I was watching baseball last night, as I do many nights during the summer, and found the St. Louis v. NY Mets game on ESPN. While I was watching, they showed Mark McGwire in the dugout. He came on board last year with his old coach La Russa as the batting coach for the Cardinals after coming clean about his steroid and PHD use. It got me thinking, I was born and raised a A’s fan my whole life, thanks to my grandfather. I grew up with the bash brothers, Carney Lansford, Walt Weiss and Dennis Eckersley. They were my heroes on the diamond. Then came the Baseball strike of 94′-95′. It destroyed baseball. People were fed up with both the players, owners and the league. Baseball took a back seat to football and basketball. It wasn’t until the 1998 season when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire had the home run battle that baseball became relevant again. It made me think, how is this guy not in the Hall of Fame yet? Mark McGwire, in my opinion was the reason baseball is again the National Past Time. People love to see hard hits, slam dunks and home runs. Had McGwire not had the season he had, baseball would still be recovering. And how is he thanked for this, by be criticized for 10 years and snubbed for the Hall of Fame year after year. He didn’t go in front of the Grand Jury and blatantly lie like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Granted, he just didn’t talk, he tried to let the past be the past. Do I favor steroids and PHD use? Absolutely not. But back when these guys were hitting home runs and inflating the TV ratings and pockets of the MLB owners and execs, no one cared. Now, after the fact, it is a huge deal that is wasting tax payers money by having ex players sit in front of the Grand Jury to ask questions about the past. At this point, who cares who was using back then. Chances are good that the pitchers were using them too and essentially evening the playing field.
Anyways, my point here is that Mark McGwire, in my opinion, is one of the main reasons baseball is where it is today (post strike era). He was an icon of the game. He was one of the most humble ball players I have ever seen on the diamond. Let the past be in the past and put the guy in the Hall!