“Suicide Squeeze: Taylor Hooton, Rob Garibaldi and the Fight Against Teenage Steroid Abuse” by William C. Kashatus
Baseball, high school, college, youth sports, USC, performance enhancing drugs
January 23, 2017
4 of 5 stars (Very good)
Much has been written and said about the use of steroids, or performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in Major League Baseball. However, the use of PEDs is not limited to the big leaguers – there are also players who have used them in high school, college and amateur baseball in order to gain a competitive advantage. The stories of two players who used them and ultimately committed suicide are the central tales of this book written by William C. Kashatus.
The two players involved are Taylor Hooton (cousin of former major league pitcher Burt Hooton) and Rob Garibaldi. Both players started using steroids in high school with the hopes of improving their performance in order to attract the attention of professional scouts or obtain college scholarships. The latter did happen for Garibaldi, as he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Southern California, one of the more prestigious college baseball programs. However, both of them ultimately committed suicide as the side effects of the drugs took effect.
The book starts out with the testimony of a parent of each player, Don Hooton and Denise Garibaldi, presented to Congress during the 2005 hearings on PED use in baseball. That was the most powerful section of the book as both parents gave moving accounts of what their sons went through and the responsibility that major league baseball has in letting everyone know about the danger of these substances.
From there, the reader will learn much about the two young men, their dreams and what they would do in order to achieve them. More than just success on the diamond, Kashatus also explains other reasons that young men would want to use these drugs, such as physical enhancement to be more attractive to the opposite sex. Kashatus conducted interviews with family members and also did extensive research on the drugs. Some of those passages are very technical in nature. If the reader is not familiar with this topic, they will have to be carefully read in order to fully appreciate what the drugs to one’s body and mind.
Written with the goal of hoping to prevent additional suicides by young athletes, this book is one that should be read by anyone who is involved in youth sports in order to fully learn about the dangers of abusing these drugs. It will make the reader stop and think about PEDs and whether the risk of taking these is worth it.
I wish to thank Temple University Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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