Canseco talks to '60 Minutes'
Jose Canseco says he and fellow slugger Mark McGwire were never "buddy buddies" as teammates on the Oakland Athletics, but had at least one thing in common that they talked about regularly: using steroids.
Canseco also admits in an interview with "60 Minutes" that he would never have been a major league-caliber player without using the drugs.
"I don't recommend steroids for everyone and I don't recommend growth hormones for everyone," Canseco tells Mike Wallace. "But for certain individuals, I truly believe, because I've experimented with it for so many years, that it can make an average athlete a super athlete. It can make a super athlete incredible. Just legendary."
The interview was broadcast Sunday on CBS, one day before the release of Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big."
Canseco said he and McGwire weren't close, but often injected together and treated the subject of steroids as casual shop-talk.
"Mark and I weren't really in a sense of buddy buddies," Canseco said. "But there are certain subjects that we could talk about like obviously steroids and so forth."
McGwire, who has repeatedly denied steroid use, said in a statement to the television news magazine: "Once and for all I did not use steroids nor any illegal substance. The relationship that these allegations portray couldn't be further from the truth."
Canseco also told Wallace that steroids give athletes an edge besides increased size and strength. "A lot of it is psychological," he said. "I mean, you really believe you have an edge. You feel the strength, and the stamina."
"I injected them. Absolutely," Canseco said.
Tony La Russa, who managed Oakland when McGwire and Canseco helped the A's win a World Series, has stood behind McGwire's denial, telling "60 Minutes" that the first baseman got his strength and size from weightlifting and a careful diet.
La Russa was skeptical of Canseco's version.
"First of all, I think he's in dire straits and needs money," La Russa said. "I think secondly ... I think there's a healthy case of envy and jealousy."
"60 Minutes" planned to air more of Canseco's interview in its Wednesday program.
Canseco hit 462 home runs in a major league career from 1985-2001. A few years ago, he claimed that 80 percent of major leaguers had taken steroids.
Baseball recently adopted a tougher steroid-testing program after the sport came under increased scrutiny about the drugs. Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi testified before a federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative known as BALCO.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press