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Sports News

FACTBOX: Baseball woes: past and present

(Reuters) - Baseball’s saga over performance-enhancing drugs was set for a potentially explosive episode on Wednesday when Roger Clemens and his former trainer testify before Congress over allegations the pitching great received injections of steroids.

The so-called steroid era is one of several crises in baseball history. Following are others to beset the sport.

* 1919 - The Black Sox: After the heavily favored Chicago White Sox lost the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, eight players were charged with being paid by gamblers to throw the championship. The scandal led to the creation of the autonomous post of commissioner of baseball, who banned the players, including superstar Shoeless Joe Jackson, for life.

* 1981 - Baseball Strike: A dispute between players and owners led to a strike that canceled roughly a third of the games from a team’s traditional 162-game schedule.

* 1985 - Pittsburgh Drug Trials: A grand jury in Pittsburgh called many of baseball’s greatest stars -- including Keith Hernandez, Tim Raines, Vida Blue and Dave Parker -- to testify about cocaine use in baseball. Commissioner Peter Ueberroth suspended 11 players.

* 1989 - Pete Rose: Baseball’s record-holder for hits, games played and at-bats accepted a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 when, as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, he was accused of gambling on games in which his team was playing. He denied betting on baseball games for the next 15 years, then admitted doing so in his 2004 autobiography “My Prison Without Bars.”

* 1994 - Baseball Strike: The Players Association and team owners locked horns over limits on how much each team could spend on their player payrolls. When the union rejected the salary cap, the league locked out the players in August, leading to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

* 2002 - Ken Caminiti’s steroid use: In an interview with Sports Illustrated, one-time Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti became the first baseball player to publicly admit to using steroids, which ultimately led to congressional investigations. Caminiti died in 2004, aged 41.

* 2003 - BALCO: In September, federal officials raided the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, and said they found evidence of illegal steroids and growth hormones. Two days later, home of Barry Bonds’ trainer Greg Anderson was searched, yielding lists of players and dosage plans. In November 2007, Bonds was indicted on accusations of lying to a grand jury investigating BALCO. He pleaded not guilty.

* 2007 - Mitchell Report: Following a sharp rebuke by a U.S. congressional committee in 2005, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig hired former Sen. George Mitchell to investigate steroid use in baseball. The investigation named Clemens among other players as steroid users. Clemens denied the allegation.

Writing by Derek Caney and Paul Grant, editing by Todd Eastham

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