Kevin Maris says baseball should investigate steroids

Updated: February 10, 2005, 5:37 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former home run king Roger Maris's son wants baseball authorities to investigate accusations by former slugger Jose Canseco that he used performance-enhancing drugs with some of the sport's top players, including Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi.

"Whatever decision Major League Baseball makes about this, the Maris family will stand by it," Kevin Maris told the New York Daily News as he called for an investigation of accusations Canseco makes in a book to be published soon.

Maris said he believes McGwire is a "first-class individual," not the steroid-inflated cheat described in Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big," which will be released on Monday.

"Hopefully it's untrue," Maris said of the accusations. "I don't think this is good for the game of baseball. This is not a good example for kids. We know these things are not good for the body."

Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's home-run record with 61 homers in 1961. McGwire extended the record to 70 in 1998 and Barry Bonds pushed it to 73 in 2001.

Kevin Maris said his father, who died in 1985 at age 51 from cancer, would not condone ballplayers who use performance-enhancing drugs.

"He was an honest guy," Maris said. "He played hard-nosed baseball the way it is supposed to be played. He was clean."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig defended McGwire on Wednesday.

"I have a very high regard for Mark. I have a lot of affection for him," Selig told reporters in San Francisco. "For people to continue to point fingers, I just don't want to comment."

McGwire has admitted using androstenedione, a testosterone-producing supplement, which was available over the counter and was legal in baseball at that time. He has denied using other steroids.

Selig sidestepped other questions about Canseco's allegations and defended baseball's new drug-testing policy.

"I think we've really addressed the problem, and that's all I can do," Selig said. Baseball adopted a new drug policy last month that calls for the testing of players year-round and penalizing first-time steroid offenders 10 days. Some say the policy, which is not as strict as those for Olympics sports, does not go far enough.

Selig, in San Francisco to award the Giants the 2007 All-Star Game, disagreed.

"We've done now what we could do," he said. "We were told originally we didn't have a testing policy. We got one. Then we were told it was weak and toothless. Now we've done a lot more."

Giants slugger Bonds did not attend the news conference.

He and Giambi have been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) steroids scandal.

Giambi, who plays for the New York Yankees, admitted to a federal grand jury in the BALCO case that he used steroids, but not before 2001, The San Francisco Chronicle has reported.

The Chronicle also reported that Bonds told the BALCO grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream linked to the doping scandal, but he never thought they were steroids.

Asked about Bonds and his home run achievements, Selig praised the All-Star player, saying: "Barry has done what nobody else has done. He deserves the credit he's getting."