The Mitchell Report Revisited, Part II
We continue our look back at the Mitchell Report with Part II today. Part I can be found here.
JuanGone got caught in an interesting scandal in October 2001, when a duffel bag containing steroids and syringes was discovered by Canadian Customs workers as the Indians’ team luggage arrived in Toronto after a flight from Kansas City. Indian equipment manager Ted Walsh recognized the bag as one sent down by Gonzalez, but apparently it was not uncommon for Gonzalez to send bags of his entourage down with him. Later, the bag was claimed by Joshue Perez, a member of Gonzalez’s entourage. However, when taken in for questioning, Perez said the bag belonged to Angel Presinal, Gonzalez’s personal trainer. Presinal, who was to arrive in Toronto on a later flight, was detained when he landed, but he denied the bag was his, claiming it belonged to and had been packed by Gonzalez himself. When Gonzo was questioned again, he said he didn’t know what was in the bag, but said that it belonged to Presinal. Later, Presinal finally admitted he packed the bag and carried the drugs for Gonzalez and also helped administer them to him. In 2007, however, Presinal denied saying that when interviewed for the Mitchell Report. It appears no one was left holding the bag in this situation. Meanwhile, 2001 marked the last good season Gonzalez ever had. Over the next four years, he never was able to top 82 games or 327 at bats, as his career sputtered to a close thanks to injuries. This spring, he tried to make a comeback, but injuries again nipped that in the bud.
The late Ken Caminiti, a former NL MVP, became one of the sport’s true whistleblowers when, in 2002, he publicly suggested that at least half of all big league players were juiced. The same year, of course, he admitted to Sports Illustrated that he was on steroids, and he credited them with his increase in pop (before joining the Padres, he had never had more than 18 homers in a season; in his first two years in San Diego, he smacked 66, including 40 in his MVP 1996 campaign). By 1999, injuries hastened his exit from the game. Over the next three years, he was never able to surpass 356 at bats in any season, and although he smacked 15 homers in just 59 games in 2000, by 2001, his power had disappeared. In 2004, he died of a drug overdose.
Glaus was one of the players who was outed after the raid on Signature Pharmacy last February. SI listed him as being a customer of Signature, reporting that Glaus had purchased nandrolene and testosterone between September 2003 and May 2004. Glaus never commented on the allegations, and the Commissioner’s Office decided there was insufficient evidence to discipline him. Glaus smacked 118 homers between 2000 and 2002 before suffering through back-to-back injury plagued seasons. He came back in 2005, and crushed another 75 long balls over the next two seasons. The last two years, however, his power has been below career norms.
Now this is some serious old school PED-action. Back in the mid- to late-’80s, Dykstra was a skinny outfielder with a penchant for getting hurt. Suddenly, in 1990, he showed up to camp having added 30 pounds of muscle – something he credited to “really good vitamins.” Ah, yes. In our pre-‘roid era naivety, something like that would go virtually unnoticed. Sure, there were articles at the time that speculated he was juicing, but no one actually did anything about it. Sure enough, Dykstra stayed healthy enough to enjoy a career year in 2000, but when the next two seasons were again injury-riddled, no one batted an eyelash. In 2003, stories again surfaced about his possible drug use in the wake of an even better season than he had in 2000. Dykstra never again came close to those totals, and three years later, he was done. Lee Thomas, GM of the Phillies in 2000, was interviewed for the Mitchell Report, and he said he was suspicious about Dykstra’s weight gain in 2000, but when he confronted Nails about it, Dykstra denied he was ‘roiding up. However, known PED supplier Kirk Radomski said that back in 1989, Dykstra admitted to him that he had taken steroids.
Radomski also fingered Justice, saying he sold him HGH after the 2000 World Series. Assuming that was his first time taking it, it didn’t help. Justice had enjoyed a monster year in 2000, cranking a career high 41 homers, but following that year, he struggled through two injury-plagued and ineffective seasons and then was out of the game. Justice was interviewed for the Mitchell Report, and he denied taking ‘roids. He did, however, supply the names of lots of players he suspected were taking them. Thanks, Dave.
Yet another Radomski client, Vaughn first called Radomski in 2001 to get advice for an ankle injury. Radomski said HGH would help it heal faster, and shortly thereafter, he said he sold the big man the goods. Vaughn refused to be interviewed for the report. At any rate, the ankle sidelined Vaughn for all of 2001, and he came back and played two more seasons, but was never close to his pre-injury form. I hope he asked for his money back.
Brown was hooked up with Radomski in either 2000 or 2001 through Paul Lo Duca when the two were Dodger teammates. When Brown got hurt a couple of times during the 2001 season, he called up Radomski and asked him to score him some HGH. Radomski says he sold PEDs to Brown five or six times over the next two or three years. Brown was yet another player who declined to meet with Mitchell over the allegations. Brown continued to struggle with injuries in 2002, and he had one of his worst seasons ever. In 2003, however, he stayed healthy, and enjoyed his finest season as a Dodger. He was dealt to the Yankees, and spent his final two years in New York, again dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness before retiring after the 2005 campaign.
Next up, in Part III, we’ll look at Matt Williams, Benito Santiago, Larry Bigbie and others.