Move Over Barry – Mickey Mantle Used Steroids

By
for MuscleSport Mag

Published: July 28, 2009

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What will they say now? All of the sportswriters who have been squawking about the so-called ‘steroid era’ in baseball may have to modify their stance just a tad if the following is true: Mickey Mantle was given testosterone by a physician which caused an abcess in his hip during the 1961 season.

According to a story penned by Zev Chafets in ESPN the Magazine (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4192628), the Mick was given a concoction of test and amphetamines in a dirty needle which caused the Yankee centerfielder to miss enough time during that famous summer. Both he and teammate Roger Maris were locked in a home run chase before Mantle’s injury forced him into the hospital. He finished with 52 home runs while Maris hit number 61 on the last day of the season to surpass Babe Ruth’s mark.

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Chafets, who wrote “Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame,” also mentions that gaining that edge may have went all the way back to the nineteenth century. A pitcher named Pud Galvin is said to have injected monkey testosterone in 1889.

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Just how Chafets came across this information remains to be seen. It appears to be a good way to market his book. According to records, Harvard professor Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard self-injected a substance consisting of the extracts of dog and guinea pig testicles but there was not any significant progress in that field until 1927.

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Galvin, baseball’s first 300-game winner and member of the Hall of Fame, was one of Brown-Sequard’s test subjects during a study at a medical college in Pittsburgh. What was called an ‘elixir’ at the time was widely praised by the Washington Post, with the telling line being, “It is the best proof yet furnished of the value of the discovery.”

On the Mantle issue, all the reports state is that a doctor gave him an injection which caused him a great deal of pain in his hip. It later turned into an abscess and eventually shut him down in September. What exactly was in that injection is the million dollar question.

Of course frequency and intent hold a lot of integrity in many people’s minds, but the old ‘pure’ days may be a little different than many were made to believe. One shot of test is not going to do anything for you, especially a professional athlete, but if critics were killing today’s players for admitting to using on only a handful of occasions -which in of itself is ridiculous – then they have to keep their minds open if the Mantle reports are in fact valid.

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The early 1960s is the period where bodybuilders began using performance-enhancing drugs more regularly so it is not out of the realm of possibility that a doctor treating an athlete, ie:) a baseball player, would have known that the use testosterone would have a positive affect on physical performance.

So the next time that an argument starts going towards the modern day players all being cheaters, that can be counteracted by stating that two Hall of Famers were doing it, too.

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3 Comments on "Move Over Barry – Mickey Mantle Used Steroids"

  1. Nate on Tue, 26th Jun 2012 4:52 pm 

    Whatever. It’s pretty well known that the Mick’s hip abscess was caused by Dr. Max Jacobson and a dirty needle full of penicillin he was using to treat Mantle’s latest case of the clap. You’re a moron.. and probably a Red Sox fan.

  2. Joe Pietaro on Tue, 26th Jun 2012 5:04 pm 

    Nate,

    Appreciate that you took the time to comment. I always love to touch base with our readers directly.

    As far as what you posted, please allow me to retort. I did not originate this story and would never take credit for something that I did not personally break. Thus the reason why I mentioned and linked to the reference story. I was merely bringing it to the attention to our audience.

    So I do not believe that makes a ‘moron,’ and, no, sorry to disappoint you but I am neither a Red Sox fan.

    If it makes any difference, I am actually a Mets fan. That’ll probably make you laugh even harder, but the truth is that baseball is down the list on my sports of passion. Football is king.

  3. SteveDo on Sat, 5th Jan 2013 8:12 am 

    Don’t forget his roommate Maris that season had one of the greatest spikes in HRs ever seen in MLB. The “stress” of that caused him to lose his hair…which BTW is a major side effect of testosterone use. But that is all hearsay. I mean, many major leaguers lose hair due to stress, right?