Former Player Jack Clark Accuses Albert Pujols of Using Steroids
Former Giant and Cardinal (among other teams) Jack Clark has a new gig as a sports radio commentator, and he lost no time in accusing Albert Pujols of having used performance enhancing drugs early in his professional career. You can read the details from Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.
In summary, Clark said that when he was the Dodgers’ hitting coach in 2000, Chris Mihlfeld, a trainer who had worked with and coached Pujols since high school, told Clark that he (Mihlfeld) had “shot [Pujols] up.” Mihlfeld also allegedly tried to convince Clark that he (Clark) should try steroids himself, although he couldn’t expect the same results as Pujols because Pujols was “on a real strenuous workout deal.”
Clark also accused former Dodger Shawn Green of using steroids in 2001, the year Green set the Dodgers’ single-season home run record, when Clark was still the Dodgers’ hitting coach. However, Clark doesn’t cite evidence any stronger than Green’s back acne and defensive attitude.
Rumors connecting Mihlfeld to PEDs have arisen before, back in 2006 when Jason Grimsley, another of his clients, was busted by the feds for receiving human growth hormone (“HGH”) through the mail. Grimsley later confessed to be a long-time user of steroids, amphetamines and HGH, ultimately ending his baseball career and making him one of the poster boys of the 2007 Mitchell Report.
Jack Clark has always been a pop-off. He’s got a big mouth, and he’s never been afraid to shoot it off. He’s also famed for his profligacy with the money he made playing baseball.
All that said, no one has ever accused Jack Clark of telling lies. He’s always been too quick to give his opinion, but there has always been some substance or at least a colorable opinion to what he was saying. This follow-up article from the Post-Dispatch by Bernie Miklasz makes pretty much the same point.
The specificity of Clark’s allegations are pretty damning and at least in certain respects they ring true to me. Specifically, the allegation that Mihfeld told Clark that he couldn’t expect to get the same results as Pujols taking steroids because of how hard Pujols worked out.
One of the things we’ve seen during the steroids era is that the players who take steroids and work out like mad get the best results. Specifically, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were all known for how hard they trained during their non-playing time while taking PEDs. They weren’t the only ones.
The PEDs don’t make a player great by themselves. What they do, aside from adding muscle mass and reducing fat, is allow a player to train longer and harder with less recovery time. It’s taking PEDs and training like a demon that make PEDs so effective for professional athletes or body builders.
[It’s also worth noting that the heavy training regimens made a good cover for the steroid use. As the players began to get freakishly big but before the truth came out, the players publicly attributed their newly found size and strength to getting serious about their workout routines, training year-’round, modifying their diets and taking legal supplements. At the time this seemed plausible to me, and I think a lot of other people, because they certainly had both the money and the incentive (even more money) to have the most cutting-edge science at their disposal. They did, of course, only not in a legal way.
In fact, it’s only with the Biogenesis America revelations that I see I still wasn’t completely cynical even after the Mitchell Report in 2007. I had noticed for several years before the truth came out that Ryan Braun had trapezius (shoulder) muscles like a football player in many of his headshots. Why would a baseball player have shoulders like that? Even so, since the rest of him didn’t look exceptionally pumped up, I gave him the benefit of the doubt at least until his positive pee test in late 2011.]
Of course, while there have never been any previous specific allegations implicating Pujols, you’ve always had to wonder given that Pujols came up at the height of the steroids era, he was immediately one of the best players in baseball and his body looks as steroids enhanced as any of the proven PEDs cheats. None of this proves anything, and I’m not going to condemn anyone based on one man’s 13 year old hearsay.
One thing is certain, though: I’m not giving anyone the benefit of the doubt anymore when it comes to ballplayers and PEDs.