In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, there was a boom in baseball. After the sport suffered from the 1994 strike, baseball rebounded in just a few years thanks to exploding offensive numbers. 1998 marked a memorable year that saw Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chasing for (and breaking) the single season home run record.
Things seemed to be going well as most of us ignored what was going on with the players. They were bigger, faster, stronger and hitting home runs at record paces. The offensive era of baseball came to an end when there was a backlash against steroid use in the sport. In 2007, George Mitchell revealed his report that listed many players after a nearly two year investigation.
Because of the report (and plenty of hindsight that seems obvious now), there were a lot of players that were either accused of steroids, or straight up admitted their PED use. Out of the most notable, there are thousands of career home runs, strikeouts, MVP Awards and World Series titles. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable alleged (or confirmed) steroid users, and some things you didn’t know about them.
15 Gary Sheffield's Wife And R. Kelly?
Not many people with the accolades of Gary Sheffield would miss out on the Hall of Fame, but that’s what steroid talk can do. Sheffield knocked 509 home runs in his career, reaching nine All Star Games and winning five Silver Slugger Awards. Sheffield allegedly was taking steroids with Barry Bonds in the early 2000’s, but denied that he received benefit from steroids. Just a few years later, however, Sheffield was named in the Mitchell Report.
It hasn’t just been steroid allegations that have surrounded Sheffield, as a rumor came up in 2004 that you probably don’t remember. A man named Derrick Mosley came out and said that he had a video of Sheffield’s wife sleeping with singer R. Kelly. Reportedly, Mosley asked for $20,000 to get rid of the tape from Sheffield’s camp, but they declined. Instead of getting the payday he was hoping for, Mosley was convicted of extortion.
14 Mike Piazza: Godfather Situations
In 2016, Mike Piazza became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame by receiving 83 percent “yes” votes to get in. Piazza spent 16 seasons in the MLB, crushing 427 home runs and batting .308 in his career. Piazza was also a 12-time All Star and is considered one of the best hitting catchers ever. When talking about steroid users, people seem to gloss over Piazza. However, the late round pick that defied odds admitted to taking steroids when they were available over the counter.
The admission didn’t really seem to hamper Piazza’s legacy, though. It’s a legacy that also includes a line of interesting Godparents. Legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda is actually the Godfather for Piazza, as Lasorda and Piazza’s father were longtime friends. Now, Piazza is the Godfather to legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde’s son.
13 Ivan Rodriguez Missed His Wedding Day
Another recent Hall of Fame inductee (2017) that is widely considered to be a great among hitting catchers is Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. Rodriguez made 14 All Star appearances in his career, winning the 1999 AL MVP Award and a combined 20 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. According to Jose Canseco, Canseco showed Rodriguez how to use steroids, and he lost nearly 30 pounds in an offseason when his name came up.
Rodriguez has since denied the allegations on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Well before that, though, Rodriguez had to miss his first wedding day. That’s because when he was 19 years old, Rodriguez was called up from Double A baseball in Tulsa to the Texas Rangers. The original plan was for Rodriguez to get married on his Minor League Team’s field, and the wedding was delayed for nearly a year.
12 Roger Clemens' Children and the Letter "K"
Despite huge batting numbers during the steroid era, Roger Clemens was able to shut down batters left and right. Clemens played for four teams in his MLB career, notching 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts. The career was also joined by seven Cy Young Awards and 11 All Star appearances, but ended with his name in the Mitchell Report.
Even though it’s not likely that Clemens makes the Hall of Fame because of his allegations, he still did amass plenty of strikeouts. Because of his fascination with pitching, Clemens and his wife named all four of their children starting with the letter ‘K’ (Kacy, Kody, Kory and Koby). None of the four sons have reached the Major Leagues, which is quite surprising considering their pedigree.
11 Rafael Palmeiro Endorses Viagra
Rafael Palmeiro may have been a bit overlooked during his MLB career because in his prime, he was going up against the likes of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Palmeiro was able to make four All Star Games, hitting a total of 569 home runs. That would normally get you into the Hall of Fame, but Palmeiro was suspended for steroid use and it came shortly after reaching a milestone of 3,000 hits.
Before being suspended for PED use, Palmeiro was the pitchman for another “performance enhancer,” Viagra. That was back in 2002, and Palmeiro was pitching the erectile disfunction drug for $500,000. Palmeiro would be asked about his endorsement by fans and reporters alike, but he never had much of a sense of humor on the subject.
10 Curt Schilling Destroys a Camera
While he certainly had more fans during his playing career compared to the years since his retirement, you can’t deny that Curt Schilling was a solid player in his time. Schilling retired in 2007 after recording 216 wins and 3,116 strikeouts, making six All Star Games and winning a trio of World Series titles in the process. Schilling has faced his fair share of steroid allegations, as well.
Most fans already know that Schilling tried to dabble in the gaming industry, and now works as a conservative reporter for Breitbart. What most people probably forget is that Schilling once smashed an expensive QuesTec camera on the field in 2003. The camera was designed to track strikes to rate umpire performance, but Schilling wasn’t a fan. After having a mediocre outing, Schilling took out his frustration on the camera by hitting it with a bat, leading to a $15,000 fine. Perhaps it could have been some roid rage.
9 Jason Giambi's Thong
There have been many baseball players that were named as steroid users, but not many would own up to the allegations. Jason Giambi was not one of those players, though, as he admitted to taking PEDs to enhance his career. It was a career that included an MVP Award in 2000 and five All Star selections on the heels of 440 career home runs and 2,010 hits.
Like many baseball players, Giambi was very superstitious. That can cause you to do some pretty odd things while getting into a slump. When Giambi would find himself struggling, he would actually play in a gold thong. When telling teammates that it worked, Giambi was able to get some of the other players on his teams to wear them during slumps.
8 Miguel Tejada's True Identity
Miguel Tejada is another player that surprisingly won an MVP Award during his time, taking the 2002 title while playing with the Oakland Athletics. Tejada would make six All Star Games in his career, hitting 307 home runs and 2,407 hits. Tejada, though, would get a massive suspension in 2013 for PED use at 105 games. Since the suspension, Tejada has not played in Major League Baseball and was popped for perjury for lying about steroid use in baseball.
What was even more interesting before his suspension is that Tejada was not actually who he said he was. Not only had Tejada been born two years earlier than he claimed during his career, but that his last name was actually Tejeda. When he was asked about the situation, Tejada ended his interview early.
7 Jose Canseco Practices Combat
The guy that really opened up the eyes for fans when it came to steroid use in baseball was Jose Canseco. The former outfielder who hit 462 career home runs was also a six-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger winner and the 1988 AL MVP. Canseco revealed in his 2005 book “Juiced” that many of the players were taking steroids. It also involved Canseco naming a lot of names.
There are a lot of things you can say about Canseco that you wouldn’t know. Following his Twitter account, he has made many claims that including how he has figured out time travel. What was most odd to hear is that Canseco is actually a taekwondo expert (in his words). Canseco regularly practices with the nunchucks, and has even been involved in MMA fights. He even fought former child star Danny Bonaduce in a match that ended with a draw.
6 Sammy Sosa Was A Late Baseball Bloomer
Sammy Sosa showed some promise early in his career with the Rangers and White Sox, but suddenly became a star with the Cubs in the mid-1990’s. Sosa would be a six-time All Star that led the National League in home runs twice, winning the 1998 NL MVP Award in the battle with Mark McGwire. Sosa was one of the players in the Mitchell Report, which has kept him out of the Hall of Fame despite 609 career home runs.
Sosa’s entire career was a surprise to many, especially considering his beginnings. Sosa didn’t even play in a baseball league until he was 14 years old, and became so good within just two years that he received a contract offer from the Texas Rangers. Growing up before that, Sosa would earn some extra money by shining shoes, and would be using a milk carton as a baseball glove.
5 Ryan Braun On Reality TV?
Only one player appears on our list that’s on an MLB roster in 2017, and that’s Ryan Braun. Braun, who has spent his entire career with the Brewers, has nearly 300 career home runs thus far and six All Star appearances. Braun was the 2011 NL MVP, but failed a drug test that year. After battling the positive test, Braun was suspended in July 2013 for the remainder of that season.
What you might not have known is that before the controversy, Braun was almost a reality television star. In 2009, Braun was offered the chance to star as the main focus on the hit show “The Bachelor.” Braun had briefly considered accepting the deal, but ended up turning it down. Reportedly, Braun said “thanks, but no thanks.”
4 Barry Bonds' Greed
You know that people believe Barry Bonds was on steroids since he hasn’t reached the Hall of Fame despite leading the MLB in career home runs (762) and winning seven NL MVP Awards. Bonds was indicted for perjury in regards to the BALCO investigation, and was even convicted for a brief time. The ruling would be overturned, however, and Bonds still denies that he took steroids.
Bonds has never been known for his charitable personality, and that was confirmed at the end of his first marriage. Bonds’s first wife, Sun, had signed a prenuptial agreement before being married in 1988. The two would end up splitting in 1994, and Sun would get next to nothing as a result. The court ruling dragged on for years before Bonds was ultimately awarded all of his property and almost all of his money.
3 Mark McGwire's Brother
The summer of 1998 featured one of the most captivating storylines ever as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased the single season home run record. McGwire would come out on top, smashing 70 home runs that year to set the new mark (that was broken by Bonds). McGwire made a dozen All Star teams and hit 583 home runs, but admitted to taking PEDs for much of his career, keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.
Before making it to the Major Leagues, McGwire had an interesting personal life. McGwire had two brothers, Dan and Jay. Dan was a former first round NFL pick that threw for just 745 yards as a quarterback in his career. As for Jay, he accidentally shot his eye out with a BB gun as a child, receiving a six-figure settlement. According to Jay, he used the massive payout to buy steroids, and reportedly did them with Mark.
2 Manny Ramirez Uses eBay
Even though there has been plenty of steroid talk about Manny Ramirez’s career, he still has plenty of fans around the league. The magnetic Ramirez would hit 555 career home runs in his MLB career, winning two World Series with the Red Sox. Ramirez was suspended for PED use in 2009, and then again in 2011. When the 2011 ruling came down, Ramirez decided to end his MLB career instead and now plays overseas.
Ramirez had a lot of interesting and quirky moments throughout his career, which included some online selling. In 2007, Ramirez auctioned off a grill on eBay, which came with an autographed baseball. The number reached over $20,000 on the player-used grill that he had originally purchased for $4,000. When asked by David Ortiz why he did it, Ramirez said that “I’m a businessman. I need the money.”
1 Alex Rodriguez and His Love of Cars
One of the most polarizing figures that Major League Baseball has seen in the past 20 years, Alex Rodriguez had some real highlights and lowlights. Rodriguez was a 14-time All Star and three-time AL MVP, hitting 696 home runs in his career that came to an end with the Yankees in 2016. Rodriguez had denied steroid use until admitting that he used PEDs while with the Rangers, and was eventually suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Despite the ups and downs, Rodriguez has always had an impressive collection when it comes to celebrity ex-girlfriends. Perhaps even more impressive, though, is his collection of luxury cars. Rodriguez has Porsches, Maybachs and more in his collection. He even loves cars so much that he opened a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Texas. And yes, it was called A-Rod Mercedes-Benz.
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