Mark McGwire

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Mark McGwire : biography

October 1, 1963 –

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. ESPN.com, March 13, 2009

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.

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. 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. 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 and . 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.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

1987–1991

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; 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. On July 3 and 4, 1988, McGwire hit game-winning home runs in the 16th inning of each game. 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).

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. 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".

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.http://www.sdccd.edu/events/we/wepdf/we-sp99.pdf