Pitching Probables
Injuries: AL | NL
Minor Leagues
MLB en espanol
Message Board

News Wire
Daily Glance
Power Alley
MLB Insider

Jim Caple
Peter Gammons
Rob Neyer
John Sickels
Jayson Stark
ESPN Auctions
Tuesday, May 28
Updated: May 31, 5:19 PM ET
MVP in 1996 says taking steroids wasn't a mistake

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Ken Caminiti, the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1996, says he won the award while on steroids and that at least half of major leaguers use the drugs.

Ken Caminiti
Ken Caminiti confirmed he used steroids.

In a Sports Illustrated report on steroids in baseball, Caminiti confirmed he used them the season he batted a career-high .326 with 40 home runs and 130 runs batted in.

''I've made a ton of mistakes,'' said Caminiti, a recovering alcoholic and former drug user whose 15-year career ended last season. Caminiti played for both the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. ''I don't think using steroids is one of them.

''It's no secret what's going on in baseball. At least half the guys are using steroids. They talk about it. They joke about it with each other.''

Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling said steroid use was rampant within the game.

Black market steroids
Eighteen months ago, conducted an in-depth investigation into the growth of a black market for anabolic steroids, an investigation that led to Tijuana, Mexico -- not far from where Ken Caminiti played during his MVP season in '96. The following is an excerpt from that Dec. 2000 report:

Among the new groups of steroid users are players in Major League Baseball, which a decade ago was thought to be devoid of such drug use. Now, players seeking steroids commonly cross the border into Tijuana, 30 miles south of San Diego.

"I know some guys that go down there, or they'll send one guy down there with a list (of steroids) to pick up" for teammates, said Brian McRae, a former ESPN analyst who retired in 1999 after 10 years in the majors. "Sometimes people go in the winter and they load up for the whole season."

Anaheim Angels infielder Benji Gil, who is from Tijuana, told that some players acquire steroids during the winter when they are playing in the Mexican League.

"In the town where I play in Mexico (Culiacán), I know somebody that goes around to every team and says he sells" steroids, said Gil, who described the man as a local bodybuilder. "He mostly targets Americans."

Brad Andress, Colorado Rockies strength coach, said steroids are particularly a problem with West Coast teams because of the proximity to Mexico.

"I've been at the major league level for 11 years now, and those stories were here from day one," he said. "It's just getting to the point where the more these stories permeate the industry, the more guys explore the simplicity of going down and attaining it."

Crossing the Line: Black-market steroids

''I'm not sure how (it) snuck in so quickly, but it's become a prominent thing very quickly. It's widely known in the game,'' he told Sports Illustrated. ''When you add in steroids and strength training, you're seeing records not just being broken but completely shattered.''

The NFL and NBA prohibit steroids and test for them. The NHL and major league baseball, however, have no policy regarding their use. A ban in baseball would have to be collectively bargained with the Players Association.

''No one denies that it is a problem,'' commissioner Bud Selig said. ''It's a problem we can and must deal with now. ... I'm very worried about this.''

After retiring from baseball this season, Jose Canseco said he planned to write a book about drug use in the majors. He estimated that 85 percent of major leaguers use steroids.

Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers told Sports Illustrated: ''Basically, steroids can jump you a level or two. The average player can become a star and the star player can become a superstar. And the superstar? Forget it. He can do things we've never seen before.''

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, who set the single-season home run record with 73 last season, denied using steroids and said tests would show he's clean.

''Doctors ought to quit worrying about what ballplayers are taking,'' Bonds told The Associated Press last week. ''What players take doesn't matter. It's nobody else's business. The doctors should spend their time looking for cures for cancer. It takes more than muscles to hit homers. If all those guys were using stuff, how come they're not all hitting homers?''

Anabolic steroids elevate the body's testosterone, increasing muscle mass. They are illegal in the United States unless prescribed by a physician for medical reasons. Side effects can include heart and liver damage, endocrine-system imbalance, elevated cholesterol levels, strokes, aggressive behavior and genitalia dysfunction.

 More from ESPN...
Patrick: Baseball, steroids and the truth
Testing for steroids may ...

Gwynn: Steroids taint Caminiti's career
Future Hall of Famer Tony ...

Off Base: What to do about steroids?
Steroid use in baseball has ...

Steroid Q & A with Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark answers ...

ESPN The Magazine: Gen XXL
Is it weight training, ...

Kreidler: Caminiti beats Canseco in credibility
Jose Canseco wasn't taken ...

Thomas hopes baseball starts steroid testing
Frank Thomas wants baseball ...

Canseco alleges heavy steroid use in majors
Jose Canseco claims 85 ...

 Live With It
Jeff Bagwell addresses the steroid abuse allegations of former teammate Ken Caminiti.
Standard | Cable Modem

 Dan Patrick Show
Ken Caminiti had no idea his comments would create such an uproar.

 Up to the Challenge
Future Hall of Famer and former Ken Caminiti teammate Tony Gwynn puts the steroid debate into perspective.
Standard | Cable Modem

 Dan Patrick Show
Ken Caminiti explains his reasons for taking steroids during his MVP season.

MLB players and coaches respond to Ken Caminiti's decision to openly admit steroid use.
Standard | Cable Modem

 Mood Swing's Jayson Stark reports from New York where "steroids" is the topic of Mets-Phillies pregame conversation.
Standard | Cable Modem

 Dan Patrick Show
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa comments on the use of steroids in baseball.

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Most sent
Print story
Daily email