The official 2014 MLB All-Star votes are in, but I figured a story about that would be too boring. Instead, I decided to throw a change-up; the same MLB All-Star voting concept, but with a little twist.
I grew up in the steroid era of baseball. Little was known of the dirty little secret that was sweeping the baseball world in the 80’s and 90’s, and I would venture a guess that PED use probably still goes on today. But rather than bemoan the fact that most of my childhood heroes were on the gear, I’ve decided to honor my favorite baseball cheaters by adding their names to my very own PED All-Star starting lineup.
Pitcher: Roger Clemens- 11x All-Star, 7x Cy Young, 2x World Series Champ, 1x A.L. MVP, 354 Lifetime Wins
His outstanding career combined with his messy court battle in 2008 with former trainer Brian McNamee makes Clemens the perfect ace pitcher for my All-Time PED team. Even though Clemens was found to be not guilty of any wrong doing in this PED scandal, his reputation was damaged forever. Former New York Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte admittedly received PED’s from McNamee on two separate occasions. “The Rocket” was likely denying any involvement with PED’s in order to protect his Hall Of Fame candidacy which made him look like a complete moron in the process.
1) CF Lenny Dykstra- 3x All-Star, 1x World Series Champ, .285 Lifetime Batting Avg.
I picked a sentimental favorite of mine as my lead-off hitter. Sure, there were more talented juicers back in the day, but nobody competed harder than Lenny “Nails” Dykstra. A tobacco chewing ruffian with a gritty approach to the game, Dykstra was a key component to the 1986 Amazin’ Mets World Championship team. Dykstra’s name also popped up on the infamous 2007 Mitchell Report, an independent investigation on the use of PED’s in professional baseball.
2) 2B Chuck Knoblauch- 4x All-Star, ’91 A.L. Rookie of the Year, 3x World Series Champ, 1x Gold Glover
Knoblauch gave PED’s a bad name with his frequent lapses in concentration when making routine throws to first base. Nonetheless, he was still an integral part of the Yankee Dynasty teams of the late 90’s that produced three consecutive World Series titles from ’98-’00. Like Dykstra before him, Knoblauch was also among the 89 players mentioned in the Mitchell Report.
3) LF Barry Bonds- 14x All-Star, 8x Gold Glover, 7x N.L. MVP, 762 Lifetime HR’s
The modern day Sultan of Swat, Barry Bonds makes perfect sense in the three hole. As one of the most feared sluggers of his era, Bonds became Major League Baseball’s all-time homerun king in 2007. However, it is widely speculated that he had plenty of help along the way. Bonds’ former trainer, Greg Anderson, has had a checkered legal past which includes a guilty plea in 2005 to conspiracy to distribute steroids. Anderson has also served several stints in prison for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury against Bonds during investigations of perjury. If that wasn’t enough to convince you that Bonds had access to PED’s, maybe his mysteriously expanding cranium would do the trick.
4) 3B Alex Rodriguez- 14x All-Star, 3x A.L. MVP, 2x Gold Glover, One-Year Ban For PED Use
No PED lineup would be complete without “A-Rod” as the cleanup hitter. It seems as though MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had experienced many years of frustration with players getting away with rampant PED use in his league. By handing down such an excessive punishment to Rodriguez without a single positive blood or urine sample, it sure looks like Selig took out his frustrations on one of baseball’s biggest stars. Because of the overwhelming evidence against Rodriguez in the Biogenesis scandal, I do believe that A-Rod is a PED user. However, the MLB’s mis-handling of this case leaves a bigger black-eye on the game in my opinion.
5) 1B Rafael Palmeiro- 4x All-Star, 2x Gold Glover, 3,000+ Hits and 500+ HR’s, 1x Finger Waiver
Who could forget Palmeiro’s epic over-acting job in 2005 at a United States Congressional Hearing regarding the use of PED’s in professional baseball. As he waived his finger in the air, Palmeiro exclaimed to the world that “I have never used steroids. Period.” Less than five months after that dramatic TV moment, Palmeiro was suspended after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. Adding insult to injury, Palmeiro became a spokesman for Viagra while he was still an active big-league player; a clear indication that Palmeiro was juicing in more ways than one.
6) RF Sammy Sosa- 7x All-Star, 2x N.L. HR Leader, 1x N.L. MVP, 609 Lifetime HR’s
I have Palmeiro and “Slammin’ Sammy” batting back-to-back in my lineup because this dubious tag-team worked masterfully together to temporarily conceal baseball’s PED issue in front of Congress in 2005. While Palmeiro brazenly waived his finger that he had never used steroids, Sosa conveniently forgot how to speak English when asked about his knowledge of PED use in baseball. In addition to being linked to PED use throughout his career, Sosa was also suspended seven games in 2003 for using a corked bat. A cheater through and through, Sosa easily earns a spot in my starting lineup.
7) DH Jose Canseco- 6x All-Star, 1x A.L. MVP, ’86 A.L. Rookie of the Year, First player to ever record 40 HR’s and 40 SB’s in same season
This was a tough call to give Canseco the nod over fellow PED user Manny Ramirez, who was clearly a better hitter in his prime. But Canseco’s godfather-like status in the underground world of PED use in baseball far exceeds the exploits of Ramirez’s prolific hitting career in my opinion. In fact, Canseco’s book entitled “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, & How Baseball Got Big” eventually became a New York Times bestseller. This book gave fans a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes on beyond the white lines with some of baseball’s biggest stars.
8) C Ivan Rodriguez- 14x All-Star, 13x Gold Glover, 1x A.L. MVP, 1x World Series Champ
Arguably the best defensive catcher in MLB history, “Pudge” bats behind Canseco in my lineup because his name was mentioned in Canseco’s book as one of the many participants in baseball’s steroid era. Canseco went as far as to say that he personally injected Rodriguez with steroids during their time together with the Texas Rangers. Shortly after Canseco’s book was published in 2005, Rodriguez dropped nearly 30 pounds in one off-season; most likely in an attempt to rid himself of any more steroid rumors.
9) SS Derek Jeter- 14x All-Star, 5x Gold Glover, 5x World Series Champ, 3,000+ Hits
This is the most shocking addition to my All-Time PED lineup because Jeter has never been linked to any drug use throughout his illustrious big-league career. However, with father-time rapidly decreasing his production this season and the Yankees steadily slipping in the A.L. East standings, now would be a perfect time for “The Captain” to start juicing. Luckily for Jeter, I have surrounded him with a motley crew of liars, cheaters, drug users, and vagabonds in this lineup that can teach him how to beat the system. Fear not baseball purists, the beloved Derek Jeter is in good hands with this eclectic group of baseball’s biggest slime buckets.