After months of talking about naming names in a tell-all book, retired slugger Jose Canseco is about to do just that.
The New York Daily News published details of Canseco's book, which is still in the editing stages, in Sunday's editions.
The long-awaited "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash
Hits, and How Baseball Got Big," is scheduled for release by Regan
Books on Feb. 21. Regan publicist Paul Olsewski told The Associated
Press in an e-mail that the release date could be moved up.
Parent company HarperCollins posted a book description on its
Web site that said Canseco "made himself a guinea pig of the
performance-enhancing drugs" and added the 1988 AL MVP "mixed,
matched and experimented to such a degree that he became known
throughout the league as 'The Chemist.' "
McGwire, who has long denied steroid use, said in a statement to the Daily News: "I have always told the truth and I am saddened that I continue to face this line of questioning. With regard to this book, I am reserving comment until I have the chance to review its contents myself."
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who managed both players with the Oakland A's during the late 1980s, defended McGwire in an interview with The New York Times on Sunday.
"I am absolutely certain that Mark earned his size and strength from hard work and a disciplined lifestyle," La Russa told the newspaper. "When he was a kid in 1987, he hit 49 home runs. It's a real shame. For some people, this is going to put a stain."
La Russa also disputed Canseco's claim that the two sluggers injected steroids together as teammates.
"We detailed Mark's workout routine -- six days a week, 12 months a year -- and you could see his size and weight gain come through really hard work, a disciplined regimen and the proteins he took -- all legal," La Russa told The Times.
"As opposed to the other guy, Jose, who would play around in the gym for 10 minutes, and all of a sudden he's bigger than anybody."
Rodriguez and Gonzalez said that they had not seen the book and declined comment. Attempts to contact Palmeiro's agent have been unsuccessful.
"Neither our current owner, general manager and manager were
with the Rangers then," Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin said. "The
Rangers continue to support baseball's initiative to get steroids
out of the game."
Canseco's steroid use apparently wasn't hidden from La Russa during their time in Oakland. According to La Russa, Canseco would openly discuss steroids and ignore advice to stop doping.
"He'd say, 'Come on, man, what are you talking about? I got the world by the tail,' " La Russa told The Times. "Sometimes you suspected, and then guys would deny it. Jose would make a joke of it."
In his book, Canseco also writes that President Bush "had to have been aware" of rampant steroid use on the Texas Rangers when he owned the club in the early 1990s, the Daily News reported.
The White House had no comment on Canseco's specific allegation, but did say the President called on leagues and players unions to eradicate steroid use in his 2004 State of the Union address.
Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, took issue with Canseco's credibility.
"This book, which attacks baseball and many of its players, was written to make a quick buck by a guy desperate for attention, who has appeared on more police blotters than lineup cards in recent years, has no runs, no hits and is all errors," Tellem told the Daily News.
La Russa, who has managed the Cardinals since 1996, also blasted Canseco's motives for the book.
"He's hurting for money and he needs to make a score," La Russa told The Times. "What's a more sensational thing to say, and who's a more sensational target to pick than Mark?
"Secondly, I think he's very envious and jealous that Mark had the career he had. If you line them up side by side, which we did in '86, '87, '88, Jose was the more talented player and, in fact, more intelligent about the game.
"Mark wanted an uncomplicated swing and a 'see it, hit it' approach. He didn't have a lot of information on the other pitchers. Jose was really cerebral at the start, and look at where their careers have gone."
Canseco hit 462 home runs in a major league career between 1985 and 2001. He played seven full seasons for the A's before being traded to Texas in '92. He also played for Boston, the Yankees, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Oakland again, and the White Sox.
McGwire's 16-year career ended in 2001. He finished with 583 home runs, hitting 196 in his four full seasons with St. Louis following a July 1997 trade to the Cardinals. In 1998, the year McGwire and Sammy Sosa took their swings at Roger Maris' record 61 homers, McGwire finished with 70 to Sosa's 66.
Three seasons later, Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs, a record that had been called into question long before Bonds, according to leaked grand jury testimony from the BALCO hearings, acknowledged this winter that he unknowingly used steroids.
A few years ago, Canseco claimed that 80 percent of major leaguers had taken steroids. Last spring, he said: "I think the numbers may have changed. Who knows? Maybe the numbers have diminished."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.