Thu May 07 02:34pm EDT
When it comes to the list of players suspended since Major League Baseball enacted its PED policy in 2004, the appearance of bolded names are few and far between. On the occasion of Manny Ramirez(notes) receiving a 50-game penalty today, we struggle to take a look at the 10 drug suspensions since the that have had the most impact on baseball since the new policy took hold.
10. Matt Lawton(notes) (10 games) — November 2, 2005 A two-time All-Star, Lawton tested positive for veterinary steroids after being left off the Yankees' postseason roster in 2005. He served his suspension at the start of the 2006 season, played 11 games for the Mariners and was released in May.
9. Neifi Perez(notes) (80) — August 3, 2007 The only player on this list to be suspended twice, Perez saw his Major League career mercifully end when he tested positive for a banned stimulant while playing for the Tigers. It was his third positive test.
8. Juan Rincon(notes) (10) — May 2, 2005 Arguably the first "name" player to be suspended, the Twins' setup man said he was "devastated" to learn of his positive test for steroids and was one of the first to play the popular "didn't knowingly take" anything card.
7. Guillermo Mota(notes) (50) — November 1, 2006 A current Manny teammate, Mota was one of the first players to be hit with the tougher 50-game penalty for first-time violators while playing for the Mets. Mota resigned with the Mets in the offseason — drawing of plenty criticism for the club — and rewarded their faith with a 5.76 ERA in 2007.
6. Jose Guillen(notes) (15) — December 6, 2007 Two days after signing a three-year contract with the Royals, Guillen (along with Jay Gibbons(notes)) received a 15-game suspension after being linked to the purchase of PEDs through an investigation. The suspensions were later rescinded, though, as part of a Mitchell Report-related deal with the player's union. Guillen went on to play 153 games for the Royals in 2008.
5. Mike Cameron(notes) (25) — October, 31, 2007 Cameron's name was big enough to raise a few eyebrows when he beat baseball to the punch in announcing his suspension for a banned stimulant. After blaming the positive test on a nutritional supplement, Cameron took his medicine and made his debut with the Brewers on April 29.
4. J.C. Romero(notes) (50) — January 6, 2009 The circumstances surrounding the suspension of the key Philadelphia reliever are too confusing and involved to detail in brief, but it remains the only suspension to impact a returning World Series champion. He is eligible to return to the Phillies during the first week of June.
3. Jason Grimsley(notes) (50) — June 12, 2006 As a mediocre reliever, Grimsley would not have ordinarily made this list. But his subsequent Sammy The Bull role in the Mitchell Report shoots him right up (pardon the expression) the list of influential suspendees. (Yes, even if the LA Times was monumentally wrong on some of the blacked-out names in Grimsley's affidavit to investigators.)
2. Rafael Palmeiro, (10) — August 1, 2005 Prior to this morning, Palmeiro was the unquestioned king of MLB drug suspensions, shocking the baseball world with a positive test just months after he unequivocally claimed in front of Congress that he had never, ever touched the stuff. He has 569 career homers and 3,020 hits, but zero chance of ever entering Cooperstown. How's that for an impact?
1. Manny Ramirez (50) — May 7, 2009 No matter if it's being blamed on a desire to perform better in the bedroom, there are few players whose suspensions would have caused bigger waves. As one of the sport's top players on a World Series contender, Ramirez's penalty will be tough to top in terms of impact.