Mitchell: 'For More Than a Decade There Has Been Widespread Anabolic Steroid Use'

NEW YORK -- Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars -- one for every position -- and that still wasn't the worst of it for the long-awaited Mitchell Report.

That infamy belonged to Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his era.

The Steroids Era.

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner, eighth on the all-time list with 354 victories, an MVP and All-Star himself long considered a lock for the Hall of Fame, Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In all, Thursday's 409-page report identified 86 names to differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his lawyer, Clemens was the symbol.

Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte also showed up in the game's most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal, as well as 2003 Cy Young winner Eric Gagne and 2000 AL MVP Jason Giambi.

"If there are problems, I wanted them revealed," commissioner Bud Selig said. "His report is a call to action, and I will act."

Doping was widespread by stars as well as scrubs, the report said, putting a question mark if not an asterisk next to baseball records and threatening the integrity of the game itself.

"Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball of Hall of Fame," Mitchell wrote. "They include both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as diverse as those of all major league players."

No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.

At 45, Clemens has not said whether he hopes to pitch next season. Through his attorney, Rusty Hardin, Clemens denied he used performance-enhancing drugs and expressed outrage that his name was included in the report.

"I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea," Hardin said in a statement. "But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger's name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.

"There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today,'' said Hardin, who called McNamee a "troubled man."

Clemens and Pettitte are from the Houston area and spent three seasons together with their hometown Astros. Tejada was traded to Houston on Wednesday.

The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. While a few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal proceedings, many of the instances cited by Mitchell were before drug testing began in 2003.

Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come "swiftly" on a case-by-case basis.

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