Photo: Think Steroids
With the scrutiny of this year’s Hall of Fame voting and the quest to keep Cooperstown clean, it is interesting to note that there is already one player enshrined who used steroids to prolong his waning career.In the book “The Dark Side of the Diamond: Gambling, Violence, Drugs and Alcoholism in the National Pastime,” author Roger I. Abrams writes about Hall of Famer Jimmy “Pud” Galvin who played in the 1880s and 1890s and was baseball’s first 300-game winner.
As Galvin’s career was coming to a close in 1889, he turned to testosterone treatment developed using an extract from the testicles of a guinea pig and a dog. The treatment was touted in the press as a substance that would “rejuvenate the old and make strong the feeble.”
Galvin’s use of the treatment was written about in the press, and even glorified. In the first game following his initial treatment, the Washington Post wrote that Galvin had one of “the best games of his life,” and that his performance was “the best proof yet” for the effectiveness of the steroid treatment.
Of course, the game is much different these days. But the media at the time actually encouraged the use of the testosterone. An article at the time in the New Haven Register wrote that they “hope the discovery…is of such a nature that it can be applied to rejuvenate provincial clubs.”
So if the goal of today’s baseball writers is to keep the Hall clean, it is too late.
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