In an unexpected twist, former Senator and current Boston Red Sox Board of Directors member George Mitchell released a report on steroid use in baseball that named players who have been retired for many years as users. In one case, the player mentioned has been retired for 72 years.
Mitchell claims that the steroid problem started at the end of the 1919 season, when Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. According to the report, after coming to NY, Ruth was determined to improve his power numbers to unheard of levels. During training and in between games, Ruth would reportedly ingest a staggering number of hot dogs injected with anabolic steroids and throw back numerous beers laced with testosterone.
“The numbers don’t lie.” The report says. “Ruth’s Home Run total went from 29 to 54. He was out-homering other teams. Talent like that does not just develop naturally.”
The report does not just incriminate Ruth. “The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig is also mentioned as a tragic case where a talented player had no choice but to take drugs simply to keep up with his peer, in this case Ruth. The list goes on: DiMaggio’s drug habit not only aided his production but also his dehabilitating foot problem; Maris’ record breaking season that seemingly “came out of nowhere;” Mantle’s brilliant career that was marred by substance abuse; Jackson’s tape measure power; Mattingly and his chronically bad back; Clemens and his post-Boston resurgence. All of these players Mitchell links to steroids, citing either their unusual statistics or subsequent health problems.
The report goes on to name a few other seemingly random players, including: Aaron Boone, Bucky Dent, Mookie Wilson, and the entire 1999 Yankees.
Mitchell’s report does offer hope however. Apparently as of the 2004 season, the game has been pure and clean. There has not been a steroid user since.
So moving forward, how does the report say we can rectify baseball’s past transgressions? Simple: “All stats and achievements accomplished during the seasons 1919-2003 should be rendered invalid and all documentation of such destroyed.”
It seems everyone can agree that is truly a small price to pay to restore the honor of the National Pastime and put behind us 86 years of shame.