Canseco's Ego, More Steroids, And The Hardcore Schwarzenegger RoutineS

More excerpts from Jay McGwire's book proposal, The McGwire Family Secret: The Truth about Steroids, a Slugger, and Ultimate Family Redemption:

• We were living in Southern California, so it was an hour flight to go to Northern California. When I went to see Mark in the summer of 1987, his rookie season with the Oakland A’s, I hung around the clubhouse and met all the players, including Jose Canseco, who never did get the story straight about Mark. That’s just part of what I’m here to tell you. Jose was different than my brother, obviously. I thought he was funny. He always had something to say about everything. Jose’s the kind of guy who dresses in the nice clothes. Mark dressed in jeans and plain button-down shirts—simple, conservative. Jose’s a more flamboyant guy with an outgoing personality. I never had a problem with him, but I know Mark never really cared for him that much or hung out with him. I think a natural rivalry, complete with jealousy on both sides, existed. Given their ages and talents, it was inevitable. Neither knew at the time which one of them would be the best of the Bash Brothers.

• Steroids promote muscle growth and healing, just what Mark needed. So I began selling the idea to Mark that steroids would boost his career. Major League Baseball did not have testing back then, and using the right combination of drugs would add muscle and aid his recovery power from the many dings and bruises of being a professional athlete. Clearly the use of steroids would allow him to avoid the injuries while adding the right amount of strength. I went to him and I said, “Mark, you have to do something about this.” I wasn’t thinking about altering baseball history; I only wanted to help my brother. I told him, “Mark, it’s no problem to get the stuff. All you need is some cash and I’ll get it for you.” He definitely wanted to look into it.

• Training Mark challenged me. And the way I trained him was kind of dangerous, using a hardcore blood-and-guts power routine that dates back to the Schwarzenegger days. Great things can be accomplished with this routine, but the possibility of injury is also great. Among those risks are pulled muscles or tears if you don’t know what you’re doing.

• However, Mark did gain the confidence you get from using steroids. There’s an invincibility factor that comes into play—nobody talks about that; they just talk about the physical results. But let me tell you: when you’re using, you feel indestructible, which is a great attitude to have when you step into a batter’s box and prepare to look at 90 mph fastballs. Steroids did that for Mark. When you get stronger and you put on muscle, you feel good about yourself. You feel good physically and emotionally. That applied to Mark’s swing. He literally grew into his status as a home run hero, which I don’t think would have happened had he not gained that confidence.

• As far as I know, Mark last did steroids prior to the 1998 season. He didn’t need to get any bigger and stronger after that. He didn’t want to look like a bodybuilder out there. He wanted to be a baseball player. So I switched him over to androstenedione, which kept the testosterone levels up. If you keep the testosterone levels up, even though “andro” is not steroids, it allows you to release more of the testosterone in your body. Even though andro could be purchased over the counter at the supplement stores, the discovery of andro in Mark’s locker by a member of the media caused a big stir in 1998.

Graphic via Bob's Blitz