Jan. 11.10: McGwire comes clean.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

Saying he knew this day would eventually come, Mark McGwire released a statement today to the AP admitting his use of steroids. McGwire hit 583 career homers in 16 seasons, and before the steroid era he would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.

McGwire has been barely a blip of the Hall of Fame radar screen since his retirement. Many writers, myself included, said they wouldn’t vote for McGwire or any other player linked to steroids. His admission will cause for some soul searching from those writers, myself included, as to their stance now.

Honestly, an admission doesn’t alter the fact he cheated, but it’s a way of being honest to the fans and to the game. For that, whatever McGwire’s motivation, deserves some consideration. I’ve always been a believer in second chances so I might be leaning in that direction. So, in that respect, personally I’m glad he did this as it will erase the cloud hovering over him.

In the Never-say-Never Department, McGwire, now a hitting instructor with the Cardinals, could be activated says manager Tony La Russa. Should that happen, the clock would go back and wouldn’t start ticking until he retires for good. It would be interesting to see the reaction McGwire would receive, but it would be more interesting to see if he has anything left for real.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.


Some excerpts to his release:

* “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

• “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”

• “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.”

Technically, McGwire never lied to Congress, he just looked weak saying he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Rafael Palmeiro – all with 500 career homers – have been linked, or suspected of using steriods.

Do you feel better about McGwire now, or didn’t it matter either way?

24 thoughts on “Jan. 11.10: McGwire comes clean.

  1. I think the bigger problem is that everyone involved, including MLB and the media, played along with this charade in an effort to trump up interest in the sport, post-lockout. As such, when McGwire comes clean now, years later, it naturally casts doubts on the others involved in this situation and how they’ve never quite accounted for their own culpability.

  2. Five years too late if you ask me. He would have never admitted it had he not become the Cardinals Hitting Coach.

  3. I never thought he would fess up.

    Good for him.

    And for the record he never lied to Congress. He said he won’t answer the question. Which is pleading the 5th.

    Unlike others who under oath said they didn’t when they did.

  4. Too little, too late. And why have the Cardinals hired him? He won’t be able to take those steroids to help him anymore. My sympathies to the Maris family whose late father played by the rules.

  5. Its funny Maris had an asterik by his home run record. Will they put on next to Mcguires name now? It was smart for him finally fess up to what everybody knows. Keeping mum was doing him no good, only getting 22-23 percent of votes for the HOF. Its obvious that LaRussa loves the guy and is trying to help him restore his name. Does he belong in the hall? Not unless they have a special wing set up for the steroid gang. It will be interesting to see what happens to barriod when his time comes.

  6. (5) Ray: They need a whole separate record book period, in my opinion. But I agree with Tiffany, Selig and others knew about it, benefitted from it, and are so hypocritcal when they speak out against it. That is one thing you’ll NEVER hear…the owners, GM’s, or the Commissioner ever admit that they were fully behind it.

  7. Mark McGwire admitted he used ‘roids?
    To quote the words and the sarcasm of those words once said by former Met Billy Wagner:
    “Shocker.”
    As abhorrent as his cheating was, McGwire is smart to fess up now, one month before pitchers and catchers report and before he officially becomes the Cardinals’ hitting instructor, so he won’t be a distraction to his team.
    He can forget about the Hall, though.

  8. I’ve often wondered what the steroid players told their children when it was obvious their game had magically improved. McGwire’s young son often came to the ball park with him in those days. Playing by the rules is the standard in sports – what do/did the steroid users tell their kids?

  9. I am glad he finally confessed. But my bigger issue is that kids think in order to be great you need the juice.
    some high school coaches and college coaches look the other way.
    when I was in grade school I hung out with this kid that beefed up to the point of looking like a professional body builder. when he realized the impact it was having, he quit the juice. in less than a year he was half the kid he was.
    This abuse of the body has to end.

  10. when i was in High school not grade school. sorry only on second cup of coffee ;-)
    forgive me .. i am getting used to the terms after all these years. :-) I went to catholic school. so there was only grade 1-8 then high school. here i am in my 40’s and still get confused :-P

  11. After watching Cosats’ interview with McGwire the guy is in denial. He says the roids didn’t help him hit one HR!!! It was only used for injuries. Then why is he apologizing? He couldn’t play every day without help from the juice but he is in denial that it helped him hit HRS. How many HRs would you have hit sitting on the bench. I would guess that LaRussa/Cardinals talked him into coming clean before he started his hitting coach duties. The most interesting thing was he would have come clean before Congress but no immunity was granted and his lawyers told him not to fess up. Then the tears.
    Hank Aaron and Roger Maris are still the career and year HR kings.

  12. (11) BINGO! Look up denial in the dictionary and there is a picture of McGwire. What a joke. And kudos to Bob Costas. I think he did a wonderful job of interviewing him.

  13. #2, to be fair he knew he would have to fess up if he was going to have any chance as a Cards hitting coach and he took the job anyway. Maybe it was a financial decision but I tend to believe that isn’t the case.

    #11 I think a lot of the players who took roids/hgh did it for injuries and just to “get back on the field”. Of course even if it didn’t help him in the power department being able to avoid the injuries and day to day fatigue did “help him hit HRs”. And of course we all know it helped him in the power department too.

    My overall opinion on roids/hgh is not as strong as most others. I think many of those players we talk about (like Aaron or Maris) would have abused the drugs as well if they had the chance at the time. I don’t blame the players themselves as much as I blame the system that not only permitted its use but openly encouraged it from the top down.

    As for an asterisk I don’t buy it the game is what the game was, I am much more worried about cleaning it up now then worrying about who did/didn’t use it then.

  14. #13- I have to disagree. Aaron etc were from a different age. they abused food and booze. all the things that took away from the game yet they still made the game look easy!
    because of depression and poverty.

    just my 3 cents on that angle.

  15. The asterisk is about records.

    baseball is about records.

    the only reason we care about these players is about the stats.

    these drugs help them juice the stats.

    it is about comparing same to same.

    babe ruth, hank aaran, roger maris, et al are compared to sosa, mcguire, clemens, pettite, bonds, etc based on stats.

    otherwise we would not have these conversations.

  16. #14 They were also playing against players that did the same thing, their natural talent carried them a lot farther than it would have in today’s game. And while the players in Ruth’s era were dealing with depression and poverty, Aaron and Maris era were not. Not the amazing money to be made as today, but they were not poor.

    #15 There is no way to compare same to same from different eras. You are dealing with completely different worlds, ballparks, medicine, players in Ruths era had “real” jobs to go along with their career, etc. This is just yet another factor you get when comparing players from different eras.

    To me Bonds is one of the greatest of all time regardless of Steriods, as is unfortunately a guy like Clemens who I personally dislike greatly. To me they should be in the hall regardless of the roids they took.

  17. Bonds is not even a top 20 player without being juiced.

    is he good? yes.

    he could catch, throw and hit.

    but he was hitting 20hr’s or so.

    hardly best of all time

  18. (17) Dave: Obviously you never saw Barry Bonds play before steroids. Or maybe you didn’t notice that he won the MVP three times before he roided. He was one of the greatest players in the late 80’s and 90’s in all of baseball.

  19. 16. Wow! james how can you say anything about Aaron not being poor. He wsn’t poor you say. Maybe, but how many Black kids in Alabama weren’t poor in the 40’s? And he wasn’t even allowed to play with the white boys when he was a kid. Has to start in the Colored League. Nah, he had it ewasy I suppose. He wasn’t allowed to sleep in the same hotel as the white boys and he wasn’t allwed to eat with the white boys or drink out of the same water fountain. And he had to face death threats for daring to be a Black guy breaking a sacred record held by a White guy.

  20. Steve(18)

    I may have seen him a few times. But no I have no real recollection of him.

    HOF is about consistency and numbers. Obviously he did not feel that the numbers you say he put up was sufficient for him to be recognized so he cheated.

    In today’s discussion not much is mentioned of any accomplishments he has or the quality of his play other than hitting north of 50 hr’s a year for some time.

    Perhaps you are right and he would have made it on his own. I think that cheaters never win and the writers should not consider him just like they should not consider players who get their hits through corked bats or sandpaper in their gloves.

  21. sandpaper. that was the entire 80’s year every pitcher did it. watching the sandpaper float down when they were being searched .. was always good for a hoot.
    I remember cone or one of them going through where the best places to hide the paper..
    under the brim of the hat. applied to the palm or something like a band-aide. that was some interesting TV.

  22. (20) Dave: Bonds would have been a HOF Lock. He cheated because for some stupid reason only known to him, was jealous of the Sosa/McGwire limelight. He’s always been known to be a surly guy, but he was a great player.

  23. as much as one can trust wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Bonds

    just a foot note on the conversation..

    I still stand by my previous post. Aaron and ruth and all of those guys were cut from a different cloth, a different mindset.
    There was a pride behind their natural ability.. however with a good paycheck comes the food and booze and over indulgences and still they played great ball.

    then came the corked bats,sandpaper,roids.

  24. #19 I meant in general not Aaron specifically, which is why I referred to it as “his era”.

    #20 Bonds was hitting 30-40 HRs a season before he roided up and was always a 400+ OBP guy and a 600+ SLG guy before his head grew into a melon.

    If you want to stand by anyone who cheats should never be in the hall that is one thing, but to say Barry wasn’t a great player and only a “20 hr” guy is just closing your eyes and pretending.