“A great book that captures the essence of baseball and every boy’s dream: to play in the major leagues. The story of John Paciorek is the stuff of legends.”
—Gary Adams, former UCLA baseball coach
“By perfect illogical fate, John Pacorek's 1.000 career batting average for one day’s work in the big leagues is really more the measure of a man who came to understand that the baseball Gods simply threw him a proverbial curve ball. It can’t be explained, yet Steve Wagner’s chronicling of that day does it, and makes you wonder more why John, and not Moonlight Graham, wasn’t the perfect person to have in the movie Field of Dreams.”
—Tom Hoffarth, columnist, Los Angeles Daily News
STEVEN K. WAGNER has worked as a freelance journalist since 1989. The author began his career with the Monmouth Sun-Enterprise in Oregon and later worked for the Oregon City Enterprise-Courier and the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce before joining United Press International as a staff writer in Boise, Idaho. He also worked for the Portland Oregonian as its Vancouver, Washington, bureau chief and as the newspaper’s night crime reporter. Mr. Wagner has freelanced extensively for the Los Angeles Times and his work also has appeared in the New York Times, Oklahoma City Oklahoman, Seattle Times, Baseball America, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. He is married, has two grown children, and currently resides in Claremont, California.
Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid Scandal That Rocked Professional by award-winning investigative journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, is a riveting narrative about the biggest doping scandal in the history of sports, and how baseball’s home run king, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, came to use steroids. Drawing on more than two years of reporting, including interviews with hundreds of people, and exclusive access to secret grand jury testimony, confidential documents, audio recordings, and more, the authors provide, for the first time, a definitive account of the shocking steroids scandal that made headlines across the country.
The book traces the career of Victor Conte, founder of the BALCO laboratory, an egomaniacal former rock musician and self-proclaimed nutritionist, who set out to corrupt sports by providing athletes with “designer” steroids that would be undetectable on “state-of-the-art” doping tests. Conte gave the undetectable drugs to 28 of the world’s greatest athletes—Olympians, NFL players and baseball stars, Bonds chief among them.
A separate narrative thread details the steroids use of Bonds, an immensely talented, moody player who turned to performance-enhancing drugs after Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals set a new home run record in 1998. Through his personal trainer, Bonds gained access to BALCO drugs. All of the great athletes who visited BALCO benefited tremendously—Bonds broke McGwire’s record—but many had their careers disrupted after federal investigators raided BALCO and indicted Conte. The authors trace the course of the probe, and the baffling decision of federal prosecutors to protect the elite athletes who were involved.
Highlights of Game of Shadows include: