The Official All-Time PED All-Star Team
With the recent MLB steroid scandals, now seemed an appropriate time to create an All-Star team comprised of the best baseball players to ever take steroids. As a disclaimer, I should note that a couple of these players were never technically proven to have used PEDs, but the writing is on the wall. I mean, does anybody really believe Barry Bonds didn’t use PEDs? Anyway, without further ado, I present the PED All-Star Team:
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 2,844 Hits, .296 AVG, 311 Home Runs, 1999 AL MVP
“Pudge” was never officially busted for steroid usage, but there are a couple of red flags. For one, Jose Canseco claims he personally injected Rodriguez with ‘roids, and when asked about whether he ever took steroids, Pudge produced the ambiguous response, “Only God knows.” Steroids or not, he is one of the greatest defensive catchers to play the game, if not the best. His .296 career batting average isn’t too shabby either.
1B: Mark McGwire
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 583 HRs, .982 OPS, 4x HR Champ, 1986 RoY
Big Mac hit 49 homers in his rookie season and never looked back, finishing with 583 for his career. He was one of the greatest pure power hitters ever, and he probably could have posted excellent numbers even without steroids. If what he claims is true, his 49 homers during his rookie season came prior to his steroid usage. He has admitted to taking steroids, and recently spoke of his regret about being involved in the Steroid Era. He currently serves as the hitting coach for the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.
2B: Chuck Knoblauch
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: .289 AVG, 407 SBs, 1991 RoY, 1997 GG, 4x WS Champ
Second base is pretty thin as far as PED-users go, but Knoblauch stands out among the rest. He was an outstanding defender during his career before he developed a strange inability to make the routine throw to first base. During his prime, he hit .312, .333, and .341 from 1994-96, and he retired with a .289 career batting average. Named in the Mitchell Report (a comprehensive list of steroid users up to December 2007) as a PED user, Knoblauch later admitted to using HGH, although he claimed it did not help him as a player. Knoblauch retired with four World Series rings, but his career is tainted with his HGH usage.
3B: Ken Caminiti
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 239 HRs, 1996 NL MVP (40 HRs, 130 RBIs)
Caminiti may not have had a fantastic career numbers-wise, but he was certainly one of the premier PED users. He broke into the majors in 1987 and posted below average power numbers for the first several years of his career, never hitting more than 13 home runs until 1994. Two years later, he hit 40 in a season and won the National League MVP Award. He admitted to using steroids during that 1996 MVP season in a Sports Illustrated interview in 2002, and he also struggled with alcoholism and cocaine use. He died of a drug overdose in 2004 at age 41.
SS: Alex Rodriguez
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 649 HRs, .945 OPS, 2916 Hits, 1904 Runs, 3x AL MVP, 5x AL Home Run Champ, etc.
Ah, where to start? A-Rod has compiled some of the most impressive career accomplishments of any player in MLB history, and has earned more money than anybody to play the game. Yet, he may also be the most hated active player, and he’s been exposed as a liar and a cheat who would do anything to try to prevent his name from being tainted. (He hasn’t done a very good job so far.) Rodriguez is just 12 home runs away from passing Willie Mays on the all-time homer list. Hopefully he’ll be suspended before he reaches that number.
OF: Barry Bonds
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 762 HRs, 1.051 OPS, 2558 BBs, 2935 Hits, 2227 Runs, 1996 RBIs, 7x MVP
Bonds would have made it into the Hall of Fame without PEDs, but his jealousy of power hitters like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa led to his downfall. He probably has the best overall career statistics in MLB history, with his 762 homers and 1.051 career OPS, but that means nothing to Hall of Fame voters, who will continue to deny him entry to Cooperstown for his alleged usage of PEDs.
OF: Manny Ramirez
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 555 HRs, .312 AVG, .996 OPS, 1831 RBIs, 12x All-Star
The man who Terry Francona calls the best right-handed hitter he’s ever seen certainly has his share of career accolades, but repeated drug violations have tarnished his reputation. Manny was allegedly one of 104 major leaguers who tested positive for PEDs in 2003, then he was suspended in 2009 for using a women’s fertility drug. He was suspended again in 2011, but retired instead of facing a 100-game ban. His .996 career OPS ranks ninth all time, and he’s 14th on the all-time home run list with 555.
OF: Sammy Sosa
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 609 HRs, 1,667 RBIs, 1998 NL MVP, 7x All-Star
Sosa posted mediocre numbers in the minors and throughout his first few years in the majors. Then, he “magically” transformed into a premier power hitter, blasting 35 or more homers in 10 straight seasons, 40 or more in 6 straight, and 243 over the course of four seasons (1998-2001). He was a seven time All-Star as well as the 1998 NL MVP. Sosa is also the only man to ever hit 60 homers in three different seasons. In 2009, the New York Times reported that Sosa tested positive for PEDs in 2003. This came after Sosa denied PED use in a 2005 hearing before Congress.
DH: Jose Canseco
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 462 HRs, Member of 40 HR/40 SB club, 1986 RoY, 1988 AL MVP
Canseco is the exemplar of a pure power hitter, as his career average is just .266, including his ridiculous 1998 season where he batted .237 with 159 strikeouts but still hit 46 homers. He’s also a six time All-Star and two time World Series champion. In his 2005 book, Juiced, Canseco admitted to using PEDs and also accused countless other MLB players of steroid usage. He is fearless in admitting to juicing, as evidenced by his willingness to write a book on the matter.
SP: Roger Clemens
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 354 wins, 3.12 ERA, 4672 Strikeouts, 7x ERA Leader, 7x Cy Young Award Winner, 1986 AL MVP, etc.
Clemens is arguably the most accomplished pitcher of the modern era, yet he likely won’t find himself in the Hall of Fame anytime soon. He was a dominant pitcher at the beginning of his career, a time when he almost certainly did not take steroids. While the longevity of his career can probably be attributed to steroids, thus allowing him to post the statistics that he did, there is little doubt that Clemens still would have had a successful career without steroids. He has been accused by a wide variety of sources as a PED user, including Jose Canseco, pitcher Jason Grimsley, and trainer Brian McNamee, and will likely have to wait quite a while to make it into the Hall of Fame.
RP: Eric Gagne
Notable Stats/Accomplishments: 187 Saves, 2003 NL Cy Young Award Winner (55 Saves, 1.20 ERA), MLB-Record 84 Consecutive Saves
Gagne had one of the best single seasons of any closer ever, and set a record by saving 84 straight games without blowing a save. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003 with 55 saves, nearly breaking the then-record of 57. He also posted a minuscule 1.20 ERA during the season. Since then, he was named in the Mitchell Report in 2007, and in 2010 he admitted to using HGH to recover from a knee injury.