|Tuesday, May 28
Updated: May 31, 5:19 PM ET
MVP in 1996 says taking steroids wasn't a mistake
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.
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.
''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.''
''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.