Albert Pujols said on Friday that he will take legal action against Jack Clark after the former St. Louis Cardinals slugger accused Pujols of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Clark made the accusations on his radio show on WGNU 920 AM in St. Louis. InsideSTL, the company that puts the show on the air, announced Saturday it has "terminated its relationship" with Clark and co-host Kevin Slaten. They had completed only seven shows.
"I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU 920AM," Pujols said in a statement released Friday. "I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person. I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously. The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character."
Clark, who served as the Dodgers hitting coach from 2000-03, said that Pujols' former trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, told him a decade ago that he "shot him up," referring to Pujols. Clark concluded that the current Angels first baseman and longtime Cardinals great "has been a juicer."
"I know for a fact he was," Clark said. "The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that's what he did."
Clark's former co-host, Slaten, said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was planning on suing the radio station. Clark told the newspaper he was considering that option and would make a decision by Monday.
Reached by ESPN.com's T.J. Quinn on Friday, Mihlfeld denied telling Clark that Pujols took PEDs.
"I haven't even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years," Mihlfeld told ESPN.com's Quinn. "His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old, and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. As before, once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn't do."
Mihlfeld, who has worked with a number of MLB teams, was linked to performance enhancers in 2006 when a pitcher he trained, Jason Grimsley, admitted to using PEDs and was suspended. There was speculation that Mihlfeld's name was one of a number redacted in an affidavit related to the situation. However, that proved not to be the case.
Reached by the Post-Dispatch, which first reported his comments, Clark said he spent time with Mihlfeld in 2000 and that the trainer asked him if he wanted to take steroids.
"He just told me that he wanted me to get started on steroids and he had some other guys that were doing it," Clark said, according to the newspaper.
When Clark said he wasn't a player anymore and didn't like needles, Clark told the newspaper that Mihlfeld "told me he had done that with Pujols with steroids, and I really never thought too much about it because steroids were really not on my radar screen at that time."
After another former Cardinals great, Mark McGwire, admitted to steroid use in 2010, Clark also came out firing.
"All those guys are cheaters. A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez]. Fake, phony. Rafael Palmeiro. Fake, a phony," Clark told the Post-Dispatch. "[Roger] Clemens, [Barry] Bonds, [Sammy] Sosa. Fakes, phonies. They don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They should all be in the Hall of Shame. They can afford to build it. They've all got so much money. And they could all go there and talk about the next way to rub something on your skin. The whole thing is creepy.
"They're all creeps. All these guys have been liars."
Clark was a four-time All-Star who hit 340 home runs in 18 seasons. After 11 seasons in St. Louis, which included three MVP awards and two World Series titles, Pujols bolted for the Angels and a 10-year, $240 million contract after the 2011 season.
The Angels didn't make the postseason last year and are currently in fourth place in the American League West. Pujols is having an equally disappointing season, hitting .258 with 17 homers and 64 RBIs. He is currently on the disabled list with a foot injury.
"I've said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal," Pujols said in the statement. "I've been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PED's. My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important to me. I would never be able to look my wife or kids in the eye if I had done what this man is accusing me of.
"I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family's name, dragged through the mud."