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View Full Version : Tom House, Steroids and the Seventies



westofyou
03-03-2010, 03:22 PM
Saw this today on WIKI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_House



House has admitted to using steroids in the 1970s, making him one of the earliest players to admit to using performance-enhancing drugs. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he described his use of steroids as "a failed experiment", although he increased from around 190 pounds to around 220 while using them. He viewed the experience as a failure since the extra muscle did not enhance his substandard 82-MPH fastball, while the drugs contributed to knee problems, eventually necessitating a total of seven operations. He claims to have stopped using them after learning about the potential long-term effects of steroid use in college classes during the off-season.

House has stated that "six or seven" pitchers on every major league staff in the 1970s were "fiddling" with steroids or human growth hormone. He attributes players' willingness to experiment with performance-enhancing substances to the permissiveness of the drug culture of the 1960s, and he believes that steroid use has declined in major league baseball since the 1970s, as players have become more aware of the potential long-term drawbacks.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/05/03/SPGSTCJ0SK1.DTL




House a 'failed experiment' with steroids
Ron Kroichick, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 3, 2005


Tom House was a modestly built left-handed relief pitcher with a below-average fastball. He also used steroids.

In a vivid illustration of the long history of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball -- and how they tempted more than hulking power hitters --

House acknowledged trying steroids for "a couple of seasons" during his playing days. He was drafted by Atlanta in 1967 and spent eight years (1971- 78) in the majors.

House, later an accomplished pitching coach with Texas and now co-founder of the National Pitching Association near San Diego, said performance- enhancing drugs were widespread in baseball in the 1960s and '70s. He and his teammates laughed and rationalized losses by saying, "We didn't get beat, we got out-milligrammed. And when you found out what they were taking, you started taking them."

House described the dynamic as similar to the majors in recent years: Players knew their competition had chemical help and felt compelled to keep pace. He said he and several teammates used amphetamines (known as "greenies"), human growth hormone and "whatever steroid" they could find.

"I pretty much popped everything cold turkey," House said in a phone interview. "We were doing steroids they wouldn't give to horses. That was the '60s, when nobody knew. The good thing is, we know now. There's a lot more research and understanding. ...

"I'd like to say we were smart, but we didn't know what was going on. We were at the tail end of a generation that wasn't afraid to ingest anything. As research showed up, guys stopped."

House was listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, and he ballooned to 215 or 220 while on steroids. He blamed the increased weight for putting additional wear and tear on his knees; he had five surgeries on his right knee and two on his left.

House estimated that six or seven pitchers on every staff were "fiddling" with steroids or growth hormone. He said the drugs and devoted conditioning improved his recovery, but his velocity didn't budge.

"I tried everything known to man to improve my fastball and it still didn't go faster than 82 miles per hour," House said. "I was a failed experiment."

House, now 58, might be best known for catching Hank Aaron's 715th home run on April 8, 1974, in the Braves' bullpen at old Fulton County Stadium. He later pitched for Boston and Seattle, finishing his career at 29-23 with a 3. 79 ERA.

He stopped using steroids, he said, because he went to school every offseason and learned about their potentially damaging long-term effects. House became nervous about shortening his life, not his career.

Now he passes along these lessons to the young pitchers he tutors.

"As an instructor, I'm about as anti-steroid as you can be, not through research but through first-hand knowledge," House said. "I try to aim people toward research and make it clear it's an unacceptable choice. It's OK to ask questions, but it's not OK to experiment."

He worries about high school kids with little or no understanding of the risks involved. His concern is especially acute because he lives and works near San Diego, only a short drive from the accessible pharmacies of Tijuana.

"The risk-reward isn't worth it," House said. "You may get lucky in the short term, but the medium- and long-term effects are if not life threatening, then close to life threatening."