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PEDs are nothing new. In fact, they're really, really old.

Jan 15, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

body builder.jpgIf you believe some of the looser talk this week, you’d think that Mark McGwire was Igor to Jose Canseco’s Dr. Steroidstein and that no one juiced before the A’s got good in the late 80s.  Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, as this handy-dandy PED timeline that ran in Sports Illustrated a couple of years ago makes clear.  The highlights:

  • In 1889, a 72 year-old French doctor injected himself with testicular fluid from dogs and guinea pigs and reports on his findings. Says it made him “feel years younger with renewed energy.”  Parisian medical writer Daniel Le Shaughnessy compares him to Napoleon III and calls his actions akin to the worst atrocities of the Franco-Prussian war.
  • A German scientist develops anabolic steroids in 1935. The guy later went on to win the Nobel Prize for his work in sex hormones (he got it in 1939; I don’t have time to go back and look, but I’m sure it was the biggest thing to happen in Germany that year). According to his Wikipedia page he joined the Nazi party in 1936, and according to the time line the Nazis and even Hitler himself did extensive experiments with the stuff.  OK, I maybe need to apologize to Dan Shaugnessy on that Neville Chamberlain thing the other day;
  • Sports Illustrated published a story in 1960 exposing the use of amphetamines, tranquilizers, cocaine and other drugs in elite sports. The writers of the article were apparently unaware that they are living in pure, golden age;
  • Another SI story in 1969 about the imminent epidemic of performance enhancing drugs in sports. Mark McGwire is 6 years old at the time; Jose Canseco was 5.  My God, they were precociously evil to have screwed with sports like that.

The other day I wondered might happen if one of Jose Canseco’s Hall of Fame teammates was discovered to have taken steroids.  Now I’m wondering what might happen if one of Duke Snider or Early Wynn’s teammates did.

(thanks to reader Rays’ Fan for the link in the comments)

  1. Richie - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    No comments about the East German Olympic women’s swim team in the 70s?

  2. Moses Green - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    I know I grew up joking about the East German “Women’s” swimming team.
    BTW, that pic is hilarious. It looks like the “before” guy’s head photoshopped onto the “after” guy’s body. Getting sand kicked in your face? Charles Atlas can help.

  3. Jonny5 - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    There was a farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name…..B-I-N-G-O.
    This has been floating around in my mind for years….. How long have horses been Juiced for? They’re just 4 legged athletes…. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Maris did them, He had the stat “bubble” “some people” mention. Seriously Mcgwire could be apologizing to the Maris Family when maris himself may have been a juicer.
    I’m just saying it’s possible……….. imagine if the babe…… or worse…. Ok, i’ll just shut up now.

  4. Jonny5 - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    There is some research that says the Nazis used steroids on their soldiers to make them stronger, more agressive, and have smaller nuts. All the better to run faster with I say!!!

  5. Zonebrick - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Ever since athletic competitiion began athletes have done whatever necessary to achieve an edge, be it PEDs or outright cheating or whatever, and it’s not going to end anytime soon.

  6. Matt in Toledo - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    This goes to show how lucky we are to be witnessing the end of the steroid era. What a colossal triumph for my hero, Bud Selig.

  7. Charles Gates - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    True, but black shoes and black dress socks with shorts? The horror…the horror.

  8. Old Gator - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    1519: Cortez invades Mexico, captures many tomatoes, and ships them back to Spain in chains.
    1612: Frere Jacques of the Benedictine monastery on Mount Pomodoro in Italy discovers that tomatoes are full of lycopene by pouring it on his prostate gland and causing a priapism.
    1613: Jorge of Burgos, the monastery sous chef, begins smearing stewed tomatoes on big slices of flatbread. The pizza is born. The monks of Mount Pomodoro turn into werewolves.
    1614. Maleva Gitano, gypsy fortuneteller with a golden smile and a flashing ring, announces that lycopene causes people to turn into werewolves and dubs the condition “lycathropy.”
    1886: Dr. Henry Jekyll discovers lycopene, begins dosing himself with tomato paste concentrate and wins five successive Iron Man triathlons at his local brothel.
    1941: Larry Talbot bitten by a wolf who has been eating the tomatoes in his garden. His hair is perfect.
    1964: Dick Cheney visits Maleva Gitano, a gypsy fortune teller with a golden smile and a flashing ring at her saloon in Prairiecakes, a suburb of Cheyenne, a day or so before marrying the fearsome Lynne Cheney, a known consumer of lycopene. He is given a test tube full of dark red liquid which he immediately drinks. His hair falls out, and he fathers a daughter who can reproduce parthenogenically.
    2010: Benicio del Toro visits Maleva Gitano, a gypsy fortunteller with a golden smile and a flashing ring at her New Age Bistro on Colorado Boulevard and is presented with a test tube full of dark red liquid that she insists will help him “get into character” for an upcoming role. When del Toro asserts that he has studied with Grotesky in Poland and doesn’t need chemical assistance, Maleva snorts, “Son this ain’t no dream this time, it’s the real thing.”

  9. Moses Green - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    I’m sure not gonna tell him – you feel free. Exterminate the brute.

  10. word - Jan 15, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I often wonder if every sportswriter in America forgot about this guy:

  11. Michael - Jan 15, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    I find it amusing that the SI piece completely omits our favorite Governator, who in 1977 readily admitted to having juiced for years.
    Also, I found this amusing:

  12. Omega in Colorado - Jan 15, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    So, what’s up with that guy in the pic? why are his legs and chest huge, but his arms don’t look all that developed?
    I looks like some CGI Photoshop experiment gone horribly wrong.
    And ahtletes in the very first Olympic games were banned from competition for putting mustard seeds under their tongues, which was thought to increase strength and stamina.

  13. Bruce - Jan 15, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Good job Old Gator working in the Dylan lines.

  14. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 15, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Actually, the guy in the pic is Georg Hackenschmidt (note: there is no “e” at the end of his first name). He was a wrestler and body builder, back when wrestling was quasi-real at the beginning of the 20th century. He’s on wikipedia. Worth looking up.

  15. TimberLee - Jan 15, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    That article about Tom House is an eye-opener. Seriously, I had no idea. He should speak out more just to make people aware that the recent, Mitchell Report people weren’t the first to use PEDs.

  16. peteinfla - Jan 15, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    F***ing Hilarious! I assume the werewolf with the perfect hair also had a Chinese Menu in his hand? Is there lycopene in MooShu? I can’t tell if you are brilliant, insane or both Old Gator, but I love reading your posts! Thanks!

  17. Old Gator - Jan 15, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Hey Bruce – I was also going to work in “Don’t turn me home again / I just can’t face myself alone again” into the Dick Cheney part, and considered some way to work “up there there’s too much brush and canyon / for the CHP choppers to touch down” into the del Toro segment, but I’ve never been big on overkill. Don’t worry, though – you can bet a day’s toll collection on the Garden State Parkway that I’ll find a slot for you sooner or later. Oh, yeah – I was really worrying about the way you were jumping around up there at halftime last year. We ain’t that young anymore.
    Replying to comment from peteinfla: true story: my student rabbi pal and I once tought Tuvye Tal, the weekend keyboard player and entertainer at Sammy’s Famous Roumanian Steakhouse on the lower east side of Manhattan, the lyrics to “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and he translated them into Yiddish (we also once tied on two bottles of Premiat Roumanian Reisling, otherwise known as Chateau La Drech, and performed “Jabberwocky” in Yiddish at the same venue with plastic swords and horned helmets). “Roland” became a mainstay of Tuvye’s repertoire for about ten years; you had to see the quizzical looks on the faces of the goyishe patrons who vaguely thought they knew the tune but couldn’t make guano of the Yiddish whenever he played it. This was in 1976, before he went west to seek his fortune and vanished from the face of the earth – we assume, in a subduction zone. If Yellowstone smells like garlic when it blows, you’ll know why.

  18. Old Gator - Jan 15, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    Wasn’t he holding the rope right behind Slammin’ Sammy Snedaker, one of the guys that Mighty Joe Young pulled into the pond during the tug-of-war scene?

  19. Steve - Jan 15, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Yes, people have been doing stupid things for a long. In the first five years that coke was produced it had some real coke in it. I liked Steve Reeves movies when I was young and he was a body building champion in the late fourtys, early fiftys. If you have ever seen pictures of him you know what a fully developed body not on steroids looks like.

  20. Scott Simkus - Jan 16, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    And as every baseball history geek knows, Hackenschmidt is the guy for whom “Hack” Wilson was nicknamed.

  21. fish oil omega3 - Jan 16, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    I am a retired firefighter. Lately I am feeling degregationproblems with my memory and I am concerned about it. I was considering memory practice, or omega3 fish oil capsuls. What is the best bet?

  22. fish oil omega3 - Jan 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    I found a web site is China that sells those fish oil pills that take care of the fatty acids. I am not sure that they are safe to eat but I am tempted by the price. Any suggestion how to have better control over the quality of my diet supplements?

  23. fish oil omega3 - Jan 16, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    My it department forces us to use firewall software. The thing is that my google talk software does not perform well with it. How can I bypass the firewall to be able to chat with my friends?

  24. D'Angelo Barksdale - Jan 16, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    This fish oil stuff sounds awesome! Where can I get some? I never knew NBC was selling fish oil. Snake oil, yes.

  25. Old Gator - Jan 17, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Here’s a great way to get your Omega-3 (which has none of the downside of some other antioxidants, like, say, lycopene). Click on the link below – no, this isn’t just some more of my usual freeassociative and/or dissociative raving, it’s for real; a world class salmon smokery in Juneau, Alaska – and look up “salmon wings.” They’re smoked pectoral fins with the meat around the base of the fins, which are just loaded with Omega-3 & 5 (I don’t know if “Omega” has even integers; I know that salmon pot pi does not – at least so far):
    I was going to say that I discovered this place while out mammoth hunting with Todd Palin, but then you would have thought it was all a joke. But those of you from Alaska already know that Todd and Sarah never actually spent a day in Juneau in her entire life; they just sent that gal from Saturday Night Live.

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