Allan "Bud" Selig
Acting Commissioner of Baseball
1992-July 9, 1998
Ninth Commissioner of Baseball
Bud Selig, who had nearly destroyed MLB in 1994/1995, was named the "official" commissioner on July 9, 1998. Unlike the rejection that Fay Vincent earned for having saved the 1990 MLB season, the owners obviously treated Selig well despite his generally less than successful track record as acting commissioner.
During the mid-to-late 1980s and on into the 1990s, rumors of player steroid use ran rampant within MLB clubhouses, locker rooms, and stadium tunnels. The insinuations were that players were gobbling greenies (amphetamines) like candy and were rubbing, injecting, and drinking muscle-building anabolic steroids. Players were getting larger — much larger. Baseballs were being hit farther — much farther. It was common knowledge inside the game, to include the owners, managers, coaches, and trainers, that players were taking illegal, performance-enhancing drugs. Among those who were certainly privy to this information was Bud Selig, who had been a trusted associate of MLB for 33 years. Nevertheless, the acting commissioner's office remained silent regarding drug or steroid testing.
The 1998 season witnessed a marathon home run derby between National League sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. McGwire and Sosa would both succeed in erasing Roger Maris' 1961 season record of 61 home runs, with McGwire hitting an astounding 70 home runs, followed by Sosa's 66.
Prior to the end of the 1998 season, a reporter saw a container of cream in McGwire's locker and asked him about it. McGwire identified it as androstenedione (andro, for short), a nutritional supplement that had been banned in other sports, but not baseball. Andro was the first prohormone to break into the sports nutrition industry. Prohormones, forms of anabolic androgenic substances, are synthetic derivatives of the male sex hormone. Once ingested, they are converted into anabolic (muscle-building) compounds. Because prohormones are converted within the body to provide anabolic effects, they are considered legal products that are available on an over-the-counter basis. Any sport authority, however, that is serious about its investigative work, like the NFL and the IOC, knows that prohormones become anabolic steroids within the body, i.e., they are nothing more than performance-enhancing drugs. Throughout the 1998 season, there was speculation that both McGwire and Sosa were on steroids. Yet, even in the face of positive evidence of McGwire's use of a performance-enhancing drug, Commissioner Selig did nothing.
For more information, click on this link and read the article written by Justin Alexander at http://www.brinkzone.com/articledetails.php?acatid=2. Will Brink, owner of brinkzone.com, granted us permission to access his Web site and use his information.
Some have speculated that Selig did not want to take the fans out of the stands. In order to maintain the integrity of the game and to act in the best interest of MLB, Selig should have tested both McGwire and Sosa to prove that they were clean. This could have occurred either during or at the close of the season. Again, Selig did nothing. Owners were bringing in incredible amounts of money during "The Home Run Era of Baseball," and a positive steroid test could bring this financial windfall to an abrupt end. As it had been with Selig time and time again in the past, money, not integrity, had priority.
In a rather transparent postseason effort to save face, Selig told the press that MLB and the MLBPA were jointly funding a Harvard University research study on andro and that the findings were expected by the end of the year.
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