Former baseball star McGwire admits to steroid use

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In a statement released today, former American baseball star Mark McGwire admitted to the use of performance-enhancing drugs during his career, including the 1998 season, when he broke Roger Maris's single season record for home runs, hitting 70 of them. McGwire admitted to the use of drugs in the late 1980s and during most of the 1990s. There had been wide speculation about McGwire's use of performance-enhancing drugs, as he came from an era of baseball that has been dubbed the "steroid era" because of the high use of performance enhancing drugs throughout Major League Baseball.

"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...I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry...It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected," said some of the statement released by the St. Louis Cardinals today. McGwire had recently been hired as the Cardinal's hitting coach and was set to begin the job this season.

McGwire, 46, had been regarded as one of the most powerful hitters of his time. Over his career, McGwire hit 583 home runs, which is currently tied with Alex Rodriguez, who has also admitted to steroid use. McGwire is now one of the six players in the top 15 home run hitters of all time that has either confessed to or been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Mark McGwire in 2001.
Image: Rdikeman.

McGwire's best season came in 1998, when he set the record for most home runs in a single season. After a race throughout the final months of the season with Sammy Sosa, he ended with 70 home runs, easily beating Roger Maris's previous record of 61 (This record was later broken by Barry Bonds, who now holds the current record of 73).

"I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn't take any and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids," said McGwire to the Associated Press. According to McGwire, the steroids were used for the enhancement of his play as well as to recover from the several injuries that he suffered between the 1990 and 1994 seasons.

In the statement, he also commended the MLB Player's Association for attempting to remove steroids from the game. "Baseball is really different now— it's been cleaned up. The commissioner and the Player's Association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I'm glad they did," McGwire stated." Since he used the steroids before the current rules were in place, McGwire will likely not be disciplined by the league or the MLBPA.

In 2005, McGwire was called to the U.S. Congress and refused to answer questions about his steroid use, saying that he did "...not want to talk about the past." It is unknown if the MLB will investigate into this matter.

Mark McGwire is currently tied for eighth on the all-time home runs list. he played 16 Major League seasons and retired following the 2001 season. He is currently the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.