The player: 365 game winner Pud Galvin.
His PED: extract of monkey testicles, commercially known as “Brown-Sequard elixir.”
The media reaction:
“if there still be doubting Thomases who concede no virtue of the elixir, they are respectfully referred to Galvin’s record in yesterday’s Boston-Pittsburgh game. It is the best proof yet furnished of the value of the discovery.”
The full story: at Dan Lewis’ wonderful Now I Know, to which you should subscribe. It’s a free daily newsletter which presents cool facts and stories like this one and which will give you a nice and thought-provoking diversion for a few brief minutes every morning.
As for Galvin’s PED: it was likely a placebo. Of course, scientific studies on human growth hormone used by healthy athletes have found the same thing:
There is no current study that has demonstrated a significant increase in workload capacity in response to human GH administration in healthy adults. The studies that have addressed the impact of GH on muscle mass and athletic performance do not show consistently favorable results. For instance, patients with acromegaly do have greater muscle volume than normal individuals, but they do not show an increase in strength or performance. No controlled study to our knowledge has shown a beneficial effect of supraphysiological doses of human GH on muscle strength in trained athletes.
Pud Glavin: proud PED user, enhanced athletically just as much as today’s cursed HGH users but cheered on by the media of his day and inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
How much progress we have made!