The Mitchell Report Revisited, Part III
We’ve been swamped this week, and with football season underway, our hockey draft kit flowing like wildfire and plans afoot to start our basketball coverage, baseball has taken a back seat this week. So let’s get back to our look at the Mitchell Report. Previous parts can be found here: Part I and II
One-time slugger Williams was one of those players whose names appeared in the media as a suspected client of Signature Pharmacy after that outfit was raided. The San Francisco Chronicle reported, in its November 6, 2007 edition, that Williams purchased HGH, steroids, syringes and other drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Centre in 2002. By then, of course, Williams’s career was just about done. While he enjoyed a decent season in 2002 (when healthy, which was rare), he was completely ineffective in 2003, and was done after that season, managing to play a mere 44 games that year. Williams’s career year came in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, but there’s no indication of whether he was juicing back then or not.
It was trainer Greg Anderson – a key figure in the BALCO scandal – who apparently scored “the cream” and “the clear” for Santiago, as per BALCO president Jim Valente. Anderson, of course, had worked as a trainer for Santiago, and later Santiago was subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury during the BALCO investigation. According to the Chronicle, during his testimony – which is ostensibly confidential, but was leaked to the paper — Santiago admitted using PEDs, but then his lawyer clarified that statement, saying that if Santiago did ingest anything it was without any knowledge of what it was. Rigggggggggggght. Me: “Here, Benny, take this!” Santiago: “Okay!” Like many others, Santiago declined a request to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report. Of course, the most classic Santiago anecdote appears in the book Game of Shadows. In 2003, Santiago was reportedly approached by drug testers for a urine sample, and he panicked and ran out of the clubhouse. Wow, talk about stage fright. Later in the season, syringes were found in his locker, but the Giants’ team trainers decided not to make an issue of it. Santiago’s best season came in 1996 with the Phillies, but after he looked about done in 2001, he enjoyed back-to-back big years with the Giants before spending his last two season as a part-timer in KC and Pittsburgh, respectively.
Bigbie was introduced to PED supplier Kirk Radomski by Oriole teammate David Segui in 2003, and soon afterwards, he sold Bigbie PEDs on a variety of occasions, Radomski said. Bigbie has been cooperating with the federal authorities during the investigation into the illegal distribution of PEDs. According to his own accounts, he first dabbled in steroids back in 2001, near the end of the season. By Spring Training 2002, he had gone from 190 pounds to 220 – and we’re not talking about gaining 30 pounds thanks to being hand-fed Twinkies by scantily-clad 18-year-old girls all winter. His body fat was a mere 7 per cent. Of course, an injury wound up costing him almost the entire 2002 season. Three years later, a call Bigbie made to Radmonski – who by then was cooperating with federal authorities – was monitored, and when the feds approached Bigbie, he agreed to cooperate in the investigation. He says he hasn’t juiced up since. Bigbie’s finest season was in 2004, and over the next two years his PT was severely limited thanks to injuries and he was done as a major leaguer after the 2006 season. In 2007, he spent half the year in Triple-A, but when his contract allowed him to become a free agent in June, no major league team came calling. This year, he played in Japan.
There were a couple of incidents with Segui, dating back as early as 1999 or 2000, that were never reported. First, an attendant in the visiting clubhouse in KC found syringes and vials hidden in a sunglasses case in Segui’s luggage. He informed his supervisor of what he had found, but they opted to replace the materials and never told anyone of their discovery. A few years later, when Segui was with the O’s, he told then Baltimore co-GM Jim Beattie that he wanted to see a doctor who had given him HGH. Beattie had never heard of Segui’s drug use before this conversation, but no one in the organization informed the Commissioner’s Office. Later, Segui admitted his drug use publicly. The first time Segui admitted his use to anyone was in 1994, when he told Radomski, according to Radomski. Over the next several years, Radomski sold Segui PEDs on many occasions. Segui’s finest season came in 2000, and he more or less limped through the next four years as a part-time player who was hurt a lot, before retiring after 2004.
Grimsley emerged as one of the most infamous cases of the ‘roid era, earning a 50-game suspension for his admission to using HGH in the summer of 2006. He originally told federal agents that he tested positive in 2003, when MLB began its testing program. According to Radomski, Grimsley bought HGH from him seven or eight times between 2000 and 2003. Grimsley’s finest season came in 2001 as a top set-up man for the Royals. He never played in the majors again after his suspension. In fact, he never actually served it, as the D-Backs released him beforehand. If he does ever try to make a comeback, he’ll have to sit out the first 50 games.
When Victor Conte was questioned in the wake of the BALCO investigation, he named Rios as one of many players he had sold “the cream” and “the clear” to. Rios was also apparently one of trainer Anderson’s clients. When the Chronicle reported on the leaked Grand Jury testimony of those asked to appear, Rios reportedly admitted his use to the court. He declined to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report. Rios had a solid year as an extra outfielder in 1999, but 2000 was probably his finest season in terms of performance and playing time. He last appeared in the majors in 2003 for the ChiSox and became a free agent at the end of Spring Training 2005 when he rejected an assignment to the minors by the Twins.
In Part IV of this series, we’ll look at Marvin Bedard, Randy Velarde and Jeremy Giambi, among other key figures of the ‘Roid Reports.