I’m from St. Louis, Missouri and a huge sports fan. Yes, that means I barrack (Australian for root) for the Cardinals. There is a moderately big story in Cardinal-land today.
Jack Clark recently mentioned on his radio show that Albert Pujols used steroids. Clark claims he knows this because Pujols trainer told him so thirteen years ago. The trainer denies this conversation took place.
Clark is a former player who came to the Cardinals late in his career and helped the team to two World Series appearances in 1985 and 1987. He retired in 1992. Pujols was the star player for the Cardinals from 2001 to 2011 after which he signed a large contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
I’ve mentioned my belief that most players are using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in a number of blogs. I would not be at all surprised to find that Pujols was among those doing so.
That being said, Clark’s story raises a number of red flags in my mind. Clark claims Pujols’ trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, and he worked together in 2000 and that Mihlfeld asked Clark if he wanted to use steroids. According to Clark, Mihlfeld at that time told him that Pujols was using them.
My first red-flag is that Clark had been retired for eight years and was forty-four years old at that time. It’s certainly possible Mihlfeld was just looking for a new customer but it seems odd to ask a player retired that long if they wanted to use steroids. Pujols was a minor league player that year.
My second red-flag is that Clark waited for thirteen years to reveal this information. He says, “I really never thought too much about it because steroids were really not on my radar screen at that time.” Possibly true, but five years later in 2005 Jose Canseco wrote his tell-all book, Juiced. Pretty much from that moment forward PEDs have been on everyone’s radar. For the last eight years Clark has been keeping this conversation secret. That just seems very odd to me. Particular so because in 2010 Clark had strong words for Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmiero, Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. Not a word about Pujols, the reigning MVP in the National League.
My third red-flag is that Clark recently became host of his own radio talk show and when it comes to radio talk shows; outrageous statements that get you noticed are almost a requirement for success.
My fourth red-flag is that Clark also accused pitcher Jason Verlander of PED use based on the “evidence” that Verlander lost velocity on his fastball after signing a big contract.
On the other side, Mihlfeld did work with a pitcher named Jason Grimley who admitted to steroid use. Mihlfeld was thought to be part of that case and but this proved to be false.
As to Clark’s character there isn’t a lot good to say. He said some awful things about Tony Gwynn in 1990. He likewise said terrible things about San Diego Padre manager Greg Riddoch.
I’m certainly not saying Pujols didn’t use steroids, I’m just saying Clark is not a trustworthy source of information. As much as I think most of the players are using PEDs; I don’t think it’s right to call them guilty without evidence. To let hearsay destroy a career.
To my mind, there is no way Clark could have gone thirteen years without mentioning this to people. PEDs have been big news for a long time. I’d like to see if anyone comes forward confirm that Clark has told this story before. If not, I think it’s pretty scummy of Clark to make such an accusation to promote his radio show.
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