It has become known simply as "The List," so central to baseball's ongoing battle with performance-enhancing drugs that it hardly needs further description.
To be clear, "The List" is comprised of the reported 104 players who tested positive in 2003 for banned substances during the initial phase of baseball's foray into drug testing. Testing that season was conducted with the understanding it would be an anonymous survey to determine the extent of the problem and trigger next steps in detection, based upon the 2002 agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
However, names on that list began coming out three years ago, exposed in the wake of federal investigations, hearings before the U.S. Congress and findings of the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs.
Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz -- the former teammates who were the heart of the batting order for the two World Series titles the Red Sox won in four years -- are the latest names to come out, reported by The New York Times on Thursday to be on "The List," according to anonymous sources.
Here is a brief history of "The List":
Aug. 30, 2002:
As part of an agreement that averted a work stoppage that would have begun the next day, MLB and the MLBPA complete a collective bargaining agreement through 2006 that included for the first time ever mandatory random drug testing. Random testing only would be implemented beginning in 2004 if 5 percent or more of the players tested during anonymous "survey testing" in 2003 tested positive for steroids, with a refusal to submit to a test counting as a positive result. If the 5 percent threshold was met, however, mandatory random testing would begin with the 2004 season, carrying with it the possibility of discipline if a player failed a second test.
Spring Training 2003:
Anonymous testing begins.
Nov. 13, 2003:
Major League Baseball announces that between 5 percent and 7 percent of 1,438 samples in the survey testing in 2003 had tested positive for steroids. With those results, mandatory random testing was triggered to begin in 2004. All players on the 40-man rosters were randomly selected for testing at unannounced times, and 240 randomly selected players were tested a second time on an unannounced basis.
April 8, 2004:
Internal Revenue Service special agent Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case and later the Barry Bonds perjury case, obtains and executes a warrant to search two private firms involved in the 2003 survey testing, Comprehensive Drug Testing and Quest Diagnostics. According to the Mitchell Report on Performance-Enhancing Drugs, released in December 2007, "the warrants sought drug testing records and samples for 10 Major League players connected with the BALCO investigation. In the course of those searches, the agents seized data from which they believed they could determine the identities of the major league players who had tested positive during the anonymous survey testing."
April 26, 2004:
The MLB Players' Association files motions seeking return of the property seized from those raids.
May 6, 2004:
Federal investigators execute new search warrants to seize all specimens and records relating to the non-BALCO players who had tested positive for steroids. The MLBPA immediately files motions seeking return of the specimens and records seized.
Aug. 9, 2004:
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston rules in favor of a motion brought by the MLBPA to order the U.S. government to return evidence from the raids, saying the government had violated the players' Fourth Amendment rights.
Aug. 19, 2004:
U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan rules in favor of a motion brought by the MLBPA to order the U.S. government to return all specimens from Quest as well as "all notes and memoranda compiled by agents who reviewed the evidence" from that raid.
Oct. 1, 2004:
U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper rules in favor of a motion brought by the MLBPA to order the U.S. government to return all specimens from Comprehensive Drug Testing.
Dec. 10, 2004:
Judge Illston again rules in favor of the MLBPA, again quashing government subpoenas for baseball's testing results.
Reports surface June 6 that Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Jason Grimsley's home was raided by Novitzky's agents in April, and that Grimsley discussed his and other players' use of performance-enhancing drugs in an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Phoenix. Copies of that affidavit that were made public included redacted names, but within those documents Grimsley becomes the first player to admit to having been among those who tested positive in 2003. He also became the first player suspended for 50 games.
Dec. 27, 2006:
With a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses Illston's 2004 decision and rules that the government may keep the specimens and records from the April 2004 raids. The case is still under appeal, to be reconsidered by the appellate court.
Dec. 13, 2007:
The Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball notes that "the government's reported list and the data that it was based on remain under seal. As a result, we did not have access to the list or the data."
Feb. 7, 2009:
Sports Illustrated reports that Alex Rodriguez, currently with the Yankees but previously with the Rangers and the Mariners, tested positive for a steroid in the 2003 survey testing, and is one of the 104 names on the list.
June 16, 2009:
The New York Times reports that, according to "lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year," former Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was among the 104 players who tested positive for a banned substance in 2003.
July 30, 2009:
The New York Times reports that, according to lawyers with knowledge of the list, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.