So who were the players on the juice? The most definitive list to date has been around since the end of 2007, from the Mitchell Report that Major League Baseball itself commissioned. ESPN provided a handy compilation that you can read here. It's a wide-ranging list, but likely represents only a portion of the players who used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
The annotation provided in the ESPN report is helpful, because it helps us understand the varying motivations of the gentlemen in question. For marginal players, the goal was to stay in the Show. A good example is Mark Carreon, a journeyman player who had a few good years in the majors but a guy I'd largely forgotten:
[Kirk] Radomski said that he provided Carreon with Dianabol pills toward the end of his tenure with the Giants (Carreon was with San Francisco from 1994 through the middle of the 1996 season). He believes that Carreon paid by check. According to Radomski, Carreon told him that the "ball was jumping off his bat" and that he could hit farther because of the anabolic steroids he used.The statistics bear it out. Carreon, who had never hit more than 10 runs in a season, hit 17 in 1995. That's an improvement but it really wasn't enough, given the ferocious performance metrics that major league players must meet. As a first baseman, 17 homers is on the low end of average for what a team would like to see from the position. The steroids were enough to keep Carreon in the Show for a short time but apparently weren't enough to sustain longer-term success, since his major league career ended one year later, at the age of 32.
Carreon was a marginal player and needed an edge. It's perfectly understandable why he pursued the ministrations of Kirk Radomski, who actively supplied a variety of major leaguers and later provided key testimony in the Mitchell investigation. I'm not even certain it's worth attempting to muster much high dudgeon over a guy like Carreon, who had his moment and now is just another face in the crowd.
The larger issue remains -- how do we deal with more important figures like Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds? Under ordinary circumstances, all would be legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame. In the case of Bonds and Clemens, we are talking about players who are among the greatest to ever wear a major league uniform. I have an idea and I'll share that next.