The home run era in Major League Baseball (MLB) was a time where routine tests for snippets of PEDs, weren’t conducted on its baseball players. Having said that, a specific type of PEDs called anabolic steroids, was eventually banned by the league, beginning in 1991. However, the league just made the PEDs illegal. They did not actually implement an official testing policy for PEDs until 2003. During that lengthy 12 year period, there were so many derivatives and precursors for which players weren’t tested. So this made it fairly easy for players to pass drug tests while under the effects of PEDs until 2003.
There was not a whole lot to consider before players started using PEDs in order to become better hitters and athletes in general. The league’s penalties for testing positive for PEDs weren’t serious: a 10 game suspension for a player’s first offense, a one year suspension for a player’s fourth offense, and a lifetime ban for a player’s fifth offense. While the side effects of PEDs vary from drug to drug, some players were hit harder than others. Their once youthful looks that complemented their tall, slender physiques ended up becoming ancient with a hefty amount of weight. They’re not the ladies’ men that they were once were. It’s just sad to see the effects of such substances because they cost some players their looks and perhaps even their successful careers.
Let’s take a look at 15 baseball players who looked terrible after getting off the juice.
15. Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds had a controversial career as he was arguably the primary figure in the MLB’s steroids scandal. This cost him of his 22-season career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants along with his Baseball Hall of Fame eligibility. This year, he was on the Hall of Fame ballot, but received a slightly higher percentage of 56.6 percent.
Bonds managed to overcome alleged charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, but wasn’t able to turn back the clock when he was clearly younger and slimmer. However, in recent years, Bonds actually looks great and resembles the player he was before getting on the juice. He can regularly be seen riding his bike everywhere, looking lean and mean.
14. Roger Clemens
Roger “Rocket” Clemens has always been a big and tall man who stood at 6″4″ and weighed around 230 pounds. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history, recording 354 wins, a 3.25 ERA (earned run average) and a third most all-time 4,672 strikeouts. His competitive nature and hard-throwing pitching style often intimidated batters on the field.
Rocket was alleged to have used steroids during the last years of his 24-season career with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. He was eventually found not guilty of all six counts of lying to Congress about never taking steroids back in 2008.
13. Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco got his start in baseball with the Oakland Athletics, who drafted him in the 15th round of the 1982 MLB Draft. He spent three years playing in the minor leagues for the Medford A’s, Madison Muskies, Idaho Falls A’s and the Modesto A’s. He was called up by the Oakland A’s in late 1985, where he later formed an offensive threat duo with new teammate Mark McGwire called the Bash Brothers.
Unlike other sluggers, Canseco has admitted to banned substance use during his 17-season career and even wrote a tell-all book titled Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big in 2005. That being said, he obviously doesn’t have a baby face anymore. His face resembles a tough guy with hoary skin nowadays.
12. Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi had a 20-season career in the Major Leagues as a first baseman and DH (designated hitter). He played for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians. He retired in February 2015.
Giambi found himself as a part of the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative) scandal alongside fellow Bay Area baseball star Barry Bonds. As a result, Giambi ended up apologizing twice on two separate occasions. While baseball fans may forgive Giambi, he’s no longer a rookie with a youthful glow. Instead, he looks like a stern-faced thug with poor skin health. We’ve now started to see what kind of long term effects these banned substances can have on athletes, years after taking them.
11. Sammy Sosa
Sammy Sosa played with four different teams over the course of an 18-season career in the MLB. He was best known as a right fielder for the Chicago Cubs from 1992 to 2004.
Sure, Sosa’s looks were ruined by a bleaching cream that whitened his natural skin tone, but we’re pretty sure that PEDs had something to do with his crumbling appearance too. He has aggressively denied any use of banned substances, but his positive tests proved him wrong. Whether the rumors were true or false, his reputation—especially his Hall of Fame eligibility—was tarnished. In recent years, it’s become clear that Sosa is never going to be elected into the baseball hall of fame. If it is some sort of bleaching cream that causes Sosa to look the way he does, we hope he stops using it.
10. Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez currently plays for the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus. He previously played in the MLB for 19 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, as an outfieler.
Ramirez violated the MLB’s substance policy and was subsequently suspended for 50 games. It was reported that he took hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). In the end, he chose to retire instead of serving a 100-game suspension that was reduced in half to 50 games. He once looked like a youthful, fun-loving boy. Now, he looks like a washed up rapper who had to file for bankruptcy. We hope he’s still having fun playing baseball. Perhaps he can be the Stephon Marbury of Japan.
9. Ken Caminiti
The late Ken Caminiti played 15 seasons in the MLB from 1987 to 2001 with the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves. He played collegiate baseball at San Jose State University.
Not only did Caminiti take steroids, he also struggled with substance abuse. He died of an (speedball) overdose in October 2004 at the age of 41. Just days before he had passed away, Caminiti walked out of a jail and said to his neighbor, who he viewed as a father figure: “From this day on, I’m going to get help and I’m going to get my head clear. ”
8. Eric Gagne
As you can tell, Eric Gagne is a former French Canadian baseball player from Montreal, Quebec. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 as a free agent, where he began his MLB career as a starting pitcher. However, he began to struggle and was demoted to a reliever.
Not only did injuries plagued Gagne’s career in the Major Leagues. He was also connected to a baseball steroids scandal in which he reportedly used HGH (human growth hormone) to recover from a knee injury. While he has good reasoning, his once handsome looks took a fall, which is far from a good thing. In addition, he packed on the pounds. Ironically, Gagne still managed to pitch in the recent World Baseball Classic.
7. Mo Vaughn
Maurice “Mo” Vaughn, who also went by the nickname “The Hit Dog,” played for 12 seasons in the MLB. He was a three-time All-Star selection and won the American League MVP award in 1995 as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Vaughn, however, used PEDs that he purchased from batboy Kirk Radomski. The incident had been documented in a report by Senator George J. Mitchell.
When all is said and done, Vaughn is the one who suffered from the PEDs, as he looks like an overweight rapper who recently became a father following his retirement from rap music. We’re not sure if it has to do with the alleged PED use, but it’s clear Vaughn has seen better days.
Mike Piazza is a retired catcher who spent 16 seasons in the MLB. Although he played for a total of five teams, he was best known as a member of the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. He almost led the Mets to a World Series title, but they fell short in the 2000 Subway Series against the crosstown rival Yankees.
We can’t deny that Piazza has lots of talent in the catching department, but he’s simply not attractive as he used to be as a young catcher in the 1990s. The PEDs he once took took a toll on him. He did get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, but he certainly isn’t going to be on the front cover of GQ anytime soon.
5. David Ortiz
Here’s another retired baseball player who made a statement on the field. David “Big Papi” Ortiz played most of his 20-season career in the Major Leagues as a DH (designated hitter) and first baseman. He is a man of talent and intelligence. His 541 home runs rank 17th on the MLB’s all-time home runs list. His children’s fund helps kids from Boston, Massachusetts, to his native Dominican Republic.
Ortiz has denied buying and using steroids after the New York Times reported that he was one of 100 players whom allegedly tested positive for PEDs during spring training in 2003. The positive test turned out to be negative, but who knows what actually happened during that time? Well, one thing is true, and Ortiz’s looks diminished over time. He looks like a huge, cuddly teddy bear with a beard instead of a young cub.
4. Miguel Tejada
Miguel Tejada is a former shortshop who played 14 seasons in the MLB. In his first six seasons with the Oakland Athletics, he started a new trend: an extended streak of 1,152 consecutive games that ultimately ended with the Baltimore Orioles in June 2007. He is also a six-time All-Star selection, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2002 AL MVP Award winner and was named 2005 All-Star Game MVP.
Despite all his success on the field, Tejada’s accomplishments (and appearances) were tainted by steroid use and extreme suspensions, the most notable suspension being his 105 games in August 2013. Also, he has lied about his age, so he clearly hasn’t earned a reputation about being the most honest man in the world. It will likely prevent him from an induction to Cooperstown.
3. Rafael Palmeiro
Rafael Palmeiro is a retired Cuban first baseman and left fielder who played in the Major Leagues for 16 seasons. He was initially drafted by the New York Mets in the 1982 MLB Draft, but didn’t sign. Instead, he signed with the Chicago Cubs three years later, after being drafted as the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 1985 MLB Draft.
Palmeiro had himself a career, but it came with its costs. His close relationship with Ryne Sandberg’s wife was frowned upon in the Cubs’ locker room in 1988. Also, he tested positive for anabolic steroids just days after recording his 3,000th hit.
2. Gary Sheffield
Gary Sheffield is a sports agent and former outfielder who played with eight different teams over the course of 21 seasons. He played as a right fielder for the majority of his career. However, he has also played as a left fielder, third baseman and shortstop. His career saw him take home a World Series championship with the Yankees in 1997 and the NL Batting title in 1992.
Sheffield’s batting swings were a combination of both savage speed and pinpoint control. He finished his career somewhere on the list of all-time top 20 leaders in walks. Perhaps his swings were also improved, thanks to a knee surgery repair cream containing steroids; but all we can confirm now is that he didn’t age gracefully after his retirement.
1. Mark McGwire
Mark McGwire, commonly known as “Big Mac,” is a man who seems to have it all: a MLB career spanning 15 seasons, a young wife who is beautiful and a ton of records for his baseball resume.
Little did we know, McGwire took an over-the-counter muscle enhancement treatment called androstenedione and went on to continue his steroid use on an on-and-off basis since 2000. He broke his silence in 2010, telling MLB.com, “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
McGwire was right because so much turmoil occurred in his public life following his participation at the congressional hearing on steroids in 2005 alongside Jose Canseco, who we have mentioned earlier in this list. While he never took steroids to improve his hitting performance, he still suffered the effects of such substances.
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