Today on The House That Steroids Built, we’re going to examine current San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler and his MLB playing career, because it’s full of interesting connections that cannot be ignored when examining his unrealistic success as a manager for the Giants—after his complete failure as a manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (which we look at next).

First, Kapler started his career with the Detroit Tigers, and in two seasons playing in old Tiger Stadium, Kapler compiled a .748 OPS in 137 games, most of them during the 1999 season when he was just 23 years old. The Tigers had drafted Kapler in the 57th round of the 1995 MLB Draft, and that’s enough right there to let you know there was no special talent there.

Interestingly, Kapler was then traded to the Texas Rangers as part of a package deal for Juan González. He proceeded to have the best full season of his career with Texas, at age 24, playing alongside guys like suspected PED user Iván Rodríguez, known PED user Rafael Palmeiro, and suspected cheat Kenny Rogers. What do you think Kapler learned there? A guy drafted in the 57th round needs a lot of teaching.

Kapler’s .833 OPS at age 24 is odd, because it was his career peak, and we’ve discussed at length the early peaks of players who use PEDs—and the resulting injuries that end up shortening their careers. The other common model, of course, is the aging player who starts to use to extend his career, etc. Anyway, for a player with a career OPS of just .749 (including a 90 OPS+), this was clearly an outlier season.

Whatever the case, Kapler declined in 2001 to a .785 OPS, and in 2002 through his first 72 games, Kapler was much worse (.617 OPS). The Rangers lost patience and dumped his $1.85M salary on the Colorado Rockies—where Kapler briefly benefitted from the Coors Field Effect, posting an .805 OPS over 40 games to close his age-26 season on a high note.

Kapler made $3.4M during the 2003 season, although he regressed early with the Rox, putting up just a .560 OPS in 39 games. The Boston Red Sox (surprise) stepped in and bought his hefty contract for some reason, although in 68 games with the Fenway Frauds, Kapler managed a .798 OPS—and that was enough for the Sox to re-sign him for 2004, although only for $750K.

That was a huge pay cut for a guy like Kapler, the aforementioned 57th-round draft pick, trying to hang on in the majors when he clearly didn’t have to talent to do so. In 312 games alongside Manny Ramírez, David Ortiz, and Co., over 3.5 seasons, Kapler still managed just a .713 OPS, showing clearly all his “bodybuilding” wasn’t making him a good baseball player, although it was paying him well enough.

The Boston organization re-signed him three times, despite his minimal ability, for some reason. What could it be? Hmmm. However, in his last 244 games with the Red Sox, his OPS was well under .700, and the team didn’t re-sign him for its 2007 World Series season. In fact, Kapler was out of the majors entirely during that season before making a somewhat miraculous comeback in 2008 at age 32.

He signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for that season, playing alongside known PED user Ryan Braun. And guess what? His comeback was so successful, he posted a career-best .838 OPS, albeit only in 96 games. Yet for some reason, the Brewers didn’t want to re-sign him after giving him just $800K for that 2008 effort. So, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays stepped in and gave him $2M for the next two seasons.

Predictably, his OPS dropped to .768 in 2009 and then bottomed out at .578 in 2010, when he was 34 years old. But what a journey for a 57th-round draft pick, really: peaked at age 24, before playing alongside PED users in Texas, Boston, and Milwaukee to extend his career for as long as he could, while making a lot of money to do so and crafting an image as a “bodybuilder” at the same time. Right.

What’s the old joke? Those who cannot do anymore end up teaching. Indeed.