Alex Rodriguez may have returned to the field on Monday night, but he’s still facing the largest suspension in MLB history for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod is currently appealing his 211-game ban that was set to go in effect on Thursday.
No player has ever faced a suspension like Rodriguez. Before MLB handed out punishments for the Biogenesis scandal on Monday, no major leaguer had ever been hit was a suspension of more than 100 games for using steroids or human growth hormone. Manny Ramirez was forced to miss almost two-thirds of the season when he failed a second PED test in 2011. He retired immediately after the suspension.
Rodriguez’s was not only punished for taking PED’s, but for attempting to cover his tracks. A statement released by Commissioner Bud Selig said the New York Yankees star “intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation." A-Rod tested positive for steroids when he was with the Texas Rangers, but there was no punishment, at the time, for violators of the drug agreement.
The 38-year-old may be the best player of his generation, but he is hardly the first big name to have been busted for using steroids or HGH. Rafael Palmeiro was the first potential Hall of Famer to be suspended for using PED’s. The first baseman missed 10 games in 2005 when he failed a drug test. Less than five months prior, Palmeiro testified in front of Congress that he had never used steroids in his career.
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire were never suspended for using PED’s, but it’s widely accepted that all three used steroids during their careers. Years later, it was reported that Sosa failed a PED test in the early 2000’s. After years of failing to acknowledge his steroid use, McGwire finally admitted to cheating in 2010. Bonds has stood firm that he played his entire career clean, but “Game of Shadows” detailed his alleged PED use, which helped him become the all-time home run leader.
Ryan Braun was the most prominent name to be suspended, along with Rodriguez, in connection with the Biogenesis clinic. The Milwaukee Brewers star got a 65-game ban, or the remainder of the 2013 season. He was initially suspended at the start of the 2012 season for failing a PED test, but won his appeal and missed no time.
Other notable players who have been suspended include Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Jay Gibbons, Jose Guillen, Michael Morse, Guillermo Mota, and Edinson Volquez.