For Mark McGwire, the taint of scandal cost him a chance at the Hall of Fame. For Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the drug cloud landed them in federal court.
Rafael Palmeiro, with more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, became an outcast after a positive drug test. Manny Ramirez drew a suspension that ran him out of the majors, Steve Howe was banned seven times. In the 1980s, several players had reputations tarnished during the Pittsburgh cocaine trials, before that a few even went to prison.
Now, former MVP Ryan Braun is serving a 65-game ban and more big penalties are looming.
"There's a thought that maybe the punishment isn't steep enough because the guys are still doing stuff," Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "Is there a punishment that's too stiff? I don't know. It should scare anyone from doing it."
A tough task, Yankees player representative Curtis Granderson said.
"I think as long as the ability to improve and the amount of money and fame and accolades are there, there'll always be someone trying to do it," the star outfielder said during a media session at Petco Park in San Diego.
"I mean, if you go back to all of us here standing here, I'm sure one of us at some point in time has cheated off of a test, finagled a resume, entrance exams to a school. And then you see in all the different other sports and stuff, the way people have been doing stuff from these Olympics to these sports to this game."
Granderson added: "There's always a way to try to get yourself better, especially when there's a monetary value involved. Whether that be getting a scholarship, getting a job, getting a career in baseball. I think always someone's going to be trying to do it."
Hall of Famer Tony Perez, who works with the Marlins, understands the lure.
"You can make a lot of money. The temptation is hard to refuse," he said. "I'm not angry at them. They made a mistake. I don't know if I was in their shoes, I might have done it because of the money."
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said baseball needed "to make the players aware of what's acceptable and what's not, that there are consequences for bad decisions." And Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said the commissioner's office "kind of set the precedent with Braun."
Still, Cleveland manager Terry Francona said, "we're paying a price for 15 or 20 years ago burying our heads in the sand. It's not really fair to anybody."
Not like the old days, Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax recalled.
"There's talk that with 50 games and the millions players make, it might not be enough. I'm not saying that, there's just talk," he said. "Back then we had suspensions, but nothing like this with drugs."
Fellow Hall of Famer Robin Yount said he hoped the Biogenesis case "will put an end to this, once and for all."
"It's just not necessary any more. With the drug testing in place — again I'm no expert on it — but I would certainly like to believe that it's a good enough program that you can't get away with it," he said. "There was a day where there was an argument where you had to do it prior to drug testing, to keep up. I'd like to believe those days are gone."
Angels player rep C.J. Wilson stressed that players taking PEDs affect more than themselves.
"The home runs that are hit because a guy's on performance-enhancing substances, those ruin somebody's ERA, which runs their arbitration case, which ruins their salary," the pitcher said.