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STEROID REPORT LISTS LINEUP OF ALL-STARS

The report: Performance-enhancing drugs are baseball's biggest problem since 1919.

Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars - one for every position - and that still wasn't the worst of it for the long-awaited Mitchell report.

That infamy belonged to Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his era:The Steroids Era.

Once a lock for the Hall of Fame, Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In all, Thursday's 409-page report identified 85 names to differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his lawyer, Clemens was the symbol.

No current Rays players were named in the report. Six players who have played with Tampa Bay were named, the most prominent being Jose Canseco, who played here in 1999 and 2000 and admitted steroid use long ago.

Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Tampa native Gary Sheffield and Andy Pettitte also showed up in the game's most infamous lineup since the 1919 Black Sox gambling scandal.

"If there are problems, I wanted them revealed," commissioner Bud Selig said. "His report is a call to action, and I will act."

Doping was widespread by stars as well as scrubs, the report said, putting a question mark if not an asterisk next to baseball records and threatening the integrity of the game itself.

Some players were linked to human growth hormone, others to steroids. Mitchell did not delve into stimulants.

"Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball of Hall of Fame," Mitchell wrote. "They include both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as diverse as those of all major league players."

No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.

At 45, Clemens has not said whether he hopes to pitch next season.

The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. While a few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal proceedings, many of the instances cited by Mitchell were before drug testing began in 2003.

Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come "swiftly" on a case-by-case basis.

"We have approached these cases by looking at the period of time during which the conduct occurred and what our policy looked like for that point in time," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations.

While the records will surely stand, several stars could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.

Blame all around

Mitchell said that the problems didn't develop overnight and that there was plenty of blame to go around.

"Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades - commissioners, club officials, the players' association and players - shares to some extent the responsibility for the Steroids Era," Mitchell said. "There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on."

Mitchell recommended that the drug-testing program be made independent, that a list of the substances players test positive for be listed periodically and that the timing of testing be more unpredictable.

"The illegal use of performance-enhancing substances poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game," the report said. "Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records."

Canseco, whose book Juiced was cited throughout, was mentioned the most often - 105 times. Bonds was next at 103.

A total of 16 Yankees, past and present, were identified. Players were linked to doping in various ways - some were identified as users, some as buyers and some by media reports and other investigations.

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said, "It is very unfair to include Roger's name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse."

Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski also provided information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids case.

'Serious challenge'

"Former commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the problem of performance-enhancing substances may be the most serious challenge that baseball has faced since the 1919 Black Sox scandal," Mitchell said.

"We identify some of the players who were caught up in this drive to gain a competitive advantage," the report said. "Other investigations will no doubt turn up more names and fill in more details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the description of baseball's 'Steroids Era' as set forth in this report."

One player mentioned but not expressly accused was McGwire. His use of Androstenedione during his 1998 home run race with Sammy Sosa set off baseball's first concerns about steroids.

Testifying before Congress in 2005, McGwire refused to talk about his past, and refused as well to cooperate with Mitchell. The report recounts all that without making any accusations.

Sosa, who testified with McGwire and denied knowingly using steroids, also was spared by Mitchell.

Mitchell questioned whether players were tipped off about testing. He said a former player, whom he didn't identify, claimed he had been given two weeks' notice of a drug test by Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official, in September 2004. Orza did not respond to a message seeking comment.

"The players' union was largely uncooperative for reasons that I thought were largely understandable," Mitchell said.

Union head Donald Fehr made "no apologies" for the way they represented players.

"Many players are named. Their reputations have been adversely affected, probably forever," he said. "Even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been."

Certainly a lot of people read the names. The report was downloaded 1.8-million times off MLB.com in the first three hours after it was posted.

About two hours after the report was released, two congressmen at the forefront of Capitol Hill's involvement in the steroids issue asked Mitchell, Selig and Fehr to testify at a House committee hearing next Tuesday.

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