Made Claims Of Steroid Use
Within a week of retiring, Canseco was back in the news after declaring in a Fox Sports Net interview that steroid use, contrary to his past assertions, was rampant in major-league baseball. "Steroids completely changed baseball," Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service writer Skip Bayless quoted him as saying. "That's why guys are hitting 50, 60, 75 home runs." When pressured for more specifics, Canseco declared that his forthcoming book would provide details about his own steroid use and that of other players. Bayless also wrote that Canseco had often asserted that he "could have hit 600 if I could have stayed healthy," and theorized that because of steroid abuse, the player "got too big and strong for his frame. His joints and connective tissue couldn't bear up under his rippled bulk and the unnatural power it could unleash. So one reason Canseco was able to hit 462 homers was also a reason he couldn't stay healthy enough to hit 600."
A similar charge regarding the widespread steroid use was made by former National League MVP Ken Caminiti just days later in the press. Caminiti claimed that as many as 50 percent of all players used performance-enhancing drugs, thought to cause testicular cancer, heart disease, infertility, and the mood swings known as "'roid rage," while Canseco's claims pegged the number at 85 percent. An onslaught of stories in the media centering on the ethics of steroid use followed. Many sportswriters noted that while a drug-testing policy was sometimes called for in professional baseball, it was thought that the powerful players' union would categorically reject any such changes.