Many hours have been lost this winter writing (and deliberately not writing) about who deserves to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and why everyone else is wrong about that. One contentious point: Shouldn't amphetamines—or "greenies"—which were widely used in the majors for decades before modern steroids became prevalent, be classified as "performance-enhancing drugs"? If so, shouldn't we penalize players that came to prominence during the pre-steroids era? When should the guilt-by-association end?
Never! The era of performance-enhancing drugs dates back to 1889 at least, when James "Pud" Galvin got on the magical elixir train ("I know I'm going to get rich with this scheme! And quick!") by mixing his drinks with dried monkey testosterone, distilled from, where else, monkey testicles. Galvin pitched for 15 years in the major leagues (2.85 ERA) and averaged 400 innings pitched per season: At 32, he needed a little juice to keep it going. That's where, as Dan Lewis points out, Charles Edward Brown-Sequard's monkey testicle potion comes in. From an 1889 New York Times article on the phenomenon, then sweeping the nation:
Dr. Loomis calls his report "an experimental study of the Brown-Sequard theory." He says that the elixir has found good supporters in approved schools of medicine. His conclusions from experiments are that the fluid is potent to increase the strength of the human organism, presumably in old men, not by structural change, but by nutritive modification; that the alterations in muscular structure not essentially allied to old age may disappear, and a consequent recovery of former power by the tissues may supervene, and that finally the subject is worthy of further investigations.
Further investigations were undertaken; Dr. Loomis was wrong that the Brown-Sequard elixir had any positive effect. Nevertheless, Galvin was a known and admitted juicer, introuducing foreign hormones into his body in the hope of reducing his recovery time and extending his career—the Washington Post even cited his performance as evidence of the power of Brown-Sequard's monkey nut powder.
Galvin was elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Commttee in 1965, forever tainting that august hall and ruining the mystique of baseball. Next time you visit Cooperstown, find Pud Galvin's plaque and spit on it, for us.
Monkey Business [Now I Know]