in the game today, I know I’d be looking for any edge I could find.. I’d definitely be taking steroids.” Bradley reprotedly never used steroids and was out of baseball by 1993.
1992 – Mark McGwire
During an FBI investigation codenamed ‘Operation Equine’ officers turned up steroid dealer, Curtis Wenzlaff. Wenzlaff’s training-session notes show he put McGwire on a mix of steroids. The FBI never persued charges against any athletes during this operation.
1993 – Lenny Dykstra
Trainer and convicted steroid dealer, Jeff Scott, claims he injected Dykstra with steroids many times starting in 1993. Scott claims that Dykstra started using steroids because it was his contract year and that Dykstra’s use spanned eight years.
1996 – Ken Caminiti
Caminiti admitted to Sports Illustrated that he began using steroids in 1996 when he was the unanimous choice as the National League MVP. Caminiti was the first high-profile player to publicly admit to using steroids in 2002.
Below are some major dates in the history of anabolic steroids.
- Testosterone was first used in 1936, in an experiment demonstrating that nitrogen excretion of a castrated dog could be increased by giving the dog supplemental testosterone, and this would increase its body weight.
- Between 1948 and 1954, the pharmaceutical firms Searle and Ciba experimented with the synthesizing of over a thousand different testosterone derivatives and similar analogues.
- In 1956, Methandrostenolone was created, and given the name “Dianabol“.
- In 1967 the International Olympic Committee banned anabolic steroids.
- In 1976 the East-German woman won 11 of the 13 gold medals at the Olympics. They dominated the sport for twenty years.
- In 1982 the International Olympic Committee had fully developed the “Testosterone: Epitestosterone test” which compares levels of testosterone and epitestosterone. If the ratio was greater than 6 to 1 the test was considered failed. The ratio has since been reduced to 4 to 1 and the natural levels should be around 1 to 1.