(Reuters) - A timeline of key Major League Baseball doping milestones:
Aug 22 - A jar of androstenedione is discovered in the locker of St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire, who admits he uses the steroids precursor. McGwire goes on to hit a then Major League record 70 homers. Performance-enhancing drugs were not illegal in baseball at that time.
April - MLB implements its first random drug-testing program in the minor leagues.
Aug 30 - Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program unveiled. Policy calls for "Survey Testing" in 2003 to gauge the use of steroids among players. No one will be punished.
Feb 17 - Steve Bechler, a Baltimore Orioles pitcher, dies from heat exhaustion at spring training. Over-the-counter, performance-enhancing drug Ephedra found in his system and considered by medical examiner as primary cause of death.
March 1 - Drug testing begins in Major League spring training camps.
June - Drug testing of Major League players begins under the punitive phase of the Joint Drug Agreement.
December - The San Francisco Chronicle prints portions of leaked grand jury testimony given by the Giants' Barry Bonds and the Yankees' Jason Giambi. Giambi reportedly admits injecting himself with steroids and Bonds reportedly says he unwittingly may have allowed his former trainer to rub cream that had a steroid base on his legs.
Jan 13 - MLB and the players association strengthen the drug program with a 10-day suspension for the first positive test, 30 days for the second, 60 days for the third, and one year for the fourth. All without pay.
April 3 - Tampa Bay's Alex Sanchez becomes first big league player to test positive under new Joint Drug Program. He is suspended for 10 days.
Aug 1 - Rafael Palmeiro is suspended for 10 days for testing positive for stanozolol, becoming the most prominent player to be penalized for steroids.
Nov 15 - Penalties for steroid use strengthened with suspensions of 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.
Aug 4 - Tigers shortstop Neifi Perez is suspended for 80 games after testing positive a third time for stimulants.
Dec 13 - Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell releases 409-page report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball that implicates seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars including Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Eric Gagne, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada.
Feb 9 - Alex Rodriguez tells ESPN he used banned substances while playing with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03 to justify his 10-year, $252 million contract.
Feb 11 - Miguel Tejada becomes the first high-profile player convicted of a crime stemming from baseball's steroids era, pleading guilty in federal court to misleading Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
April 8 - Manny Ramirez retires from baseball after a second positive test, an infraction that would have carried a 100-game suspension. He was suspended for 50 games for a 2009 positive.
April 13 - Barry Bonds is convicted by a federal court jury of one count of obstructing justice in a investigation into his possible use of steroids and HGH but a mistrial was declared on three perjury charges.
Aug 18 - Mike Jacobs, a minor leaguer who had played over 500 games in the major leagues, was the first professional baseball player to test positive for banned human growth hormone.
Feb 23 - Reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun becomes the first major-leaguer to win an appeal of a positive test as his 50-game suspension is overturned on appeal because of questions over the handling of the test sample.
Aug 15 - San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, is suspended for 50 games after testing positive for banned testosterone.
July 22 - Braun suspended for 65 games for "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program."
Aug 5 - MLB suspends Alex Rodriguez for 211 games, through to the end of the 2014 season, over the Biogenesis scandal.
Aug 5 - MLB suspended 12 other players for 50 games. They were: Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Philadelphia Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, New York Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, New York Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello, San Diego Padres pitching prospect Fautino De Los Santos, Houston Astros pitching prospect Sergio Escalona and New York Yankees outfield prospect Fernando Martinez.
(Compiled Gene Cherry; editing by Julian Linden)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun