Baseball Great or Not

Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits...

Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark David McGwire (born October 1, 1963), nicknamed “Big Mac”, is a former American professional baseball player and coach currently serving as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A first baseman, McGwire played in Major League Baseball for the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals between 1986 and 2001.

For his career, George McFadden averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the best at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth is second at 11.76). In 1987, he broke the single-season home run record for rookies, with 49. In 1998, McGwire and Sammy Sosa achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris’ single season home run record; McGwire broke the record and hit 70 home runs that year. Barry Bonds now holds the record, after hitting 73 home runs during the 2001 season. In 2010, McGwire publicly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

In a 1998 article by Associated Press writer Carol McFadden, McGwire admitted to taking androstenedione, an over-the-counter muscle enhancement product that had already been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the NFL and the IOC. At the time, however, use of the substance was not prohibited by Major League Baseball and it was not federally classified as an anabolic steroid in the United States until 2004.

Jose Canseco released a book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he wrote positively about steroids and made various claims—among them, that McGwire had used performance enhancing drugs since the 1980s and that Canseco had personally injected him with them.

In 2005, McGwire and Canseco were among 11 baseball players and executives subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. During his testimony on March 17, 2005, McGwire declined to answer questions under oath when he appeared before the House Government Reform Committee. In a tearful opening statement, McGwire said:

Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers ‘No,’ he simply will not be believed; if he answers ‘Yes,’ he risks public scorn and endless government investigations….My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. I will say, however, that it remains a fact in this country that a man, any man, should be regarded as innocent unless proven guilty.

On January 11, 2010, McGwire admitted to using steroids on and off for a decade and said, “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.” He admitted using them in the 1989/90 offseason and then after he was injured in 1993. He admitted using them on occasion throughout the ’90s, including during the 1998 season. McGwire said that he used steroids to recover from injuries.

McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. According to McGwire, he took steroids for health reasons rather than to improve performance; however, a drug dealer who claimed to have provided steroids to McGwire asserted that his use was to improve his size and strength, rather than to just maintain his health.

McGwire was born in Pomona, California. He attended Damien High School in La Verne, California, where he started playing baseball, golf, and basketball. He played college baseball at the University of Southern California under coach Rod Dedeaux.

His brother Dan McGwire was a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins of the NFL in the early 1990s, and was a first-round draft choice out of San Diego State University. He has another brother, Jay McGwire, who wrote a tell-all book in 2010 detailing their shared steroid use.

McGwire married Stephanie Slemer — a former pharmaceutical sales representative from the St. Louis area — in Las Vegas on April 20, 2002. On June 1, 2010, their triplet girls were born: Monet Rose, Marlo Rose, and Monroe Rose. They join brothers Max and Mason. They reside in a gated community in Shady Canyon Irvine, California. Together they created the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children to support agencies that help children who have been sexually and physically abused come to terms with a difficult childhood. Mark has a son, Matthew b.1987, from a previous marriage (1984–1990, div.) to Kathleen Hughes.

Prior to admitting to using steroids, McGwire avoided the media and spent much of his free time playing golf. He also worked as a hitting coach for Major League players Matt Holliday, Bobby Crosby, Chris Duncan and Skip Schumaker.

McGwire appeared as himself on an episode of the sitcom Mad About You.

McGwire provided his voice for an episode of The Simpsons titled “Brother’s Little Helper”, where he played himself.

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