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Mark McGwire gives testimony to Congressman Lacy

Mark McGwire gives testimony to Congressman Lacy

Mark McGwire is one of the most controversial figures in the “steroids era” and has fallen short of Hall of Fame election by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He will forever be linked with Roger Maris, as his storybook 1998 season in which he and Sammy Sosa both broke Maris’s 47-year-old single-season home run record (McGwire finished 1998 with 70 homers; Sosa finished with “only” 66). A huge, lumbering power hitter who didn’t field or run well, McGwire relied on his prodigious power to carve out what looked like a surefire Hall of Fame career.

Unfortunately, he used steroids during his playing career, and he wasn’t a good defender or baserunner. By the same token, he did hit 583 home runs for his career and had OPS numbers that are nothing short of stratospheric late in his career. He is one of two people to hit over sixty homers in a season twice, along with fellow baseball limbo-dweller Sammy Sosa.

One of the things that doesn’t help McGwire is his congressional testimony, which reads like a “what not to do” video in regards to public testimony. His famous quote “I’m not here to talk about the past” in response to Congressman Ed Lacy’s questions made him look even guiltier than he turned out to be. He eventually admitted to using steroids, citing “health reasons” for doing so. What I had such a hard time with was making a decision as to his Hall worthiness. If he never used a performance enhancing drug, would McGwire be a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Probably. 583 homers is an automatic entry into the Hall for most writers, and many of those writers would look at a .263 lifetime batting average and decide it’s more than outweighed by McGwire’s superior on base percentage.

What is the verdict? Download the podcast to find out.

Links for this episode:
Mark McGwire’s Baseball Reference Page
Sammy Sosa: Heck Yes we’re HOFERS
Marshall: McGwire is a Hall of Famer
Why McGwire doesn’t belong in the Hall

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About the Author

I'm a 38 year old writer from New Providence, New Jersey, working a "day job" as a data processor in North Carolina. When I'm not slaving away at that job, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan who enjoys discussing today's baseball news in a historical context. I'm a former columnist for the Summit Herald in New Jersey and a college radio geek who decided to use the power of podcasting to share my point of view wih the world. Besides baseball, I love horse racing, video games, and good music (who doesn't?). I am a Christian and live with my wife Amy and two cats Reagan and Cassie in our home studio. Expect more writing from me at scotteiland.com, and thank you for listening!

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