‘Magic Elixir’

Baseball’s All-Steroid Team: Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, More (PHOTOS)

Roger Clemens may have been acquitted, but he joins the starting rotation of MLB’s greatest juicers.

Illustration by The Daily Beast

Illustration by The Daily Beast

Roger Clemens may have been acquitted of lying about using performance-enhancing drugs, but he joins Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Jose Canseco in the starting rotation of MLB’s greatest juicers.

Editor's Note: A version of this gallery first appeared on The Daily Beast in 2010.

AP Photo

Roger Clemens

Position: RHP
Performance-Enhancing Drug of Choice: Anabolic steroids and HGH
Excuse: Vehemently denies using performance-enhancing drugs.

Though he was named in the Mitchell Report as having used anabolic steroids, Roger Clemens has always denied the allegations. The seven-time Cy Young Award-winner not only went on 60 Minutes to refute allegations made by his former trainer, Brian McNamee, he also testified before Congress. That testimony became the basis of the perjury case against Clemens, whom prosecutors claimed lied about his steroid use. During the federal trial, Clemens’s former Yankee teammate and close friend Andy Pettitte testified that the Rocket had used human growth hormone, but a jury wasn’t convinced. Clemens was acquitted on all perjury counts. The question is: will that verdict be enough to convince Hall of Fame voters?

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Andy Pettitte

Position: LHP
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: HGH
: Coming back from injury.

Even in the midst of his own PED scandal, Andy Pettitte couldn’t seem to get out of the shadow of his good friend and mentor, Roger Clemens. When Pettitte, who won four World Series with the Yankees in the 1990s, admitted to using human growth hormone in late 2007—to recover from an injury, he claimed—all anyone wanted to know was whether Clemens had been doing the same thing. In May 2012, Pettitte testified at Clemens’s perjury trial that the Rocket had used HGH, a charge Clemens denied.

Ed Betz / AP Photo

Paul LoDuca

Position: Catcher
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: HGH
Excuse: “Mistakes in judgment.”

Paul Lo Duca, once touted by eager Dodgers fans as the second coming of Mike Piazza, ended up being known less for his contact hitting than for his contact with PED dealer Kirk Radomski. Despite being named in the Mitchell Report, the now-retired backstop never officially admitted to using HGH, though he did apologize for “mistakes in judgment.” But perhaps he was talking about his reported affair with a 19-year-old while on the Mets?

Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated / Getty Images

Mark McGwire

Position: First Base
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Steroids, HGH
Excuse: “I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster.”

After years of denials and silence, we finally found out how Big Mac got so big. The megastar Cardinals first baseman and one-time owner of the single-season home run record finally admitted in 2010 that he used steroids and HGH, not “for any type of strength use,” but to help him get off the disabled list. But McGwire himself put the attitude of baseball fans best in an episode of The Simpsons, ostensibly about a global MLB spy network, years before the PED revelations: “Do you want to know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?”

AP Photo

Miguel Tejada

Position: Shortstop
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Steroids, HGH
Excuse: Maintains that he bought HGH but never used it.

Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada was accused not only of being fueled by steroids, but also of sharing his “magic elixir”  with others. A former MVP, Tejada claimed that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, but the Jose Canseco apprentice popped up in numerous testimonies of players saying he supplied them with a tainted vitamin B-12 shots. In February 2009, Tejada was charged with lying to Congress about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, and he eventually pleaded guilty to perjury and received probation.


Alex Rodriguez

Position: Third Base
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Steroids (Primobolan, Testosterone)
Excuse: Admitted using a “banned substance.”

In 2003, the year Alex Rodriguez earned the MVP award and the American League home run title, he also tested positive for two anabolic steroids. In 2009, he admitted to using the substance from 2001-03, and his reputation was immediately tarnished. That is, until “A-Fraud” delivered in the post-season, helping the Yankees to their 27th World Series championship. Steroids? What steroids?

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Manny Ramirez

Position: Left Field
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: HCG, Anabolic Steroids (Testosterone)
Excuse: Received a medication he did not know was banned.

Like many players accused of juicing, the former Dodgers slugger had an excuse. And much like the rest of Manny Ramirez’s career, it was way out there: he blamed his positive test on artificial testosterone and the female fertility drug, hCG. In a statement, Ramirez said a physician “gave me a medication, not a steroid,” but unfortunately, “the medication was banned under our drug policy.”  After serving a 50-game suspension in 2009, Ramirez returned to the lineup, to continue his pursuit of 600 home runs. But two years later, Ramirez abruptly retired after he reportedly tested positive again for a PED. In 2011, he petitioned to be reinstated in Major League Baseball and briefly signed with the Oakland A’s before asking to be released in June 2012.

Robert Laberge / Getty Images

Barry Bonds

Position: Center Field
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Steroids (The Clear, The Cream), HGH
Excuse: “I never asked Greg. When he said it was flaxseed oil, I just said, whatever.”

Perhaps more than any other player, Barry Bonds defines the steroid era of baseball. A typo in court papers filed in November 2001 erroneously stated that Bonds had tested positive for steroids the year he hit his single-season record, 73 home runs, creating a media frenzy that turned into what was almost the downfall of Major League Baseball. Although his test records were inaccurate, Bonds was still indicted for four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction to justice in 2007 for telling a federal grand jury that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs. (In 2011, he was eventually convicted of obstruction of justice and received probation.) Though the 47-year-old Bonds remains officially unretired, in June 2012 he told ESPN The Magazine that he would like to return to the Giants.

Michael Zagaris / MLB Photos via Getty Images

Jose Canseco

Position: Right Field
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Steroids (Deca-Durabolin, Winstrol, Equipose, Anavar), HGH
Excuse: None.

Unlike most of baseball superstars who are accusing of juicing, Jose Canseco took a radical approach: he admitted it. (That’s why he gets the start on this team over Sammy Sosa, who has always denied using steroids despite having tested positive.) The self-proclaimed “chemist” said he experimented with it for years and passed down his knowledge to many other players, including Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. When asked about his book Juiced, a personal account of his career, and whether he meant for it to take down MLB, he simply said, “I’m just basically telling a story of my life.” Canseco may be looked down on by fans for many things, but he certainly seems to be honest. Particularly on Twitter.

Chris Gardner / AP Photo

Rafael Palmeiro

Position: DH
Performance Enhancing Drug of Choice: Stanozolol (Anabolic Steroid)
Excuse: Claimed that the positive test may have been caused by a tainted vitamin B-12 shot he received from teammate Miguel Tejada.

In March 2005, shortly after the release of Texas Rangers teammate Jose Canseco’s book Juiced, Rafael Palmeiro denied allegations of steroid use and said under oath before Congress, “I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” He later tested positive for steroids and claimed he didn’t know how it got into his system, blaming Miguel Tejada’s vitamin B-12 shots as a potential source. Days before testing positive, Palmeiro had recorded his 3,000th hit, once considered a milestone for automatic admission in the Hall of Fame. No longer.