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Human growth hormone, HGH, which is illegal to use non-medically, is used by players in part to help them recover more quickly during long, brutal sporting seasons, but they're also widely believed to improve physical prowess, including by making players faster and giving them better vision.
Such perks boosted the use of HGH in the 1990s, giving rise to what sportswriters now often refer to as "the steroid era," where records and accomplishments by players believed to have juiced now bear an asterisk.
In Wednesday's sportswriters' Hall of Fame vote, Messrs. Bonds and Clemens both earned around 37 percent of votes, far short of the 75 percent required to boost a retired player into the Hall. The two players will, however, remain on the list for future consideration.
Fans and major sports leagues have debated PED use for years, and the US government has prosecuted both Bonds and Clemens for conduct related to doping. Yet athletes have arguably been the slowest to come out united against the practice, often for individual reasons.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong has maintained for years that he never used PEDs, even after an international cycling body last year stripped him of his lifetime victories, including seven Tour de France victories, for allegedly masterminding a doping program. The New York Times on Jan. 4 quoted anonymous sources as saying Mr. Armstrong is ready to admit to doping, and he is scheduled for a 90 minute interview with Oprah Winfrey on Jan. 17.