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03-17-2005, 05:17 PM
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McGwire says he won't name names; Sosa, Palmeiro deny using steroids

March 17, 2005

AP - Mar 17, 5:11 pm EST
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AP Sports Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Retired slugger Mark McGwire told Congress' investigation of drugs in baseball that he would not ``participate in naming names'' of players who used steroids.

McGwire, one of six current and former stars appearing Thursday before the House Government Reform Committee, did not say whether he used steroids. He said his lawyers advised him not to answer certain questions.

``If a player answers, 'No,' he simply will not be believed,'' McGwire said. ``If he answers, 'Yes,' he risks public scorn and endless government investigations.''

Two current players, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, said they never had used steroids. McGwire and Palmeiro were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by Jose Canseco in a best-selling book that helped prompt the daylong hearing.


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It was an extraordinary sight -- some of the top names in baseball history wearing business suits on Capitol Hill instead of uniforms on a diamond.

Two top sluggers who were not present testified in 2003 to a San Francisco grand jury investigating a steroid-distribution ring: Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees.

In a tense scene, Canseco sat at the same table as the other players as he told the lawmakers that he could not fully answer their questions because of concerns his testimony could be used against him.

During a break after the players' opening statements, five of the stars gathered in one nearby room, and Canseco went to another.

McGwire, choking back tears, said he knew that steroid use could be dangerous and would do whatever he could to discourage young athletes from using them.

``What I will not do, however, is participate in naming names and implicating my friends and teammates,'' said McGwire, who ranks sixth in major league history with 583 homers.

The hearing came after committee members accused baseball of ignoring its steroids problem for years and then, only under pressure, embracing a weak testing program.

Lawmakers were particularly critical of the plan's penalties, including a provision allowing for fines instead of suspensions. A first offense could cost a player $10,000 instead of 10 days out from a six-month season.

AP - Mar 17, 3:21 pm EST
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Using most steroids without a doctor's prescription for medical purposes is illegal. Baseball banned steroids in September 2002 and began testing for them with penalties in 2004.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig sat with arms crossed and lips pursed for much of the hearing. He craned his neck to get a better view as the players spoke.

In prepared testimony he planned to give later in the day, Selig defended the steroids policy drawn up in January, saying it's ``as good as any in professional sports'' and adding that he agreed to shorter bans ``on the theory that behavior modification should be the most important goal of our policy.''

Baseball had fought attempts to compel the players to testify, but committee chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and ranking Democrat Henry Waxman of California threatened to pursue contempt charges if they did not appear.

More than four hours after the hearing began, the players walked in one by one as spectators, lawmakers and media in the cramped hearing room fell silent.

Curt Schilling, the Boston Red Sox pitcher who's been outspoken against steroid use, was the first to enter. He sat at one end of the witness table, with Canseco at the other. Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire and the players' lawyers were in between.

Schilling took a shot at Canseco, saying the former slugger's claims ``should be seen for what they are: an attempt to make money at the expense of others.''

All of the players offered condolences to the parents of two young baseball players who committed suicide after using steroids. The parents testified earlier, along with medical experts who talked about the possible effects of the drugs: heart disease, cancer, sterility, depression.

``Players that are guilty of taking steroids are not only cheaters -- you are cowards,'' said Donald Hooton of Plano, Texas, whose son, Taylor, was 17 when he hanged himself in July 2003.

``You hide behind the skirts of your union, and with the help of management and your lawyers, you've made every effort to resist facing the public today,'' Hooton said.

The group of players included three of the top 10 home run hitters in major league history -- McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro. McGwire and Sosa were widely credited with boosting baseball's popularity in 1998 when they chased to break Roger Maris' season record of 61 homers.

Canseco, the 1988 AL MVP, wrote that he used steroids and that he injected McGwire with them.

But Canseco, who retired in 2001, told Thursday's panel that ``because of my fear of future prosecution ... I cannot be candid with this committee.''

At the hearing's start, almost all of the congressmen shared a personal baseball anecdote or professed their love for the game before leveling their harsh critiques.

The panel's first witness was Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., a former pitcher elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He called the sport's steroid penalties ``really puny.''

Bunning and others said Congress should impose tougher rules if baseball doesn't.

There's no pending bill; Davis and Waxman set out to shed light on the issue Thursday, but they've said there could be future hearings. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has raised the possibility of pursuing legislation down the road.

03-17-2005, 05:36 PM
I beg to differ... and I ain't talking about Satahara Oh...

Josh Gibson (http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016050.html)

03-17-2005, 05:37 PM
Boyceofsummer, the only king of Tardville.

03-17-2005, 05:45 PM
Boyceofsummer, the only king of Tardville.I think I still have that tard on iggy, what'd he say?

03-17-2005, 05:47 PM
I think I still have that tard on iggy, what'd he say?
Hank Aaron: The ONLY King of home run

03-17-2005, 05:51 PM
Hank Aaron: The ONLY King of home runBoyce, stick to something you know.

Fire = Bad

Food = Good.

03-17-2005, 06:44 PM
I think that next, baseball players should get to stand at the plate with a shoulder mounted bazooka-type device and fire baseballs over the fences...We'll see how long that stupid home run record stands then!

03-17-2005, 07:03 PM
First Sadahura Oh is the King of Home Runs and I am not expecting anyone to take that title from him.

03-17-2005, 07:31 PM
will break my bones, your names just break my balls.

During the previous decade these MLB body builders show up and shatter all the home run records. Can you imagine Mullet Head eclipsing .450? Records were made to be broken. Within the confines of the established rules. The public, the players union and MLB management all stood by and enabled these obvious cheaters.