It was just a matter of time, right?
A few years back, the allegations were that Albert Pujols might be older than the back of his baseball card suggests and now…well, now there's this. Former St. Louis Cardinals slugger (and current St. Louis radio jock) Jack Clark is accusing the three-time National League MVP of taking performance enhancing drugs.
According to "The Ripper", Chris Mihlfeld, Pujols' former personal trainer, “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie’ — threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff."
Shot. Him. Up.
Pretty damning stuff…if true. But how did we get here?
Simple. In 2006, Mihlfeld received some national attention when it was revealed that he had been working with admitted steroid user, pitcher Jason Grimsley. Supposedly, affidavits existed linking Milhfeld to Pujols, who played for his then-trainer while he served as the then-future All-Star's junior college coach.
Confused yet? Doesn't matter…it all turned out to be bogus. But that doesn't seem to sway Clark from making his allegations.
“I had asked (Mihlfeld) about conditioning and working me out, what he would do for me, and he asked me whether I had ever thought of taking some steroids,” Clark said, recalling his time working with Mihlfeld while both were employed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. “He just told me that he wanted me to get started on steroids and he had some other guys that were doing it. He told me that’s how he’s conditioning this guy that he met out of high school and college and he looked like he was going to be a star, keep an eye on him.’’
Clark, who hit 340 home runs during his big league career, didn't just single out Pujols. Also in the crosshairs…2011 American League Cy Young Award and MVP winner Justin Verlander.
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning. He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there," Clark said. “The greed…they juice up, they grab the money and it’s just a free pass to steal is the way I look at it.”
Ouch. Clark didn't stop there…he also called out former slugger Shawn Green.
“Here I am in LA as the hitting coach and Shawn Green is breaking Duke Snider’s record (for home runs in a season while) cheating on steroids. It’s just disappointing to me."
I'll be curious to see if Pujols or Verlander respond to Clark's claims or, like Clark himself, they end up forgotten…doing midday radio in St. Louis.
NBC Sports has reached out to Chris Mihlfeld and here's what he had to say.
I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years. His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. As before once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn’t do.
(h/t Darren Viola)