Allan "Bud" Selig
Acting Commissioner of Baseball
1992-July 9, 1998
Ninth Commissioner of Baseball
On November 14, 2003, the results of the first season of steroid testing were announced. More than five percent of the players tested positive for steroid use. According to the agreement, players would have to undergo stricter testing beginning on March 2, 2004, the beginning of spring training. The penalties for each positive test would be as follows (player suspensions would be without pay):
- First offense — treatment, education, and further testing
- Second offense — public identification, 15-day suspension or up to a $10,000 fine
- Third offense — public identification, 25-day suspension or up to a $25,000 fine
- Fourth offense — public identification, 50-day suspension or up to a $50,000 fine
- Fifth offense — public identification, one-year suspension or up to a $100,000 fine
Chronology of Key Events:
• Baseball stars Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi were called to California to testify in what became the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) case,¹. Allegedly, designer drugs had been created (by BALCO) to avoid detection by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
• Even President George W. Bush got into the act, during his January 2004 State of the Union Address, when he called for the end of steroid use.
• On February 12, 2004, home run king Barry Bond's trainer was charged with illegally distributing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. New York Yankee player Gary Sheffield is soon tied to the BALCO case.
• On February 27, 2004, Commissioner Selig reminded all MLB clubs to only allow authorized individuals into the clubhouses.
• On March 1, 2004, Braves pitcher John Smoltz said that baseball should adopt a tougher policy toward steroid testing.
• On March 11, 2004, Donald Fehr again appeared before the U.S. Senate during a Commerce Committee meeting. Senator John McCain asked Fehr to commit to accepting the kind of comprehensive drug program that the NFL maintained. Fehr refused, to which Senator McCain replied, "Your failure to commit to addressing this issue straight-on and immediately will motivate this committee to search for legislative remedies."
• During the same timeframe, Commissioner Selig was quoted as saying that he didn't want somebody in the future saying, "Bud, you knew about this (steroid situation) and did nothing about it." The option is proposed to Selig to use baseball's best-interest clause to take action and improve drug testing. But Selig, recalling the unilateral move made by Commissioner Ueberroth and the poor results that it yielded, is content to do nothing.
• A BALCO-related grand jury requested the spring training urine test results of the players who had testified under grants of immunity. The players' union objected on the grounds that it would violate players' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. Federal authorities seized several samples and records of player urine tests.
• On August 20, 2004, major league owners reelected Bud Selig as commissioner. Apparently nobody else wanted the job, and nobody else was considered.
• Gary Sheffield admitted that he "unknowingly" used steroids. He was not disciplined by the commissioner's office.
• On October 10, 2004, retired player Ken Caminiti, the 1997 National League Most Valuable Player who had openly admitted to using steroids during his active career, died at the age of 41. An autopsy revealed that he died of an overdose of cocaine and opiates.
• The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Jason Giambi testified before a BALCO-related grand jury that he illegally used steroids. The Chronicle also reported that Barry Bonds admitted to using a cream that was believed to be a designer steroid.
¹ The Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) is a controversial sports nutrition center in Burlingame, CA. The company achieved infamy due to a long investigation into accusations that it had provided anabolic steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs to athletes, many of whom were famous. It was also alleged that BALCO was responsible for the first production of the designer drug, THG.
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