Steroids & Pinstrips: A Review of American Icon

American Icon is not just a book about Roger Clemens, in fact, it is more a book about his former trainer Brian McNamee and his years he spent as personal trainer for the iconic baseball pitcher.

The book is divided into years, starting with 1998 and extending all the way to the present (or however present you count early 2009). The book mainly details the activities of baseball icon Roger Clemens, as seen through the view point of his personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who was primary ‘witness’ (if you will) for the book’s authors. The authors will also breakaway from the Clemens saga to tell the story of connected events, for example, they tell the story of an IRS agent raiding a steroid lab in-dept, as it will eventually come back to affect Clemens and McNamee.

To be clear, this isn’t a Clemens biography. It covers very little of Clemens’ life prior to 1998, although it does make some references to Clemens’ early life, like for example, when Clemens’ fidelity was questioned in public in 2008. The book also isn’t a “day in the life” of a professional baseball player. It is however, a very good tale of steroids in baseball. It covers a lot of how steroids were distributing in baseball in the late 1990s, even going as far as to tell you the life story of a small-time gym owner in rural Texas to ended up distributing steroids to ballplayers.

The book is lengthy, well-penned and well-researched. It has been written by the ‘sports investigative team’ of the New York Daily News, and cites several pages of sources that they used for their investigation. If you are interested in “inside baseball”, the inside workings of the sport, you probably will enjoy the book as reading it will make you a surefire expert on baseball’s late 1990’s steroid era. One thing to consider with any nonfiction book is the view point of the writer. As the writers of the book write themselves when talking about a fame-hungry government agent who wants to take down baseball players to get his name in the paper, everybody loves to take down a giant..

Any faults aside, any baseball fans interested in learning more about baseball’s recent dark age, should pick up American Icon by the New York Daily News Sports Investigative Team.

Carl Tores