Mark McGwire's Insurance Policy Required Him To Take The Stuff That Inspired Our National 'Roids Hysteria

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We all know about Mark McGwire and his (completely legal) use of Androstenedione, thanks to the hall monitors in our sporting press. What we didn't know: The Lloyd's underwriters who had insured McGwire's ankle required that he continue taking Andro.

According to National Underwriter magazine — "the most outspoken newsmagazine in the property-casualty insurance industry" — McGwire sought coverage for his balky ankle during the home run chase of 1998 that we now pretend to feel horrible about. Phil Gusman reports:

[Lloyd's underwriter Jonathan Thomas] said a lot of medical details had to be vetted before Lloyd's underwriters would consider writing a policy. Details included exactly how the ankle is strapped, types of orthotics used and any anti-inflammatory medications taken.

One substance used by McGwire at the time-androstenedione-was part of the regiment [sic] that Lloyd's said should be maintained to help Mr. McGwire recover.

At the time, the substance was not on Major League Baseball's banned substance list for performance-enhancing drugs, but it has since been added and is considered a "steroid precursor." And so, as Mr. Thomas noted, "something that was the start of all the steroid [discussions in baseball] was part of the underwriting interest for this policy."


A lot of people cried out in those days for McGwire to renounce Andro, lest he unduly influence the children, those impressionable souls who a few generations earlier, if I recall, took to high-powered hallucinogens en masse because of baseball's permissiveness toward Dock Ellis. But what if McGwire had given up Andro at the time? What sort of role model is that? How would we have told the kids that their hero was someone who had violated the terms of his insurance policy?

H/T reader Campbell

Alligators, Body Parts, Fantasy Leagues: All In A Day's Work For Specialty Writers [National Underwriter]