8. Don Mattingly: Mattingly case is simply one of "what might have been." He was a remarkable player during his prime, but back injuries hit him in his late 20s, and after that he just didn't have the power bat you want in a first baseman, and he retired at 34. During his first six seasons as a regular, Mattingly hit .327/.372/.530 with an annual average of 27 homers, 114 RBIs, 203 hits and -- get this -- 34 strikeouts. He won five Gold Gloves during those years, won one MVP award and finished in the top 10 of the voting three other times. He had WAR in those seasons, but just the rest of this career.
Which made Canseco’s second benefactor — Mike Wallace — all the more important. John Hamlin, a producer at 60 Minutes , had gotten a tip about Canseco’s book from a friend at another network. (The friend couldn’t act on it because his employer was a Major League Baseball rights holder.) Hamlin began calling baseball people and confirming the details. Almost no one would talk on the record, but they suggested that Canseco’s account was true. One of the few allegations Hamlin couldn’t verify was Canseco’s insistence that Roger Clemens was juicing.
How that statement fueled the final decade-plus of Clemens's career is an issue addressed further below, but for now we'll stick to the record as it unfolded at the time. In December 1996, the Rocket signed a three-year, $ million deal with Toronto and then put together back-to-back seasons in which he won not only Cy Young awards but also Triple Crowns. His 1997 campaign (21–7, ERA, 292 strikeouts, WAR) was by far the better of the two seasons, though his WAR the following year led the league as well. That WAR season in 1998 ranks fourth among all pitchers since 1915, wins behind the totals of Alexander (1920), Carlton ('72) and Dwight Gooden ('85).