Former Sen. George J. Mitchell unveiled his 409-page report on steroid use in baseball yesterday, naming two current and 17 former Orioles among dozens of players and delivering a stinging assessment of the league and team officials who allowed a drug culture to take over the game in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Among the Orioles named in the report are All-Star second baseman and recently traded shortstop . The other current Oriole is outfielder , who accepted a 15-day suspension last week for his alleged participation in an Internet steroid operation.
The report also features a detailed description of steroid use by pitching great Roger Clemens and mentions home-run king Barry Bonds and Clemens' longtime New York Yankees teammate, pitcher Andy Pettitte. Mitchell found evidence that players from all 30 major league teams had used steroids.
"The use of steroids in Major League Baseball was widespread," Mitchell said. "The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective."
Much of the buzz leading up to the report's release centered on which stars would be implicated, but there were few big-name players cited who hadn't already surfaced in media reports or court proceedings. Part of that had to do with the lack of cooperation from union members who were contacted - something Mitchell and Commissioner Bud Selig lamented yesterday.
Donald Fehr, the president of the players union, said the union advised its members to seek independent counsel before talking to Mitchell's investigators, but he added: "Ultimate decisions always were made by the individual players."
All but six of the players named in the section on specific performance-enhancing drugs were implicated by the interviews of two men: former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski and former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee.
The exceptions included the popular Roberts, which came from a former Orioles teammate, Larry Bigbie. He said Roberts admitted injecting himself several times in 2003, but Bigbie did not see Roberts take the injections, he told Mitchell. The revelations about Tejada came from Adam Piatt, a former Oakland Athletics teammate who said he sold testosterone to the All-Star shortstop in 2003, Tejada's last season in Oakland.
Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons were previously mentioned in a Los Angeles Times report that alleged the three were named as steroid users by ex-Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley in a 2006 federal affidavit. Also mentioned in that September 2006 article were Pettitte and Clemens.
Bigbie, who is now playing baseball in Japan, told Mitchell he met Radomski through David Segui, a former Orioles teammate who told The Sun this week that he and Radomski have been friends for 13 years and that he had purchased steroids from Radomski.
Mitchell's 30-minute statement stressed needed reform in an already strengthened drug policy but suggested only the most egregious offenders mentioned in the report should be punished for past practices.
He offered 20 recommendations to improve the sport's drug program, with the most crucial being the creation of a Department of Investigations led by a senior baseball executive who would work with law-enforcement officials in cases involving players.
He also suggested the sport make its drug testing more transparent to the public, turn the program over to an independent agency, beef up its educational efforts and eliminate the 24-hour advance notice clubs previously received for supposedly random tests.
Selig, in a news conference after Mitchell's, said he has already eliminated the testing notice.
"Those recommendations that I can implement independently, I will do immediately," Selig said. "There are other recommendations that are subject to collective bargaining. I am also committed to those recommendations, and we will be reaching out to Don Fehr and the players association in the immediate future to urge him to join me in accepting them."
In a third news conference, Fehr said because the union did not receive an advance copy of the report the way Selig did, he had not had an opportunity to study the suggestions.
Mitchell called the game's current testing policy, which expires in 2011, a "good first step" but said it "falls short of the current best practices in drug enforcement." Some members of Congress were much harsher, criticizing Selig and the policy in light of the report.
Citing a lack of leadership and oversight in baseball, Rep. Cliff Stearns called for Selig to step down. Sen. John McCain, among the first to ask baseball to begin drug testing, asked the union to "step forward to help save the reputation of the game."
Congressional meetings already are being planned. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will ask Selig, Mitchell and Fehr to testify Tuesday. A subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee also will invite MLB officials as well as Mitchell to a hearing on Jan. 23.
Fehr said he was aware of the statements, and "we have always cooperated with congressional requests to appear." Fehr and Selig were part of the March 17, 2005, congressional hearing that pushed both sides toward a stronger policy.
It was McNamee, the former Yankees employee, who detailed Clemens' performance-enhancing drug use, stating he injected Clemens with steroids at various times. The report also quoted McNamee as saying he also had injected Pettitte and former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.
Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued the following statement: "Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances, and he has never tested positive. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances, and yet he is being slandered today."
Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, said he advised his client, as an active major leaguer, not to make public comment until he has spoken with the union and other advisers.
Whether any of the players will face punishment from the league is undetermined. Despite Mitchell's assertion that they shouldn't, Selig said each would be reviewed on a "case-by-case basis."
If disciplined, Fehr said, his members would be given the choice to file an appeal.
Among the DLA Piper lawyers that helped Mitchell investigate and compile the report were Baltimore attorney Charles Scheeler and New York attorney John Clarke, a 1983 Gilman School graduate.
The Mitchell Report
The 409-page report released yesterday on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball links 86 players with the substances, including 19 current or former Orioles and a pitcher considered among the game's all-time best.
The report, prepared by former Sen. George J. Mitchell of Maine, details some steroid use through first-person accounts - from players, a personal trainer or a club employee - of players injecting the drugs or paying for them. The report includes copies of personal checks written by players, allegedly to purchase the drugs.
The section on pitching legend Roger Clemens runs nine pages.
Current Orioles and are named in the report as well as former Orioles Larry Bigbie, Jerry Hairston Jr., Gary Matthews Jr., Rafael Palmeiro and . Other prominent players include Barry Bonds, Lenny Dykstra, Eric Gagne, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, David Justice, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield and Mo Vaughn.
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.orgSun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article.