Former slugger Gary Sheffield claims MLB tried to force him out of the sport in the 1990s after he spoke out about the growing steroid scandal.
“I was the first guy to bring up the steroid situation,” he said during an appearance on the Foul Territory Show. “I had a problem with it because I felt [players who were juicing] were taking MVPs away from me. I had a personal problem with it because I did the Bryant Gumbel special, I was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and I brought it up. And I said without saying names, there’s this one guy that’s hitting all these home runs that I had 150 home runs more than. And I train like you wouldn’t believe in the offseason, and I was still hitting 30 and 40 home runs a year, and now he has 150 home runs more than me. That’s impossible.”
That moment, on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Sheffield talked about how he was the first one to talk about the use of performance-enhancing drugs after the BALCO Scandal came to light. He felt that the punishments MLB was giving out weren’t harsh enough, and said he remained a loyal advocate for banning steroids and other illegal substances.
However, Sheffield admitted to using PEDs before the 2002 season, and was also implicated in the BALCO scandal after a FedEx receipt was found in a federal search warrant of trainer Greg Anderson’s condo.
“Then once I started speaking like that, Major League Baseball tried to hush me up,” the 22-year MLB vet said. “Bud Selig called me into the office and told me to stop it with the steroid stuff because I am drawing too much attention to the game in a negative way.”
Sheffield batted .292 with 509 home runs and 1,676 RBI — and was good for 60.5 WAR — during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, the then-Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and New York Mets.
The nine-time All-Star was on his 10th and final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. While he reached his highest percentage of votes — 63.9% — he still fell short of induction into Cooperstown.
In response, Sheffield said the voting process is a “flawed system.”
“It’s a flawed system based on guys not watching you on a day-to-day basis. Because if they did there’s no way they could look at you with a straight face and say this guy’s better than this guy and his numbers mean more than his numbers,” he said during an appearance on The Bret Boone Podcast. “Just from that standpoint alone, it’s biased and a lot of it is politics and a lot of other things when you look at it.