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Mitchell Report lists Matt Williams, 13 others with D’backs ties

Clemens, Tejada, Gagne also named in investigation into performance-enhancing drugs

Ex-Arizona Diamondback Matt Williams

Ex-Arizona Diamondback Matt Williams

NEW YORK – Retired Diamondbacks player Matt Williams was named in the long-awaited Mitchell Report on Thursday, along with current stars such as Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada.

No current Arizona players were named.

Twelve other former players and a current minor league manager in the Diamondbacks organization were named in Major League Baseball’s investigation into performance-enhancing drugs: Troy Glaus, Jack Cust, Jason Grimsley, Chris Donnels, Stephen Randolph, Jose Guillan, Alex Cabrera, Matt Herges, Darren Holmes, Ron Villone, Bobby Estrella and Jim Parque. The players may not have been with the D’backs when the alleged wrongdoing took place.

Mike Bell, who is a D’backs minor league manager with the Yakima (Wash.) Bears, was also named.

In mid-September 2000, a clubhouse employee with the Diamondbacks discovered a bottle of anabolic steroids and several hundred pills in a package intedned for Cabrera that had been mailed to their Phoenix ballpark

Cabrera, then a player on Arizona’s major league roster, had been searching for the package for several days. The D’backs learned of the incident, reported it to the Commissioner’s office and later sold Cabrera’s contract to a Japanese team.

Clemens, Tejada and Andy Pettitte and Eric Gagne also were listed in the report, an All-Star roster linked to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs that put a question mark – if not an asterisk – next to some of baseball’s biggest moments.

Jason Giambi, Gary Matthews Jr., Brian Roberts, Paul Lo Duca and Rick Ankiel were among other current players named in the report – in fact, there’s an All-Star at every position. Some were linked to Human Growth Hormone, others to steroids.

Williams, who is retired, allegedly bought human growth hormone, steroids, syringes, and other drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center in 2002, when he was playing with the Diamondbacks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The orders reportedly were sent to Williams at a business address in Scottsdale, Arizona. The article reported that “Williams’ prescriptions were written by the same dentist who prescribed [human] growth hormone for [Paul] Byrd and [Jose] Guillen.”

Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, and Gary Sheffield also showed up in baseball’s most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.

The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.

“Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades — commissioners, club officials, the players’ association and players — shares to some extent the responsibility for the steroids era,” Mitchell said. “There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on.”

Clemens was singled out in nearly nine pages, with much of the information on the seven-time Cy Young Award winner coming from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee. More than a dozen Yankees, past and present, were among the 75-plus players identified.

“According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens’ performance showed remarkable improvement,” the report said. “During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids ‘had a pretty good effect’ on him.”

McNamee also told investigators that “during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin.”

Mitchell urged Selig to hold off on punishing players in the report “except in those cases where he determines that the conduct is so serious that discipline is necessary to maintain the integrity of the game.”

Several stars named in the report could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.

“Former commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the problem of performance-enhancing substances may be the most serious challenge that baseball has faced since the 1919 Black Sox scandal,” Mitchell said in the 409-page report.

“The illegal use of anabolic steroids and similar substances, in Vincent’s view, is ‘cheating of the worst sort.’ He believes that it is imperative for Major League Baseball to ‘capture the moral high ground’ on the issue and, by words and deeds, make it clear that baseball will not tolerate the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.”

Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids, was among the former players named. So were Kevin Brown, Benito Santiago, Lenny Dykstra, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn and Todd Hundley.

Mike Stanton, Scott Schoeneweis, Ron Villone and Jerry Hairston Jr. were among the other current players identified.

“We identify some of the players who were caught up in this drive to gain a competitive advantage,” the report said. “Other investigations will no doubt turn up more names and fill in more details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the description of baseball’s `steroids era’ as set forth in this report.”

Mitchell is a director of the Boston Red Sox, and some questioned whether that created a conflict.

“Judge me by my work,” Mitchell said. “You will not find any evidence of bias, special treatment, for the Red Sox or anyone else. That had no effect on this investigation or this report, none whatsoever.”

Giambi, under threat of discipline from Selig, was the only current player known to have cooperated with the Mitchell investigation.

“The players’ union was largely uncooperative for reasons that I thought were largely understandable,” Mitchell said.


Baseball’s darkest days: the 1919 Black Sox scandal

For nearly 90 years, the Black Sox scandal has been baseball’s darkest hour.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven others on the 1919 Chicago White Sox were charged with conspiring to throw the World Series against Cincinnati. They later became known as the “Black Sox” and were banned from baseball for life by the game’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Led by Jackson, pitcher Eddie Cicotte and Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins, the White Sox were considered one of baseball’s greatest teams to that point. They were a divided bunch, however, with many players angry at tightfisted owner Charles Comiskey. That made them ripe targets for opportunistic gamblers looking for a Series lock — or so the story goes.

Professional gamblers Arnold Rothstein and Joe “Sport” Sullivan headed a group of shady characters that hatched the scheme to fix the Series. First baseman Chick Gandil took charge for the White Sox, asking for money up front and recruiting teammates — including Cicotte and another star pitcher, Lefty Williams.

When Cicotte hit Reds leadoff batter Morrie Rath with his second pitch in Game 1, it was a signal to bettors: The fix was in.

The White Sox opened as 8-5 favorites before the odds dropped. With rumors swirling, they lost the best-of-nine Series in eight games. In the press box, sports writers such as Hugh Fullerton circled suspicious plays on their scorecards.

The plot was soon exposed and, within a year, a grand jury was investigating. Jackson, Cicotte, Gandil and Williams were among the eight players indicted, then suspended by Comiskey. In June 1921 the players were found innocent in court — but not by baseball. Landis, hired to clean up the game, barred all eight for life.

As he left the courthouse one day, Jackson encountered a youngster. According to the Chicago Herald and Examiner, the boy tugged at Jackson’s sleeve and uttered a famous phrase.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe,” the boy pleaded. “Say it ain’t so.”

The Black Sox scandal left a permanent scar and inspired Eliot Asinof’s 1963 book “Eight Men Out” that was made into a 1988 movie. Since Landis’ ruling, baseball has consistently taken a hard line against gambling — most notably the lifetime ban of career hits leader Pete Rose. Jackson, with a .356 career batting average that ranks third in baseball history, is not in the Hall of Fame.

The White Sox, who had won the 1917 World Series, didn’t win another championship until 2005.

- The Associated Press


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