Timeline: Key Moments in Baseball's Doping Probe

The exterior of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative i i

hide captionThe exterior of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, seen in October 2003.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The exterior of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative

The exterior of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, seen in October 2003.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Mark McGwire i i

hide captionFormer St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire looks on during testimony in March 2005 before a House panel investigating Major League Baseball's efforts to eradicate steroid use.

Win McNamee//Getty Images
Mark McGwire

Former St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire looks on during testimony in March 2005 before a House panel investigating Major League Baseball's efforts to eradicate steroid use.

Win McNamee//Getty Images
Barry Bonds arrives in court in December 2007 i i

hide captionBarry Bonds arrives in court in December 2007 to face charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury four years earlier.

Simon Hayter/Getty Images
Barry Bonds arrives in court in December 2007

Barry Bonds arrives in court in December 2007 to face charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury four years earlier.

Simon Hayter/Getty Images
Former Sen. George Mitchell i i

hide captionFormer Sen. George Mitchell points to a reporter as he announces results of his 20-month investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Dec. 13, 2007.

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Former Sen. George Mitchell

Former Sen. George Mitchell points to a reporter as he announces results of his 20-month investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Dec. 13, 2007.

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The use of steroids in baseball had been whispered about as early as the 1980s, but major league officials were slow to respond. Here, a look at key moments in baseball's investigation of doping in the sport:

Sept. 3, 2003: Federal investigators raid a Burlingame, Calif., laboratory suspected of distributing steroids to professional athletes. Investigators seize financial and medical records from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. Those documents allegedly include a calendar of San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds' drug regimen and records of Bonds' payments for drugs. Government investigators cite this evidence four years later, when Bonds is indicted.

2003: Major League Baseball players and owners agree to survey the prevalence of steroid use through random testing of players. After more than 5 percent of the test results — which are anonymous — come back positive, formal penalties and testing policies are put in place the following year. Under that policy, each player is tested once a year. Players who test positive once get treatment; a second positive test results in a 15-day suspension.

Jan. 13, 2005: Major league players and owners adopt a new steroid-testing policy that, for the first time, calls for penalties — a 10-day suspension — for first-time offenders. The policy calls for random, off-season testing of players, as well as one unannounced mandatory test of each player during the season.

March 2005: A House panel investigating the use of steroids in baseball holds an all-day, nationally televised hearing in which baseball officials and players testify. Former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, who reached prodigious home-run numbers before retiring in 2001, is evasive when asked whether he used steroids, saying, "I'm not here to discuss the past." McGwire's former teammate on the A's, Jose Canseco, tells the panel that steroids were "as prevalent in ... the late 1980s and 1990s as a cup of coffee."

March 30, 2006: Major League Baseball appoints former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to lead an investigation into the past use of steroids by major league players.

Summer 2007: New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi speaks with Mitchell about his steroid use. Commissioner Bud Selig forced Giambi to speak with Mitchell after Giambi hinted at his use of banned substances in an interview with the media.

Nov. 10, 2007: Players whose names have come up in the steroids investigation face a Nov. 10 deadline to speak with Mitchell and respond to any allegations that they used banned substances.

Nov. 16, 2007: Barry Bonds is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. He is accused of lying under oath in December 2003, when he told the grand jury investigating the BALCO steroid ring that he never used banned performance-enhancing drugs. Government prosecutors say Bonds' testimony is contradicted by evidence seized in the BALCO raid four years earlier.

Dec. 13, 2007: Mitchell releases his report that finds the use of steroids in baseball is "widespread." ... "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.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: