The BALCO case and its surrounding controversy lingered for years, overshadowing Bonds’ climb to 756. At the time, Major League Baseball had no means of testing for PEDS or issuing suspensions, the product of a complete institutional failure that was decades in the making. Only after that failure was exposed to the public, first with the 2005 Congressional hearings (from which Bonds was exempt due to the ongoing BALCO trial) and then via the 2007 Mitchell Report, did the owners and the players’ union implement a drug policy with teeth.
PED use didn’t start with McGwire, Sosa and Bonds’ smashing of home run marks. In fact, the first known attempt of a ballplayer using a testosterone-based performance enhancer dates back more than a century prior. In 1889, Pud Galvin, already the first pitcher to reach 300 wins, openly used “Brown-Séquard Elixir,” a concoction that contained an extract from monkey testicles and was supposed to impede the aging process while boosting strength and virility. The Washington Post celebrated his dosing (“If there still be doubting Thomases who concede no virtue of the elixir, they are respectfully referred to Galvin’s record in yesterday’s Boston-Pittsburgh game”), but his career was nearing the finish line, and nobody