|Thursday, February 27
Updated: March 13, 12:46 PM ET
Wells claims '25 to 40 percent' of players use steroids
NEW YORK -- David Wells claims up to 40 percent of major leaguers use steroids and says amphetamines are readily available in baseball clubhouses.
"As of right now, I'd estimate 25 to 40 percent of all major leaguers are juiced. But that number's fast rising,'' Wells wrote in "Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball,'' an autobiography scheduled for release next month.
Wells also admits he was "half-drunk'' and had a "raging, skull-rattling hangover'' when he pitched his perfect game against Minnesota in May 1998, having stayed at the "Saturday Night Live'' season-ending party until 5 a.m., eight hours before gametime.
A copy of the galleys of the book, written by Chris Kreski, was obtained by The Associated Press from publisher William Morrow.
"Down in the minors, where virtually every flat-broke, baloney-sandwich-eating Double-A prospect is chasing after the same, elusive, multimillion-dollar payday, the use of anabolic homer-helpers is flat-out booming,'' Wells wrote. "At just about 12 bucks per shot, those steroid vials must be seen as a really solid investment.''
He writes that amphetamines are so commonplace that "stand in the middle of your clubhouse and walk 10 feet in any direction, chances are you'll find what you need.''
"As a pitcher, I won't ever object to a sleepy-eyed middle infielder beaning up to help me win,'' Wells said. "That may not be the politically correct spin on the practice, but I really couldn't care less.''
Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations in the commissioner's office, declined comment on Wells' claims. Major leaguers are being tested for the first time this year for certain illegal steroids and drugs of abuse, but the testing has been criticized by some as not extensive enough to be effective.
The 39-year-old left-hander was not available for comment Thursday.
In the book, Wells alternately criticizes and praises Roger Clemens, admits he's not friendly with teammate Mike Mussina, says Andy Pettitte was angered by Hideki Irabu's large salary and calls former teammate Kenny Rogers a "cuckoo-bird.''
Wells says some major leaguers use Ritalin as a stimulant and says he used painkillers but backed off before they became addictive.
Wells, who didn't say whether he used steroids or amphetamines, became the third prominent player to say steroid use is widespread, following former MVPs Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti.
Canseco and Caminiti both admitted last year that they used steroids. Canseco estimated up to 85 percent of major leaguers did, and Caminiti said half did before retracting his statement, saying he thought the percentage was far lower.
"A syringe full of 'roids can make it a whole lot easier for a major leaguer to feel confident about his game,'' Wells wrote. "They're easy to score. They're easy to use. They really do work.''
Steroids, according to Wells, have changed the game.
"The '78 Yankees look like a high-school team when compared to today's players,'' he said. "The '86 Mets, for all their cocky swaggering, hard-drinking machismo, look like pencil-necked pushovers. Even my '92 Blue Jays look like 98-pound weaklings. ... A lot of today's superstars are basically shaped like barrels with heads.''
Last year, Mets catcher Mike Piazza also said use of amphetamines was common.
"Cheap and easy to find, these little buggers will open your eyes, and sharpen your focus and get your blood moving on demand, over and over again, right through a full 162-game season,'' Wells wrote. "A lot of guys will buy themselves a season-long stockpile at one time. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of pills ... Alternate eye-openers include the gobbling of caffeine pills (sometimes by the fistful). Red Bull, Ripped Fuel and sometimes even Ritalin.''
Ripped Fuel is a nutritional supplement that includes ephedra, which a Florida medical examiner linked to last week's death of Baltimore pitcher Steve Bechler. Red Bull is an energy drink that has caffeine.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said nothing shocks him about Wells, even pitching a perfect game "half-drunk.''
"Nothing surprises me with Boomer,'' Torre said. "He's quite a colorful character. As long as he can pitch, it's OK. You scratch your head sometimes and wonder how he did it. But then you just say, 'That's David Wells.'''
When he reported to spring training earlier this month, Wells said he deleted some controversial passages in the book and said other parts of the final version surprised him.
Wells said the Yankees' decision to trade him to Toronto in February 1999 for Clemens surprised him at the time. "Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius have taken beanballs to the head from this guy and a huge percentage of this team hates Clemens' guts,'' Wells wrote.
"I haven't always agreed with his behavior on the field. Trust me, if I were Mike Piazza, that broken bat would still be shoved up Roger's (butt),'' Wells said of Clemens, adding: "I don't have a problem with Roger Clemens. The man's a fantastic pitcher, easily the best right-hander of his generation.''
Wells wrote of his cool relationship with Mussina: "The Moose and I have played on two squads now, and I have to admit, we don't always see eye to eye. We're not pals, we don't hang.'' Still, he selected for Mussina for his dream team.
Wells wrote that Pettitte, "normally as quiet and well mannered as a Sunday school teacher,'' was upset in 1997 when the Yankees signed Irabu to a $12.8 million, four-year deal. Pettitte, who made $700,000 at the time, had "a meltdown,'' according to Wells.