October, 1988 — Washington Post baseball writer Thomas Boswell claims Jose Canseco is “the most conspicuous example of a player who has made himself great with steroids.” Canseco, coming off the first 40 home run-40 steal season in baseball history, denies using steroids before Game 1 of the ALCS at Fenway Park. The Athletics slugger wins the MVP award.
Nov. 18, 1988 — The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 creates 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.”
Oct. 5, 1990 — Congress toughens its stance with the Anabolic Steroids Control Act, which places steroids in the same legal class as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine.
June 7, 1991 — Commissioner Fay Vincent sends a memo to each team announcing that steroids have been added to the league’s banned list. No testing plan is announced.
May 7, 1992 — Trainer Curtis Wenzlaff is arrested for steroids distribution. Wenzlaff later publicly admits helping Canseco and 20 to 30 other major leaguers obtain steroids, but refuses to discuss another former client, Mark McGwire.
July 15, 1995 — In an article by Los Angeles Times sports writer Bob Nightengale, Padres general manager Randy Smith is quoted as saying “we all know there’s steroid use, and it is definitely becoming more prevalent.” Also in the article, Tony Gwynn states: “It’s like the big secret we’re not supposed to talk about.”
1996 — Three teams — Baltimore, Seattle and Oakland — break 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.
Aug. 22, 1998 — A jar of androstenedione is discovered in the locker of Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, who, along with Sammy Sosa, is chasing Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark of 61. McGwire admits using the drug and goes on to hit a record 70 home runs. The precursor to steroids is not yet illegal in Major League Baseball.
April, 2001 — Baseball implements its first random drug-testing program in the minor leagues. All players not on a team’s 40-man roster are subject to random testing for performance-enhancing drugs. The penalty for a first positive test is 15 games. Players testing positive five times will receive a lifetime ban.
Oct. 5, 2001 — Barry Bonds breaks McGwire’s mark with his 71st home run off Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers. The 37-year-old, who has never hit 50 in a season before, goes on to hit 73.
May 28, 2002 — Ken Caminiti is quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying he used steroids during his MVP season in 1996 with the San Diego Padres, when he hit a career-high .326 with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs. He estimates half the players in the big leagues were using them.
Aug. 7, 2002 — Players and owners agree 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 are positive in 2003 or 2004, players would be randomly tested for a two-year period. Players won’t be punished for testing positive.
Feb. 17, 2003 — Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler collapses on the field during a workout in Florida and dies from heat exhaustion. The medical examiner finds ephedra in his system. The league places ephedra on the list of banned drugs at the minor league level.
Oct. 29, 2003 — Less than two weeks after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says several track athletes tested positive for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), baseball places the drug on its testing list for 2004. The league is barred from retroactively retesting 2003 urine samples by its own agreement.
Nov. 13, 2003 — The league announces 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. A first offense will lead to counseling and a second offense to a 15-day suspension.
December 2003 — Ten players, including Bonds of the Giants and Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield of the Yankees, are called to testify in front of a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), founded by Victor Conte.
Feb. 12, 2004 — Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny are charged in a 42-count federal indictment of running a steroid-distribution ring that provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of athletes.
April 12, 2004 — The Food and Drug Administration bans the sale of androstenedione, the steroid precursor used by Mark McGwire while setting the home run record in 1998. The FDA action automatically triggers a ban by baseball.
June, 2004 — The league begins testing major leaguers. Punishment for a first offense includes counseling, and names of offenders are to be kept anonymous.
Oct. 22, 2004 — President Bush signs the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 into law. The bill adds many steroid-based drugs such as androstenedione to the list of steroids classified as Schedule III controlled substances. All drugs banned by Congress are added to baseball’s banned list.
Dec. 2, 2004 — The San Francisco Chronicle reports Giambi testified to a federal grand jury on Dec. 11, 2003, that he had used steroids for at least three seasons and had injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003.
Dec. 3, 2004 — The San Francisco Chronicle reports Bonds testified to a federal grand jury on Dec. 4, 2003, that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by Anderson, but said he didn’t know they were steroids.
Jan. 13, 2005 — Players and owners reach new drug-testing agreement calling for more banned substances and for a 10-day penalty for first-time offenders. Under the agreement, players failing drug tests will have their names released to the public.
Baseball's steroid scandal
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The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.