In 1971, Lou Brock said that baseball’s drug policy was “neither preventive, nor corrective.”
Even the steroids scandal that began with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s record breaking 1998 single season homerun chase has done little to change that.
As evidence, look at the list of players accused, admitted or implicated as steroid or HGH users at the Baseball’s Steroid Era blog http://www.baseballssteroidera.com/bse-list-steroid-hgh-users-baseball.html
Baseball’s non-policy of the 1980’s and ’90’s was tougher than the current one in place.
Yes, baseball now has a policy, but just as Brock said in 1971, there is no prevention or correction.
Bud Selig stated in 1994 that drugs were not rampant in baseball. However, he said, “that’s no less reason for us to pursue a thoughtful policy. We may debate how widespread this problem is throughout baseball.”
Four years later the steroid era was brought to light by a reporter in the St. Louis Cardinals locker room who noticed a bottle of Androstenedione or “andro” in McGwire’s locker.
At the time, andro had not been specifically banned by Major League Baseball, even though the NFL, NCAA, and International Olympic Committee, among other leagues had already banned the substance.
Manny Ramirez has been the only notable MLB player to serve a suspension. Ramirez served 50 games last year. In contrast, Yankee pitcher Pascual Perez served a full year suspension in 1992 for cocaine use, Atlanta Braves outfielder Otis Nixon served 60 games in 1991 for cocaine use, and then commissioner Fay Vincent tried to ban Steve Howe for life after violating the unwritten policy for a seventh time for alcohol and cocaine related violations.
All of those suspensions were handed down in a time where baseball had no formal drug policy. Former commissioner Peter Uberoth brought an end to the former drug policy baseball had in place in the mid 1980’s. Only players who had a recorded drug history were monitored during the era after the end of baseball’s formal policy and the initial passing of a new policy in 2005. That has since been revised.
Steroids still grabs the attention of headlines. So too should baseball’s lack of a treatment based policy.
“The players and owners disagree on most things, but when it comes to making money, they’re on the same page.” Jose Canseco at a Congressional Hearing on steroids, March 17, 2005