NEW YORK – Jose Canseco’s autobiography accusing several top players of steroid use and charging that baseball long ignored peformance-enhancing drugs appeared to be a hit on its first day in bookstores.
Amazon.com listed “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big” as third on its best seller list Monday.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing, obviously, because it’s bringing a bad light to the game,” New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter said Monday. “This is a time, obviously, baseball is in a negative light and Jose is not helping out.
“In terms of his accusations, the only people that know are him and whoever he is accusing. The unfortunate thing is, if it’s not true, you’re looking at guys having to defend themselves over something they haven’t done.”
Mark McGwire, one of the former teammates Canseco accused of using steroids, issued a written denial.
“The relationship that these allegations portray couldn’t be further from the truth,” the statement said.
“Most concerning to me is the negative effect that sensationalizing steroids will have on impressionable youngsters who dream of one day becoming professional athletes. Once and for all I did not use steroids or any other illegal substance.”
In the book, Canseco is an unabashed advocate of performance-enhancing drugs.
“By the time my 8-year-old daughter, Josie, has graduated from high school, a majority of all professional athletes – in all sports – will be taking steroids. And believe it or not, that’s good news,” he writes. “I have no doubt whatsoever that intelligent, informed use of steroids, combined with Human Growth Hormone, will one day be so accepted that everybody will be doing it. Steroid use will be more common than Botox is now. Every baseball player and pro athlete will be using at least low levels of steroids. As a result all sports will be more exciting and more entertaining.”
Canseco calls himself the “godfather of steroids in baseball,” saying “I single-handedly changed the game of baseball by introducing them into the game.”
He says both baseball management and the union tried to ignore their use.
“Are players the only ones to blame when Donald Fehr and the other bosses of the Major League Baseball Players Association fought for years to make sure players wouldn’t be tested for steroids?” he wrote. “Fehr had to know the truth.”
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who has said the sport’s leadership was unaware of possible steroid use until 1998, declined comment Monday.
Canseco expresses resentment at the way he was treated by management and the media.
“There was a huge double standard in baseball, and white athletes … were protected and coddled in a way that an outspoken Latino like me never would be,” he wrote. “Canseco the Cuban was left out in the cold, where racism and double standards rule.”
Canseco specifically took aim at former A’s teammate Jason Giambi and also devotes sections to players’ womanizing – including his own – and to umpires he calls “the most vengeful people you’ll ever meet,” saying they are on “power trips.”
He clearly has a high opinion of his performance, writing “I was hands down the best player in the world. No one even came close.
“I was created by the media. Back in the 1980s, I was like a rock star. Everywhere I went, I had to have bodyguards. I had it all: the body, the personality, everything.”
He blames baseball management for ending his career before he could reach 500 homers.
“The owners realized that they needed to put the kibosh on steroid use, or at least pretend to,” he wrote. “So they decided to send a loud message to all players, by getting rid of the player most closely identified with steroids: Jose Canseco.”