Allan "Bud" Selig
Acting Commissioner of Baseball
1992-July 9, 1998
Ninth Commissioner of Baseball
Chronology of Key Events:
• On December 5, 2004, union leader Donald Fehr announced that the MLBPA was going to discuss the steroid situation during its next meeting, scheduled to be held later that month.
• On January 13, 2005, Fehr and MLB announced a new, stricter program that contained the following penalties (suspensions would be without pay):
- First offense: public identification and a 10-game suspension
- Second offense: 30-game suspension
- Third offense: 60-game suspension
- Fourth offense: one-year suspension
- Fifth offense: discipline at the commissioner's discretion.
(This revised policy still needed to become part of the collective bargaining agreement.)
• Selig, referring back to his previous thought about somebody in the future asking why he hadn't done something about the steroid problem, said, "We did something about it." When asked why amphetamines were not addressed, Fehr stated that their objective at that point in time was to deal specifically with anabolic steroids. Fehr and Selig appeared to be very pleased with their initiatives.
• Senator McCain, however, observed that the program established by MLB lagged far behind what many other sports were doing. In response, Selig defended the revised policy by saying that he had devoted the last seven years to cleaning up baseball — ever since the tube of andro was seen in Mark McGwire's locker. When it was mentioned that perhaps he wasn't doing enough, Selig said, "I often hear that it is a weak program. The average player would lose $140,000 if suspended for 10 games. Another huge deterrent is (publically) naming people." The commissioner still didn't get it.
• In January 2005, Jason Giambi openly admitted the he injected steroids.
• In February 2005, former star Jose Canseco stated in his book that he had actually injected Mark McGwire with steroids. He also claimed that player Ivan Rodriguez and others actively injected steroids.
• On March 4, 2005, seven members of MLB were invited to a congressional hearing on drug policy. The hearing was to take place on March 17, 2005.
• On March 17, 2005, players Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, and Frank Thomas appeared before the congressional panel. McGwire offered no denial of his use of steroids, Sosa was unable to speak English, and Palmeiro strongly stated that he had never taken steroids. Bud Selig "extended himself" by volunteering to make a statement.
• On March 20, 2005, the MLBPA and MLB voted to close a drug policy loophole in which a first offender was given the option of a fine or a suspension. Selig had said that he was going to suspend individuals for the first offense, seemingly unaware of the language of the collective bargaining agreement that called for an option.
• In April 2005, Tampa Bay player Alex Sanchez and 38 minor league players were suspended for steroid use. Selig said that he wanted stiffer drug testing and hoped that amphetamines would be in the next major contract.
• On April 20, 2005, Selig confirmed that he had discussed, with a member of Congress, the possibility of the appointment of an independent party to investigate MLB steroid use. The commissioner was using politicians to push Fehr into a corner.
• On May 1, 2005, Selig sent a letter to Fehr in which he stated that he would like to see the penalties increased for the first three offenses. He recommended a 50-game suspension for the first, a 100-game suspension for the second, and a lifetime ban for the third offense. He also asked that amphetamines be included in the testing policy. Fehr rejected the proposal.
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