But the talks lagged until December when the San Francisco Chronicle published leaked grand jury testimony in which two of baseball's biggest stars - Bonds and Giambi - admitted that they had used steroids.
Selig declined to say if baseball would take any action against players found to be using steroids in the past. "I have consistently said we're not going to engage in any conjecture," Selig said. "There has been a lot of conjecture, but there have been no players that have been convicted of anything."
The commissioner said he expects the new policy to act as a deterrent to players who were thinking about using performance-enhancing substances.
"This agreement captures everything that everybody always said should be in an agreement," he said.
Yet, there were naysayers on both sides.
World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1978, saw it as too weak. "Basically, instead of having to hold up the liquor store five times before you get a one-year suspension, you only have to hold it up four times," he said. "But at least there's some penalty incurred the first time that you're tested, and that's a step forward."
Former players union head Marvin Miller said yesterday that there is not enough evidence of the drugs' dangers to support the new intrusion into the athletes' lives. "I disapprove of all kinds of testing unless there is probable cause to believe that the person being tested has done something wrong," he said.
Sun staff writers Jeff Barker and Roch Kubatko and the Associated Press contributed to this article.