Jose Canseco threatened to name names. He threatened to smear Major League Baseball's image with allegations of widespread steroid abuse. When pressed for details, he said they'd all be in the book.
Turns out, Canseco wasn't kidding.
Canseco, an admitted steroid user, lists former slugger Mark McGwire and current Orioles designated hitter Rafael Palmeiro among his former teammates who have used steroids in his long-awaited book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big.
The book, which is still in the editing stage, is scheduled for a Feb. 21 release, but the New York Daily News reported on its contents in yesterday's editions.
Canseco reportedly offers vivid accounts of his steroid use with McGwire, who went on to break baseball's all-time home run record with 70 in 1998. In one scene, Canseco describes cramming into a bathroom stall with McGwire at the Oakland Coliseum and injecting a hypodermic needle into McGwire's behind.
Canseco says McGwire introduced current New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi to steroids while they were teammates in Oakland, adding that the three of them have injected steroids together.
McGwire, who has long denied steroid use, issued a statement to the Daily News: "I have always told the truth, and I am saddened that I continue to face this line of questioning. With regard to this book, I am reserving comment until I have the chance to review its contents myself."
Canseco, 40, says he introduced Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Jose Gonzalez to steroids in 1992, after he was traded from Oakland to the Texas Rangers. Canseco claims he eventually injected all three of those players with illegal substances.
Last night, Palmeiro and his agents could not be reached for comment, and an Orioles spokesman declined to comment.
Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, responded critically.
"This book," Tellem told the Daily News, "which attacks baseball and many of its players, was written to make a quick buck by a guy desperate for attention, who has appeared on more police blotters than lineup cards in recent years, has no runs, no hits and is all errors."
The baseball industry has been bracing itself for Canseco's book for many months. He played for parts of 17 seasons in the major leagues, with seven different teams, and slugged 462 career home runs.
In 2002, Canseco told Sports Illustrated that he thinks 80 percent of the players in MLB use steroids, and many people in the game called that a gross exaggeration.
Canseco hasn't played in the major leagues since 2001. Last March, he spoke of making a comeback and staged a workout at the Los Angeles Dodgers' spring training facility. When hit with a slew of steroid questions from reporters, he repeatedly said, "Read the book."
Baseball began anonymous steroid testing in 2003 and reported that 5 to 7 percent of the players who were tested had tested positive.
In the book, Canseco sticks to his 80 percent claim and says some MLB owners condoned steroid use because they felt a deluge of home runs would help win back the fans after the strike wiped out the 1994 World Series.
Canseco says the Major League Baseball Players' Association also condoned steroid use because the power surge would ultimately increase the players' salaries.
President Bush was the Rangers' managing general partner in the early 1990s, and Canseco reportedly says Bush must have known about the steroid use on that team. Yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Bush's position on steroids "has been known for some time," noting that he condemned the drugs in his 2004 State of the Union address.
Baseball stiffened its drug-testing policy this winter, as the owners and players union agreed to alter the collective bargaining agreement. There had been a national outcry after reports surfaced that Giambi and Barry Bonds had admitted, in grand jury testimony, that they had previously used steroids.
Canseco reportedly claims the Oakland clubhouse was a steroid-user's haven, with players talking openly about their use.
When McGwire shattered Roger Maris' single-season home run record in 1998, he was found with a bottle of androstenedione in his locker. Canseco reportedly says he believes McGwire may have put that bottle in his locker on purpose, to create a smokescreen to his extensive use of illegal substances.
Andro was legal at the time, but it has since been banned.
According to the Daily News, Canseco makes his claims without apology and even takes credit for spreading steroid use throughout the game in the 1990s. He predicts steroids and human growth hormone will be decriminalized and help people lead longer, healthier lives.
In the book, Canseco also says he's had sex with hundreds of women. He says the list does not include Madonna but says the two did spend one night making out in her Manhattan apartment.
Added Tellem to the Daily News, "It only confirms what the great baseball writer Peter Gammons said when he called Jose Canseco one of the three greatest wastes of baseball talent between 1980 and 2000."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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