Amphetamine Use in MLB: DA Jack McCoy charges Bud Selig with "depraved indifference"

Since 1998, when he was anointed Commissioner by his “owners,” Bud Selig turned a deaf ear to the rampant use of amphetamines in baseball.  If this were an episode of “Law & Order,” DA Jack McCoy might charge Alan Selig with “depraved indifference”— a felony in New York.

Specifically, McCoy might have used the term “reckless endangerment,” to define a behavior that knowingly places persons under his jurisdiction in danger; specifically: damage to health of employees, or even death.

“”In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.” [dunk…dunk…]

McCoy:  And, Commissioner Selig.…When did you first become aware that amphetamines have been classified by the federal government as a controlled substance; that it has been a federal crime since 1970 to use them without a prescription?

B.S.:  Um…well, I first heard about the use of “greenies” in the late Fifties…

[Selig has said he first heard about greenies in the old Milwaukee Braves clubhouses in the late 1950s.]

B.S.: Amphetamines have been around in baseball for “seven or eight decades.”

[Amphetamines were widely known as the first "performance enhancing drug" and B.S., while Commissioner of MLB,  admitted, in an official statement, that  they have been around in baseball for "seven or eight decades."]


McCoy: Yet, while you served as Commissioner,  during the period from 1998 to November, 2005, you ignored the physical dangers created by amphetamine use to the players under your jurisdiction. And the illegality from 1998 to November, 2005:  for nearly seven years, you were recklessly indifferent.

B.S.:  Um…well…

McCoy:  Furthermore, Mr. Selig, you neglected your duty, as Commissioner, to report illegal activity to law enforcement. Isn’t it true that, for nearly seven years, you were recklessly indifferent to the illegal use of amphetamines by players under your jurisdiction?

B.S.:  First, let me point out that I am still Commissioner and…

McCoy:  Yes, and, as Commissioner, did you issue an official statement from your office in June, 2007, that stated, quote:

“Any admission regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances, no matter how casual, must be taken seriously.”?

B.S.:  Um…well…yes…

McCoy:  In writing, you state that “any admission…no matter how casual…must be taken seriously,” but, in practice, you ignored public statements, even entire books, that shouted loudly about the widespread use of illegal performance-enhancing substances—specifically: amphetamines…

B.S.:  But, during those seven years, amphetamines were not banned by MLB…

McCoy:  Not banned by the Commissioner of Baseball…YOU!  But, while Commissioner, weren’t you aware that they were “banned” by the Federal government since 1970?

B.S.:  Well, I think it was Giamatti who…

McCoy:  Did you read the book Clearing the Bases?

B.S.:  I can’t remember.

McCoy:  In March 2007, in his book, Clearing the Bases, HOF inductee Mike Schmidt wrote:

“[amphetamines] Have been around the game forever. In my day, they were readily available in major league clubhouses.” He even wrote that some players got them legally via prescription then shared them with teammates. According to Schmidt, “Amphetamine use in baseball is both far more common and has been going on a lot longer than steroid abuse.”

 Mr. Selig, as Commissioner, weren’t you at least aware of the charges made in the book that were widely published in all the major newspapers and broadcast on major news networks?

B.S.:  Well, I might have been told about it by staff…

McCoy:  And in 2003, were you not aware that HOFer Tony Gwynn spoke openly about, the use of amphetamines; estimating that 50 percent of position players were using them routinely, many of them before almost every game?

B.S.:  Well, I might have been told about it by staff…I can’t read every paper…

McCoy:  The New York Times?  Alright, during your tenure as Commissioner of Baseball, from 1998 to 2012, did you take any formal actions regarding the use of illegal and harmful amphetamines?

B.S.:  Yes! In 2008 I handed out exemptions to 7.86 percent of MLB players, allowing them to use amphetamines citing ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] as the reason.

McCoy:  Did you know that studies show that just 3-5% of children are diagnosed with ADD and typically outgrow the problem before adulthood?

B.S.:  Well in 2006 only a few, maybe 20-somethings exemptions were granted …

McCoy:  But, the following year, 2007, you granted 103 exemptions and hasn’t that number remained near 100 ever since?

B.S.:  Yes, technically, I did.  But , an expert panel reviews each application and makes recommendations to baseball’s independent program administrator, but that is after an independent psychiatrist recommends ADD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment.

McCoy:  When you became Commissioner in 1998, were you aware that—ten years earlier– Nov. 18, 1988 — when you were a team owner, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 created criminal penalties for those who “distribute or possess anabolic steroids with the intent to distribute for any use in humans other than the treatment of disease based on the order of a physician.”?

B.S.:  Well, I…um…the memory isn’t what it used to be…

McCoy:  Can you recall that in October, 1990 when you were a team owner, Congress toughened its stance with the Anabolic Steroids Control Act, and placed steroids in the same legal class as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine?

B.S.:  Well, I…um…the memory isn’t what it used to be…

McCoy:  Well, I don’t need SABR or Bill James to do the math for me; eight years after this law went into effect, when you became Commissioner, amphetamines were being used right under your nose.  And it took another 15 years for you to finally ban them in baseball.

B.S.:  Well, the players union and Fehr…

McCoy:  How about June 7, 1991, when Commissioner Fay Vincent sent a memo to each MLB team—including yours– announcing that steroids have been added to the league’s banned list.  You were an owner at that time: did you read that memo?

B.S.:  Well, I…um…the memory isn’t what it used to be…but, I do recall that there were no penalties listed….

McCoy:  In 1996, when you were Acting Commissioner, did it seem odd to you that three teams — Baltimore, Seattle and Oakland — broke the single-season home run record. Seventeen players hit at least 40 home runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous high for a season was eight, back in 1961?

B.S.:  What year was that?

McCoy:  Do you recall that the late NL MVP Ken Caminiti told Sports Illustrated in 2002 that only one or two players per team competed without greenies?  Do you recall that he said, quite publicly:

“Greenies [were] easy to get…They cost two to three dollars a pill, and guys are buying thousands at a time.”?

B.S.:  Well there was some

McCoy:  Do you recall that, while you were Commissioner, hundreds of players turned to illegally obtained Ritalin, often prescribed for children with attention deficit disorder, and greenies, and Dexedrine and Adderall and that these drugs were illegally obtained through physicians or drug dealers?

B.S.: But, in 2005, we…

McCoy:  Do you recall that Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton first made MLB’s amphetamine usage public knowledge with his best-selling book Ball Four, published in 1970? And he later said, publicly, that in the 1970s,

“Half of the guys in the big leagues were taking greenies” ?

B.S.:  There were a lot of books written about baseball and…I can’t keep track of…

McCoy:  Are you aware that in 1995 the New York Public Library honored Ball Four as one of the greatest books published in the preceding century, alongside such books as Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.

Members of the general public, who were not into baseball, became aware of Bouton’s statements about the use of greenies in this best-seller [re-issued in 2000], but you

[Mumble heard from the Public section of the courtroom.]

[“...You wouldn’t have noticed,  if the cat shat in your hat, Bud…”]

Judge Hoffman:  That will be enough of that, Mr. Nash!

B.S.:   I banned the herbal stimulant ephedra in 2003…

[Mumble heard from the Public section of the courtroom.]

[“Only after it killed Baltimore pitcher, Steve Bechler, Bud…”]

Judge Hoffman:  That will be enough of that, Mr. Nash!  One more outburst and I will find you in contempt!

McCoy:  Yes, Commissioner, you did ban ephedra in 2003, but you left amphetamines, made illegal by Federal law since 1970, untouched.  Are you aware that experts believe that:

“they are way, way more dangerous,” than steroids?

B.S.:  Well now, steroids are…

McCoy:  In point of fact, regarding amphetamines, stimulant expert, Professor Charles Yesalis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“They can stone-cold kill you on the spot.”

B.S.:  Well there are experts…

McCoy: And, while you were Commissioner, when ratings and advertising revenue were rising through the ceiling, following the strike in 1994, when the homerun races, totals and a general aura of excitement pervaded the country, did you put the use of drugs on the back burner?  Did the profit motive dampen your enthusiasm for taking action against steroids or amphetamines?

B.S.:  The strike was… the union and…

McCoy:  And do you recall that, when you were Acting Commissioner, in Aug. 22, 1998 — a jar of androstenedione was discovered in the locker of the Cardinals’ Mark McGwire, who, along with he Cubs’ Sammy Sosa, was chasing Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark of 61?

B.S.: Well, you know: Maris did it with 8 extra games…

McCoy: But, Maris did it in fewer at bats than Ruth, Bud.  You could look it up…Yet, although androstenedione is the precursor to steroids, you were indifferent and took no action?

B.S.:  Yes, but in April, 2001 we implemented our first random drug-testing program. The penalty for a first positive test is 15 games. Players testing positive five times will receive a lifetime ban.

McCoy:  Oh! For Major League players?

B.S.:  No, for the Minor leagues…But, on Aug. 7, 2002, players and owners agreed to their first joint drug program since 1985, calling for anonymous testing to begin in 2003. If more than five percent of the steroid tests were positive in 2003 or 2004, players would be randomly tested for a two-year period.

McCoy:  And, were the players punished for testing positive?

B.S.:  No…that was a detail that needed further study.  But, on Nov. 13, 2003 — the league announced that of 1,438 anonymous tests in the 2003 season, between five and seven percent were positive, triggering the start of random testing with penalties in 2004.

McCoy:  Ah, finally, after five years! And what was the penalty for a first offense?

B.S.: Mandatory counseling.

McCoy:  Mandatory counseling…I see…And what was the penalty for a second offense?

B.S.: A 15-day suspension.

McCoy:  Did you know that citizens, who are not in Major League Baseball , could be sent to prison for 6 months for a second amphetamine offense?

B.S.:  But, on Nov. 15, 2005 the players and owners agreed to my 50-game, 100-game, and a lifetime structure for penalties. And the union agreed to stricter drug policy. We banned three-time violators for life; including amphetamines.

McCoy:  2005…Yes, and that was SEVEN years, after you became Commissioner! Did you know that citizens, who are not in Major League Baseball, who illegally use amphetamines could be sent to prison for 18 months for a third offense?

B.S.:  Well, the point is that I was taking action…

McCoy:  Taking “action”? Wasn’t it more like “motions” than “actions”?  Slow motion?

B.S.:  But, Mr. McCoy,  I am still Commissioner!

McCoy: Remarkable!

[After final commercial break.]

Judge Hoffman:  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?


Q:  If you had been a juror in this fictional Law & Order case:  The People vs. Commissioner Bud B.S., charged with reckless endangerment of MLB players and depraved indifference, how would you have voted?


“Greenies” were green tablets openly available in all MLB locker rooms from the 1940s until 2005, when Commissioner; they are   amphetamines, commonly used by baseball players, including many Hall of Fame inductees. “Greenies” speed up the heart rate, increase alertness, sharpen the reaction time, and help to fight fatigue; they are addictive and have been known to cause strokes and heart attacks, and deaths.

Amphetamines obscure pain, and while this is commonly listed as a performance-enhancing benefit, masking pain may be more performance-impairing than performance-enhancing.  Amphetamines can encourage athletes to ignore injuries, thus compounding the severity of these injuries.

The medical risks of taking amphetamines include hypertension, stroke, glucose intolerance, paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions, heart rhythm abnormalities, heatstroke, cardiac arrest and sudden death.

The use of amphetamines can have adverse effects on your psychological health. Chronic use of this drug has been proven to cause psychosis in many users, causing them to hallucinate, become delusional and even do repetitive actions. In some cases, those who have been using amphetamine regularly, develop anxiety or mood disorders and even sexual dysfunction.

“There are a lot of properties of Adderall – it masks pain and fatigue, increases arousal, which in sports is known as ‘being in the zone,’ it improves reaction time, alertness, and may increase acceleration speed,” said Dr. Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the banned-substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency.


[NOTICE TO LITERALISTS AND MORONS: Whilst the above article may not seem funny, it is intended to be humorous. All characters and surnames appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or undead, as well as souls inhabiting bodies, is purely coincidental.  All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental, and should not be construed. Any resemblance between the characters in this article and any persons, or body, living or dead, is a miracle.]

Image created by Earl Nash on Photoshop; Original raphic source:


Tags: Amphetamines BALL FOUR Bud Selig Commissioner Of Baseball Home Run Record Jack McCoy Jim Bouton Keith Law Ken Caminiti Law & Order MLB Commissioner Roger Maris Steroids Steve Belcher Tony Gwynn

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