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savafan
11-27-2007, 03:28 AM
http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071127/SPORTS/711270344/1002/SPORTS

BY DAVID JONES
FLORIDA TODAY

With a federal indictment looming over Barry Bonds, the steroids issue casts a cloud over the game that continues to grow darker with each passing home run.

Was it real, or was it enhancements?

Larry Starr, a trainer for 30 years with the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins, was among those who tried to warn baseball almost two decades ago that trouble was brewing. Retired from the game and currently an assistant athletic director at Nova Southeastern, he laments if only those in charge had listened.

"Here's the thing that really bothers me," Starr said in a recent interview with FLORIDA TODAY. "They sit there, meaning the commissioner's office, Bud Selig and that group, and the players' association, Don Fehr and that group . . . they sit there and say, 'Well, now that we know that this happened we're going to do something about it.'

"I have notes from the Winter Meetings where the owners group and the players' association sat in meetings with the team physicians and team trainers. I was there. And team physicians stood up and said, 'Look, we need to do something about this. We've got a problem here if we don't do something about it.' That was in 1988."

A Starr witness

Today, a lot of people in baseball are very interested in listening to what Starr and some others have to say. The committee investigating the steroids issue headed by former Sen. George Mitchell has interviewed Starr four times, and he expects to be called again. Starr told FLORIDA TODAY there were some players on the Florida Marlins' team that won the franchise's first World Series in 1997 that used steroids.

While fans hear the names McGwire, Sosa and Bonds when the steroids issue is discussed, Starr's name is actually a very popular one with the committee trying to figure out just how rampant the problem is in baseball.

"I'm in a neat position after being in baseball for 30 years and not being involved in it now," Starr said.

He said he's very familiar "what elements came into the game" while he was in baseball.

While Starr won't name players' names, he did estimate to FLORIDA TODAY there were "some teams that had a high percentage" of players using steroids while he was still in the game.

"By high percentage, meaning 30 to 40 percent of the team might have been using," Starr said. "(But) some teams had maybe only one or two."

Starr was one of the most admired and respected trainers in baseball during his career. Through the years, he watched the steroid problem grow worse and worse. By the late '80s he was concerned.

Since baseball did not have drug testing, Starr said he felt frustrated. He didn't feel like he could protect the players from themselves or those pushing steroids on the athletes. So he took a different stance. He tried to help them as much as he could when they had problems with the performance enhancers some experimented with.

Tried to help

"My whole thing is, I don't totally blame the players," Starr said. "They didn't abuse the system. They used the system. The system was such that there was no testing so . . . the bad thing was it really put the medical people in a bad situation. If we couldn't test, there was no way we could accuse somebody point blank that they were using some type of performance-enhancing substance."

Starr said he first realized a player was using steroids on the Reds in 1984.

"Here's the position I took," he said. "If I can't test, if I can't do anything objective with them, what I told my players was come on in (the training room). If you've got any questions, we'll close the door, close the blinds, there will be no papers, no pencils and what do you want to know. And I'd tell them everything I knew."

Several players came to Starr after their bodies had strange reactions to steroids, and he tried to guide them. With so much money in the game, it was only logical there would be a lot of experimentation. And it continued when he left Cincinnati to join the expansion Marlins in the 1990s.

"When Mark McGwire was discovered taking androstenedione, when that hit ESPN, four players walked into my office within an hour and asked, 'Where can I get androstenedione,' " Starr said.

By the late '80s, he estimates that "20-30 percent" of the big-league players were using steroids.

"If Mark McGwire's hitting home runs out of the stadium, wouldn't you want to do the same thing?" Starr said. "Especially when this stuff came from GNC, and they weren't told they couldn't use it. They weren't told they couldn't use steroids. So why not? Especially when people that were selling it to them were telling them there were no harmful effects."

Starr has refused to give the Mitchell committee the names of any players who used steroids, but he's been asked many times in subtle ways, "What about this guy?"

Lamenting failures

Starr remembers one player who ended the season in 1989 weighing 171 pounds. In the spring, the same player reported to camp weighing 205, and his body fat had actually dropped from eight percent to 5.8. That was one of the moments that frightened him the most -- a player who was obviously loaded with performance enhancers to a dangerous point.

He still thinks about some of those players he tried to help when they were in the middle of all the experimenting that has gone on in the past 20 years or so in baseball and worries about the possible long-term ramifications -- both to the game and the individuals' bodies.

"One year, we did a little survey (among the big-league trainers), and we got 20 names of players who gained anywhere from 35 to 50 pounds, and their body mass index went down," Starr said. "That's almost impossible. . . . My job was to keep people healthy, my job was to keep people from injuring themselves. I couldn't do that. I wasn't able to do the things I could do to protect these guys."

Jpup
11-27-2007, 04:53 AM
WOW. This entire saga is getting uglier by the moment. I think baseball is digging up things it really doesn't want to become public knowledge. It's sad. :(

savafan
11-27-2007, 05:02 AM
That player in 1989 would have been a Red...I'm trying to remember back to my 12 year old self and think of who it might have been. Dibble's the first name that comes to mind, but that's mainly because he threw that ball in the stands and hit the woman in the chest.

camisadelgolf
11-27-2007, 05:04 AM
Here's another good Starr thread, just in case you haven't yet read it and are interested:
http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32504

Jpup
11-27-2007, 05:24 AM
That player in 1989 would have been a Red...I'm trying to remember back to my 12 year old self and think of who it might have been. Dibble's the first name that comes to mind, but that's mainly because he threw that ball in the stands and hit the woman in the chest.

Dibble has continuously talked like he has never touched the stuff. I can't listen to him much, but he acts like he's innocent.

I just read that other thread and the consensus back then was that it was Kal Daniels. Not a suprise, but I sure didn't think of such things when I was 8 years old. (1988). As long as it wasn't Davis, I'm good. I would have to rethink my childhood if it was.

Sabo Fan
11-27-2007, 07:12 AM
Dibble has continuously talked like he has never touched the stuff. I can't listen to him much, but he acts like he's innocent.

I just read that other thread and the consensus back then was that it was Kal Daniels. Not a suprise, but I sure didn't think of such things when I was 8 years old. (1988). As long as it wasn't Davis, I'm good. I would have to rethink my childhood if it was.

Same here on Eric Davis. I really don't think it was him though, as I remember Davis was a twig for the vast majority of his playing days. There was just nowhere to put additional muscle on that body.

Kal Daniels makes sense. What about Glenn Braggs? I only remember him as being huge so I guess I assumed he was always that big.

MrCinatit
11-27-2007, 08:01 AM
For some reasons, when I saw Starr was aware of an '84 Red taking steroids, the first names to pop into my mind were Dave Parker, Paul Householder and Brad Leslie.
Honestly, not sure why.

But for us to think steroids is only a recent problem is foolhardy. Remember, Tom House said steroids were very popular in the '60s and '70s.

wheels
11-27-2007, 09:32 AM
Same here on Eric Davis. I really don't think it was him though, as I remember Davis was a twig for the vast majority of his playing days. There was just nowhere to put additional muscle on that body.

Kal Daniels makes sense. What about Glenn Braggs? I only remember him as being huge so I guess I assumed he was always that big.

Braggs wasn't a Red until midway through the 1990 season, but I'd bet he was on something.

The numbers that really had me thinking were 171 lbs, 5.8% body fat.....I really hope it wasn't Davis.

The thing that really bothers me about this is the long term health of some of the players I grew up watching. I really don't want to see Eric Davis wasting away a la Lyle Alzado. That would totally break my heart.

Something about Eric's overall demeanor and personality leads me to believe he wouldn't touch the stuff, though.

wheels
11-27-2007, 09:35 AM
Oh yeah, another thing.

If someone trains correctly, they don't even need that stuff. Yeah, it takes longer to net results, but that's a good thing. The faster a guy grows muscle, the more chance there is for ligament and joint damage. The body just can't withstand rapid muscle growth. At least, that's what my trainers tell me.

D-Man
11-27-2007, 10:01 AM
The numbers that really had me thinking were 171 lbs, 5.8% body fat.....I really hope it wasn't Davis.

If you re-read the quote, it is 171 lbs. and 8 percent body fat in 1988, 205 lbs. and 5 percent in 1989. Eric Davis *never* weighed 205, so it wasn't him.

Kal Daniels certainly fits the profile, though.

westofyou
11-27-2007, 10:04 AM
Starr remembers one player who ended the season in 1989 weighing 171 pounds. In the spring, the same player reported to camp weighing 205, and his body fat had actually dropped from eight percent to 5.8. That was one of the moments that frightened him the most -- a player who was obviously loaded with performance enhancers to a dangerous point.

Good lord, not this quote again...

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32504

Mario-Rijo
11-27-2007, 05:15 PM
Starr first became aware of a player using steroids in 1988. The player asked him about potentially harmful side effects after he reported to spring training 30 pounds heavier with nearly three percent less body fat.

Starr warned the player about the possibility of liver problems and kidney damage. He said so little was known about the effects of steroid abuse that he couldn't predict how the drug might impact the player in later years.

The player used steroids despite Starr's warnings and had a productive season. The player used steroids to prolong his career, but a series of injuries, which may have been steroid-related, ended it.

I would hope I'm wrong but everything about that too me screams Eric Davis.

RedsManRick
11-27-2007, 05:17 PM
Why do I get the feeling that Selig is tying the noose by which he'll hang?

LINEDRIVER
11-27-2007, 07:47 PM
Eric Davis??? I would of guessed Lenny Harris or Chris Sabo before Eric Davis.

Chip R
11-27-2007, 08:06 PM
I would hope I'm wrong but everything about that too me screams Eric Davis.


Except the part about gaining 30 lbs.

RedsManRick
11-27-2007, 09:13 PM
Daniels makes all kind of sense, but he was traded to the Dodgers during the 89 season.

How about Spuds? He had a bit of an attitude problem IIRC and he saw a power spike in 1990 and 1991 before his career petered out due to injury and ineffectiveness. He ended up getting caught corking his bat during his 1996 comeback attempt. Hardly a saint and fits the profile.

Chip R
11-29-2007, 02:55 PM
Looks like names will be named in the Mitchell report.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071129/ts_alt_afp/baseballusadopingangels

Unassisted
12-15-2007, 12:38 AM
http://www.journal-news.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2007/12/14/ddn121507starrweb.html



Starr says MLB trainers raised steroid problem in 1988

By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Friday, December 14, 2007

Those who watched The Big Red Machine dominate baseball in the mid-1970s knew a small-statured guy who wore red pants and a white shirt with scissors strapped in a leather holster on his hip.

He was recognized by everybody when he ran onto the field — Larry Starr, team trainer for the Cincinnati Reds from 1972 to 1992.

Starr knows a thing or four about anabolic steroids. He has done three papers on the subject, has 800 pages of notes and is writing on the subject for his doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he is an assistant athletic director these days.

It was no surprise that George Mitchell and his investigators came calling during baseball's steroids investigation, and Starr cooperated. He gave no names, just information, during four meetings with Mitchell, three telephone calls and visits from two attorneys.

"They asked me the first time I thought I saw somebody doing steroids," said Starr. "I never ever saw anybody actually take them. But you'd have to live in Siberia to not know it was going on. The first player I saw was in 1984. Well, his body changed dramatically over the winter. He put on a lot of weight but was much leaner, and that's impossible to do naturally. He had acne. He had specific injuries. His power performance increased dramatically."

Starr refused to name names because he had no proof, but he's satisfied with the Mitchell report because he said there is documented proof with canceled checks and money orders. He said he had empirical evidence — the body changes of players, some on the 1997 Florida Marlins World Series champions — but he had no pure evidence.

"At least they are getting the message out, especially to young people who consider these guys role models," said Starr. "It is embarrassing to these players to be named, and I feel sorry for them, but they brought it upon themselves and should have better managed themselves."

What bothers Starr is that trainers for major-league teams tried to warn baseball as far back as 1988.

"During the winter meetings, we had the commissioner, baseball officials and players' union officials at our trainers and physicians meetings," said Starr. "We told them we had a problem and we needed testing. I still have the notes.

"The commissioner would say, 'Yes, we need testing, but the players' union won't let us.' And the players union would say, 'We agree that we need testing, but we're afraid the owners will use it against the players — punish them and cut their salaries and eliminate them from jobs.' So it went nowhere," said Starr.

Starr said although he is out of baseball now after serving as trainer for the Marlins for nine years, he feels guilty.

"Yes, I do feel guilty," he said. "Our job is to do no harm to the players. Our job is to protect the players from harm and put them at no risk."

He said he couldn't do that while with the Reds and Marlins because there was no testing, nowhere to turn.

"Players would come to me and ask, 'Can I do steroids?' What could I tell them? We needed to educate them. I'd talk to them, advise them. But they'd just go elsewhere," said Starr.

Starr said he remembers how players on other teams would leave the clubhouse to watch Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa take batting practice, "Because they all knew what they were doing and wanted to see the results."

Starr pointed out the change in home runs in the latest era — baseball had only three 50-homer seasons from 1962-94, but there have been 23 50-homer seasons in the past 13 years.

"To me, here is a big factor," Starr said. "If we had told them for sure before they took steroids that they would get kidney disease, liver disease and women's breasts when they were offered the needles, I'm not sure most guys would do it."

Starr agrees with Mitchell that players in the report should not be punished, that it is time to go forward and says, "I still love baseball. I'm out of the game so I can say things people still in it can't say. I do know the game is resilient and I don't think this is going to hurt it."

What Starr finds ironic is that baseball didn't react until Jose Canseco named names in his book, "Juiced".

"Of all the guys who you would least expect to have credibility? I mean, Jose Canseco? We all know what a piece of work he is with his steroid usage. But who's more credible? Who's more credible about alcohol than an alcoholic? All this is not pretty, but let's hope more positive comes out of it than negative."