Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Why McGwire Should Not be in the Hall of Fame

This reporter followed Mark McGwire’s career from 1986 until 1997 with the Oakland Athletics. As a matter of fact I covered the Pre Olympic game at Candlestick Park years before he became a professional and was playing third base for the USA Olympic team when they played the Japanese Olympic squad.

Mark McGwire set a rookie record with 49 home runs in 1987, that year he also drove 118 runs and was part of the best "one two" punch in baseball with fellow bashers José Canseco. McGwire was second Rookie of The Year for A’S 1987 following José who won it in 1986. Then came shortstop Walt Weiss who won it in 1988. The last time A’S had 3 Rookies of The Year in a row. Those where the days. Three consecutive trips to the World Series(88-89-90) the A’S were the envy of the baseball world. A team loaded with talent and impact players like Canseco and McGwire, people came in early to the Oakland Coliseum just to watch them in batting practice. There is something about sluggers that people are drawn to.

Big Mac was greatly responsible together with Sammy Sosa in 1998 for reviving baseball and he and Sosa are crediting by many for "saving" the game after the nasty work stoppage in 1994-95. McGwire retired before baseball began testing for illegal performance enhancing drugs, better know as steroids. There is no doubt McGwire deserves to be in this most recent Hall of Fame ballot together with Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. However the contrast here is immense. Gwynn and Ripken will be elected without any controversy, Gwynn was a pure hitter who won eight batting titles and Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak and was one of the most popular players ever. Big Mac is number seven in the all-time home run list with 583, his 70 home runs in 1998 was an incredible feat until Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. A lot has happened since 1998 and today almost nine years later the names of Canseco, Sosa, Bonds, Palmeiro and yes, McGwire all have a huge dark cloud over them.

McGwire testified in March 2005 in front of Congress during the hearings on steroids. He was there with his "buddy" José Canseco Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro. McGwire’s showing at those hearings was ‘to say the least’ disappointing. Canseco accused everybody, Palmeiro pulled a Clinton with his finger, Sosa had more interpreters that he really needed and McGwire in my opinion was the worse, he didn’t say much. He sat there like an idiot, half pregnant, neither confirming or denying the accusations. I covered all these guys during their playing days, talked with them, interviewed them on may occasions and of all those players I mentioned that have retired since, McGwire was always the most difficult.

I do not believe Mark McGwire will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame next year. And he should not, there are just way too many questions and suspicions about him. His behavior since his appearance in front of the Congressional investigation has been neutral, because he still has not said anything. Tony LaRussa said that Big Mac should be in the Hall of Fame. The World Champion Manager of the St Louis Cardinals doesn’t have a vote, so that is ‘one vote less’ for McGwire. It is sad for me to write this. When Canseco and McGwire were young players with the A’S most people (including yours truly) were witnessing what we thought was greatness, two guys headed directly to Cooperstown. The Bash Brothers. When the Bash Brothers were playing I used to wait sometimes longer than usual behind the batting cage at the Oakland Coliseum to talk to them. Although I was not inside the dressing room stalls, Canseco wrote he injected McGwire with steroids and I believe that. I do not believe McGwire will be ever elected to the Hall. It is just my opinion, I could be wrong, I was wrong also during the OJ. criminal case.



1 Anonymous { 12.06.06 at 10:12 pm }

Bruce Jenkins is going to vote for him. At least someone agrees with me!!

Jerry F

2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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