The use of steroids officially stands banned by Major League Baseball (MLB), but the MLB has never been strict in its policies of steroids in baseball. The use of steroids in baseball has always been hotly debatable since 1990s. The influence of steroids in baseball is clearly evident from the stunning rise in home runs since 1995.
The use and distribution of anabolic steroids for non-therapeutic purposes has been banned since 1988, but MLB did not bother to conduct tests for steroids in baseball until 2003. The post 1994 period is often referred to as the “era of steroids in baseball.” There were many cases of the use of steroids in baseball during that time.
Mark McGwire’s case was probably the first instance of steroids in baseball; he was found with a bottle containing Androstendione, a prohormone in his locker. Ken Caminiti disclosed the stunning facts of steroids in baseball in Sports Illustrated. He admitted that he was using steroids in baseball, and he won the 1996 NL MVP award using steroids. He also disclosed that 50% of the players in the league were using steroids.
Jose Canseco, in a book published on steroids in baseball imbroglio, admitted that he was using steroids and 85% of all players in MLB were using steroids in baseball. The use of steroids in baseball was further uncovered when two Journalists, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada exposed the nutrition center BALCO distributing steroids to many star players, like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Benito Santiago, Jeremy Giambi, Bobby Estalella, and Armando Rios.
Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds were suspected of using anabolic steroids in baseball. Giambi admitted the use of steroids in baseball, and also admitted that his personal trainer Greg Anderson was providing him the drugs during the 2003 season. Barry Bonds also admitted that his trainer provided him the drugs saying that they were nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for his arthritis.
In 2003, random testing of steroids in baseball was conducted by the Major League Baseball. However, the League didn’t tighten the screw of its policies on steroids in baseball. Often, it has been suspending for a few days, but not penalizing them strictly.
The players, such as Ryan Franklin and others were suspended for ten days, but a Congressional panel argued that the penalties were not tough enough and demanded action. So, on March 17, 2005, several top players including Rafael Palmeiro, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco and Curt Schilling were scrutinized in front of Congress. Thus, Congress has always been pressing MLB to follow strict policies on steroids in baseball.