UPDATE: Does Big Mac belong in the Hall of Fame?
In a statement sent to various news outlets on Monday Mark McGwire finally admitted what many had already suspected.
“I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize,” McGwire said in the 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.”
McGwire said his decision to talk about his steroid use was prompted by his new position as St. Louis’ hitting coach.
McGwire said he feels he has an obligation to talk about this part of his career and answer questions.
Not what McGwire has apologized and is willing to talk about his transgressions, does this change his HOF chances or does this solidify his place as nothing more than a cheat who has no place in Cooperstown?
Original post: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Frank Robinson. That’s it, the complete list of players who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) that have more career home runs than Mark McGwire, after he again fell short in this, his fourth year of eligibility. McGwire received only 23.7 percent of the vote, well shy of the 75 percent needed for Hall entry.
Some have tried to argue that McGwire is not Hall worthy because he was a one-dimensional player. Well this is simply ludicrous. McGwire led the league in walks twice and his career .394 on base percentage ranks 64th highest all-time since 1901. Furthermore, his 1414 career RBI is well above the average number for HOF hitters and he was a 12-time All Star. He also captured a Gold Glove in 1990.
At the very least McGwire had two dimensions to his game, power and the ability to get on base. David Pinto of Baseball Musings feels there are only three dimensions to hitting, so two out of three is pretty good.
The only logical explanation for McGwire’s exclusion from Cooperstown are the suspicions that have dogged him about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
McGwire has never admitted to using PEDs or failed a drug test, but his name was mentioned in Sen. George Mitchell’s investigation into steroids use in Major League Baseball.
During his testimony on March 17, 2005 before the House Government Reform Committee to discuss the use of steroids in baseball, McGwire declined to answer questions under oath. “I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to be positive about this subject,” he said.
The easiest way for McGwire to gain traction in his HOF candidacy, some observers say, would be to address the issue head on. Andy Pettitte admitted to using HGH and his career has recovered nicely. He was even given the honor of being the starting pitcher in the last game at the old Yankee Stadium.
On the other hand Roger Clemens, who vehemently denies he ever took steroids or any other banned substance, has had his name removed from a Houston hospital, has been asked to end his affiliation with a charity golf tournament and will likely face the same HOF rejection McGwire has.
With his recent appointment as the Cardinal’s hitting coach, McGwire has a fantastic opportunity to address the issue properly. If he does not do so in a satisfactory manner early in his tenure, questions about his past will continue to plague him.
Baseball is a game built around numbers. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Cy Young’s 511 career wins, Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters, Rickey Henderson’s 1,406 career stolen bases. They are all in the HOF. To say McGwire’s not Hall worthy because he doesn’t have the numbers is insane.