If you believe some of the looser talk this week, you’d think that Mark McGwire was Igor to Jose Canseco’s Dr. Steroidstein and that no one juiced before the A’s got good in the late 80s. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, as this handy-dandy PED timeline that ran in Sports Illustrated a couple of years ago makes clear. The highlights:
- In 1889, a 72 year-old French doctor injected himself with testicular fluid from dogs and guinea pigs and reports on his findings. Says it made him “feel years younger with renewed energy.” Parisian medical writer Daniel Le Shaughnessy compares him to Napoleon III and calls his actions akin to the worst atrocities of the Franco-Prussian war.
- A German scientist develops anabolic steroids in 1935. The guy later went on to win the Nobel Prize for his work in sex hormones (he got it in 1939; I don’t have time to go back and look, but I’m sure it was the biggest thing to happen in Germany that year). According to his Wikipedia page he joined the Nazi party in 1936, and according to the time line the Nazis and even Hitler himself did extensive experiments with the stuff. OK, I maybe need to apologize to Dan Shaugnessy on that Neville Chamberlain thing the other day;
- Sports Illustrated published a story in 1960 exposing the use of amphetamines, tranquilizers, cocaine and other drugs in elite sports. The writers of the article were apparently unaware that they are living in pure, golden age;
- Another SI story in 1969 about the imminent epidemic of performance enhancing drugs in sports. Mark McGwire is 6 years old at the time; Jose Canseco was 5. My God, they were precociously evil to have screwed with sports like that.
The other day I wondered might happen if one of Jose Canseco’s Hall of Fame teammates was discovered to have taken steroids. Now I’m wondering what might happen if one of Duke Snider or Early Wynn’s teammates did.
(thanks to reader Rays’ Fan for the link in the comments)