Growing up in the steroid era of baseball, I have become desensitized to the news that many of my favorite players were using performance-enhancing drugs at one point or another. Little did I know that the players whose trading cards brought me so much joy as a youth were hiding such a dirty little secret all this time. But rather than bemoaning the reality of the situation, I have decided to celebrate my favorite cheaters by constructing a starting lineup of my most favorite PED using baseball players of all-time. Without further ado, here is my PED All-Time Team!
Pitcher: Roger Clemens- R 11X All-Star, 7X Cy Young Award Winner, 1X A.L. MVP, 354 Lifetime Wins: A slam dunk choice as my starting PED pitcher, I couldn't even make a valid argument for anybody else to take the hill for my team. In addition to his remarkable numbers and numerous awards, Clemens' infamous bat throwing incident in the 2000 World Series against Mets catcher Mike Piazza and throwing high and tight fastballs to his own son during spring training sessions with the Houston Astros are both classic cases of roid rage. The Rocket's steadfast denial of any wrong doing also keeps him in perfect standing with all of the other liars on my squad.
1) CF Lenny Dykstra- L 3X All-Star, 1X World Series Champ, .285 Lifetime Avg: Nicknamed "Nails" for his gritty approach to the game, Dykstra is a sentimental favorite of mine. A true ruffian and a damn good leadoff hitter for the Mets and Phillies, Dykstra chewed tons of tobacco, drank like a fish, and snorted more cocaine than Tony Montana during his 12-year MLB career. To top it all off, Dykstra was named in MLB's 2007 Mitchell Report as a PED user.
2) 2B Chuck Knoblauch- R 4X All-Star, 4X World Series Champ, '91 A.L. ROY: Also named in the 2007 Mitchell Report, Knoblauch enjoyed a successful career with the Minnesota Twins before mysteriously forgetting how to throw a baseball once he signed with the Yankees. Despite his difficulties in the field, he was still a major contributor to the Yankee Dynasty teams of the late 90's.
3) LF Barry Bonds- L 14X All-Star, 8X Gold Glove Winner, 7X N.L. MVP, 762 Lifetime HR's: Arguably the greatest baseball player of all-time, Bonds was viewed as a pariah by people outside of the Giants organization. His surly nature never endeared him to the public, nor did the rumors about his PED use. Not only did his muscularity grow at an abnormal rate late in his career, but his head visibly increased in size as well. A possible side effect from human growth hormone injections, his enormous melon-head became the butt of many jokes which infuriated Bonds even more.
4) 3B Alex Rodriguez- R 14X All-Star, 3X A.L. MVP, 1X World Series Champ, 654 Lifetime HR's: The A-Rod suspension was the impetus for this entire piece, so his spot as the cleanup hitter is well earned. A-Rod twice signed the largest contract of any athlete in professional sports history (10 years, $252 million in 2000 and 10 years, $275 million in 2007), so I will make him earn his money in my lineup. I must admit, placing A-Rod in the 4 spot is a risky move because he is liable to ground into a zillion double plays like he usually does.
5) RF Sammy Sosa- R 7X All-Star, 1X N.L. MVP, 609 Lifetime HR's: Not only was Sosa linked to PED use during his 18-year big league career, but he was also found guilty of using a corked bat in 2003 which earned him a seven-game suspension. Also, during a 2005 Congressional Hearing, Sosa conveniently forgot how to speak English and was un-able to answer any questions regarding his drug use in baseball. Adding insult to injury, Sosa's recent transforming skin tone ala Michael Jackson has made him virtually un-recognizable. For all of the reasons listed above, Slammin' Sammy might very well be the biggest fraud in baseball history.
6) 1B Rafael Palmeiro- L 4X All-Star, 3,020 Lifetime Hits, 569 Lifetime HR's, 1X Finger Waiver: After much debate, I decided to give the nod to Palmeiro over fellow juice-head first baseman Mark McGwire. While McGwire had his own infamous "we're not here to talk about the past" speech, it was Palmeiro's epic over-acting in front of Congress in 2005 that has earned him a place in my steroid starting lineup. Palmeiro famously exclaimed "I have never used steroids. Period." while waiving his index finger in front of a national TV audience. Less than five months later, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days by Major League Baseball for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Palmeiro then decided to throw teammate Miguel Tejada under the bus by suggesting a supplement obtained from Tejada was the reason for the positive test. The most damning evidence against Palmeiro's PED use was the fact that he was a spokesman for Viagra while still an active player. Let's be real: If a pro athlete in his 30's can't maintain an erection, he's probably on the gear.
7) DH Jose Canseco- R 6X All-Star, 2X Wold Series Champ, 1X A.L. MVP, 1st player in MLB history to record 40 HR's and 40 SB's in the same season: Another sentimental favorite of mine, Canseco is widely regarded as the player who popularized the use of PED's in the sport of baseball during the '80s. Canseco's Godfather-like status in the steroid kingdom is why I have chosen him over the much more talented Manny Ramirez for the DH slot. His book "Juiced" was a revolutionary new look into the underground world of baseball's secret society.
8) C Ivan Rodriguez- R 14X All-Star, 13X Gold Glove Winner, 1X A.L. MVP, 1X Wold Series Champ: Who can forget the tale of this shrunken catcher. After being outed as a PED user in Jose Canseco's book, "Pudge" Rodriguez miraculously dropped 30 pounds, or 14% of his original body weight during one off-season in 2005. Being a much lighter and presumably steroid-free player allowed Rodriguez to fly under the radar and resume his Hall of Fame career with minimal scrutiny.
9) SS Derek Jeter- R 13X All-Star, 5X Gold Glove Winner, 5X World Series Champ, 3,316 Lifetime Hits: This is my shocker pick of the group. While Jeter's name has never been implicated in any PED probe during his illustrious 19-year career, he better start juicing now in an attempt to extend his career. Time is of the essence as Jeter has recently been hobbled by injury and has only played in 17 games since breaking his ankle in the 2012 ALCS vs Detroit. I have surrounded Jeter with a wide variety of schmucks, scum bags, liars, and cheats that can show him the ropes and teach him how to beat the system. Some of these players have even played with Jeter in the past, so he should already be familiar with their seedy backgrounds.