It was an outrageous number. Naulty weighed 180. Ten pounds gained would have been a colossal amount for him. Forty? The supplier didn't blink: "I've got whatever you want."
The supplier injected him, a job Naulty would later learn to do himself. "Within a few days I started gaining weight," Naulty says, "and I was hooked. I started eating like a horse because when you take this stuff you just eat and eat and eat and you can work out like a fiend."
He reported to spring training the following season at 200 pounds and with several extra ticks on his fastball. The Twins' instructors were impressed. It was a cycle that would repeat itself every year: Naulty would use various steroids through the winter, gain muscle mass and velocity, and wow the coaches in camp. He would not use steroids during the season, causing him to lose some weight—about 10 pounds if he had gained 20—and his numbers to fall off as the year progressed. Then it was back to an off-season of doping, with a veritable buffet of steroids. "We were mixing them," he says. "Some for size, some for speed. There was a steroid I took one off-season that was purely to speed your body up. You didn't gain any size at all. [Your arm speed] just got faster. The point was the faster I moved the harder I'd throw."
In four years Naulty gained 50 pounds and added 10 miles an hour to his fastball. (He would eventually top out at 248 pounds.) His legs were enormous. His shoulders looked like cantaloupes, with the rounded, watery hallmark of steroids. He loved the way his body looked, loved to take his shirt off, loved the compliments he got from coaches and loved the way nobody in baseball asked, How? The Steroid Era was taking hold, made possible by a don't ask, don't tell policy. "Everybody is telling you how great you look," Naulty says. "Nobody ever asked if I was using drugs. I never had one discussion about steroids around another baseball player. All my discussions about steroids were with bodybuilders."
Ninety percent of all drafted players never spend one day in the big leagues. Steroid users made the odds even worse for clean players.
Thirty-three players appeared in at least one game for the 1994 Fort Myers Miracle. Only six of them reached the majors long enough to earn $500,000 in their careers. Half of those players are known PED users: Naulty, outfielder Matt Lawton (who tested positive in 2005) and pitcher Dan Serafini (who flunked a test in '07).
Kevin Legault was one of the naive ones. He was a three-sport star at Watervliet (N.Y.) High, near Albany. As a sophomore, he once threw a complete game and told his coach he was ready to pitch relief in a playoff game the next day. The coach took him up on the offer, and Legault threw another 150 pitches or so over seven innings, striking out 11 and walking six. He always took the ball. Years later in Triple A, his Salt Lake City team once used him in nine straight games.
Legault says it never occurred to him to use steroids. He was afraid of drugs and afraid that the bulk that came with them was anathema to ballplayers. He only threw 89 mph, and, he believed, "there would have been no way to juice up" enough to make a difference. He was unaware of how potent steroids could be, and that his natural velocity was already better than Naulty's. Though the two were drafted in 1992, they didn't play together until the following year. "He was already throwing [in the 90s], so I'm shocked he would even do it," Legault says.
Legault grew up and remains a fan of Roger Clemens, whose perjury trial for allegedly lying to Congress about his steroid use is now entering its seventh week. Legault collects Clemens memorabilia and believes that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner had to have come by his 354 wins naturally. "People say, 'Your stuff is worthless,'" Legault says, "and I'm like, 'No way.' I just think with steroids you get so much bigger. He didn't get any bigger. I just don't believe it."
Linebarger, also, says he "had no clue about the steroid thing at the time." Steroids, he says, scared him because of the medical risks they carried. Plus, he could not imagine living with "the guilt that never went away." He played clean—and he never did gain velocity after the Twins drafted him.