New York, NY (Sports Network) - Former major league slugger Mark McGwire has been linked to steroids from an extensive investigation in the 1990s, according to a report in Sunday's New York Daily News.
McGwire was one of seven current or ex-players who were issued subpoenas to appear before the House Government Reform Committee on Thursday to speak about steroids.
Jose Canseco, an ex-teammate of McGwire's for seven seasons (1986-92) when the two played in Oakland, was also called to testify and has reportedly requested for immunity. Canseco had his book entitled, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big" released last month. In it, Canseco, admits to using steroids during his career and accuses a number of ex- teammates, including McGwire, of also using steroids.
FBI sources told the Daily News McGwire's name was mentioned several times in relation to a landmark anabolic steroids investigation known as "Operation Equine." What followed the probe was 70 trafficking convictions in the early 1990s, according to the paper. However, there was no evidence against McGwire, and the paper reports a former agent, who was on the case, indicated McGwire wasn't a target.
A pair of dealers caught during the investigation told the Daily News that a man by the name of Curtis Wenzlaff provided Canseco and McGwire, and others, with illegal anabolic steroids. Wenzlaff told the Daily News he provided Canseco with steroids and taught him how to use them, and a person involved in the case told the newspaper Wenzlaff injected McGwire at a gym in Southern California.
McGwire has denied ever using illegal anabolic steroids, but an FBI informant told the Daily News the ex-slugger had different types of testosterone injected into his buttocks and cheeks.
The newspaper reports Wenzlaff was able to gain access to Canseco and other members of the Athletics through ex-slugger Reggie Jackson, who retired as a player after the 1987 season in Oakland. According to the paper, Jackson and Wenzlaff were friends, but Wenzlaff insisted Jackson never used steroids or knew he was dealing them.
The Daily News reports other incriminating evidence against Canseco. That includes an undercover agent seeing a photo of Wenzlaff with Canseco and recordings of Wenzlaff on a wiretap talking about providing steroids to Canseco. The FBI also found Canseco's private phone number in Wenzlaff's phone book after they arrested him, according to the newspaper.
McGwire belted 583 homers during his major league career, which spanned from 1986-2001. His most memorable season came in 1998 during an epic home run battle with Sammy Sosa, another player subpoenaed to testify on Thursday. McGwire clubbed 70 home runs as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals that season, breaking the all-time single season record, until Barry Bonds shattered that with 73 three years later.
The 1987 AL Rookie of the Year and a 12-time All-Star, McGwire crushed an incredible 245 homers over a four-year period from 1996-99.
Bonds wasn't subpoenaed, but has been under a cloud of controversy in the BALCO case. According to published reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, the seven- time National League MVP testified before a federal grand jury in December 2003 that he used a clear substance and cream provided by his personal trainer, but said he didn't know they were steroids.