Craig Biggio, Steroid User?

Categories: Baseball, Sports

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Wait, Craig Biggio did what?
Craig Biggio used steroids.

Yes, you read that right. Craig Biggio used steroids.

At least that's the latest allegation to come from Jeff Pearlman, the man who says Jeff Bagwell used steroids but refused to offer up any evidence of Bagwell using steroids. Of course, he doesn't really offer up any evidence that Biggio used steroids, either. But in the world of Jeff Pearlman, facts don't matter because Pearlman has yet to produce any facts to support any of his statements.

For instance, how does he know that Biggio used steroids? The answer, according to Pearlman, is simple. Biggio played for the Astros, a team that he says was the major league hotbed of steroids use, and thus Biggio used steroids.

(Note, if there was a major league team that was a hotbed of PED use in the majors, it's the New York Yankees, which eagerly made use of such players as Jose Canseco -- the Johnny Appleseed of steroids -- Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, David Justice, Kevin Brown, Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. So by the standard Pearlman has laid out to label Biggio as a steroid user, then Derek Jeter must be a steroid user.)

Pearlman's allegations, his belief, regarding Bagwell, Biggio and the Houston Astros, supposedly come from the research and reporting he did in writing his book on Roger Clemens, The Rocket That Fell to Earth.

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We're eagerly awaiting some proof, Mr. Pearlman
Pearlman states on page 280 of the hardcover version of the book that the "Astros were known throughout the league to have lots of players benefiting from performance enhancers."

But beyond a quote from an anonymous player, Pearlman offers up no support for this statement. If he has any of his own evidence, he doesn't supply it in the book, and he definitely doesn't provide any evidence or support for this in the notes section of the book. So all we have is Pearlman's statement and an anonymous quote.

That's not much. Technically, it's nonexistent. But Pearlman continues to base his allegations on what he learned when investigating Roger Clemens.

People have asked Pearlman to prove his allegations. He has refused to do so. At least, he has refused to do so publicly. One of the writers at the blog Astros County got in touch with Pearlman and asked him to produce the evidence. They exchanged emails and discussed the matter, "[h]owever, he conditioned a defense of his comments on my agreement not to repeat the information that he provided me with. When I explained that I would not be willing to do so and why, he politely withdrew his offer to back up his statements."

It is possible Pearlman has some real facts to back up his allegations. Maybe he has promised to back up his sources and provide them with some protection. But even with that, the guy has to at some point provide some specificity to his allegations. Instead of just saying the Astros were a hotbed of PED users, and that Bagwell and Biggio were users, he's got to say something specific. Such as when they used, or what they used. Where did they get the shots? Or did they use the Clear and the Cream?

Now maybe Pearlman's not totally to blame for his lack of specificity. The guy's a sloppy-seconds writer. He moves in and makes his mark after others have struck. His biography of Barry Bonds, Love Me, Hate Me, came about only after San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wade and Lance Williams faced jail time for their work on the BALCO investigation and Barry Bonds, which they wrote about in Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports.

And he didn't move in on Roger Clemens and write The Rocket That Fell to Earth until after the Mitchell Report and an investigative research team with the New York Daily News did the dirty work and unveiled most of the dirty stuff there was to know on Clemens. Pearlman just moved in, wrote a biography that was nowhere near as well-sourced as what the Daily News crew did, and moved onto other topics.

He says his research is how he knows that Bagwell and Biggio used. But we don't really know what kind of research he did. His other steroids books relied on the reporting and hard work of others. There's been no such hard work toward Bagwell and Biggio.

In his Clemens book, Pearlman spoke to Fred Faour, former sports editor of our own Houston Chronicle. And the statement from Faour, on page 281 of the hardback edition, is pretty damning when it comes to why the Chronicle never did the same thing that its sister paper in San Francisco did, or what their counterparts in New York did.

"I had [an Astros steroid probe] all planned," Faour told Pearlman. "We all had suspicions about Roger and some other guys, and we did a lot of digging. But that kind of thing takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money. I had an investigative reporter I had planned on hiring just for the task, but I was not allowed to bring him in."

"There was no commitment from management to go after it," Faour continued. "So we let it die. If the players wanted to live a lie, we wouldn't stand in their way."

So because the Houston Chronicle was too cheap to do any investigative work, Pearlman had nothing to glom off of regarding Bagwell and Biggio. Thus he just makes allegations without backing up anything. And because the Chron was too cheap, the reputations of guys like Bagwell and Biggio can continue to be besmirched.

We do not know that Jeff Bagwell and/or Craig Biggio used PED. But while offering up no proof, Pearlman is telling the world that they did, and that because of this, they're cheaters who don't belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe it's just me, but I'd actually like to see a little evidence, a little proof their wrongdoing before condemning them.

After all, is that really too much to ask?

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13 comments
TonyGe
TonyGe

does anyone other than the opposing team players care that he is using anabolic steroids, I doubt it.

Norma
Norma

Biggio is my hero.  Now elligible for Hall of Fame,  I've heard that he will never make H of F due to this type of allegation.  So sad........so very sad.

Anon
Anon

hate to say it, but its pretty likley that biggio juiced. The guy was pretty jacked in the late 90's. People say he is a "Good Guy", and to be honest he is. The media has spun it to look like steroid users have to be evil. Well I have met about 7 to 8 guys who juiced in high school and college. They are some of the most personable people I have met and it is impossible to hate them. Players used steroids because they could get away with it and yes it makes you a better player. You get faster, throw harder, and can hit the ball farther. Ken Caminiti is a perfect example of steroids making you a better athlete. The guy had a cannon, dropped dick, and wasnt slow either. I think hall of fame voters need to look past the steroid issue because you can't not vote in 10 years worth of players. I like biggio, he should be a hall of famer, but i wouldn't be surprised if he took them during the late 90's. Now obviously there is no proof so Pearlman is taking a bit of a cheap shot by slinging mud, and I cannot say for 100% sure biggiio juiced unless he admits it or he is on the list that A-Rod was on when all the names eventually get leaked.

Jeff
Jeff

Why don't you just shit all over my childhood hero.. thanks.

mollusk
mollusk

A) I really doubt it. B) Given the reality of the time, it's sort of like being horrified that young lawyers and stockbrokers were snortin' coke in the '80s. BFD - it's not like throwing games or something.

Gary
Gary

Book it!

Jeff Bentch
Jeff Bentch

The "he has muscles" argument to justify steriods accusations is myopic but persistent. That Knoblauch guy, boy was he ripped! Just like Alex Sanchez, the first player suspended by the MLB for PED's.

Jealousblues
Jealousblues

I wouldnt doubt ANY mlb player used steroids.We have all seen the players whose names have come outthey werent all hulking muscle men.

at a Cards fan I always respected this guy and he gets the benefit of a doubt, but if it does come out with proof I wouldnt be shocked (because anyone *could* have)

Brian
Brian

If Biggio used steroids, he should ask for his money back, b/c they clearly did not work!

It's hard to know truth from fiction, up from down when it comes to PEDs in baseball. Certain individuals have confessed, tested positive, or have been implicated by people offering proof to support their claims (first hand accounts such as "I saw him shoot up" or records that indicate that the person purchased steroids), and it's clear that such people did in fact cheat. Nevertheless, as "legend" after "legend" is revealed a cheater, we as fans are quick to convict a person in the court of public opinion, particularly if the person gained muscle throughout his career. It is precisely because we are so willing to believe such allegations that guys like Pearlman should be responsible enough to offer proof when accusing players of having cheated. Not to do so is just irresponsible journalism and not fair to the players.

Mikew281
Mikew281

why do you even give this Pearlman guy a whole article? he has no facts just his opinion.

i think President Obama did steroids, will you write a story about me?

sancho
sancho

Maybe Biggio should sue. That seems to have worked out well for Clemens.

Anonymous
Anonymous

That's pretty terrible to make a baseless claim like that. I'm sure some of the Astros used steroids (Caminiti, Clemens, probably Bagwell)...but I wouldn't think Biggio would be one of them. He never got really big like those other guys. You look at Bagwell now and he's clearly lost a lot of weight/muscle since playing and it looks a bit suspect and I saw him working out with Caminiti in the early 90's...so I wouldn't be terribly surprised there, but I just don't see it with Biggio. Either way, I would definitely not put any of that in a book without some hard evidence to back it up.

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