His investigation of drugs in baseball tarnished the reputation of Roger Clemens and dozens of other players, led to a toughened drug agreement and created an impression that clubhouses were teeming with performance- enhancers.
"The impression I get is that it's had a significant impact of reducing usage, although that still remains very difficult to measure with any complete precision," the former Senate Majority Leader said Tuesday during a half-hour interview in his midtown Manhattan office.
Mitchell's 409-page report implicated seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars -- one for every position. It identified 85 players to differing degrees, a list of baseball's famous that included Clemens, Eric Gagne, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and Troy Glaus.
"Obviously as a human being, I regret and don't take pleasure in someone else's misfortune, whether I have any relationship to it or not," Mitchell said. "What we did was to try to meet the obligation which we'd undertaken, and we did so. Each player involved made his decision on how to respond."
Still, Mitchell doesn't think baseball's drug problem has been totally solved.
"I would be very doubtful that it is completely clean in the sense nobody is using," he said. "You don't know whether this is a temporary response because of the attention it's gotten and whether over time it will begin to resume an increase. I think that's unlikely given the aggressive nature of the response, but it's something you have to be continuously concerned about."
Mitchell's evidence was based primarily on interviews with Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets bat boy who pleaded guilty to illegally distributing steroids, and Brian McNamee, Clemens' former personal trainer.
It also recited the U.S. government's case against Barry Bonds and collected various media reports.
Some players implicated bounced back with relatively little stigma, a group that included Rick Ankiel, Glaus and Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte. Some disappeared from the majors, such as Jay Gibbons, released by Baltimore during spring training.