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Mark McGwire

"Mark McGuire" redirects here. For the American musician Mark McGuire, see Mark McGuire (musician).

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Mark McGwire
McGwire as Dodgers hitting coach
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 25
First baseman / Hitting coach
Born: (1963-10-01) October 1, 1963 (age 56)
Pomona, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 22, 1986 for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 7, 2001 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average .263
Hits 1,626
Home runs 583
Runs batted in 1,414

As player

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As coach

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Career highlights and awards
Medal record
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This page is a soft redirect. Representing the 23x15px United States
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This page is a soft redirect. Men's Baseball
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This page is a soft redirect. Summer Olympics
Silver medal – second place 1984 Los Angeles Team
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Bronze medal – third place 1983 Caracas Team
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This page is a soft redirect. Intercontinental Cup
Silver medal – second place 1983 Brussels Team

Mark David McGwire (born October 1, 1963), nicknamed "Big Mac", is an American former professional baseball player currently serving as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As 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, McGwire 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).[1] McGwire also holds the distinction of being the fastest player to hit 500 home runs, in only 5,487 at-bats.[2] 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.[3] Barry Bonds[4] now holds the record, after hitting 73 home runs during the 2001 season. In 2010, McGwire publicly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during a large portion of his career.

Early years

McGwire was born in Pomona, California. His father was a dentist. He attended Damien High School in La Verne, California, where he played baseball, golf, and basketball. He played college baseball at the University of Southern California (where he was a teammate of Randy Johnson) under coach Rod Dedeaux.

Playing career

Oakland Athletics (1984–1997)

After three years at Southern California and a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, McGwire was drafted 10th overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft.

McGwire made the major leagues in August 1986. As a rookie in 1987 he hit 33 homers before the All-Star break and was a unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year after finishing with 49 homers, 118 RBI and a .289 average. His 49 longballs smashed the old rookie record of 38, jointly held by Frank Robinson and Wally Berger. His 49 homers were the most in not only the American League for the year but was tied for first in the majors with Chicago Cubs right fielder Andre Dawson. He sat out the season's final two games and gave up a chance at 50 home runs to be present at the birth of his first child.

McGwire worked hard on his defense at first base and resisted being seen as a one-dimensional player. He was regarded as a good fielder in his early years, even winning a Gold Glove in 1990, the only one not won by Don Mattingly between 1985 and 1994. In later years, his mobility decreased and, with it, his defense.

McGwire's total of 363 home runs with the Athletics surpassed the previous franchise record. He was selected or voted to nine American League All-Star Teams while playing for the A's, including six consecutive appearances from 1987 through 1992. He was one of only four players to hit a ball over the roof in the left field of Tiger Stadium.[5]


File:Mark McGwire 1989.jpg
McGwire with the A's, 1989

In his first full Major League season in 1987, McGwire hit 49 home runs, a single-season record for a rookie, surpassing Al Rosen's AL rookie record[6] and Wally Berger and Frank Robinson's major league rookie record of 38 home runs. That year he was named the American League Rookie of the Year. McGwire hit 32, 33, and 39 homers the next three seasons, the first Major Leaguer to hit 30+ home runs in each of his first 4 full seasons.[7] On July 3 and 4, 1988, McGwire hit game-winning home runs in the 16th inning of each game.[8][9] Through May 2009 McGwire was tied for third all-time with Joe DiMaggio in home runs over his first two calendar years in the major leagues (71), behind Chuck Klein (83) and Ryan Braun (79).[10]

But McGwire's most famous home run with the A's was likely his game-winning solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1988 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and former A's closer Jay Howell.[11] McGwire's game-winner brought the A's their only victory in the 1988 World Series, which they lost in five games. However, Big Mac and his fellow Bash Brother, José Canseco, did play a large part in the 1989 World Champion A's team that defeated the San Francisco Giants in the famous "Earthquake Series".[12]

McGwire's batting average, .289 as a rookie, plummeted over the next three seasons to .260, .231, and .235, respectively. In 1991, he bottomed out with a .201 average and 22 homers. Manager Tony LaRussa sat him out the last game of the season so his average could not dip below .200. Despite the declining batting averages during this time of his career, his high bases on balls totals allowed him to maintain acceptable on-base percentages. In fact, when he hit .201, his adjusted OPS (OPS+) was 103, or just over league average.

McGwire stated in an interview with Sports Illustrated that 1991 was the "worst year" of his life, with his on-field performance and marriage difficulties, and that he "didn't lift a weight" that entire season. With all that behind him, McGwire re-dedicated himself to working out harder than ever and received visual therapy from a sports vision specialist.[13][14]


The "new look" McGwire hit 42 homers and batted .268 in 1992, with an outstanding OPS+ of 175 (the highest of his career to that point), and put on a home run hitting show at the Home Run Derby during the 1992 All-Star break. His performance propelled the A's to the American League West Division title in 1992, their fourth in five seasons. The A's lost in the playoffs to the eventual World Series champion, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Foot injuries limited McGwire to a total of 74 games in 1993 and 1994, and just 9 home runs in each of the two seasons. He played just 104 games in 1995, but his proportional totals were much improved: 39 home runs in 317 at-bats. In 1996, McGwire belted a major league leading 52 homers in 423 at-bats. He also hit a career high .312 average, and led the league in both slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

St. Louis Cardinals and the HR record chase (1997–2001)

File:Mark mcgwire.jpg
McGwire hitting a home run in St. Louis against the Tigers on July 14, 2001

On July 31, having already amassed 34 home runs to this point in the 1997 season, McGwire was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals, being the third member in just two seasons to go from Oakland to St. Louis (after Tony La Russa and Dennis Eckersley). He led the majors with 58 home runs in 1997. In the last year of his contract, there was speculation that McGwire would play for the Cardinals only for the remainder of the season, then seek a long-term deal, possibly in Southern California, where he still lives. However, McGwire signed a contract to stay in St. Louis instead. It is also believed that McGwire later encouraged Jim Edmonds, another Southern California resident who was traded to St. Louis, to forgo free agency and sign a contract with the Cardinals in 2000.

As the 1998 season progressed, it became clear that McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa were all on track to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The race to break the record first attracted media attention as the home run leader changed often throughout the season. On August 19, Sosa hit his 48th home run to move ahead of McGwire. However, later that day McGwire hit his 48th and 49th home runs to regain the lead.

On September 8, 1998, McGwire hit a pitch by the Cubs' Steve Trachsel over the left field wall for his record-breaking 62nd home run, setting off huge celebrations at Busch Stadium. The fact that the game was against the Cubs meant that Sosa was able to congratulate McGwire personally on his achievement. Members of Roger Maris' family were also present at the game. The ball was freely, albeit controversially, given to McGwire in a ceremony on the field by the stadium worker who found it.

McGwire finished the 1998 season with 70 home runs (including five in his last three games), four ahead of Sosa's 66, a record that was broken three seasons later in 2001 by Barry Bonds with 73.

McGwire was honored with the inaugural Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in home runs.[15] Although McGwire had the prestige of the home run record, Sammy Sosa (who had fewer HR but more RBI and stolen bases) won the 1998 NL MVP award, as his contributions helped propel the Cubs to the playoffs (the Cardinals in 1998 finished third in the NL Central). Many credited the Sosa-McGwire home run chase in 1998 with "saving baseball," by both bringing in new, younger fans and bringing back old fans soured by the 1994 Major League Baseball strike.[16]


McGwire kept his high level of offensive production from 1998 going in 1999. He hit a league-leading 65 home runs and drove in a league-leading 147 runs while only having 145 hits, the highest RBI-per-hit tally for a season in baseball history. Sammy Sosa, hitting 63 home runs, again closely trailed McGwire.

Statistically in 2000 and 2001, McGwire's numbers declined relative to previous years as McGwire struggled to avoid injury (32 HR in 89 games, and 29 HR in 97 games, respectively). McGwire retired after the 2001 season.[17]

McGwire ended his career with 583 home runs, which was then fifth-most in history. He led MLB in home runs five times. He hit 50 or more home runs four seasons in a row (1996–1999), leading MLB in homers all four seasons, and also shared the MLB lead in home runs in 1987, his rookie year, when he set the MLB record for home runs by a rookie with 49. McGwire had the fewest career triples (6) of any player with 5,000 or more at-bats.

Coaching career

On October 26, 2009, Tony LaRussa confirmed that McGwire would become the hitting coach for the Cardinals, replacing Hal McRae as the fifth hitting coach in LaRussa's term as manager.[18] McGwire received a standing ovation prior to the Cardinals home opener on April 12, 2010.[19] In McGwire's three seasons as Cardinals hitting coach they featured a prolific offense that led the National League in hitting and on-base percentage, and were second in the league in runs.[20]

In early November 2012 McGwire rejected a contract extension to return as Cardinals hitting coach for the 2013 season, instead accepting an offer to fill the same position for the Los Angeles Dodgers,[21] in order to be closer to his wife and five children.[22]

On June 11, 2013, McGwire was ejected for the first time as a coach during a bench-clearing brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks.[23] Following the ejection, he was suspended for two games the next day.


In 1999, The Sporting News released a list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. The list had been compiled during the 1998 season and included statistics through the 1997 season. McGwire was ranked at Number 91. That year, he was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team (though he received fewer votes than any other selected player). In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their list, and McGwire had been moved up to Number 84.

McGwire's performance in the Hall of Fame voting has experienced a regressive trend, however, since first becoming eligible in 2007. For election a player needs to be listed on 75% of ballots cast; falling under 5% removes a player from future consideration. Between 2007 and 2010 McGwire's performance held steady, receiving 128 votes (23.5%) in 2007, 128 votes (23.6%) in 2008, 118 votes (21.9%) in 2009, and 128 votes (23.7%) in 2010. The subsequent ballot in 2011 showed the first sub-20% total of 115 votes (19.8%). While McGwire's total has not reversed trend (112 votes (19.5%) in 2012, 96 votes (16.9%) in 2013, 63 votes (11.0%) in 2014, and 55 votes (10.0%) in 2015), he has continued to receive sufficient support and will return for his final time on the 2016 ballot.

A portion of Interstate 70 (see also: Interstate 70 in Missouri) in St. Louis and near Busch Stadium was named "Mark McGwire Highway" to honor his 70 home run achievement, along with his various good works for the city. In May 2010, St. Louis politicians succeeded in passing a state bill to change the name of "Mark McGwire Highway", a 5-mile stretch of Interstate 70, to "Mark Twain Highway".[24]

Steroid use

In a 1998 article by Associated Press writer Steve Wilstein, McGwire confessed to taking androstenedione,[25] 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.[26]

Jose Canseco released a book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in 2005. In it, 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.[27]

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."[28] 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 1990s, including during the 1998 season. McGwire said that he used steroids to recover from injuries.[29]

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.[30]

Personal life

McGwire's 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.[31]

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.[32] 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, divorced) to Kathleen Hughes.

Prior to admitting to using steroids, McGwire avoided the media and spent much of his free time playing golf.[33] He also worked as a hitting coach for Major League players Matt Holliday, Bobby Crosby, Chris Duncan and Skip Schumaker.[34]

McGwire appeared as himself in season 7, episode 13 of the sitcom Mad About You.[35]

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

Career totals

In 16 seasons (1986–2001), McGwire accumulated the following career stats:[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for At Bats per Home Run". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "500 Home Run Details". Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Progressive Leaders & Records for Home Runs". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ ""Bonds testified that substances didn't work",, December 4, 2004, accessed 02/03/11". December 4, 2004. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ The Final Season, p.90, Tom Stanton, Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, 2001, ISBN 0-312-29156-6
  6. ^ . August 10, 2008,122CA98E1CEF7498.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Mark McGwire Statistics". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "July 3, 1988 Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays Play by Play and Box Score". July 3, 1988. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "July 4, 1988 Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians Play by Play and Box Score". July 4, 1988. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ Sandler, Jeremy, "NL Weekly: The Notebook," National Post, May 27, 2009, accessed 5/28/09[dead link]
  11. ^ "October 18, 1988 World Series Game 3 at Network Associates Coliseum Play by Play and Box Score". October 18, 1988. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ "1989 World Series – OAK vs. SFG". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Oakland's Mark McGwire is smiling again, now that he's hitting homers at a record pace". CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  15. ^ Harber, Paul (July 22, 2001). "A statue fit for a home run king". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 8, 2011. The first award was given to Mark McGwire after his 70-home-run season in 1998. (subscription required)
  16. ^
  17. ^ " McGwire stats". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  18. ^ "McGwire to speak, but date not set: Cards GM hopeful new hitting coach will appear soon". January 7, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ Hernandez, Dylan (November 2, 2012). "Mark McGwire expected to be Dodgers' hitting coach". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  21. ^ Gurnick, Ken (November 2, 2012). "Report: McGwire to become Dodgers' hitting coach". via St. Louis Cardinals website. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Report: Mark McGwire close to joining Los Angeles Dodgers as hitting coach". Yahoo sports. November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  23. ^ "MLB Ejections 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076: Clint Fagan (3–8)." Close Call Sports/Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. June 12, 2013.
  24. ^ McCollough, J. Brady (July 6, 2010). "McGwire learning the 'art of coaching' as hitting instructor with the Cardinals". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  25. ^ "Who Knew?". September 11, 2005. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "". CNN. March 18, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  28. ^ "McGwire admits steroids use". ESPN. January 11, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Steroid supplier disputes McGwire's motive". January 22, 2010. 
  30. ^ "McGwire admits to steroid use: Will appear on MLB Network tonight to discuss admission". January 11, 2010. 
  31. ^ Mark and Me: Mark McGwire and the Truth Behind Baseball's Worst-Kept Secret
  32. ^ Ryon, Ruth (March 2, 2008). "A Moorish fantasy in Irvine's Shady Canyon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2008. 
  33. ^ " – E-Ticket: Fading Away". Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  34. ^ McGwire Talks About Teaching Hitting, March 13, 2009
  35. ^ "Mad About You--IMDB listing". Internet Movie Database. February 22, 1999. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 

Further reading

External links

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