The not-so-surprising revelation that A-Rod took performance enhancing drugs for a few years, along with the information that upwards of 100 other players tested positive in 2003 brings up many issues and questions, but I just want to focus on one. Are there any pure home-run hitters left out there that are above suspicion of steroid use?
I'm writing this without doing any research and I'm just using memory and common sense, so let me know who I have missed in the comments. I have no idea who is above suspicion anymore. I think for a while, A-Rod got a pass. Then came Canseco's comments and what seemed like a shifting of public perception about baseball players and steroids in general.
So here are some names to think about: Pujols, Ortiz, Thome, Howard, Morneau, Andruw Jones, and Griffey. These are some of the better home run hitters of the last ten years; are any of them really above suspicion? A lot of these guys, most notably the first four, have typically avoided too much scrutiny because they have always been huge. Thome in particular just has that country strong look, while Pujols was a big guy putting up big numbers consistently.
Griffey seems to be the one that would surprise people the most in the group. His body has obviously gone through physical changes, but how much is simply aging? Plus, Griffey has been hurt an awful lot during his career and has had trouble coming back from those, something not typical of PED users.
Then you have another group of guys who don't look the part of a steroid user: Soriano, Utley, Luis Gonzalez, and Torii Hunter. What about these guys though? A-Rod seemed to fool people with a slow progression from slender to roided, could these guys be doing the same?
The ramifications of this era are yet to be seen. What will be the effect on the record books? Public perception? We'll see, but for now I think it's safe to say that after A-Rod and especially if this 2003 list is released in its entirety, no one will be immune from speculation the shadow of doubt will be cast over all players. Even you David Eckstein! Just kidding. But maybe.